Appraisal, Authentication, Conservation and Research Information
While does not authenticate, evaluate or conserve art objects, there are many resources for these services. Here is a list with extensive referral information for your consideration, plus other resources:
AltaVista (TM) AV Photo Finder:
Finds images on the Web through use of keywords and image class.

Appraisal Services:
American Society of Appraisers, P. O. Box 17265, Washington, DC 20041, 1-800-272-8258
All disciplines, referrals given; regarding Fine Arts specialists who are designated as Accredited Members or Accredited Senior Appraisers --

ASA has 113 such specialists. Appraisers who have a designation in Fine Arts not only have to meet all the education and experience requirements for achieving a personal property designation, but they undergo specific testing in Fine Arts appraisal and their experience must be in that specialty. To qualify for the Accredited Member designation (AM), an individual must have at least two years of full-time appraisal experience and a college degree or its equivalent. To qualify for the Accredited Senior Appraiser designation (ASA), an individual must have a minimum of 5 years of full-time appraisal experience and a college degree or its equivalent.

ASA is an international, not-for-profit, independent, multi discipline appraisal organization that was established in 1936 and incorporated in 1952. The society's purpose is to establish an effective profession-wide affiliation working cooperatively to elevate the standards of the appraisal profession. There are more than 6,000 ASA members in 88 chapters and branches located throughout the United States and abroad.
Appraisal Days ...are held annually by an increasing number of art museums. For a nominal fee, usually in the area of $10, members of the public may obtain verbal opinions on the value of objects of art from experts. Call your local museum to learn where and when such an event will take place. Or, your city may be on the tour of the popular Antiques Roadshow sponsored by PBS.
Appraisers Association of America, 386 Park Ave S., Suite 2000, NY, NY 10016
Focus on personal property appraising, including fine art.
What Is An Appraisal? and
How to Find an Appraiser?

The International Society of Appraisers
 A nationwide network of professional appraisers headquartered at Riverview Plaza Office Park,
 16040 Christensen Rd, Suite 102 Seattle, WA 98188-2965

 A Web-based art appraisal & research service

Appraisal Information
What questions do buyers and sellers consider when negotiating on the price of a one-of-a-kind painting or sculpture?
The elements of value are listed below.

About the artist
What percent of a deceased artist's output remains in private hands?
If a living artist, what is the expected remaining productivity of the artist?
If a living artist, is the artist full-time or part-time?
If a living artist, how many works are produced each year and what is the trend?
Is the price trend for the artist up or down?
Is the price trend for the class of subject matter (western genre, pop art, etc.) up or down?
What are recent comparable sales for the size of the work, the subject matter, the medium and other variables?
What is the highest sale to date for the artist?
What is the highest sale per square inch for the artist?
What is the price ranking of the artist relative to other artists?
Who were the artist's teachers and who were the artist's students, and what degree of fame did members of
 each group reach? What awards were earned by the artist and how important are these awards?
How many articles have been published about the artist, by what publishers, by what authors, and when?
How many books and catalogues have been published concerning the artist, by what publishers, by what
 authors, and when? What collectors and what museums own the artist's work?
Which galleries sell that artist's work?
What museum exhibitions covering the works of the artist and what is the trend?
How central is the work to the most sought after period and subject matter of the artist?
About the object What is the medium (oil on canvas, watercolor) used for the work?
What is the method of production (studio, plein air) of the work?
If signed, what is the quality of the signature?
If bronze, is there a foundry mark?
Is the work dated?
Are there gallery or framing stickers on the back?
Is there anything written on the back or on the artwork or mat?
What is the height and width of the work? Is there a title to the work?
What is the quality of the frame, if any?
What is the providence (history of ownership) of the work?
What is the condition (holes, tears or stains; pieces missing or broken, wear on the patina) of the work?
What certificates are available for the work concerning authenticity and condition?
What are the credentials of the authenticator?
What written appraisals are available?
What are the credentials of the appraiser?
Artist Biographies and Bibliographies
Duke University:
 has a helpful list of books
Brown's Index of Southwest Painters,
 but is currently offline, looking for a new site

Art Libraries University/Museum Libraries list by ARLIS/NA at:
You can search the collections for an artist you wish to research AskART Data on over 24,000 important North American artists, living and deceased, auction records, bibliographies, biographies. 1-480-423-8181. A comprehensive auction sale and estimate source on the Internet for American artists. Also contains a dictionary of art terms and museum information.

Auction Houses
Adam A Weschler & Sons, Washington, DC
 limited auctions for American paintings, drawings and sculpture.
Alderfer Auction Company, Hatfield, PA
 regional American fine art
Alterman Galleries, Santa Fe, NM and Dallas, TX
Southwest art.
Bakker/Boccelli, Cambridge, MA
 regional art
Barridoff Galleries, Portland ME
 regional American art
Buffalo Bill Art Show and Sale, Cody, WY
 Western genre art
Butterfield & Butterfield (Los Angeles and San Francisco)
 major regional auctioneer of early California and other American art
Charlton Hall Galleries, Inc, Columbia, SC 29201,
 18th-19th century regional American art
Christie's (NYC and other locations) major auctioneer of American art from all regions
C.M.Russell Auction of Original Western Art, Great Falls, MT
 Western genre art
Coeur D'Alene Auction, Coeur D' Alene, ID
 regional art
Cohen Fontaine Fine Art Auctions, Woodstock, CT
regional American art
Dargate Auction Galleries, Pittsburgh, PA
 regional American art
David Dike Fine Art, Dallas, TX
 regional American art
Fontaines Auction Gallery, Pittsfield, MA
 regional American art
Frank H Boos Gallery, Bloomfield Hills, MI
 regional American art
Grogan & Company, Dedham, MA
 regional American art
Harvey Clars Auction, Oakland, CA
 regional American art
Illustration House, Inc,New York, NY
 illustration art
Ivey-Selkirk, St. Louis, MO
 regional American art
Jackson Wickliff Auctioneers, Inc, Carmel, IN
 regional American art
Jackson's Auction, Cedar Falls, IA
 regional American art
James D Julia, Inc., Fairfield, ME
 regional American art
John Moran, Pasadena, CA
 early California art
Mapes Auction Gallery, West Vestal, NY
 regional American art
Morris & Whiteside Galleries, Hilton Head Island SC 29928
 regional American art
Mystic Fine Arts, Mystic, CN
 regional American art
Nadeau's Auction Gallery, Colchester, CO
 regional American art
Neal Auction Company, New Orleans, LA
 regional American art
New Orleans Auction Galleries Inc, New Orleans, LA
 regional American art
O'Gallerie, Portland, OR
 regional American art
Outer Cape Art Auctions, Provincetown, MA
 Cape Cod art
Pacific Galleries Fine Art Auction, Seattle, WA
 regional American art
Phillips, New York, NY
 regional American art
Pook & Pook Inc, Downington, PA
 regional American art
 An online auction firm for American art pottery
R. G. Munn Auction, LLC, Cloudcroft, NM
 regional American art
Robert C Eldred Co Inc, East Dennis, MA r
 egional American art
Rose Hill Auction Gallery, LTD, Englewood, NJ
 regional American art
Ross Auction Gallery, Colorado Springs, CO
 regional American art
Samuel T. Freeman & Co, Philadelphia, PA
 regional American art
Santa Fe Art Auction, Santa Fe, NM
 Southwest art
Shannon's, Greenwich, CT
 regional American art
Skinner, Boston, MA
 regional American art
Sloan's, North Bethesda, MD
 regional American art
Sotheby's (NYC and other locations)
 major auctioneer of American art from all regions
St. Charles Gallery Inc, New Orleans, LA
 regional American art
Stamford Auction House, Stamford, CT
Swann Galleries, New York, NY
 regional American art
William. Doyle Galleries, NYC
 regional art

Auctiongoer's Guide: dates and places of auctions
Auction companies will often provide an auction estimate without charge based on a photo and description sent to them. Estimates provided this way can be a fairly rough gauge of value. Auction houses sometimes tend to evaluate objects at the lower end of the value range so as to encourage a sale. Lesser experienced evaluators at auction houses are often unaware of the true value of works by important artists whose works have infrequently been sold at auction.

NOTE: Bear in mind that prices estimated and paid at auctions are often considerably less than retail prices charged at galleries -- many art galleries purchase a large portion of their inventory at auctions. Markups of two to two and one-half times from the auction price to retail price are common. Christie's and Sotheby's have information on how to buy at auction on their websites. When consigning art to an auction house bear in mind that it is often best to choose an auction house that is located close to where the art was created, not close to where the seller is located.

Help from Museums in Authenticating Art
Curators at art museums may have the expertise in a genre, period, school, or artist to assist you in the authenticity of works of art, or they may be willing to refer you to an expert who can answer your questions. Many museums refuse as a matter of ethics to authenticate art.

At some museums, there are certain days set aside for members of the public to bring in artworks for review by staff. Curators, dealers and art consultants may be hesitant to advise purchasers of fraudulent art when they see it, for fear of legal action on the part of the seller.

Tips: Look in our subjects index to find out which museums have exhibited the type of art you have. Also, go to AskART and find out which museums own works of art created by your artist. Then you can choose a museum near you to call for advice. If staff at a museum are unwilling to give advice on an art object, they may be willing to share with the person calling the names of professional authenticators.
Caution: some conservators and curators have arrangements with dealers or gallery owners to refer prospects to them. These arrangements may not be in your best interests.

American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works Directory:
American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, Washington, DC A valuable resource guide. Call the Institute at 1-202-452-9545 for names of local conservators.

According to a recent article in Forbes magazine, a conservator will write a report on a work's condition, propose treatment if needed and estimate cost and time for about $250 for each work of art.
Conservators also render opinions on authenticity of art works. See the Institute's articles on:

"Caring for Your Paintings, "
"Caring for Your Works on Paper" and
"Guidelines for Selecting a Conservator."
Staff at a local museum may be willing to share with the person calling the names of professional conservators.

Caring for photographs, prints and calendars...
What is a print?
Tips on preserving and protecting photos from the American Museum of Photography
Handy tips on caring for reproductions on paper -- scroll down to the third article; Wilhelm Imaging Resources, Inc. reports on color fading timelines for Iris and Wide Format prints using various inks, dyes and printers.

Art term Dictionaries If you hear or see an art term that is unfamiliar to you you may find the 3,300-term dictionary at the site useful.

If your word isn't there you can also try: who will search over 600 dictionaries at the same time for you.

Dunbier on Fine Art Valuation - Read Dr. Roger Dunbier's excellent articles on fine art valuation in this magazine.

National Endowment for the Arts Search its database.

Prints and Other Reproductions
What Is a Print?
The Philadelphia Print Shop. Ltd. has a primer online you may enjoy, plus a dictionary of printmaking terms and glossary of print abbreviations.

Valuations and Purchases
Contact Gordon's Art Reference, publisher of Gordon's Print Price Annual and Lawrence's Dealer Print Prices. The Gordon's Print Price Annual contains auction prices and Lawrence's Dealer Print Prices contains retail prices. Both volumes are available in some public and museum libraries. As an alternate to Gordon's Print Price Annual, try ArtNet.

If you discover that an artwork is fraudulently represented, report it to the National Fraud Information Center at 1-800-876-7060.

If you are interested in purchasing reproductions or prints (not one-of-a-kind originals), and if you want to buy a print of a painting that is not available through our sources, go to and look up the artist. Find out which museums own the artist's work. Call the museums to see if a museum owns the painting. If you find the museum that owns the painting call the museum's bookstore staff to see if they will sell you a print of the painting. Also see our notes on the secondary market below.

The Secondary Market for Prints
When you, a collector, seek to resell your print you become involved in what is called the "secondary market."
To find another collector who wants your print, thanks to the Internet, you can auction your print through one of the online auction companies at a low cost. If your print is valuable enough, one of the bricks-and-mortar auction houses may take it for consignment.

There are three further strategies which will lead you to art dealers who buy prints:

Books on Prints

Resources for Collectors

Escrow Insurance Shipping/Crating Books, Magazines

Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS)
The Art Inventories section of SIRIS contains over 300,000 records, with the complete card catalog accessible online over the Internet describing American artists, paintings and sculptures. The Inventory of American Paintings executed before 1914 is a national census of works created by American artists working prior to 1914. If the artist was born by 1880, all of the artist's works are entered regardless of date. Paintings in oil, watercolor, tempera and pastel are included.

The Archives of American Art collections include papers of artists, art dealers, art historians, collectors, and others; records of art galleries, museums, and art organizations; videos; and interviews from AAA's oral history project. When you find a document that is on microfilm, you can read it at one of the regional research centers (call for an appointment) or have it sent to your library on inter-library loan.

The above names and addresses are provided only as referrals for further consideration. Please use care in employing these or other consultants or vendors. Information from any of the firms listed here may not be accurate or out of date.
Also, takes no responsibility for the content or information contained on those other sites.

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Last updated 6/13/10. All rights reserved.