Find peace in mind knowing when you shop at GallArt.com that the artwork you purchase is genuine and always comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.
What Is a Certificate of Authenticity?
A Certificate of Authenticity is a bit like an artwork’s birth certificate, passport and quality guarantee all rolled into one.
Essentially, a COA is a document, created by the artist or someone who is an expert on the artist, which accompanies an artwork and contains all the information a collector could need to verify if the piece of art is genuine.
A Certificate of Authenticity (COA) provides a lot of concrete detail about a piece, but by existing for a particular piece, it says even more. An artwork that has a COA is one that is made by a professional practicing artist, not an amateur. It is a piece that has collectible value. The Certificate adds a tangible credibility to the work. It can help the work hold its value.
The COA is held to be an indirect promise of quality. Art pieces that have a COA have usually been made by an artist who cares about their work, its longevity and their collectors. The piece is likely to have been created from the best materials available, be designed to last and been created by an expert. Back to the concrete details, the Certificate will provide all the information on the medium(s) of the piece needed for conservation that might otherwise be lost forever.
Certificates protect the artist and the buyer by helping to prove that an artwork is original. Cheap copies sold without an artist’s knowledge or consent is unfortunately common. Without a COA attached, this situation makes it next to impossible for the buyer to be confident of the value of the piece or for the artist to maintain their credibility and their livelihood.
As an art collector, you really must only buy Fine Art pieces that are backed by a Certificate of Authenticity. This helps ensure that what you have bought at a premium is genuine and not counterfeit.
A key highlight of Sotheby’s evening Impressionist and modern art sale next month is a rare Vincent Van Gogh still life with an estimate of $30–50 million. Sotheby’s calls Still Life, Vase with Daisies and Poppies (1890) “the most important still life by Van Gogh to appear at auction in more than two decades” and Simon Shaw, co-head of the Impressionist and modern art department worldwide noted that the “beautiful, vibrant composition captures in sharp relief the intensity of the artist at the height of his mania, only weeks before his tragic end.”
Certainly today’s booming global art market provides an appropriate backdrop for a bidding battle over this work. Few artist names resonate more with art lovers and collectors or have the kind of star power that can draw masses to museum and gallery shows. “The Van Gogh name is one of the few truly magic global names. It’s a name that resonates in Beijing as it does in London, San Francisco, and Kiev,” says Shaw.
Despite this, the Dutch artist has what is arguably one of the most erratic auction track records in the world, often rising and falling in tandem with broader collecting and economic trends. Compounding this is the relative scarcity of major works available, given the artist’s short, turbulent life and the fact that most works have already been snapped up for good by prestigious museums including the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Drawing on artnet Analytics data going back to 1985, we took a look at some of the highs and lows of this market.
The 1980s Art Market Boom
Van Gogh auction totals skyrocketed along with the broader art market, from $13.8 million in 1985 to $124.3 million in 1987, and then plummeted to $4.5 million in 1988. Van Gogh was among the artist names—along with Pierre Auguste Renoir—most closely associated with speculative buying by Japanese collectors.
In 1990, when an aggressive Japanese businessman named Ryoei Saito (who later ran into financial trouble and was arrested for bribing a politician over a property deal) shelled out a stunning $82.5 million for Van Gogh’s Portrait of Dr. Gachet, it became the most expensive painting ever sold at auction, a distinction it maintained for many years afterward. That year, auction volume for Van Gogh was $110.7 million. Four years later, in 1994, it was zero.
Scarcity of available works is also a major factor. For some of his Imp/mod sale contemporaries like the prolific Picasso, it is not unusual to see upwards of a half-dozen works in a major evening sale. The fact that major Van Goghs are so rare and so expensive often translates to huge swings in volume. In May 2006, Christie’s offered a portrait of Madame Ginoux, a proprietor of a local café in Arles that Van Gogh frequented during his stay there from 1888 to 1889. L’Arlésienne Madame Ginoux (1890) sold for $40.3 million, barely scraping the low end of the $40–50 million estimate but accounting for the lion’s share of the 2006 $53.5 million auction total, according to artnet Analytics. Three of four paintings offered that year found buyers.
The Economic Crisis Catches Up to the Art Market
In 2007, amid the height of the housing crisis and the broader downturn in the global economy, Sotheby’s had an expensive buy-in on its hands when The Fields (Wheat Fields) (1890) failed to find a bidder on its lofty estimate of $28–35 million. The total that year was a relatively slim $7.3 million for three works sold. (Sotheby’s confirmed that the work was later sold privately.) Conversely, one of the lowest totals on record was in 2000, when eight works came to auction. Of these, six were sold for a total of $9.5 million.
A Record Price for Irises…Or Not?
At times, the colorful characters involved with buying Van Gogh works have been as much a part of the story as the prices. In 1987, immediately on the heels of the massive October 1987 stock market crash, Australian financier Alan Bond paid $53.9 million for Van Gogh’s Irises (see “10 Game Changing Auctions.”). That year also marked the highest-ever overall volume of Van Gogh work sold at auction with $124 million, a level that has not been exceeded in a single year since, according to artnet Analytics.
When it was revealed nearly two years later that Sotheby’s had lent Bond about $27 million—roughly half the purchase price—and that Bond still wasn’t fully paid up, many observers deemed the $53.9 million price inflated and “manipulated.” They said it had inspired false confidence in the ability of the art market to withstand broader economic volatility. The painting was eventually snapped up for an undisclosed price by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, where it still hangs today.
The whereabouts of Dr. Gachet remain decidedly more mysterious. Ryoei Saito sparked outrage when he publicly proclaimed that he would be buried with Dr. Gachet as well as with Pierre Auguste Renoir’s Au Moulin de Galette (1876) which he paid $78.1 million for at Sotheby’s just two nights later. Dr. Gachet was reportedly eventually sold to Austrian financier Wolfgang Flottl, who also ran into his own financial difficulties. Dr. Gachet has not been seen in public since the 1990 Christie’s auction.
Meanwhile, Shaw said the upcoming still-life has been drawing interest from around the world, but notably interest from both mainland China and Hong Kong, as well as from Brazil, where growing ranks of newly wealthy buyers have embraced collecting. At the Sotheby’s London auction this past February of L’homme est en mer (1889) the painting sold for $27.5 million (£16.9 million), far higher than its $13 million high estimate—Shaw says other palpable factors contributing to its ultimate high price were global demand and an emphasis on the “best of the best.”
George Lawler always knew his father was a criminal — his mug shot had been on New York City’s most wanted list in 1962. What he did not know was that his father had been a muse, of sorts, for Andy Warhol.
Mr. Lawler’s father, Thomas Francis (Duke) Connelly, was one of Warhol’s subjects in the installation “13 Most Wanted Men,” which was briefly displayed at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. He was sought for robbing at gunpoint a Chase Manhattan Bank branch in Woodside, Queens, in 1955, and making off with over $300,000.
He and his wife, Ann Connelly, went on the run with their two children, whom they later abandoned. The couple were never found.
Now, Mr. Connelly’s portrait, or police photo, depending on how you look at it, is one of nine on view at the Queens Museum as part of an exhibition titled “13 Most Wanted Men: Andy Warhol and the 1964 World’s Fair.”
On Thursday, Mr. Lawler and his wife traveled from their home in Essex, Conn., to view his father as a work of art. “I still can’t believe that my father, the bank robber, is associated with Andy Warhol,” he said. “That completely blows my mind.”
Mr. Lawler and his sister, Veronica Gural, a nurse at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, never saw their parents after 1955, when Mr. Lawler was left by his mother in a church in Wilmington, Del., and his sister at a 5 & 10 store in Baltimore.
“I was only 2 years old at the time,” Mr. Lawler said, “and I swear I remember this, although my wife doesn’t believe me, but I knew my mother was full of soup when she left me at that church and said she’d be right back.”
Mr. Lawler and his sister were adopted by their mother’s sister and her husband, Mary and Joseph Lawler, and raised in Richmond Hill, Queens. Joseph Lawler was a police officer. When the younger Mr. Lawler was 14, his adopted father told him who his real father was: a thief who had run with a much tougher group of Irish gangsters and hit men on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Larissa Harris, one of the show’s curators, said that meeting Mr. Lawler and hearing his story added a new dimension to the show, and that it helped bring it from the 1960s into the present.
“The show is about art, but it’s also about political and social history,” she said. “And now we have a fantastic story that helps it all come to life.”
Mr. Lawler looked around the gallery, taking it all in. He looked at his father’s portrait and said: “Wasn’t it Andy Warhol who said everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame? Here’s mine, I guess.”
Read the full article from the NY Times.
Check out our Andy Warhol collection here.