Keep up to date with the latest news from art markets across the world through our blog "the eye of the expert"
How to find an expert in antique paintings
There are experts in all fields of art – in goldsmithing and silversmithing, tapestry, painting, sculpture and many other fields. Indeed, each field of art has its own set of codes and its own techniques of expertise.
A painting can be considered old when it was made before the modern and contemporary period. In this sense, an old painting can be considered to be a painting prior to the 19th century. However, some people even say that a painting can be considered old when it has not been produced in the contemporary period.
The field of antique paintings offers a fairly large panel of experts, in view of the many styles and masters that have succeeded one another over the centuries. While most experts in ancient paintings are generalists, there are more qualified experts in certain paintings, depending on the provenance of the works, but also on their styles, or their authors.
Most auction houses offer this expertise service to individuals. If the client wishes to sell, he will be asked to pay the seller’s fees on the sale of his painting. These fees generally include the expertise if it has been completed by an outside expert (outside expert, service provider of the auction house).
Who are the experts on art works?
In France, the profession of art expert is not regulated, there is no specific diploma to practice the profession of art expert. However, art expertise is a specific field requiring many skills and knowledge. Most art experts come from an artistic background in consulting or art history.
Experts are the people who are called upon to determine the authenticity and value of a work. They may be art experts by virtue of their previous or related profession (gallery manager, art historian, etc.), but they may also be simple acquaintances. In all cases, the expert issuing a certificate of authenticity without reservation may be held liable to successive owners of the authenticated work if it proves to be false.
While there are no regulations on the training of an art expert, there are chambers and unions to federate them. Thus, there are several bodies for grouping experts, with certain accessibility criteria to determine the legitimacy of the expert wishing to join them. The Compagnie Nationale des Experts (C.N.E) and the Appraisers Association of America record the lists of their associated experts. These lists can be consulted on the internet.
Which expert should I choose to appraise my antique painting?
The expert depends on the painting. If it is an old painting by a great master, it will necessarily be listed in a catalogue raisonné devoted to it. If it is listed, the expert’s work has already been carried out, as the catalogue raisonné lists the characteristics of the work, its provenance and the exhibitions where it was shown.
If it is a high-quality antique painting, highly rated on the art market, it is possible to put it up for sale in a large auction house, which has its own experts (called “specialits”) willing to showcase it. These specialists carry out a real research work, in order to determine an exact provenance.
Special expertise is still required for other works. There are experts who specialise in old paintings, depending on their genre, origin, the century in which the work was created and/or the artist who created it. Most of the time, if the online expertise is free, an estimate will be presented to the private individual wishing to have their antique painting authenticated by a professional expert.
Do you have an antique painting in your possession and would like to know more about it and its value? Our team carries out a free expertise, gives you an estimate of the market price, then accompanies you to realize the sale of your antique painting at the best price.