Art Appraisal

Art appraisal is a service that we offer to our clients. You might have a work of art that has been in your family for generations, or perhaps you have just discovered a painting that was owned by a recently deceased family member. Regardless of the situation, it’s nice to know what your art piece is worth. We have the experience and knowledge to provide you with an accurate art appraisal.

An art appraisal takes into account several factors:

• Age – In general, the older a piece of art is, the more valuable it is. That does not necessarily mean that old art is extremely valuable though, since all other factors must be taken into account. Remember, Picasso sold very few paintings while he was still alive, yet now his art is worth millions. Sometimes a date can be found on the back of the canvas, or near the artist’s signature. We can determine the age of the piece when we do the art appraisal.

• Authenticity – As everyone knows, the highest values get assigned to the works of art that are determined to be genuine. Unfortunately, imitations abound in the art world. It has become too easy for a person with average ability to recreate a valuable piece of art and sell it as original to an amateur collector who does not know any better. There have actually been cases of the phony art gaining some value because the imposter becomes something of a celebrity.

• Originality – This may seem to be the same thing as “authenticity”, but it is not. When the original work of an artist becomes popular, it also becomes expensive. Not everyone can afford to buy an original, so copies are made.

These copies are generally called prints, and can take a variety of forms:

• Giclee – a high-resolution ink reproduction – probably the closest thing to the owning the original

• Lithograph – a print produced through the process of lithography

• Serigraph – a print created by the use of a silk-screen procedure.

These prints are not produced with fraud in mind; they are just copies that are sold for much lower prices so that more people can afford to purchase them. An art appraisal will tell you if you have an original or a print.

• Condition – As you can probably assume, better condition means more value. However, this too is relevant, and is determined by an art appraisal. An original Monet in poor condition could be worth more than a lesser-known artist in good condition. In evaluating condition, we will look closely at any repairs and how well they were done, small tears in the canvas, cracks, and any other blemishes that reduce the condition.

• Provenance – This is another way of determining authenticity, in addition to making the item more interesting. Provenance just refers to the paper history of the artwork. A simple example would be that your grandfather purchased a Salvador Dali original from a reputable art dealer in Florida, and you have the receipt and a letter of authenticity. A more interesting provenance would be that your grandfather was friends with Dali, you have letters that Dali sent to your grandfather, and in one of the letters Dali refers to the painting that he created as a gift. When the provenance of an item tells an intriguing story such as that, the value of the item is usually higher.

Please keep in mind that an appraisal takes into account the above factors to determine value; artwork may sell for much more (or sometimes less) than the appraised value if a buyer is quite keen to purchase it.

We offer our art appraisal services around the country at fine arts and antique shows, and online through our website.

Call Us! (202) 557-5500