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The certificate of authenticity of an artwork

 

Choosing a work of an artwork does not go without a certificate of authenticity.
This document, guaranteeing the authenticity of the work, is generally drawn up by the artist or by the gallery representing him.
In order to guarantee the traceability of the object, the certificate of authenticity of a work of art specifies the name of the author, the title and the characteristics of the work.
To insure or resell a work, this identification document may be essential.
 

Summary

  1. What is the certificate of authenticity of a work of art used for?
  2. Who can issue a certificate of authenticity for a work of art?
  3. What information must the certificate of authenticity of a work of art include?
  4. Certificate of authenticity: the particular case of sculptures and art photos
  5. How are certificates of authenticity for works of art secured?
  6. Certificate of authenticity of a work of art: what does French law say

What is the certificate of authenticity of an artwork used for?


The certificate of authenticity is the document guaranteeing that the work has been produced by the artist with whom it is associated.
Written in a single copy, this passport, attesting to the authorship of a creation, may prove to be essential when selling or insuring the work. Like an identity card, the certificate of authenticity follows works throughout their life, from purchase to resale.
 

Who can issue a certificate of authenticity for an artwork?

 

The certificate of authenticity of a work of art (certificate of authenticity or COA) can be issued by:
  • the artist himself;
  • the artist's heirs;
  • an auctioneer;
  • an online or physical art gallery;
  • an art dealer;
  • an art market professional (expert, scholar, art historian).

 

What information must the certificate of authenticity of an artwork of art include?


When purchasing a work of art or collector's item, the artist or gallery provides a certificate of authenticity.
To ensure the traceability of the work, here are the particulars that must appear:

 

  • the artist's name;
  • a photo of the artwork;
  • the title of the work;
  • dimensions or format;
  • description of the support (canvas, wood, paper, etc.);
  • the technique and materials used (paint (acrylic paint, watercolor, oil paint, etc.);
  • the date of creation;
  • the identification number for works that are part of a series;
  • the number of copies made of works from a limited edition print (fine art photos, for example);
  • the artist's signature accompanied by an official stamp or a fingerprint;
  • the date of issue of the certificate.

Certain optional information may provide additional information. The certificate of authenticity will then also include:
the location of the signature;
the professional numbers of the artist or the art gallery (Maison des Artistes, AGESSA, SIRET, SIREN, etc.).
The price of the work does not appear on the certificate of authenticity.

 

 

Who can issue a certificate of authenticity for artwork
Certificate of authenticity of a work of art: what does French law say

Certificate of authenticity: the particular case of sculptures and art photos

 


In terms of photo prints, the following can only benefit from a certificate of authenticity of an artwork of art:

  • signed and numbered prints up to a limit of 30 copies (any format and any medium combined);
  • prints made by the author or under his control.

In terms of sculpture, only works reproduced a maximum of eight times from a single mold can benefit from the status of original artwork
In either case, the number of copies made will appear on the certificate of authenticity.

How are certificates of authenticity for works of art secured?



How are certificates of authenticity for works of art secured?
To secure the authentication of a work of art, its certificate must be tamper-proof. This is why many certificates of authenticity of works of art are issued on watermarked paper or include security elements such as a seal, an electronic chip, a secure code or a QR code.
 

​​​​​​​Certificate of authenticity of a work of art: what does French law say


The certificate of authenticity of a work of art is governed by Decree No. 81-255 of March 3, 1981 on the suppression of fraud in transactions in works of art and collectibles.
This regulation, also known as the Marcus decree, sets standards for the authentication of works or objects of art. We take a closer look at them.

Responsibility of sellers

 


In accordance with Article 1 of the Marcus Decree, sellers of works of art or collectibles must provide the buyer with any document containing the specifications put forward during the sale. It could be :

  • an invoice;
  • a receipt;
  • a sales slip;
  • an extract from the minutes of the public sale.

We must find a certain amount of information such as the nature of the work (painting, sculpture, photo, etc.), its composition, its origin and its age.
Contravening the provisions of this decree engages the seller's liability (professionals, experts and specialists, etc.) and exposes him to the penalties provided for for fifth class contraventions.


 

The degree of authenticity according to the Marcus decree


Articles 3 to 7 of decree n ° 81-255 of March 3, 1981 provide details on the definition of the author of the work.
Depending on the degree of authenticity of the works, the formulas used by the seller may be as follows.

  • "Work of", "by" or "signed by". These three statements guarantee an authentic work, executed by the artist indicated (article 3).
  • "Assigned to". This mention reflects a doubt about the exact attribution of the work. Its author could be the nominated artist (article 4).
  • "Workshop of" this denomination indicates that the work or object was made in the studio of the cited artist or under his direction (article 5).
  • "School of". This formula indicates that the author of the work is a student of the cited artist. The work must have been produced during the artist's lifetime or less than fifty years after his death (Article 6).
  • "Like", "like", "like", "like", "after", "like". These expressions do not confer any guarantee on the authenticity of the work with regard to the period, the identity of the artists or of the school (Article 7).


These formulas are used to describe the works in an auction catalog, a presentation sheet, an invoice or a certificate of authenticity.

 

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Le degré d'authenticité selon le décret Marcus



 

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