Sunday 16 September 2012

New Trend in the Art World: Disbanding of Authentication Committees?

"Untitled", Keith Haring, 1984
A trend in the art field seems the end of many authentication committees: several art-authentication boards and artist-endowed foundations have decided that the risks and potential costs associated with determining authenticity are too high.

Few days ago, Ms Julia Gruen - the foundation's executive director of the Keith Haring Foundation - gave the announcement that also this authentication committee will be disbanded. The foundation will be honoring submissions for reviewing requests that were submitted before September 1.

The disbandment comes after the announcements of the Warhol Foundation and the Basquiat Estate that they would end authenticating artworks, because this activity creates many risks of legal actions over such judgement. With reference to the Andy Warhol Foundation, this institution was highly criticized last year for having spent nearly 7 millions US dollars in defending an antitrust lawsuit brought by a collector, Simon Whelan, who had claimed that the authentication committee had denied the authenticity of a 1964 portrait in order to maintain price of Warhol's artworks high.  Also the board decision to downgrade more than 100 wooden Brillo boxes was heavily criticized.In the future, probably most of these Foundations would take care only of the charitable goals and of their catalogue raisonne├ęs. 

How the art market will be affected with so many authentication committees closing? Perhaps, in the future buyers will rely more on provenance, that does not always provide a trustworthy answer though.  In addition, people will be willing to pay more for a work that had been approved by an authentication committee that for one that had not. 

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