Thursday, July 9, 2009

Validate Yourself...Question 8

This is a continuation, part 8, of the series of questions posed by the Black Artists of DC (BADC). In the art world how does one authenticate works of art?

The easiest way to establish authenticity is to buy directly from the artist or make purchases from a reputable and established gallery that is proven to be the representative of that artist. A current practice with limited editions is to secure a letter of authenticity that often comes with the purchase. If purchasing directly from the artist or a gallery, you should expect a contract for the sale of art work. This full receipt with date of purchase, title of work with brief description that includes medium, cost and artist’s signature will serve as documentation. Feel comfortable to write any personal descriptive notes, in pencil, that you deem necessary on the back of this contract; these dated personal notes along with the actual contract will create the beginning of the provenance of the work.

For posterity, some collectors even have a photograph of themselves with the artist and artwork to show their connection to the artist. Beyond having a work authenticated by the artist, one has to rely on the gallery or have authenticity validated by a personal property appraiser with a specialization in African American art. Be very clear on this matter…the specialist needs his/her credentials in personal property appraisal with a focus on African American art/artists.
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