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  • gerard van weyenbergh

All about art authenticity, provenance is essential to obtain a C.O.A.

Updated: Jul 9, 2020

The provenance is the study of ownership of an artwork. It is essential in the research of authenticity of an artwork, the ownerships, the exhibitions; the collections the artwork belonged to are necessary to determine the authenticity of an artwork. An artwork without provenance other than the city thrift store will have almost zero chances to succeed in obtaining a C.O.A. The origin has to be verifiable. Dealer records, sales records, archives of artists or collectors, image data basis, “catalog” raisonne inclusion, are all valid elements.

Solely recognized authenticators for an artist will not make a C.O.A. if

1/ there is no provenance

2/ dubious provenance

3/ unverifiable provenance.

Provenance is essential because we could be confronted with looted art from the Nazi era. Not rarely are artworks seized at auction houses because they belong in reality to heirs of the holocaust victims. Mrs. Altman did not know a painting exhibited in the Austrian Gallery in Vienna, Austria belonged to her. This incredible story was also the subject of a movie, read more in the N.Y. Times.

It is essential to know the provenance of an artwork because it could have been stolen. The Getty Museum admitted that 350 more artifacts were in reality looted, worth 100 M $ in addition to the 50 other items worth 50M $ and claimed by the Italian government.

IFAR, International Foundation of Art research, in New York published a provenance guide explaining why provenance is so important

- historical research - dealers and collectors research

- auctions records

22 pages file : Guide to study a provenance. Read More:


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