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  • gerard van weyenbergh

All about art authenticity, errors and scams on the net

Updated: Jul 9, 2020

I read the following about art authenticity:

A formal certificate of authenticity is not necessarily required to prove a work of art is genuine. Any valid receipt, bill of sale, or proof of purchase either directly from the artist or a confirmed and established dealer, reseller, publisher, representative, or agent of the artist will do.

In my opinion, if you buy a Picasso from a gallery on 5Th Avenue in New York, this will never be a sufficient condition to certify the authenticity of the painting. We saw several galleries from N.Y. and worldwide with impeccable reputation selling fakes, copies lately.

An appraisal from a recognized authority or expert on the artist, which includes a statement or guarantee of authenticity, is also acceptable.

Who’s going to buy a Picasso with a certificate from my own company with a statement that the painting is authentic!

To start, I will never, never give an appraisal for a painting, and warrant a certificate of authenticity for a painting, NEVER! Unless I have the confirmation of the authenticity made by the solely recognized authenticator, and not older than six months.

First of all, the financial responsibility and the eventual punitive damages I will occur if, by any hazard, I am wrong. Secondly, every appraiser knows that he can’t give a certificate of authenticity unless he received a certificate of authenticity from the sole recognized universal expert for the mentioned artist.

To clarify my statement: A N.Y. gallery who bought a Renoir in the 1990’s with a C.O.A. from the expert , sold the painting a year later with a copy of the C.O.A. In 2000, the gallery lets made an exact copy of the original painting ( which he may have let made at the time he bought the original painting) and sold the picture with the original C.O.A.

Website Art business is definitely an interesting website, but I advise anyone who wants to buy an important painting:

1/ request an updated C.O.A. ( not older than six months ) by the solely recognized expert for the artist

2/ check with an expert you trust, to see if the painting is really what is described on the C.O.A., compare the photos and even send a photo of the painting you buy front and back to the solely recognized expert. If the painting is a copy, he will alert you immediately about the fraud since he knows where the original is.

3/ never buy an important painting “attributed to” as an original by the artist. This mention shows that there is a doubt about the authenticity—most merchants adding this on their bill of sale to avoid to be sued.

About another website for art authentication

We can see that a respected writer of several books about Warhol, pre-historic animals, still classified 794,000 in Amazon, is also a painter himself. We see on his web site that he offers to make C.O.A. for Warhol. Basquiat, and Haring! Nothing less. I do not doubt that Mr. X will analyze in-depth all the elements available for an artwork by Warhol, Basquiat, or Haring. I am sure that he will use all the possible verifications possible to make his assessment.

Where I am suspicious is when he writes that his C.O.A. will be accepted by auction houses! We all know by now that the foundation Warhol, Basquiat, Haring no longer accept to make C.O.A. for their artist.


Let’s make a comparison with Amedeo Modigliani .

Several very respected and specialist of the work of Modigliani who made catalogue raisonne of his work , like Lantheman, Pfannstiel, Restellini, Parisot . Parisot, for example, organized several exhibitions of Modigliani’s work , in Japan, France, Italy etc. Lantheman, Pfannstiel made a "catalogue raisonne" for the artist.

So these experts are not some guys who wrote an article or a book about Modigliani. They know through and through the art of Modigliani. Is Sotheby’s and Christie’s accepting their C.O.A.? NO, They want only the paintings by Modigliani published in the catalog made by Ceroni ! and only him. The C.O.A. made by the other “big experts” of Modigliani work is not accepted.

With all respect due to Mr. X, I regret to say that what he writes on his website about the C.O.A. he makes for Warhol, Basquiat, Haring will be accepted by auctions houses, (and I consider Christie’s and Sotheby’s a major auction house where someone will want to see his Warhol, or Haring) is UNTRUE.

Only paintings with a complete provenance detailed may have a little chance to be accepted for auction by the major houses since the major foundations confirmed they stopped to make C.O.A. Only paintings with a C.O.A. from the foundations will be accepted in auctions, but not only also the paintings that have an undisputed provenance and verifiable elements in the provenance.


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