Art Ezine : The Difference Between Art Appraisals and Art Authentication

Many mistakenly think that an art appraisal is the same thing as art authentication. However, they’re not the same thing. They are distinctly different. Following is an explanation of the difference between art appraisal and art authentication. Knowing the difference can have a huge impact on determining the true value of your valuable(s).

What is Art Authentication?

Art authentication is the process of proving that a piece is original, ie, is what it is purported to be. It involves a lot of research by qualified, recognized authorities.

Art can be authenticated in a number of ways. The method used to authenticate a piece all depends on what the particular piece in question is. For example, the process of authenticating a painting is different from the process of authenticating a sculpture.

No matter the piece of art though, all proper art authentications have the following in common:

(i) The art authentication is done by a qualified authority: A qualified authority as it relates to art is a noted professional in the field who has the credentials to back up his or her assertions.

The art world is very insular. Qualified authorities will often be curators, noted experts who’ve authored hundreds or thousands of articles in their field, the artists themselves and/or descendants/friends of the artist in question.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to qualified authorities and art authentication is that there are go-to individuals in every niche. All you have to do is mention the piece and the name of a few noted authorities will roll off the tongue of everyone in the art community.

(ii) An art authentication is accompanied by documentation: This documentation is referred to as provenance in the art world. Provenance is a documented history of a piece of art. Provenance comes in many forms, eg, sales receipts, newspaper and magazine articles mentioning the piece, previous named owners, films/recordings of the artist discussing the piece, etc.

Verified provenance, in most cases, increases the value of a work of art because it provides a detailed history of the piece. While provenance can be faked, it is also relatively easy to investigate and detect.

Now that you have an understanding of art authentication, let’s turn our attention to art appraisals.

What is an Art Appraisal?

An art appraisal is simply the valuation of a piece of art. Many factors contribute to determining the value of a piece, ie, current market value, current market demand, replacement value, resale value, etc.

In short, an art appraisal takes into consideration two factors primarily: (i) the marketplace; and (ii) what the art is being appraised for.

For example, the fair market value of a piece may be different from the estate value, which can differ from the replacement value.

The most important thing to keep in mind about art appraisals is that they are only as reliable as the credentials of the art appraiser doing the appraisal.

Learn more about art appraisals, art appraisers and art authentication at

Source by Judith A. Tartt

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