Comparative Analysis

Step 1 in Mearto’s fine art authentication process.


Comparative Analysis

What is Comparative Analysis?

Comparative analysis is a side-by-side comparison of your work of art to others that have been positively attributed to the artist in question. For example, if you have a painting that you believe to be by French Impressionist, Johannes Vermeer, we look at all of the paintings that experts agree are authentic works by Vermeer to check for stylistic inconsistencies between his body of work (also called an oeuvre) and your painting. Think of it as a very high-level version of “spot the differences.”

How is comparative analysis performed?

We use the well-respected and recognized techniques of Morellian and van Dantzig analysis to look for inconsistencies that may include, but are not limited to:

  • the artist’s signature
  • color choices
  • brushstroke patterns
  • anatomy and facial features
  • landscape details
  • architectural details
  • costume details
  • dimensions

  • We also consider the composition as a whole and how it fits into the artist’s personal and professional timeline. In most cases, if at least three major inconsistencies are found, we conclude that the artwork in question is not authentic.

    When possible, we use the artist’s catalogue raisonné as a source for comparable works of art. If an artist does not have a catalogue raisonné, we may also rely on museum collections, exhibition catalogues and records of sale from major international auction houses.

    What do I get if I purchase comparative analysis from Mearto?

    The deliverable for our comparative analysis product is an illustrated report of at least 20 pages, which documents research methods and findings to support our authenticity conclusion. It includes a full bibliography and may contain recommendations for further research.

    How long will it take to receive my report?

    Standard turnaround time is two (2) weeks, but may vary based on our current volume and the complexity of research required to authenticate your work of art. Rush delivery is available upon request.

    How much does a comparative analysis report cost?

    We provide a personalized estimate for each comparative analysis report based on your budget and needs, and as a function of research hours required. If you use our online form to submit images and information about your work of art, you will receive an offer within 48 hours. You may also email your request to [email protected]

    What should I do if the results of my report are negative?

    Our conclusion is confidential and you are able to do whatever you would like with our report and your work of art. However, we would caution against selling an artwork that we have determined as fake to avoid any unwanted legal consequences.

    If the results of the report are positive, will Mearto issue a certificate?

    If your work of art is by a somewhat obscure artist, or is not particularly valuable (minimum estimate of $5,000 or less), the comparative analysis report may be the only necessary step in the authentication process and we may decide to issue a certificate based on the results of this report alone. However, in most cases, we recommend additional steps - provenance research and/or scientific analysis when the results of your comparative analysis report are positive.

    Our Techniques

    Comparative Analysis

    A side-by-side comparison of your work of art to others that have been positively attributed to the artist in question. We form a professional option based on careful consideration of many factors related to the artist's documented technique and stylistic preferences.

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    Provenance Research

    The important task of tracing your work of art all the way back to the artist who created it. We search the world’s top libraries and archives to fill in the missing pieces of your artwork’s history with records of sale and exhibition, legal documents and old photographs.

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    Scientific Analysis

    The use of special technology to look beneath the surface of a work of art and study the materials that were used to create it. We look for attribution clues with the aid of advanced imaging, and can accurately date a work of art by testing pigment and other material samples.

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