Authentication Research Service
Since 1970, IFAR has offered a unique, impartial and authoritative Art Authentication Research Service for works of art whose authorship is in question. IFAR draws on its own distinguished Art Advisory Council and an international network of eminent scholars, connoisseurs and conservators. As a nonprofit educational organization with no financial interest in the outcome, IFAR is free to render objective opinions independent of the marketplace and to publish the results of its research. IFAR does not offer monetary appraisals.
Who May Apply
IFAR's Authentication Research Service is offered to museums and other institutions, private individuals, art dealers, and other art professionals. IFAR will only examine a work for an owner or an agent officially representing the owner.
IFAR is able to undertake only a limited number of authentication research projects each year. Therefore, we ask applicants to proceed in two stages. At the preliminary inquiry stage, we request a non-refundable deposit, a signed contract and the documentation and information described on our application form. This includes two professional quality 8" x 10" color photographs and a minimum 4" x 6" size color transparency, together with all provenance information and any verbal or written opinions — positive or negative — that have previously been expressed about the work. We will retain at least one photograph for our records.
Please note: IFAR will rarely accept a work lacking an initial attribution.
If a work is accepted for research and the signed contract by the owner is in-hand, IFAR will assign a researcher, and identify and consult with the appropriate specialists, whether on IFAR's Art Advisory Council or elsewhere. Several experts may be - and usually are - consulted on a project. Generally, their names are provided in IFAR's report; however, certain experts may wish to remain anonymous, usually because their museum or university affiliation requires that. It is, therefore, within the sole discretion of IFAR to determine whether the names of the experts are disclosed.
At the appropriate time, IFAR will ask to examine the work in person. If necessary, we will recommend laboratory analysis (e.g. X-radiography, infrared reflectography, pigment or media testing, fiber analysis, etc.), often at additional cost.
A written report outlining our findings and stating our opinion as to authorship will be presented after the completion of the research. In rare instances, the report may not be conclusive. IFAR does not issue "certificates of authenticity."
As of 2011, IFAR charges an initial, non-refundable $400 deposit at the inquiry stage. This will be applied toward a basic $3,000 cost if IFAR is able to undertake the research and the client and IFAR agree to proceed. Additional charges may be required for technical analysis or other work; however, this will not be undertaken without the owner's consent. All shipping to and from IFAR and insurance costs are the responsibility of the client. Please note: IFAR will not accept responsibility for loss or damage to the artwork for any reason, whether theft, fire, leakage, accidents, or other unforeseen circumstances.
As a nonprofit educational organization, IFAR reserves the right to publish the results of its research in the IFAR Journal or elsewhere; however the owner's name will not be revealed without permission. In this way, IFAR can inform the public and scholars about issues relating to attribution and authenticity, advance scholarship and help prevent the trafficking of forged or misattributed art.
If you are interested in having IFAR research your work, please call or write for additional information and application forms:
IFAR Authentication Research Service
500 Fifth Avenue, Suite 935
New York, NY 10110
(212) 391-6234 between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Mon.-Fri., EST.