Authentication and Evaluation of Paintings



What is the provenance of the painting (its history)?

Some tips:

Knowing the history of the ownership of the painting helps establish its legitimacy.
Sales receipts and exhibition stamps on the back of the painting are helpful.
Sometimes the history of a painting can add value. Some owners and ownership stories are more important than others.
The history and quality of the frame surrounding the painting can also add substantial value.
A strong exhibition history of a painting at museums can add substantial value compared to a similar quality painting that did not have an exhibition history.
Check with a library to see if there is a catalogue raisonné of the artist's works. A catalogue raisonné is a complete, annotated catalogue of the works of a deceased artist. It contains the history of ownership of each work.


Other online resources

The International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) website includes an informative page within its Educational Resources section titled "Provenance Guide." [accessed February, 2014]

An article by Alan Bamberger, a San Francisco, CA-based art consultant, titled "Art Provenance: What is it and How to Verify it."


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While Traditional Fine Art Organization, Inc (TFAO) does not provide authentication services, the information in this report is provided as a public service and may be of help to readers studying approaches to authentication and evaluation of their works of art.

Links to sources of information outside of our website are provided only as referrals for your further consideration. Please use due diligence in judging the quality of information contained in these and all other websites. Information from linked sources may be inaccurate or out of date. TFAO neither recommends or endorses these referenced organizations. Although TFAO includes links to other web sites, it takes no responsibility for the content or information contained on those other sites, nor exerts any editorial or other control over them. For more information on evaluating online information see TFAO's General Resources section in Online Resources for Collectors and Students of Art History.

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