How to Authenticate a Painting

Posted by on April 14, 2020

How to Authenticate a Painting

Art authentication follows a three step process: Comparative Analyis, Provenance Research and Scientific Analysis. The first step is to perform a comparative analysis of the painting with known published or museum works from the same artist. Provenance is the work's ownership history. An ideal provenance would include all the owners of the work since it's creation. Typically provenance tends to be a list of facts about the background of the work, including former owners, exhibition history and if the work was included in any published materials (book, catalog or magazine). Scientific Analysis involves the costly process of analyzing paint, fiber and materials from the painting to determine authenticity. Look closely at the fine details in the Seneque Obin paintings from the Milwaukee Museum of Art, Le Musee d'Art Haitien and the Selden Rodman Gallery. Ask other art collectors and connoisseurs to examine the work. Not everyone will agree but try to get a consensus.

  1. Comparative Analysis
    • the artist’s signature
    • color choices
    • brushstroke patterns
    • anatomy and facial features
    • landscape details
    • architectural details
    • costume details
    • dimensions
  2. Provenance Research
    • Invoices
    • Gallery Stamps
    • Catalogs
    • Books
    • Auction Records
  3. Scientific Analysis (UV, IR, XRay, Sample Testing, Frame)
    • UV Light
    • IR Light
    • XRay
    • Paint and Fiber Analysis

    Consider the composition as a whole and how it fits into the artist’s personal and professional timeline. If there are several major inconsistencies found, the artwork in question is PROBABLY not authentic.

Loge Haitienne Nr. 6, 1960 Obin, Seneque (Haitian, 1893 – 1977)
Masonic Funeral Service, 1960 Obin, Seneque (Haitian, 1893 – 1977)
Marche Poissons, pre 1957 Obin, Seneque (Haitian, 1893 – 1977)
Christophe Family and the Citadel, 1960 Obin, Seneque (Haitian, 1893 – 1977)