Artist Identification

The College Arts Association (CAA), which promotes best practices in the visual arts,  expresses the legal and ethical standard for accurate artist identification as a consensus of evidence from art-historical documentation, including (1) provenance (2) stylistic connoisseurship  (3) technical or scientific analysis. This “three-legged stool approach” is the foundation for professional art research and of Fine Art Investigations’ comprehensive system for portrait artist identification.

With one good clue, and through accurate dating, art historical and genealogical research, connoisseurship, Morellian analysis, and coordination of technical analysis and second opinions from other experts, Fine Art Investigations (FAI) identifies portrait artists. When requested, we provide advice on conservation, preservation, and selling.[1] According to IRS guidelines, Fine Art Investigations is qualified to appraise 19th century American portraits.

Prerequisites for Portrait Artist Identification

  1. Dimensions of the work: exterior (framed) and interior (unframed)
  2. Provenance (history of ownership)
  3. Good photographs of the painting
    • In its entirety with frame
    • In its entirety with as little of the frame showing as possible
    • Closeups of major objects, including face and hands, if shown
    • Back
  4. Payment of retainer
  5. A statement that you understand that compensation will not assure a specific conclusion and that the balance of payment will be paid immediately after the project concludes.

Theodore Sidney Moise & Trevor Thomas Fowler
Man in a Blue Vest, ca. 1840
Collection of Andrew LaMar Hopkins.
Used with permission


1. To both authenticate and sell tempts conflict of interest. We can offer advice on selling, but only broker paintings that we did not authenticate.