Art Sculpture Appraisals

Art Sculpture Appraisals

The valuation of sculpture is difficult. The production cost is higher than paintings. It requires more hours to produce and generally the values are lower. To make matters worse, the forgeries are more difficult to detect.

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BRONZE STATUES — There are four major types of casts available. Each has its own distinctive attributes:

  1. Original Casts — clear, precise detail and signature, rich patina.
  2. Recasts — made from the original mold after the artist’s death. Usually has different foundry marks and an inferior patina.
  3. Replica Casts — a copy of the original bronze made by someone else. Remington, Rodin, Renoir, the most abused artists.
  4. After Casts — made from a mold recently taken from an original bronze and produced to deceive. Remington and Russell casts are common.

MARBLE STATUES — There are three forms produced:

  1. Hand Carved Originals — tool marks and/or finish is clear and decisive. Marble is of superior quality without flaws.
  2. Machine Carved Replicas — an original is put into a machine that cuts an exact replica from the original using computer directed drills. Lacks depth of carving and usually inferior marble.
  3. Mold Made Casts — a modem synthetic mold is produced and a combination of marble dust and epoxy is poured in. Often artificial tool marks are added to deceive.


  1. Original Carvings — have rich depth of patina, age wear and cracking commensurate to its age.
  2. Machine Made — inferior detail, poor quality wood with inferior grain. No age cracking or wear. Often has artificial tool marks added to deceive.

When purchasing, selling, or for insurance purposes find out exactly what you have. Not obtaining a formal written letter of authenticity on a sculpture is like buying a car without getting the legal title paper. Consult a full service appraisal firm, like Chicago Appraisers Association, a specialist in sculpture for over 40 years. All our sculpture specialists have personally worked in all these mediums and are intimately knowledgeable with the fine nuances of what makes a good piece of sculpture.

We also appraise porcelain, iron, ivory carvings (click here), brass, pewter and paper-mâché.


Having trouble authenticating when a bronze was cast? Is it from the artist’s lifetime or a later recast? For artists like Degas, Renoir, Erte and Rodin, the difference in value could be tens of thousands of dollars. We have all the bronze foundry records of Rodin’s, Renoir’s, Degas’ and other hallmarks. We recently purchased the library of an old French sculpture expert. No other appraiser has such extensive records. We go that “extra mile” the others can’t.

Minimum appraisal fee $125.00 per item.

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