Someone clever might once have told us that we ask the person who has the answer we would like to hear.
Another good one is do not shoot the messenger. If you are an art dealer, private art collector or a museum, a high end laboratory might soon be the last place you would want to take your art collection to verify whether it is genuine or a forgery.
Yet in the long run it might be the only right thing to do. The truth always wants to come out.
One of the leading specialist laboratories is located in Switzerland and is called Fine Art Expert Institute (FAEI). According to artnet®, Yann Walther from (FAEI) estimates that 50 percent of art in art market circulation is either forged or misattributed. He even thinks that might be conservative. He ventures on to say that 70–90 percent of artworks that (FAEI) examines on behalf of collectors and art dealers prove not to be by the hand of the artist claimed.
This is the type of story that crops up in the art press at least once or twice a year, suggesting it is a perennial problem we must deal with for decades if not centuries to come.
The exact percentage of all art that is forged will forever remain guesswork. Owners are afraid of what a series of tests might tell them
Put in another way, for those who consider their collection an investment, it would be daft to rock the boat indeed. Adding to that, it can cost in the region of £12,000 (€15,000) to subject a painting to a laboratory verification process that could slash the value of ones fake collection in half.
Laborotories are increasingly doing a superb job out of the authentication process adding welcome science rather than authentication board expertise. The latter is controversial and eternally criticised to rely heavily on opinion of an insular group of people often with vested interests in the artist.
The role of the art expert laboratory
Through strictly observed collection and analysis of empiric evidence, Fine Art Expert Institute verifis paintings through various techniques ranging from X-ray, infrared scans, and radiocarbon dating. In collaboration with other specialist institutions and academic centres, FAEI takes part in research programmes aimed at developing new methods for analysing art. The institute works closely together with Oxford Authentication in the UK, La Venaria Reale in Italy plus the Piotr Konchalovsky Foundation and the Russian State Museum in Russia.
If your belongings are causing you suspicion, consider subjecting them to scientific analysis. The good news is that a work of collectible art is likely to be easier to sell at a good price if it gets a clean bill from a leading laboratory. The whole notion of art fraud and provenance falsification slows down the liquidity of the entire secondary art market, and art forgers cost collectors and auction houses many resources.