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Imagine putting on a major art exhibition, only to discover that nearly all the paintings on display are forgeries. That’s exactly what happened in 2017, when 21 of Amedeo Modigliani’s paintings were showcased at the Ducal Palace in Genoa. A handful of art critics expressed concerns about the provenance of some of the paintings, so an expert was called in. When he was finished, he’d found that 20 of the 21 paintings were forgeries. This isn’t a particularly unusual or surprising case.

The art world is filled with forgers. And while it is true that some create fakes purely for financial gain, that’s not the only motive behind these copied works. Some forgers, like Han van Meegeren, are jaded artists frustrated by the ‘experts’, so they set out to fool and humiliate them with fake works. Others use their skills to create fakes that they can swap with the genuine article, leaving museum curators none-the-wiser that paintings on their walls are forgeries. Still forgers create fakes purely for the thrill of it. Mark Landis famously spent three decades creating fake works and giving them out to museums across the United States. …

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For the past two centuries or so, galleries have been the de facto marketplace for artists and collectors. They’ve allowed artists to get their work in front of far more eyes than would otherwise be possible. And they’ve provided buyers with the ability to browse multiple artists and dozens of pieces of artwork at a single location. In other words, galleries made a lot of sense.

But with the advent of the internet, online shopping, and social media, some people have begun wondering whether the gallery system is everything it’s cracked up to be. All this new technology has opened up possibilities that would have been unheard of just a few short years ago. …

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One of the most challenging questions any artist must answer is, “How much do you want for it?”

So much goes into every piece of art, from brainstorming and planning to creating and revising. And it’s not just the time spent. It’s an artist’s talent, experience, and reputation. A piece of artwork’s value can seem like it’s totally in the eye of the beholder.

This can make pricing a painting feel like a stab in the dark. And yet, putting a price on your artwork is an essential part of doing business as an artist or art platform. …

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In 1958, Francis Cook sold a painting by Giovanni Boltraffio for $53. It featured Jesus Christ, dressed in Renaissance garb and making the sign of the cross. Most collectors and art scholars at the time believed it was a copy of one of Boltraffio’s mentor’s works.

But in 2005, it was given a closer look and the truth came out. It wasn’t Boltraffio’s work at all. It had been painted by his teacher, Leonoardo da Vinci. Suddenly, Salvator Mundi was one of a handful of original da Vinci works. …

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The global art market is massive, worth an estimated $64 billion and involving over 35 million transactions each and every year.

Over the past decade, its valuation has increased 9%. The reasons for this growth are multifaceted, but at the center of them is the rise of the internet. Online art dealers make finding high quality, valuable art easier and more accessible than ever. And as the industry has grown, more artists are picking up their pencils and paintbrushes.

To a layperson, it may seem as though all of this is a net good. …

Article written by Chris Tyler and Eric Golden. Visit us at https://regestra.com

Artwork by Karlie Rosin

Artwork by Karlie Rosin
Artwork by Karlie Rosin

Overview

Regestra is developing a social network platform that empowers artists to market themselves and art lovers to discover new artists. Artists will have the ability to use this unique social network platform to build loyalty and branding around their artwork and educate prospective buyers on their craft. Prior to being allowed to publish artwork, artists will go through a rigorous verification by Regestra. Verified artists will have the ability to post their artwork into their gallery, create social networks with other artists and buyers, and create commentary around their artwork. Other art focused websites allow artists to post artwork and commentary, but do not provide verification of artists or certification of authenticity of artwork. …

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Provenance can be extremely important for authenticating an artwork and for establishing legal title. However, the fruits of provenance research are often a somewhat secretive affair with the brunt of an artworks provenance related documentation kept archived within their respective cultural institutions or auction houses. Recent initiatives focused on the restitution of Nazi looted artworks, artworks looted during colonization, and objects of cultural patrimony have spearheaded greater interest in publicizing both provenance research and affected collections. In the public art sphere, heightened interest in safe collecting practices, avoiding purchasing forged artworks, and generating returns on subsequent sales is also necessitating greater access to provenance research. …

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Provenance research is the study of the history of ownership for an artwork or object. The goal is to determine every single time the artwork changed hands from its current whereabouts all the way back to the moment it was created. There are many reasons for partaking in such a herculean task. Provenance research can unearth a treasure trove of information about the changing tastes of the art market, socioeconomics, and even politics. It can also reveal a spiderweb of looting, deceit, and illicit activity.

There are many strategies to conducting provenance research, the most telling of which might simply be examining the object itself. Ownership marks, brands, seals, insignias, and auction lot numbers often adorn the back of older paintings and drawings. These marks served many functions from asserting prestige, discouraging theft, inventorying a large collection, and ensuring restitution if the object was found. A seasoned provenance researcher might learn to recognize the scrawl of a lot number, a royal coat of arms, or the artful ownership markings on luxury manuscripts. One slightly problematic caveat of asserting ownership through marks is that many times newer owners wanted to erase the marks of previous owners. Sometimes erased marks can be seen by exposing an artwork to ultraviolet light. Besides marks, other information can be gleaned from looking at the materials of an object. Some collectors utilized specific frames or mounts for their collections. More intensive investigation into types of pigments or the canvas used for a painting might help establish what time period it is from. …

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Buying art has never been easier with galleries, auction houses, online databases, churning out art at a variety of different price levels. Whether you want to buy a print by a local artist for $20 or bid on a high-profile painting at Sotheby’s for hundreds of millions, you have the ability to do so as long as you can procure the necessary funds. However, selling and reselling art is a complicated crap shoot plagued by high insider knowledge, ill-defined price appraisal, and a top-heavy market controlled by wealthy collectors. If one decides to use art as a way of diversifying their investment portfolio, they will likely have a much trickier time yielding returns than with traditional stocks and bonds. Nonetheless, more and more collectors are becoming interesting in art’s investment potential. …

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In antiquity, magnificent treasures were collected by Greek and Roman epochs as a symbol of wealth and status. During the renaissance, wealthy noblemen curated and commissioned artworks by the biggest artists of the day. Today, large auction houses consistently break records as rabid collectors scurry to purchase the most high-profile artworks. The collection of art has always been a constant throughout history and even today wealthy collectors dictate the market. What has changed is the large variety of outlets that artists can use to showcase their work and the wide array of entry points into a traditionally rich blooded marketplace.

The kings and monarchs of early civilizations such as Egypt, Babylonia, China, and India collected riches in order to showcase their wealth and power. Precious golden, bronze, and lapis lazuli encrusted treasures decorated everything from palaces, to temples, and tombs. These treasures were often the shiny spoils of conquest rather than collecting for appreciation of the objects themselves. Collecting for the appreciation of art started in Greece and became even more pronounced during the subsequent Roman conquest. The Romans started by taking Greek art as spoils but eventually became so enamored with it that wealthy Romans began actively seeking out certain sculptures and paintings. …

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