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Fine Art/Authentication


Hi Stuart,

First off, thank you for this service. I learn so much for all the questions and answers and very much appreciate your time.
My question is about authentication. There have been a few times I've sent works to auction houses that have come back where the nephew or the wife of an artist etc. has decided it's not by the hand of their loved one. I feel that they have a good reason to say this as the less work out there would increase their own holdings value. I'm wondering if the art market ever allows any forensics to confirm or deny a piece of work. I'm guessing that wouldn't be in the best interest of many of the very large auction houses though as their supply would dwindle as I've read many works tend to pass through their fingers as well as museums that aren't right. I'd love to get your opinion on this topic and if there is anyway to authenticate works forensically and have them be accepted in the art world. Thanks again for your help.

Thanks. Great question.
Most art dealers, most auction houses, most gallery owners...are hard-working, knowledgeable professionals who are honest beyond question.  If not, they are smoked out very quickly, because it is a small world, and reputation is everything.  Art dealers, auctioneers, gallery owners...all share information and observe each other constantly.  Each deals with the public directly.  To succeed, to make a career, professionals in this industry need to be beyond reproach. Are all?  No. And the few bad apples stand out clearly.  

That an art house would even take the time to review your art, and send it out, testing a long-established relationship with an expert familiar with the artist...this is testimony to how hard auction houses will work FOR YOU.  Supply and Demand affected over a few pieces of art?  No.

If you have serious doubts about attribution, or about one dealer's opinion, by all means, seek other viewpoints.  Debate, counter-argument, discussion...most dealers welcome this as the intellectual and interesting part of the business.  Yes, works do float though auction houses that aren't right.  Often, this is merely due to the volumes houses process, not through dishonesty or misrepresentation.  Sometimes, expertise is simply wrong. There is no substitute for diligent research and diligence.  

And sometimes, it has happened to me, you swallow your pride. You bought a bummer.  And you move on.  

Good luck in your collecting.  Enjoy your art.

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Stuart Cartwright


American Fine Art Paintings.
Oils, Watercolors, Sketches. Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century. Hudson River School, Pennsylvania Academy, Cape Ann artists, Ash Can, Woodstock, Florida Indian River, American Impressionists, etc. I can provide some background about artists and perhaps a rough appraisal or guidance towards obtaining a value. I am acquainted with many of the best American art dealers and auction houses. Original works only, I do not follow the print market. I do NOT field questions about prints.

Important to know
I am not expert in European art. I encourage you to send questions on European artists to other experts on this service. NO PRINTS:I encourage you to seek help on prints elsewhere. Two sites come to mind: and


I have been collecting original American Fine Art for over 20 years. I have curated art shows, and I have served as a dealer, providing appraisals and guidance for the last 8 years.

Bachelor of Arts Master of Business Administration

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