Authenticating and Evaluating Paintings and Other Art Objects


(above: Hermon Atkins MacNeil (American, 1866-1947). The Sun Vow, 1899, cast 1919. Bronze, 72 x 32 1/2 x 54 inches. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Rogers Fund, 1919 (19.126). Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons*)


While Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) does not provide authentication services, the information in this report is provided as a public service and may be of help to readers studying approaches to authentication and evaluation of their works of art. Following are questions often asked by people seeking to better understand art objects which they own or are considering for purchase.



Is the art an original (one-of-a-kind) painting or print or is it a reproduction?
Is the painting authentic? Is it hand copied from an original? Does it have a fake signature?
How about retaining a professional authenticator?
What is the condition of the painting?
What is the provenance of the painting (its history)?


Other art objects

Videos by Mark Sublette


Other online resources

The International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) website includes an informative page within its Educational Resources section titled "Collector's Corner." Thirteen important topics are covered on issues such as "Provenance Research," "Verifying Authenticity," "Determining a Work's Condition," "Documenting Your Collection" and many more. [accessed February, 2014]


Quesstions from readers

TFAO introduced a page that publishes emails sent by readers with questions. To see this page click here.


Return to Resources for Collectors, Life Long Learners, Students and Teachers of Art History

TFAO catalogues:

TFAO's Distinguished Artists catalogue provides online access to biographical information for artists associated with this state. Also, Search Resource Library for online articles and essays concerning both individual artists associated with this state's history and the history of art centers and museums in this state. Resource Library articles and essays devoted to individual artists and institutions are not listed on this page.

*Tag for expired US copyright of object image:

Links to sources of information outside of our web site are provided only as referrals for your further consideration. Please use due diligence in judging the quality of information contained in these and all other web sites. Information from linked sources may be inaccurate or out of date. TFAO neither recommends or endorses these referenced organizations. Although TFAO includes links to other web sites, it takes no responsibility for the content or information contained on those other sites, nor exerts any editorial or other control over them. For more information on evaluating web pages see TFAO's General Resources section in Online Resources for Collectors and Students of Art History.


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