Worthington’s professionals are experienced in the field of fine art attribution, authentication and appraisal. We work with auction houses, galleries and museums, as well as make our services available directly to private collectors and owners.  We specialize in unique cases of attribution and reviewing works that have previously been authenticated or appraised. We strive to deliver unbiased results ensuring the satisfaction of our clients.  Our team relies on proven methods of authentication research, including special photography, provenance reconstruction, review of documentary evidence, Morellian and van Danzig analyses, material dating and forensic investigation.  Our detailed appraisals are accepted by auction houses, museums and collectors, providing our clients with the documentation necessary to receive top dollar for their art works.  Where necessary, we consult with internationally-based specialists, imminent scholars and art historians with decades of professional experience.

Comparative Analysis

The authentication process typically begins with a comparative analysis of a client’s work of art against works that have already been positively attributed to the artist in question. Oftentimes, this analysis provides sufficient evidence of inauthenticity. When results of the analysis are positive, we can move onto more historical and scientific means to confirm our opinion.  We would expect a piece by a particular artist to have several key similarities to his or her established style, so we consider many aspects, including, but not limited to: color palette, composition, subject matter, manner of brushwork, handling of light and shadows, size and overall technical skill.  Worthington professionals are familiar with the oeuvres of most major European and American artists and have access to museum archives, scholarly journals and international libraries. We are qualified to analyze the work of most artists from Western art history.  To learn more about comparative analysis and how it is used to perform authentications, please contact us.

Provenance Research

Provenance refers to the ownership history of a particular work of art.  In today’s increasingly complex and evolving art world, provenance is a powerful means of supporting an authenticity claim.  For provenance to serve the purpose of establishing that a work of art is authentic, it should contain the entire and uninterrupted chain of ownership from the artist’s hand to the present day.  We strive to account for and document every owner of the artwork.  Provenance is therefore this record of where the artwork has been during its entire life. Completing this timeline can be a very complicated task.  Worthington contains and has access to unparalleled experience in this field and access to international resources. Our professionals work diligently in specialized archives and our researchers know how to solve tough provenance questions tactically.  However, researching an artworks provenance is not the exclusive option for determining authenticity. Lack of provenance is not a serious impediment if the artwork can pass other tests.  To learn more about our provenance research capabilities, please contact us.

Art Research & Documentation

Worthington performs in-depth research from numerous sources, including books, film, museums archives and even direct sources such as artist’s original letters and documents.  These sources can be invaluable evidence of authenticity.  In the course of an authentication, it is sometimes useful to know more about the artist’s life. Biographical research demands a firm grasp of historical setting and the individual’s environment. It often entails tracking down detailed information about an artist’s family and friends, dealers, collectors, curators and others with whom the artists had significant interaction. We seek out published and unpublished sources, including diaries, account books, letters, dissertations, etc.  In addition to reviewing documents belonging to the artist or his/her associates, we can also review the written historical record for evidence of an artwork’s existence. For example, we can search through old exhibition catalogues, reviews in the press, auction records, private collector records, inventories or the artist’s estate records. This level of detail allows us to confidently confirm authenticity.

Certificate of Authenticity

It is important to obtain a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) for any work of art you want to sell, purchase, donate for a tax deduction or insure.  The certificate is confirmation that the artwork has been researched and analyzed. It means that the authenticator has found the art to be an original and authentic work by a particular artist and will stand behind that opinion.  The number of steps required to prove authenticity depends on the nature and complexity of the artwork. We may recommend the following: 1) Physical examination of the artwork; 2) Technical or stylistic analysis; 3) Documentary research; and 4) Scientific and forensic testing.  If you need a Certificate of Authenticity, contact us for a no-cost or obligation consultation.