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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Buyer Beware: Authenticating Your Purchase of Beauford's Art

A recently published article in ArtForum entitled "Dealers Say Counterfeit Artworks by African American Artists Are on the Rise" opens with the following statement:

"As African American artists have done increasingly well in the art market, shattering auction records and creating a surge in demand, there has been a corresponding growth in the number of forgeries attributed to African American artists, from Alma Thomas to Charles White."

This statement applies to Beauford's art. Last year, sale prices of his work at several auctions far exceeded expectations. An example is Swann Auction Galleries' sale of Untitled (Village Street Scene) for $557,000 (including buyer's premium), when the estimated sale price was $150,000 to $250,000.

Untitled (Village Street Scene)
(1948) Oil on canvas
737x1016 mm; 29x40 inches
Signed and dated in oil, lower left.
Image from Swann Auction Galleries Web site
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

At the same time, there were many occasions when I wanted to publish an article about one or more works being offered at auction and permission to publish was denied by the Beauford Delaney estate because the pieces were suspected to be forgeries.

Requiring proof of authentication is a critical step in acquiring works of fine art and yet this is not always the easiest thing to accomplish. If you are new to collecting, you may want to learn more about this. So I am providing links to several online sources of information that pertain to this topic. I hope you'll find them useful!

Note that Les Amis does not endorse any of these sources or the information that they provide.

What Counts as an Artwork’s Proof of Authenticity

What Every Art Collector Needs to Know About Provenance

Art Provenance: What It Is and How to Verify It

Everything You Need to Know About the Certificate of Authenticity

How to Tell if your Artwork is Fake

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