The authenticity of an object is impossible to prove, said Bezur, since scientists and experts alike cannot definitively determine that an artist did create a work; it is only possible to disprove its supposed origins or to strengthen the case for its authenticity.
In addition to directly analyzing a work’s composition, art conservators and art historians may evaluate stylistic details such as brushstroke patterns and subject matter. These clues can be useful for determining the period in which a work of art was created.
“Sometimes it’s not so much [about] finding fakes, it’s just trying to precisely date something to find out exactly what it is,” said Ian McClure, chief art conservator at Yale University Art Gallery. For example, McClure’s lab is currently studying a piece of textile that could be from either the early third century or the nineteenth century.
Should scientists detect the presence of a material such as an aniline dye in the weaving, they could tentatively conclude that the fabric has more modern origins. Optical microscopy is one of the many laboratory techniques conservation scientists and conservators routinely use to analyze artwork.
Another mode of supporting claims of authenticity is to trace an object’s provenance—the paper trail of photographs, transaction receipts, exhibition records, or other documentation that strengthens the legitimacy of an artwork. Provenance can act as a historical certification of sorts, allaying fears that a forger, contemporary with the apparent artist, might have faked the artwork.
Unfortunately, even provenance can be faked. Just as an object can be warped to create the appearance of age—legend has it that Yale’s own Harkness Tower was artificially aged with acid—there also are methods to fake the documentation of a painting’s history. In 2011, for instance, a case of 20th-century artworks forged by the artist Wolfgang Beltracchi made international headlines. Bezur said that investigators of that case uncovered falsified black-and-white photographs from the 1940s, depicting some of the paintings in a private collection, had been used to bolster the work’s legitimacy.
The project we are about to undertake is monumental. Every dollar received will go directly into the effort to uncover the truth about the origin and creator of the artwork. All expenses will be properly recorded and made available to the public upon request for inspection.
Forensics don't lie and we'd like the facts to speak for themselves. Utilizing the most recent breakthroughs in technology, SDALI.ORG intends to conduct the following:
* Visual analysis against official catalog of known works.
* Handwriting analysis of Salvador Dali signatures.
* Near Infared Spectromety
* Carbon Dating (C14).