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The profession of art expert

  • The profession of art expert

The profession of art expert

The role of the expert

The role of the expert is the search for the truth. The artwork expert covers a series of missions, all oriented around the identification, estimation and recognition of the work. He carries out appraisals with a view to estimating the price of works of art. It carries out inventories (furniture, paintings, works of art). He intervenes during partition and inheritance. He participates in the drafting of collection catalogues. For insurers and brokers, they carry out all missions within the framework of pre-insurance or post-disaster estimates. His intervention will be of precious assistance after a disaster (theft, fire, water damage).

Experts in works of art can exercise their skills according to specialities covering the various fields of art.

The expertise

This complex profession requires a true ethic to be practised in the rules of the trade. All experts must be recognised by their peers and must provide proof of their true competence, years of experience in their own speciality, responsibility and independence. The obligation of the expert is 'an obligation of means and not of result'.

The expert is not obliged to say whether the furniture or object concerned is true or false, but he must bring all his knowledge and research to bear on the examination. The expert must also maintain discretion and confidentiality with regard to the works proposed to him. The expert must use all his senses to examine what is submitted to him. The report is physical. Touch is necessary. An osmosis is established between the expert and the work of art. He must know how to feel and listen to the object in his hands to make it speak, to go beyond his theoretical knowledge which is necessary but not sufficient. His sharp, refined eye scrutinizes the work. No detail can escape him.

He must know how to recognize the technique of the construction period. A good expert is passionate about his art.

The best school is that of daily practice. His studies, his research, his experience allow him to find in his memory the determining elements of the work which they compare with the examined piece. Curious, he is constantly learning and improving in order to continue his research in archives, publications, libraries and museums in France and abroad. The expert cannot rely on his first impression, the margin of error is too large. His certainty must be based on his knowledge and on a methodical analysis of the material. The expert must be cautious in his judgement and maintain a good dose of humility. When in doubt, abstain', as the saying goes. The expert will certify the attribution of a work of art only if he can gather all the evidence to guarantee it. The expert is a man of art and not a scientist.

What is an EXPERT? What is an EXPERT?

In Europe, the title of expert unfortunately does not yet have a precise legal framework.
Any individual, adviser, merchant, broker or private individual, can use the title of expert, without having the necessary skills and ethics.

This is the reason why in France and abroad, Art professionals have grouped together in organisations, federations, chambers or unions. The main aim of these organisations is to select professional players, in order to guarantee sellers, buyers or holders of works of art that they are dealing with a person whose honesty and knowledge are recognised in their field.

Why use an Approved EXPERT?

By issuing you with a certificate of authenticity (document with photograph, description and measurements), the expert specifies the time when the object was created, its origin, its condition, the possible existence of restorations or transformations. The expert may specify the replacement value of the object.

It is indeed essential to know or to update the replacement value of your works of art. This is not the price at which the objects were purchased, but the price to be paid today to acquire equivalent works of art. This is the amount on which insurance will be based in the event of a claim or theft. FNEPSA experts are authorised to draw up such certificates.

Before sharing or selling works of art, it is important to know the authenticity of your objects and their real value. Before acquiring a work of art, it is necessary to make sure that this object is sold with a certificate made by a competent expert.