PP806-CON Session: Science and Art Authentication - An Overview

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Session Description

The growing role of science and technology in our society is mirrored by the increasing role scientific analysis plays in our systems of authentication. While the media likes to portray this as "connoisseurs vs. scientists", the reality is that both are necessary, and the best results come when each learns a bit of the others language. From Leonardo's Salvator Mundi painting to more modest works, science has helped uncover forgers, identify looted material, and authenticate some valuable works of art. Science is often a process of group learning over time, where an understanding based on one interpretation and data set can be updated in the face of new data or a different interpretation. The defendant who recently snapped off the thumb of a Chinese terracotta warrior is claiming the thumb was a restoration not original to the sculpture and is therefore valueless. Science may decide his fate. The use of science for authentication can result in a kind of arms race. For example, forger Ken Perenyi used old varnish to make his paintings look "right" under UV light. This session surveys the current landscape.                    


Eric Doehne |  Owner | Conservation Sciences

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this presentation are that of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the American Society of Appraisers.

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