This week on ArtEvolve we were joined by Curtis McConnell, CEO at Authentify Art, and Professor Maurizio Seracini, a cultural heritage diagnostician and one of the world’s leading experts in art authentication. They spoke about the how the approach to authentication in the art world has advanced and what changes still need to be made for the art market to thrive.
Issues faced by the art market:
- Lack of transparency, particularly as the art-related wealth management industry continues to expand its investments.
- Money laundering
- Undisclosed conflict of interest
- Price manipulation, insider trading, and other anticompetitive behavior.
- Lack of regulation
- Lack of management support and difficulties in finding and developing talent and expertise.
- Lack of standards for professional qualifications.
Authentication versus attribution
It’s important to note that an attribution is simply an opinion and can be provided by anyone, regardless of qualifications or experience. This means no legal action can be taken in the case of incorrect expertise unless intentional misconduct or gross negligence can be proven.
Although there are, of course, limits to the reliability of objectivity of an attribution, the art market places a great deal of importance on an attribution prior to a sale. How might encouraging focus on authentication help solve the art market problems listed above?
The authentication of an artwork can be considered a true investigation: a thorough screening processes based on a scientific methodology comprehensive of multispectral imaging and chemical analysis which leads to a complete understanding of how the painting was made – from the support to the paint layer – identifying the materials used, technique, natural (or not) aging process, date, and, often, even the geographical location.
If the goal for the art market is to become an asset class, it can achieve that by placing importance on authentication in a number of ways:
- Build a foundation of internationally accepted standards, processes, and quantifiable data on which the art market is built.
- Focus on scientific authentication and verifiable data as part of a complete audit trail.
To put value on both qualitative and quantitative data allows the consumer to understand that a work of art has gone through a rigorous process to establish its authenticity. What does this look like and what solutions are out there?
We’ll answer that question in part two of our discussion, coming soon! Keep an eye out on our website and mailing list emails for details of this future webinar.