Authenticating Old Master and Modern Drawings

Old Master and Modern Drawings

Drawings are one of the most difficult art objects to authenticate. There is seldom a reference containing all of an artist’s drawings and forgeries are easy to make compared to prints; all you need is old paper and a pencil. Much of the authentication technique is based on studying line quality and paper type. This requires decades of experience. We are one of the few appraisers to be crazy enough to specialize in this near impossible field. (Please check the web and see).

To the art market, drawings are what prints and etchings were ten years ago. Today’s collectors want unique art, something multiple prints can’t give them. Paintings by the masters are not affordable but drawings, sometimes even studies for the famous paintings, are inexpensive. Art connoisseurs love the spontaneity of them and to actually witness the first creative “spark” from the artists mind.

OLD MASTER DRAWINGS — usually have attributions not certain authentication as almost all of them are unsigned. It was common practice for the master’s student to make exact copies of their drawings to learn. These now are on the market and very difficult to tell from the originals.

MODERN DRAWINGS — these can be divided into three categories:

Modern Forgeries — replicas that appear on the market, particularly e-Bay, that have wrong signatures, wrong paper or copies of known drawings.

Stylistic Similar Period Drawings — upon careful research, many of these will turn out to be authentic and of great value. They have been in private collections for years and unknown to art historians. A good appraiser not only states that they believe they are real or a fake, but why and how they compare to known authentic drawings. This is particularly valuable if you wish to sell.

Well Documented Drawings — these are known authentic pieces illustrated in the literature and/or have photo-certificates from the foremost experts. The appraiser has to determine what the drawing is worth and if the photo-certificate is real. Forgers today spend more time faking the credentials than they do the piece.

If you have a drawing that needs research, you are more than welcome to send a photo of it. We will be glad to advise you if there is hope it is authentic and quote you the research fee. Appraisal fees are $595.00 each and up. There is no charge if it is a reproductive print.

Click here to visit our Honesty Is So Rare page.
Click here to visit our Laboratory Testing at CAA page.
Click here to visit our Secrets to Authenticate Picasso Drawings page.

Strange but true!

Hans Van Meegeren was the most famous art forger. He specialized in Dutch Old Masters like Vermeer. Today, his forgeries are collectible themselves and bring a lot of money at auction. Recently forgeries of his forgeries have appeared on the market. How would you like to be the appraiser that has to authenticate one of these?