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CURRENT COLUMN

The Case of the Olympic Posters
The Case of the Olympic Posters

The Case of the Solitary Surrealist
The Case of the Solitary Surrealist

The Case of the Recalcitrant Rembrandt
The Case of the Recalcitrant Rembrandt

The Case of the Ambiguity of Authenticity
The Case of the Ambiguity of Authenticity

The Case of Margaret Keane’s Big-Eyed Boys
The Case of Margaret Keane’s Big-Eyed Boys

The Case of Clarence’s Château-Gaillard
The Case of Clarence’s Château-Gaillard

The Case of the M.S. Nov 1910
The Case of the M.S. Nov 1910

The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2
The Case of the Archangel Michael Defeating Satan

The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2
The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2

The Case of Mary Most Holy Mother of Light
The Case of Mary Most Holy Mother of Light

The Case of Leni and the Nuba
The Case of Leni and the Nuba

The Case of the Seductive Souvenir
The Case of the Seductive Souvenir

The Case of the Irish Surrealist
The Case of the Irish Surrealist

The Case of the Developing Dalí
The Case of the Developing Dalí

The Case of Nano-D Technology
The Case of Nano-D Technology

The Case of Dabatable Donations
The Case of Debatable Donations

Edgar Heap of Birds
The Case of the Long-tailed Monkey

Edgar Heap of Birds
The Case of Edgar Heap of Birds

Silent Song
The Case of the Silent Song

Aficionado
The Case of Alex and the Art Aficionado

Portrait
The Case of the Privacy of the Publicity Photo

Potter
The Case of the Potter's Portraits

The Case of the Coy Cornelius Krieghoff

The Case of the Political Portraitist

The Case of the Reconsidered Revolution

The Case of the Anabiotic Abbey

The Case of the Phoney Picasso

The Case of Setsuko Piroche

The Case of being on the Forest Edge with Vern Simpson

The Case of Being at the End of the Storm with Loren Adams

The Case of Being: Under the Table with Thomas

The Case of Wyland's Whales on Walls

The Case of A.Y. Jackson's Smart River (Alaska)

The Case of Red Fish with Blue Breasts

The Case of Looe Poole

The Case of Camaldoli

The Case of MS

The Case of the Misattributed Emily Carrs

The Case of the Doubtful Dürer

The Case of the Purloined Picasso

The Case of the Defrocked Duchess of Devonshire

The Case of the First Wife

The Case of the Dodford Priory

The Case of the Unknown Actor

Art Services & Materials


Confessions Back

Comparison of original and nano-D image of a European oil painting

Comparison of original and nano-D image of a European oil painting

Practical Art History
(or Confessions of a Fine Art Appraiser)

by Jim Finlay
Finlay Fine Art
jim_finlay@telus.net

Chapter 39. The Case of Nano-D Technology

Several years ago, Paul Biro, son of Canadian-Hungarian painter and art sleuth extraordinaire Geza Biro, made an important statement about his method of conducting research on paintings of questionable authenticity. He said that he approaches the picture as if he were a detective at a crime scene seeking to link the material evidence to the perpetrator…in this case via a fingerprint. When a fingerprint located within the paint or varnish on a painting can be matched with the artist’s known fingerprint, the identity of the painting’s creator can be verified.

Verifying the authenticity of an art object, whether it’s a painting, artist’s print, sculpture, piece of jewellery or even a coin, is a serious concern in the art market. These days, art verification is no longer only a matter of professional judgement and opinion: it’s a matter of science. Thanks to the efforts of the team at Chali-Rosso Art Gallery in Vancouver, a new diagnostic tool has been added to the art investigator’s tool kit in the form of the “nano-D system.” The nano-D system was developed by the gallery’s owner and director, Susanna Strem, and her team. Strem was addressing authenticity concerns held by the industry as a whole, as well as by her own gallery’s clients. In her Granville Row gallery, she presents limited edition original prints by modern masters such as Picasso, Dali, Miró and Chagall. Using nano-D fingerprint technology, Strem is able to offer documented, indisputable proof of authenticity. The resulting documents become key and permanent components of the artworks’ provenance and authenticity packages and can prove invaluable for both insurance and resale purposes.

This non-invasive tool is based on reverse engineering. A three-dimensional digital rendering is made of the surface of the art object at a nano scale. The digital rendering is similar to taking a fingerprint, in that a uniquely identifiable image of a specific section of the artwork is captured. As Strem explains, by selecting several specific sections of the artwork to sample, enough data can be collected to complete and preserve the nano-D record. It’s not necessary to render an image of the entire surface. The digital information is then stored on a DVD, with one copy provided to the client and another held in a secure, off-site location.

The nano-D system is portable and is operated by a highly trained professional. Its cost is surprisingly affordable, determined largely by where the collection to be documented is located and the size and number of the pieces in it. The DVD becomes an integral part of the authenticity package and should accompany the sale if an artwork changes hands. Knowing that the authenticity can be verified offers people a powerful incentive to purchase artwork.

It seems to me that auction houses, which are in the business of selling only authentic works, should consider requiring that each work offered at auction be subject to the scrutiny that nano-D technology provides, because it offers the purchaser a validation of the work’s authenticity. Doing this would further enhance the credibility of an auction house – important in a competitive market culture. And bidders would, I’m sure, like to know that any artworks they were interested in has been verified as authentic by nano-D technology. And so it goes …

Next: The Case of the Developing Dali

 Sat, Nov 9, 2013