When and How to Use Art Authentication Services - Due Diligence Checklist

When and How to Use Art Authentication Services - Due Diligence Checklist

We delve into the sophisticated world of art authentication with Ana Suárez Gisbert from the Art Value Project. Our exploration addresses common pitfalls in art acquisition, the diverse clientele they cater to, and the intricate challenges faced in the art authentication industry. Gisbert's responses offer a comprehensive look at the critical aspects of art valuation and authentication. Each section, structured around key interview questions, reveals the nuanced layers of this fascinating field, highlighting the expertise and precision required to navigate the art market successfully.

Included is a Due Diligence Checklist to ensure you are well-prepared with all the necessary information before seriously considering buying or selling an art piece that requires authentication.

Table of Contents

  1. Common Mistakes in Buying Art
  2. Who should use Art Authentication Services
  3. Basic Steps in Art Authentication
  4. Due Diligence Checklist - What You Should Have Ready Before Undergoing Authentication
  5. Conclusion

Common Mistakes in Buying Art

Ana emphasizes the importance of due diligence when purchasing art in the secondary market, often referred to as 'second-hand goods.' She points out that 'Many auction houses fail to provide sufficient information about paintings in their brochures, leading to uninformed purchases'. This issue is compounded by the prevalence of counterfeit artworks in the market, with even renowned artists like Sorolla, Goya, Modigliani, Dali, and Lowry being subject to forgery.

Ana strongly advises clients to conduct thorough research on artworks before making a purchase. Investing in a detailed analysis is critical for buyers who are about to invest a significant sum in an artwork, ensuring they acquire an original piece.

In the laboratory at the Art Value Project, Ana and her team are equipped to perform pigment analysis to verify that paintings correspond to the era of the artists. Utilizing advanced technologies like X-ray and infrared imaging, these technologies can reveal underlying layers and details of a painting, such as preparatory works and the condition of the canvas.

Beyond technical assessments, Ana emphasizes the need for consultation with specialists. This helps in determining the fair market value of a painting and gaining insights into the artist’s market trajectory. For those considering an investment in art, she advises understanding the maximum price that should be paid for a particular work.

Who should use Art Authentication Services

Ana and her team at the Art Value Project cater to a diverse clientele. They assist families who are looking to fairly distribute their heritage, by appraising artworks and aiding in the division process. Collectors and foundations also seek their expertise to gain deeper insights into their paintings, relying on the team's technical analysis to acquire comprehensive information about their collections.

Restaurateurs often approach Ana for technical images, which are crucial in revealing the hidden aspects of a painting, such as the pigments used. Investors planning to purchase artworks also rely on her team's thorough studies to verify authenticity.

In addition to these clients, insurance companies engage Ana services for accurate appraisals of paintings before finalizing insurance policies. Attorneys, too, require her expertise when artworks are involved in legal disputes, needing her expert reports for presentation in court trials.

Basic Steps in Art Authentication:


The process involves inspecting the art piece and the documentation. During this process, a thorough evaluation is carried out to determine the real risks involved in a transaction and to analyze its economic viability or future projection. This is accomplished through a detailed analysis of each aspect of the artwork, including provenance, attribution, history, paperwork, legal aspects, condition report, authenticity, etc. The due diligence concludes with a report that, after considering all aspects of the artwork, provides conclusions regarding the risk of the purchase (in the case of a purchase) the client is planning to undertake.

Technical Analysis

In the process of studying an artwork for subsequent authentication, different professionals may be involved. This includes 'technical analysis', which is primarily performed using technology and chemical analysis. Assistance from a graphologist is sought when necessary.

From these analyses, a wealth of information about the pieces is obtained, enabling determinations such as whether the work was created in the period associated with a certain artist. For example, if analysis of a work purported to be from the 18th century reveals components from the 20th century, it might be concluded that the painting is not original.

The technical analysis process is akin to conducting medical scans or X-rays. While effective machines are important, the key element lies in having a skilled team to accurately interpret the results of these machines, thereby providing an accurate diagnosis.

Expert Eye

If the report of the painting studied is positive and the results align with the period of the painter, seeking the 'expert eye' is the next step. This refers to an individual who specializes exclusively in the painter and the period of the artwork, to confirm that the painting might correspond to the author under authentication.

Due Diligence Checklist - What You Should Have Ready Before Undergoing Authentication

Below we have a checklist that one should go through, so you are well prepared for when you want an art piece authenticated.

  1. Provenance Documentation (Note: These documents are susceptible to fraud).
  2. Condition Report.
  3. Documentation that indicates whether the artwork has permission to be exported.
  4. Ensuring the Artwork Provenance is fully traceable from inception with no gaps.
  5. Checking previous owners to avoid involvement in potential money laundering or fraud scenarios.
  6. Any Bibliography or Exhibition References.


Ana Suárez Gisbert's insights shed crucial light on the art world's complexities, particularly in authentication and valuation. Her expertise underscores the importance of meticulous analysis in avoiding common pitfalls and ensuring the integrity of art investments. This dialogue with Gisbert not only enriches our understanding of art's nuanced realms but also highlights the indispensable role of experts in safeguarding the authenticity and legacy of art for future generations.

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