Having a work of art, painting or sculpture appraised

A work of art is not an object that can be used at home. A work of art has a "soul" or "aura". This is what makes it difficult to estimate the value of a work of art, a painting or a sculpture. In this article, we will show you how to have your works of art appraised.

Free online estimate

The easiest way to find out the value of a work of art is to make a free online estimate. To do this, you must first find websites that specialise in this sector. You can have paintings, drawings, sculptures, prints, photographs, comics and even fashion items such as jewellery or watches appraised on some of these sites. These sites offer free valuations of the art objects you own without any obligation on your part. After you have given them photos and a brief description of the work of art to be appraised, they will do a free pre-appraisal to give you a numerical estimate of it. It is important to know that the figures are not the same when it comes to a realization value (value for a sale), an estimate for an insurance, or a replacement value before or after a loss. 

Who can estimate and appraise objects and works of art?

In order to make a real and not a virtual estimate of your works of art, you must call upon an expert in this field who is authorised to estimate the value of art objects. This expert is none other than an auctioneer who works for his or her auction house. In addition, he or she can then put these works of art up for sale at public auction with your agreement. The auctioneer can estimate a work of art by appointment or at your home for an inventory. Please note that the first estimate is usually oral and free of charge. However, the auctioneer can also call on a specialist expert to help him or her to clarify the valuation and assessment of the work of art. In addition to the auctioneer, you can also go to specialist dealers or antique dealers who also know the value of the objects very well.

How does an expert estimate a work of art?

The expert who will be in charge of the estimation of a work of art must be equipped with tools such as an illuminating magnifying glass, a microscope, or an ultraviolet lamp to highlight certain repairs, falsifications or old restorations. Several approaches can be taken to estimate a work of art. The expert can use documentary sources: sales catalogues, publications, or possible handwritten letters. He can also look at the sources available on the Internet on the databases of museums, art galleries or foundations. If this research is not enough, the expert can carry out an investigation by making a real survey of people who have been in contact with the artist or his work. In addition, the expert can call on a specialised scientific expert to analyse the pictorial layer of a painting using a number of laboratory techniques. An art restorer may also be called in to provide knowledge of the period and materials used. An art historian can also be useful for his theoretical knowledge enabling him to establish links between styles, periods and artists. These art historians use several tools such as archives, inventories, biographies and works kept in museums and institutions to help the expert better estimate a work of art, a painting or a sculpture.
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