Your Art Is Probably Fake

There’s a really big chance that your precious, inheritance-funded masterpiece is fake. According to a report by the Geneva-based lab at the Fine Arts Experts Institute, people have purchased works upwards of 10 million euros without first verifying their authenticity.

The Institute’s chief Yann Walther charges auctioneers and dealers a fee nearing $20,000 to verify the authenticity of works they’re hoping to slap a hefty price tag on. In the report, he says they’re almost never (more accurately, nearing the 70 to 90 percent range) by the artist the client claims they’re by. Any Art History major can detail the various techniques used to date and authenticate paintings, including X-ray and infrared light scans. Those techniques, used to chronicle changes made in paintings like Artemisia Gentileschi‘s "Judith Slaying Holofernes", are taught hand-in-hand with identifying a painting’s genre and style. It’s troubling that auction pros–none specifically named in the report–have been pushing fakes without second thought. Restorer and art historian Andrea Hoffman, also based in Geneva, agrees. In Art Daily‘s report, she says a knowledge of an artist’s technique and the work’s historical context is a foolproof method to identify legitimacy a work for those with a trained eye.

So before you head to the auction house, you might want to consider doing your research. You never know who that Warhol is actually by.

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