Great Works of Art or Great Forgery?

The highest price paid for a work of art was $250 million in 2011. Obviously, there’s a lot of money in selling art. Unfortunately this also means there is a lot of money in producing forgeries.

TheProcuress_1490391cOne notable forger sold $60 million worth of phony Vermeers to a slew of people throughout Europe before being caught. When it comes to appraising fine art even the experts can get duped and when they do, buyers pay too high a price. 

The keys to distinguishing between the real from the fake are presented in more detail in most recent February webinar, “Recognizing Fakes, Frauds and Forgeries in Fine Art Claims” which is now up on our site at

Join Fine Art Appraiser Erin Hollenbank for this 30-minute tutorial as she discusses such distinguishing factors as:

  • What to look for in artist signatures
  • Differences in artistic styles and abilities
  • Hand painted versus machine made canvases
  • The importance of provenance and how it is used to authenticate a work

Art students typically learn their trade by copying masterworks. After studying, they are sometimes employed producing reproductions to provide a less expensive version of a popular painting. As a result of this and the high price paid for fine art, forgery can make for a lucrative temptation. Furthering the issue, the advent of computer-copying techniques makes it even harder for professionals to distinguish a reproduction from an original.

Many paintings’ authenticity can only be determined by closer inspection. In some paintings, only by examining the faces, hands, lighting, or signature blending techniques used by the alleged artist can the work’s authenticity be judged with any kind of authority.

Join us as we do side-by-side comparisons of great works by John Singer Sargent, Picasso, Andy Warhol, James William Waterhouse, Santiago Rusiol, William Hilton the Younger, Julio de Diego, Ted DeGrazia, and others with their respective forged twin copies to see if you can note the key differentiators.

Perhaps most important to determining the identity of a painting is by establishing provenance through documentation. Good provenance almost always increases a piece’s value. Establishing provenance can be done through certificates of authenticity, written artist statement, names of previous owners, receipts, exhibition stickers, and other forms.

Adjusters, claim reps, claim managers, claim supervisors, claim directors and anyone dealing with fine art claims will benefit from this opportunity to distinguish between authentic work and phony. Knowing about this topic can avert over-insuring by thousands, if not millions, of dollars.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s