4 Common Questions About Getting Art Authenticated

4 Common Questions About Getting Art Authenticated

FAQs About Getting Art Authenticated


In today’s global art market it is estimated that nearly 40% of the works sold every year are forgeries. Knowing the difference between a fake and an original requires the trained eye and knowledge of a qualified authority.

Harry Halff Fine Art is one of few art galleries that offer this level of expertise when it comes to authenticating Julian Onderdonk works.


Below, we answer the top four questions most people have about getting their paintings authenticated.


1. How does someone become a qualified authority?

Qualified authorities are people who have extensively studied the artist in question and worked with artworks by the artist, published work about him or her, curated exhibitions at museums and galleries or have taught courses about the artist.


2. How do I find a qualified authority to authenticate the painting I own?


There are a few ways to locate an authenticator.

  • Reach out to art historians or curators at a specific museum who can direct you to a qualified authority.
  • Get in touch with the author of the catalog raisonné on the artist (if there is one). Oftentimes, authors may be creating an addendum to the catalog raisonné with additional works found after publication. For instance, Harry Halff and Elizabeth Halff are the authors of Julian Onderdonk: A Catalogue Raisonné, and Harry is the expert on Julian Onderdonk works. Harry Halff Fine Art is in the process of creating an addendum and does not charge to authenticate works by Julian Onderdonk.


3. What does the authenticator need from me?

While it’s best for the authenticator to see the art in person, if you are not local often times you can send them a picture of the work.

  1. Send a few images of the entire painting and a few that are close up so the authenticator can see the brush strokes and any signatures on the actual painting.
  2. Include measurements of the painting and copies of any documentation that can contribute to the provenance (origin) of your piece.
  3. If you have bills of sale, newspaper/magazine articles mentioning the piece, names of previous owners or publication in the artists catalogue raisonné, include copies of those too.
  4. Look on the back of the painting. Is there anything written there? Many artists sign the back of their paintings with the title of the work and the location. The authenticator will need to see the signature to evaluate the handwriting.


4. Why is it important to get art authenticated?

The first step in determining the value of a work of art is determining its authenticity. Authenticating gives the work of art validity and helps to begin establishing the value.


We are interested in receiving any information concerning paintings and drawings as well as letters and documents concerning Julian Onderdonk or his works. There is no charge to authenticate works by Julian Onderdonk.


Please call us at 210.279.5200 or email us directly at Halff@HarryHalff.com

All information will be kept confidential.