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Friday, February 26, 2010

Restoration and Research Reveal Old Master

It has just been released that an undisclosed settlement has been reached between an English family and Christie’s auction house over a disputed Titian painting. The painting by the Old Master, depicting Salome with the head of St. John the Baptist on a platter, was sold by a brother and sister to Christie’s in 1994 for 8,000GBP only to stumble upon it in a 2004 exhibition entitled “The Age of Titian” at the Scottish National Gallery. In the years between the initial sale and the sibling’s discovery, the painting had been bought and restored by a private collector who sought out and gained authentication of the piece. With an estimated value of between 2.3 million and 3.8 million GPP the couple was obviously upset and filed a lawsuit before they settled out of court with the auction house. Amazingly, the piece even bears the royal monogram of Charles I and had at one point been a part of his personal gallery.

The case illustrates a number of important points about having a third party art appraisal. First, it proves that auction houses and appraisers are not created equal and some may risk a quick sale and forgo the research often required by pieces of questionable and tantalizing origins. In the complaint filed by the owners they claimed “breach of duty and/or negligence” and alleged that “had they been advised that restoration and cleaning work on the Old Master could have lead to verification that it was an original, they would have commissioned art experts to do so” (Brown).

MIR Appraisal Services, Inc. places a heavy premium on research and often suggests that clients have their pieces restored or conserved for the purposes of exposing secrets hidden by years of grime, damage and nicotine. Beyond aiding in further research, getting a restored piece can greatly increase the value and bring out its true brilliance and magnificence. Also, the case of the misdiagnosed Titian highlights the importance of a third party opinion should someone wish to part with a piece. A consultation is relatively inexpensive and almost always will end in saving the client money in the long run. Even if the consultation backs up the claim that it was not executed by an Old Master it will help reinforce your decision and aid peace of mind. Remember, auction houses seek to profit from the value of your artwork while a reputable art appraiser charges a flat fee and therefore is not influenced by the value. MIR Appraisal Services welcomes all potential clients to give us a call at (312) 814-8510.

Written and Researched by Justin Bergquist

MIR Appraisal Services, Inc.

Principal Appraiser: Farhad Radfar, ISA AM 

307 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 308 

Chicago, IL 60601 

(312) 814-8510

Works Cited:

Brown, Jonathan. “Couple Settle after their ‘Titian’ was Sold for a Song,” on The Independent Online.

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    Chicago, Illinois, United States
    Welcome to our blog site! MIR Appraisal Services, Inc. is a fine art and personal property appraisal company dedicated to serving clients throughout the United States and abroad since our incorporation in Chicago in 1994. We specialize in the multi-faceted field of appraising fine art, jewelry, antiques, and decorative items. We also provide professional fine art restoration and conservation treatment for various media, including but not limited to, artworks on canvas, board, masonite, and paper. We offer professional and precise appraisal services carried out by our team of accredited appraisers for the purposes of insurance coverage and claims, charitable donations, estate planning and probate, equitable distribution and fair-market value. We started our art commentary blog site as a venue for colleagues and fellow art enthusiasts to share their experiences within the art community.