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June 25, 2011

The Business of Art Authentication

After reading the ARCA blog post about the Picasso Foundation's authentication of an electrician's hoard of Picasso art, John Daab, contributor to the Journal of Art Crime, sent a link to a series of his articles, Art Authentication Boards: Another Element of Chaos in the Fine Art Industry.

Dr. Daab writes in his introduction:
As technology takes many industries to the heights of efficiency, effectiveness and control, the fine art industry seems to be moving to greater levels of disorganization, inefficiency, and chaos. We observe works deteriorating and on the verge of collapse and disintegration being purchased for millions of dollars, families of artists being allowed to create and sign works of the dead, and art authentication boards offering authentication conclusions only to recant their original conclusions after buyers purchase the works. The consequences of the above processes result in law suits unnecessarily costing millions of dollars and rendering such works as specious and of questionable value. This article examines art authentication boards, how they operate, and how they could be made more efficient, and transparent.
Tom Flynn, an ARCA lecturer on the practices in the art market, recently wrote about "The Wildenstein Era will end and the art market will benefit."