Professional Art Research
Fine Art Investigations is dedicated to preserving the artistic and historic legacy embedded in 19th century American portraits through professional art research, to restoring artists’ moral right to correct attribution, and to providing clients with professional services in an approachable manner.
Fine Art Investigations began in 1999 with a search for George Caleb Bingham portraits. but at portrait owners’ requests, expanded into determining whether Bingham, his students or some other artist painted a questionable portrait. Pinpointing the date the portrait was painted proved to be the key to distinguishing Bingham’s work from his students. Students could mimic, but lagged behind their master in technical skills. Another key factor was region. The lives of the subject and artist must intersect at the same time in the same place. Of course, comparison of artists’ style and technique is essential, but a simple logical system narrows the choices. Fine Art Investigations works with museums and historical societies as well as individuals.
Fine Art Investigations merged computer skills, scientific methodology, and professional art research into a comprehensive system to identify the work of 19th century American portrait artists.
The foundation of the system is academic knowledge of American art history. Building the system into an efficient method of artist identification evolved from practical experience and a compulsion to organize: a database of hundreds of artists linked to thousands of image files. Artists to whom Fine Art Investigations restored the moral right to correct attribution include Jacob Eichholtz, William Edward West, George Esten Cooke, Samuel Bell Waugh, Manuel Joachim de Franca, Wilhelm Heinrich Funk, William James Hubard, Edwin F. Goddard, Alban Jasper Conant, David Gilmour Blythe, George Esten Cooke and Chester Harding.
With one good clue, FAI can answer the questions: When was the artwork painted? Who was the portrait artist? Who was the portrait subject? How should the portrait be cared for? Click these links to see how to get started and how much will it cost.
When there is no conflict of interest (when the portrait artist is already known), FAI can answer the question: What is the best way to sell the artwork? Click here for examples of artworks brokered by Fine Art Investigations.