Authentication of paintings by numbers Automatic translate
When the Belgian Auction House wanted last year to auction one of Gerhard Richter’s paintings, his representatives contacted the archives of the German artist in Dresden to verify the work. They did not need expert opinions or complex analyzes, in order to determine the authenticity of the picture, it was only necessary to name the number written on its back.
Richter numbered all his paintings and sculptures sequentially, so when the number of the canvas was transferred to the artist’s archive, it turned out that the painting did not match the description, which means it was fake.
Given that over the past two decades, prices for works of contemporary art have been steadily rising, the stakes in disputes about the authenticity of works are becoming higher. Large foundations of artists such as Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, and Jean-Michel Basquiat have disbanded their authentication departments due to costly litigation. Richter was able to avoid these problems by simply numbering all his works.
The artist began a detailed account of his paintings and sculptures in 1962 after he moved to West Germany. He assigned number 1 to his painting "Table", thus drawing a line under all the works that he wrote in the GDR. Richter began to keep a simple and detailed account of all his works. (The exception is his "Elba" of the 1957 series, which was included in the list of his completed works only in 2002). The Gerhard Richter Archive was created in Dresden in 2006, and its work is based on six catalog volumes published by Hatje Cantz. Moreover, the basis of the new edition was the preliminary catalogs written by the artist himself in 1986 and 1993.
Hans-Ulrich Obrist, who organized Richter’s exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler, in Basel (runs until September 7), says that such a thorough systematization was in the character of the artist. Richter cataloged his work only when he was completely sure that they were finished. About these paintings, the artist said that they look like grown up children, and now, they will live their own lives. True, there are works in circulation that are not signed by the painter. The reason for this is simple - the master was dissatisfied with their quality, and refused to list them.
Nevertheless, to date, Richter’s paintings enjoy the greatest confidence among buyers, since their authenticity is elementarily proved and is not in doubt. It would be nice if the method of Richter was adopted by modern artists who have already achieved recognition, or just going to it.
Anna Sidorova © Gallerix.ru