Genuine or fake

Authenticity testing and detection of forgeries

The decision about an artwork being genuine or a forgery is made through style criticism & connoisseurship, technical art history, material analysis and provenance research.

The authenticity of an artwork can be examined by asking the right questions on the topics Style criticism & Connoisseurship, Technical art history, Archaeometric analysis and Provenance research. In the best case, all four harmonize and give a conclusive picture. The examination process can be represented as a temple. If one of the four pillars jiggles, distrust and more intense investigation is needed. If a column fails after examination, the construct becomes unstable and collapses.

Style criticism & Connoisseurship

Style criticism is the scientific analysis of the similarity relations of artworks with different methods and under different aspects.
Connoisseurship describes an expert’s intensive and often very intuitive engagement with an artist and his oeuvre.

Technical art history

Technical art history focuses on the use of material, painting- and art technique, damages, aging phenomena, and analyses historical sources.

Archaeometric analysis

The archaeometric analysis provides information on the materials used in the work of art and can give information on the age and in some material groups provide a terminus post/ante quem.

Provenance research

Provenance is the documented origin of the artwork, if possible, from its day of creation.

Verification / Falsification

Verification and falsification describes the basic approach to a claim. Verification searches for consistency, falsification is targeted for contradictions.