top of page
  • gerard van weyenbergh

All about art authenticity, obtain a C.O.A. with chemical analysis.

Updated: Jul 9, 2020

Authentication of a painting with the help of scientific analysis

The analysis of paint helps to 1- identify the manner an artist is handling his work 2- the medium used by the artist 3- count the layers of paint are on the canvas.


Scientific expertise for authentication will verify the nature of the medium used with the age of the painting.

What the expertise laboratory will do

Scientists use a wide variety of analytical methods in this field divided into two categories:

A/ Study of the painting

- Microscopes will determine the different layers on the canvas, from the prep of the canvas, up to the final layer of varnish - X-ray will allow to see under the upper layer of paint and see if there was, for example, a preparatory pencil drawing

B/ Identification of the used materials

- Spectroscopy named after Indian professor Raman will identify the paint components

- Mass spectrometry to identify the binders in the paint (water, turpentine, etc. )

Depending on if the solely recognized authenticity experts are from France or any other part of the world, a scientific analysis will be advised or not. It is always advised to make a scientific analysis if there are doubts.

In France, this is different. The solely recognized authority for the authentication of artwork has full power to accept or deny an authenticity with scientific analysis or not. I guess with the years, this is going to change, and they will have to go in line and accept a scientific report.

In France, you may have a fake that becomes authentic and an authentic that becomes fake.

Undisputed authorities like Wildenstein father, Fabris, Rewald, etc. disappear more and more. In conclusion, if you need the approval of a French expert to obtain an authenticity certificate, don’t speak about a scientific analysis in your approach of the expert, the authenticity will probably automatically lead to a denial of authenticity.

Outside France, it will be a good idea to start a scientific analysis if at first the authenticity was refused by the authority for the artist and that you are convinced 100% that your painting is authentic.


bottom of page