Fine Art Investigations
Professional Art Research of 19th Century American Portraits
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| George Caleb Bingham
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Fine Art Investigations is a small art research company based in Long Beach, Washington, that provides professional art research in an approachable manner to clients throughout the nation.
The College Arts Association (CAA), which promotes best practices in the visual arts, expresses the legal and ethical standard for accurate artist identification as a consensus of evidence from (1) art-historical documentation, including provenance (2) stylistic connoisseurship (3) technical or scientific analysis.
This “three-legged stool approach” is the foundation for professional art research and of Fine Art Investigations’ comprehensive system for portrait artist identification.
With one good clue, and through accurate dating, art historical and genealogical research, connoisseurship, Morellian analysis, and coordination of technical analysis and second opinions from other experts, Fine Art Investigations (FAI) identifies portrait artists. FAI often provides greater knowledge about portraits. When requested, we provide advice on conservation, preservation, and selling. According to IRS guidelines, Fine Art Investigations is qualified to appraise 19th century American portraits. We have:
- Outstanding research skills
- Genealogical expertise
- Advanced academic degrees
- New school technological skills, and
- Old school customer service
 To both authenticate and sell tempts conflict of interest. We can offer advice on selling, but only broker paintings that we did not authenticate.
- Dimensions of the work: exterior (framed) and interior (unframed)
- Provenance (history of ownership)
- Good photographs of the painting
- In its entirety with frame
- In its entirety with as little of the frame showing as possible
- Closeups of major objects, including face and hands, if shown
- Payment of retainer
- A statement that you understand that compensation will not assure a specific conclusion and that the balance of payment will be paid immediately after the project concludes
How much does it cost to identify a portrait artist? Just as every portrait is unique so, too, is every art research project. Projects can be as simple as an emailed statement for a non-binding attribution or as sophisticated as a book. Written reports provide verifiable evidence within a replicable process and are illustrated with full-color images. Please contact Fine Art Investigations to discuss your particular needs. We strive to tailor projects to clients’ budgets. Using a comprehensive system for portrait artist identification to work quickly and cost-effectively, costs generally range from:
$150 for a non-binding attribution to
$1,500 for a bound written report with full documentation and color illustrations
For high value artworks, additional costs may include consultant fees and conservator examination.
Consultant fees are generally $150 / hour
Conservator examination varies according to institution. Fine Art Investigations can coordinate examination. If there is a charge, the owner pays the museum directly.
20% for private sales
10% for public sales
Fine Art Investigations prefers to invoice through Square but accepts checks.