Don't be like Mr. Currie who did find a Picasso worth $160Millions in his attic!
Updated: Mar 12, 2019
A fine art expert will not act like this Great Britain gentleman . Here is his story about finding a 160 Million $ painting by Picasso in his attic
Mr. Currie and his $ 160M Picasso??
Indeed when you find an exceptional or even a less exceptional artwork in your attic, the first thing to do is to open Google and look up similar artworks by this artist. This first step should already bring you some indications of a possible authentic work. ( I have everyday calls from people with extraordinary paintings, that in reality are reproductions which you could have find in a simple research on Google.)
When you think you may have a valuable artwork, you should test to see if your painting is a real painting or a reproduction. This is a very easy step: - do you feel or see brushstrokes? - do you see brushstrokes but they are all applied in a circular way, they not match the underneath painting strokes..obviously a reproduction with a layer of varnish applied in circular strokes.
Should you go to Sotheby's or Christie's ?
Avoid them at this stage. I saw many paintings they turned down because the provenance was unclear, or simply did not take the time to analyze the painting, which is perfectly comprehensible, these top auction houses are there to make money, not to resolve the problem you have. Sotheby's and Christie's are great to sell your stuff because they make a "modest !" income from the seller and from the buyer, an average of 50 % of the value of the painting. Somebody would think that with such a lucrative income they will take all offered paintings ...wrong. They hunting the owners of big masters, that's why you find in their staff lots of gentleman and ladies from Aristocracy or heirs from important modern and contemporary painters or even sons and daughters of important gallery owners.
What you need to do is to find a reputable and honest art expert (yes they exist..) and hire him to find out if your painting is authentic or not. Usually if you have a copy or a pastiche he will tell you rapidly.
Not to do: alerting newspapers, tv stations, why? the sole recognized experts for a painting don't want the world to know about a discovery: 1- they like to announce it themselves ( Prestige etc ) 2- they are afraid to make mistakes. Indeed when an expert has a 5% doubt about the provenance or details in the painting you will not receive your authentication. It happened to me with a painting by Jacques-Louis David, the expert had a 5 % doubt, everything in the painting was totally matching his work, but he had doubts about the history for a little 5 %. This would have changed my life completely, because I will have been very rich at the age of 35 year, and could have owned a large collection of paintings... 3- the same if you put a painting on Ebay, the sole recognized expert will no longer recognize the authenticity because it was overexposed