Art Provenance

An art piece’s history can be called into question at any point. Normally, art comes with a specific form of documentation which is more commonly known to collectors and everyone revolved around art as provenance. Provenance is the deciding element that ends up confirming the authenticity of that art piece.

Authentic provenance leaves no sliver of a doubt that a work of art is genuine and by the artist whose signature it possesses. Unfortunately, as the industry gets more and more competitive, so do the number or art forgers who are attempting to make a quick buck of your savings. They might provide you with art provenance, but just how real are those documents or evidence of authenticity? Looks like we will find out.

1. Never ever make a purchase before seeing the provenance first

As a collector of art, this is highly important because most of the sellers claim that they are in possession of provenance, but will only show or give it to buyers who have actually completed the transaction of a specific art piece. They might silence you by stating that they do not show the provenance due to protecting the privacy of previous owners. However, when you’re investing a very large sum of money on an expensive piece of art, you need to know your rights and thus, demand the provenance. If the dealer or seller is not providing you with one, it means that something is fishy.

2. Look for important elements on the art provenance

Even though sellers might show you provenance ahead of the auction or before you make a purchase, there are still certain details that you must look out for in order to confirm that the documentation is as authentic as the piece of art itself. Given below are details that you must look out for:

  • Dimensions
  • Medium
  • Date of creation (if known)
  • Title (if known)
  • Describing the piece of art according to its appearance and other relevant details

If any of these details are missing from the provenance, then it’s a sure sign that you might end up becoming a victim of an elaborate scam.

3. Remember, photocopies and other documents are not valid forms of provenance

If the original documentation is not being provided, then you must not purchase the piece of art under any circumstances. Always remember that photocopies of the original documents, certificates, or any other parchment that is presented in front of you other than the original documentation itself is not considered to be proof of authenticity.

4. The document must properly show the signatures

All documentation have to be hand-signed, and feature a hand stamp as well. If such elements are not present, then look for other items of interest such as a digitally printed signature.

5. You are required to acquire all the necessary names with their contact details

If the seller gives you details of all the previous owners, then it is imperative that you get all of their full names and contact information. Afterwards, contact every single one of these individuals and confirm if they actually possessed the art piece prior to being showcased at the gallery. Simply being provided with a list of previous owners is not sufficient, so be careful throughout the entire process.

The statement is true that without art provenance, you will be unable to conclude whether a piece of art is indeed genuine or fake. Unfortunately, if there are certain elements missing from the most important documentation, then you have a real problem on your hands. Never make a purchase before you read all the aforementioned details and you just might save yourself from a costly mistake.

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