A Way to Combat Fakes


I received a wonderful gift in the mail today : The second edition of Technical Art History - A Handbook of Scientific Techniques for the Examination of Works of Art, published by The Authentication in Art Foundation . This non-profit foundation invited one of my films, The 24-Hour Art Practice, to be screened at the 2016 Authentication in Art Congress in The Hague. At the congress, I sat through many very interesting presentations made by leading international authentication experts who talked about their specific methods and issues attached to them. I learnt a lot. That’s why when I received this in the mail, I thought it would be useful to share this.

The handbook contains information on 50 of the most commonly applied scientific examination techniques for the research of artworks. Each of the techniques is described by one of the 27 leading international experts on authenticating art. This is said to be the first time these scientific methods have been compiled and presented in a more layman language (though the vocabulary is still slightly scientific in my view). There is a page on each of the methods, with short descriptions on its classifications, applications, limitations, technical specifications and considerations as well as a brief history of the technique/ alternative techniques and key literature in the field. I can see that this can be a useful compendium for public and private museums, art lawyers, art dealers, art collectors, art conservators, art historians, artists’ estates and auction houses.

The introduction in the books states that there is not a single entity that provides accreditation to companies offering scientific research for authentication and condition checks, so the level of knowledge of scientific methods has not been uniform across organisations that deliver such services. This makes this publication an excellent initiative. The more experts connect, the more the art world can effectively combat the circulation of fakes.

Do spread the word.

I enquired about the cost and understood the publication costs Euro 75 (excluding delivery). Orders can be made via email to Oliver Spapens at :


Here are more information about the organisation:



Authentication in Art, thank you for your work and for keeping in touch!

#TechnicalArtHistory #AuthenticationinArt

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