Certificates of Authenticity

What they are, what they aren’t and who has the right to issue them for your work of art.


Certificate of Authenticity

What is a Certificate of Authenticity?

Comparative analysis is a side-by-side comparison of your work of art to others that have been positively attributed to the artist in question. For example, if you have a painting that you believe to be by French Impressionist, Johannes Vermeer, we look at all of the paintings that experts agree are authentic works by Vermeer to check for stylistic inconsistencies between his body of work (also called an oeuvre) and your painting. Think of it as a very high-level version of “spot the differences.

Does Mearto issue Certificates of Authenticity?

No. We do not have droit moral for any of the artists that we authenticate. We do offer a complimentary certificate as proof of our professional opinion, but this does not serve as a warranty or guarantee of authenticity.

Where can I get a Certificate of Authenticity for my work of art?

If the artist is still alive, or if he or she has a foundation, or living relatives with droit moral, it may be possible to obtain a Certificate of Authenticity. However, if there is no person or organization with the legal authority to issue a COA for your artwork (as is the case for many artists), your options for authentication are gathering expert opinion, which we offer in the form of a comparative analysis report, provenance research and scientific analysis.

Can Mearto help me obtain a Certificate of Authenticity from an artist’s foundation or family member?

If you are unable to locate or get in touch with the appropriate authority, please feel free to email [email protected] for assistance. Many organizations no longer provide authentication research or Certificates of Authenticity, others only review a fixed number of submissions per year and may charge a high price for the privilege. We can help if you would like to be more confident in the authenticity of your artwork before you contact a foundation, or if your work of art was rejected and you would like to know why.

Can I get a Certificate of Authenticity from my local art gallery or auction house?

If you purchased a work of art on the primary market from a gallery, it should be accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity. Works of art on the secondary market sold by galleries and auction houses may have a Certificate of Authenticity, but are more commonly accompanied by a provenance record. Your local auction house or gallery may perform internal authentication research if they are interested in consigning or selling your item, but they are unlikely to provide a detailed report of findings, or a Certificate of Authenticity.

Can I get a Certificate of Authenticity from my local museum?

No. With only a few notable exceptions, most museums do not perform authentication research. No reputable museum would issue a Certificate of Authenticity for your artwork.