The acquisition of paintings dating between the mid-19th and the mid-20th century can be full of pitfalls for the amateur, and even for professionals. In recent years numerous forgery scandals were uncovered through scientific studies and analyses. Technically less complex than the old masters, the creation of fake modern art has become a real industry, from the “reassignment” of a painting by an unknown artist by the apposition of a prestigious signature to the creation from scratch of an artificially aged new painting with a fake provenance. Buyer beware!
Scientific studies use a wide range of methods and techniques to identify fakes. Radiocarbon dating allows the identification of anachronistic materials. Stereomicroscopic examination of cracks shows whether a signature is original or if it was applied at a later date. The introduction of a range of new synthetic organic and inorganic pigments in the 19th and all throughout the 20th century provides important elements for dating a work of art. At the same time a scientific study can also show that all the materials and artistic techniques match our expectations, lending credibility to the painting and reassuring the potential buyer.
In case of litigation we are ready to take on the role of scientific and/or judicial expert.