Each work of art presents unique questions. Through the application of the appropriate methodologies, we can implement a broad range of examinations and non-invasive testing to understand the painting’s conservation history and present physical condition.
Determining what is actually part of the original structure of the painting and not a result of later interventions by other hands is crucial during the search for answers about authenticity and conservation issues. We use a wide range of analytical techniques from hyper-spectral high resolution digital imaging to in-situ Raman spectroscopy, among many others.
Our examinations may reveal substances that were not available to artists at the alleged date of the creation of the object. They can shed light on the artist’s techniques and choice of materials which can be evidence of authorship, or help in the discovery of misattributions and forgery. Such data form the foundations of proper "due diligence" studies that are so vital for safe transactions in today's art market.
Watercolour cakes manufactured by Joshua Rogers London, 1860s
Biro Collection of Historical Pigments
The use of fingerprints for identifying an individual is a well-established practice accepted worldwide. When such evidence is found on a work of art, understanding the connection between a fingerprint left in paint and the painting itself can shed light on who created it. Such evidence may fill the gap where provenance information is partial or altogether lacking.
In some cases where DNA is available, the evidence opens the door for yet another approach for supporting a claim of authenticity.
Our emphasis is always on non-invasive methods whenever possible. Physical removal of any material (sampling by chipping or scraping) from the artwork, no matter how small the sample, is something we believe is a method that is becoming a thing of the past. We only perform it as appropriate. Exhaustive materials analyses are also a crucial component of due diligence.
Hyper-spectral scanning has become a vital tool that helps with so many aspects of forensic investigation. Much of our results come from spectral imaging including locating fingerprints, old repairs and even DNA bearing samples such as human hair.
The art historical context as well as provenance research are equally important in authentication studies. We routinely investigate and audit provanance data and assist clients to assure their claims are correct and verifiable. Such studies are an integral part of due diligence work and are vital in prepration for a sale or purchase.
Some of our work done in collaboration with scholars, experts, and technicians across many disciplines are featured on our Publications page.