Art authentication obtained by scientific analysis, is it possible?
Authentication of a painting with the help of scientific analysis
The analysis of paint helps to 1- identify the manner an artist is handling his work 2- the medium used by the artist 3- count the layers of paint are on the canvas
Scientific expertise for an authentication will verify the nature of the medium used with the age of the painting.
What the expertise laboratory will do
We use a wide variety of analytical methods in this field. They may be divided into two categories:
Several methods are used , but principally:
A/ Study of the painting
- Microscopes will determine the different layers on the canvas, from the prep of the canvas, up to the final layer of varnish - X-ray will allow to see under the upper layer of paint and see if there was for example a pencil preparatory drawing B/ Identification of the used materials
- A spectroscopy named after Indian professor Raman will identify the paint components
- A mass spectrometry to identify the binders in the paint (water, turpentine, etc. ) Depending if the sole recognized authenticity experts are from France or from any other part of the world, a scientific analysis will be advised or not. It is always advised to make a scientific analysis if there are doubts. In France, this is totally different. The sole recognized authority for the authentication of a painting, have complete power to accept or deny an authentication, a scientific analysis or not. I guess with the years this is going to change, and they will have to go in line and accept a scientific analysis.
In France you may have a fake that becomes authentic and an authentic that becomes fake.
Undisputed authorities like Wildenstein father, Fabris, Rewald, etc disappear more and more. In conclusion, it you need the approval of a French expert to obtain an authenticity certificate, don’t speak about a scientific analysis in your approach of the expert, the authenticity will probably automatically lead to a denial of authenticity.
Outside France, it will be a good idea to start a scientific analysis if at first the authenticity was refused par the authority for the artist and that you are convinced 100% that your painting is authentic.