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Collector’s ABCs: 10 tips for those who intend to acquire the original work of art

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Fakes appearance in painting is always associated with the name of an artist already known in the art world. Forgers often have a desire to share laurels, to increase the creative "heritage" of the famous artist and, of course, make good money. This practice has existed at all times. Just recall the famous case of exposing the falsifications of Vermeer and other Old Masters by the Dutchman of the twentieth century, Hans van Meegeren? But first, the country’s best art critics and the directors of Dutch art museums recognized the fake as real masterpieces of the 17th century! Therefore, as practice has shown, even reputable specialists of high expertise can make mistakes and issue certificates for wrong attributions.
Collector’s ABCs: 10 tips for those who intend to acquire the original work of art
Well, the collector is obliged to be erudite, attentive, careful, he/she must train one’s "flair". Visit art museums and exhibitions, notice the peculiarities of each artist. The general approach to acquiring a genuine masterpiece has remained unchanged for many years: double check. It is also confirmed by the high-profile story of the sale of a fake painting by Boris Grigoriev, In a Restaurant, for 250 thousand dollars through the mediation of an art critic, world-renowned specialist Elena Basner detained in February 2014. If the collector who bought the canvas strictly followed the well-known simple rules, it would have turned out differently. So let’s start with the basics:
1. When buying a painting by a famous artist, you must trust the art dealer or art gallery staff. To do this, make inquiries, check the reputation of the art salon or intermediary offering the painting for sale.

2. If you are about to buy a painting by an Old Master, up to the beginning of the 20th century, it is important to see the certificate of authenticity.
This practice has existed at all times. Just recall the famous case of exposing the falsifications of Vermeer and other Old Masters by the Dutchman of the twentieth century, Hans van Meegeren? At first, the country’s best art critics and the directors of Dutch art museums recognized the fake as real masterpieces of the 17th century! Therefore, as practice has shown, even reputable specialists of high expertise can make mistakes and issue certificates for established authorship to fakes.
Examination is the identification of a work of art. Comprehensive professional examination includes

Examination is the identification of a work of art. Comprehensive professional examination includes technical, technological and stylistic research. Based on the studies carried out in special laboratories, an expert art critic draws up an expert opinion. The document indicates the result of checking the painting in ultraviolet and infrared rays, which show the later overpaintings, the intervention of the restorers, and, which is very important, whether the signature was rewritten. Chemical analysis is carried out with samples of the paint layer, underpaint, and canvas. Based on the results of these studies, the creation time is established. Stylistic examination allows attribution — establishing the authorship. At this stage of research, the peculiarities of the artist’s style, the individual manner, characteristic of the given period of the artist’s work are determined. The subject, composition and colour scheme inherent in the artist are taken into consideration. The expert opinion may contain examples of other works by this artist as analogues. Also, the certificate should include information about the canvas and stretcher; the canvas can be original or relined, when the image is transferred to a new canvas.

At the end of 2013, P. M. Tretyakov Independent Scientific Research Examination Committee warned abo

At the end of 2013, P. M. Tretyakov Independent Scientific Research Examination Committee warned about the appearance of false expert opinions on the Lying Nude painting by Z. E. Serebryakova. It is always necessary to check the presented certificates with the "primary source" — the organization or the person who issued the document.

3. For determining the authenticity of a picture, its history is very important, the provenance, i. e., the "biography" of the picture with all its owners: who owned the work before, in which collections it was located. If such information is available, and its previous owners are renowned collectors or painting connoisseurs recognized in the art world, this can also serve as confirmation of its authenticity. Information about exhibiting of the work at art exhibitions or selling it at well-known auctions also confirms indirectly its authenticity (a corresponding label is attached to the back of the picture, indicating the name of the exhibition, the year of its holding, the artist’s name, the artwork’s name, its size and technique). The mention of the painting in books, memoirs, as well as the inscription of the artist’s relatives confirming the authorship, also speak in favour of the work’s authenticity.

4. If you buy an old painting, pay attention to the craquelure — thin cracks on the painted surface; they speak of its "venerable age". Although there are such craftsmen who can mechanically age a picture, creating an artificial craquelure with glue and high temperature. In such case, we deal with forging works of very famous artists, therefore see item 3!

5. If you buy a painting by a modern artist, there may be fakes in the form of… printed paintings! Modern technology works wonders, and, for example, copies almost indistinguishable from the original are printed on a 3D printer, numbered and produced in limited editions with according marking. Official edition. There are even simpler options: high-quality printing with "painting". Typically, such paintings can be seen for sale on the city streets, in large shopping centres and modern art galleries. There are so many marvelous paintings by "almost Eugenia Gapchinska" sold today!

No place for a stamp?

A meticulous purchaser, who wants to buy a nice little thing for interior decoration and seeks to buy a painting, not a cardboard, can pay attention to some details of the work being sold and identify a modern fake even himself.
— First, examine the canvas carefully. In a printed painting, the edges of the canvas are sharply finished with a layer of paint, while the artist, creating his masterpiece, never thinks about how the edges of the canvas on the stretcher will look.

— On prints, the paint layer is quite smooth and even, while it never happens like this in a painting painted in oil: individual brushstrokes are visible, the canvas may appear transparent in some places, while other places may be thickly covered with paint.

— Pay special attention to the signature, take a good look at it under a magnifying glass. It can be written in a layer of paint or underpaint, it can be scratched, but in no case should it give the impression of being applied later.

— Trust your intuition when communicating with the seller. If you feel uncertainty, falsity, excessive or feigned enthusiasm about the artistic qualities of the picture in the story of the gallery employee or art dealer, if "another connoisseur of art is about to buy the painting, therefore you need to make a decision urgently", do not rush to purchase it. Consider asking an expert for advice.

The task of buying the original painting is certainly not limited to simple solutions. After all, buying a good painting is also a special art that should be mastered by someone who has decided to collect a valuable collection. And a successful first experience of acquiring a painting is a guarantee of gambling passion: the canvas grows in price, as does your determination to chase masterpieces and be an irrepressible fan and collector of works of art.
Happy purchases!