Certificate of Authenticity

Helen Brough, Natural Realities

Helen Brough, Natural Realities

Helen graduated from Chelsea School of Art with an MA in Sculpture in 1990, since then, her artistic trajectory has included group and solo shows internationally, such as The Other Art Fair in Brooklyn NY, the RA Summer Show in London.

John Marchant Gallery presents Ruth Marten

The Birds is US artist Ruth Marten’s third solo exhibition in the UK and brings with it her trademark intrigues and pleasures. Vintage prints and photographs constitute the supports for a cornucopia of fantastical, visual sauts de basque, as Marten delves into the picture surfaces – collaging, rearranging, drawing and painting – ascribing whole new narratives with marvellous precision and verve.

“The Birds, a survey, came about as the result of the abysmal campaign and election in the US which instilled in myself and my friends a strong desire to fly away. Easier said than done, hence the immersion into the realm of birds! Fortunately that world is deep and wide with innumerable interfaces with our own so, whether reflecting natural history of an utterly absurd scenario, there is much material here to play with.” 

The Birds is the continuation of a body of work that Marten instigated ten years ago with Histoire un-Naturelle, shown with the John Marchant Gallery in London; with Gallery Hosfeldt in NYC and, most recently, with Fountains and Alligators at Cologne’s Galerie van der Grinten. 

For Marten’s upcoming exhibition at the Eagle Gallery, all her works will be certified with Tagsmart’s DNA Tags and accompanied by a secure Certificate of Authenticity, guaranteeing proof of ownership and provenance for collectors.

The Birds will be on show until September 30.
159 Farringdon Road, EC1R 3AL

Street artist Bambi uses our synthetic DNA Tags on her artworks

Street artist Bambi, whose works are displayed in the streets of London as well as the homes of celebrities such as Kanye West and Rihanna, now uses our authentication solution, beginning with her Lie Lie Land edition.

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The original located in the Borough of Islington, this stencil depicts the famous dance move made by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in the award-winning movie La La Land. This political piece references the eyebrow-raising moment Theresa May and Donald Trump held hands at a press appearance in Washington.

Her tagged silkscreen prints are now available at Joseph Fine Art and the Endangered Editions websites, all accompanied by our Certificates of Authenticity and Provenance Record. 

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According to Bambi, “Tagsmart is a great way for me to ensure that my work remains mine, as buyers can trace its history and establish with absolute certainty its authenticity. Their triple lock system assures me that my prints and paintings are secure forever.”

For more information, please visit her page on the Tagsmart platform.

Picture perfect for collectors

When it comes to fine art photography, sometimes what you pay for may not be what you get.

Using a camera obscura (a latin term meaning literally ‘dark room’), Nicéphore Niépce produced the first permanent photoetching in 1822, but it was only four years later that the French inventor made the View from the Window at Le Gras, the world’s oldest surviving camera photograph.

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Not long after Niépce’s death in 1833, Louis Daguerre developed the Daguerreotype, the first commercially successful photographic process which reduced the development time from hours to seconds. An international sensation, the popularisation of this technique gave rise to speculations about the “end of painting”. 

In that same period, American pioneer of photography Robert Cornelius produced the earliest surviving selfie (1839) and painter and inventor Hércules Florence had started working out a silver-salt-based paper process in Brazil, later naming it photographie.

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Meanwhile, British inventor William Fox Talbot developed a different process called Calotype (from the Greek kalos, meaning ‘beautiful’ and tupos meaning ‘impression’). Using paper sheets covered with silver chloride to create a negative exposure, it was then placed in contact with another paper so as to print multiple positive copies. This technique is actually very similar to the photographic process in use today.

Making a long story short, almost fifty years later, American inventor George Eastman patented the first photographic roll film and perfected his camera to take advantage of his invention. By 1892, Eastman founded Kodak, and soon after launched the Brownie camera with a price of US$1, bringing, therefore, photography to the mass market (‘You press the button, we do the rest!’).

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Since then, the photography market has experienced a growing technological evolution with the establishment of colour film as a standard, auto-focus, and automatic exposure. These innovations undoubtedly made it easier to capture an image, improve the quality of reproductions and accelerate the processing speed.

From the end of the 20th-century, digital photography minimised costs, sped up processes and facilitated the production, manipulation, storage and distribution of images. However, these technological advances also facilitated the production and circulation of forgeries. 

With so many artists using photography but so few of them printing their own work, forgeries by underpaid darkroom technicians are a common, especially in the vulnerable contemporary market. How problematic the fine art photography forgery has become can be illustrated by recent scandals involving counterfeit prints by Man Ray, Lewis Hine and Crespy Le Prince.

As the number of copies is virtually limitless with today’s printing capabilities, defining an ‘original photograph’ is of great importance. 

Here are some ways to determine the originality of a photographic work:
• Original photographs will have provenance information, including its copyright, typically documented on a Certificate of Authenticity.
• If the artwork is has a Smart Tag, check its tag number on the Tagsmart online platform. Each Smart Tag has its own unique reference number, linked to the work’s secure Certificate of Authenticity and its digital counterpart. Designed to assure the genuineness of artworks, warrant the accuracy of ownership status, and protect buyers and sellers against fakes and forgeries, Tagsmart offers the art market a better, simpler way of doing what it already does, while also solving the problems of trust and credibility.
• If the photograph is labelled as a reproduction, it probably means that the photographer had little (or nothing) to do with the printing, distribution, and selling of that work.
• Finally, accept that if the photograph is priced very cheaply, it is most likely a reproduction.

Artist Lee Ufan’s forgery scandal continues

Three people have been arrested for allegedly forging and selling copies of artist Lee Ufan’s paintings. A National Forensic Service investigation confirmed that the six works in question do not align with genuine pieces by Ufan. The artist, however, maintains that the 13 paintings in questions are his authentic works.

Following a tip-off last December, the police raided Seoul galleries suspected of selling fake artworks by Ufan. The following month the police said that the Certificate of Authenticity for his 1978 painting From Point No. 780217, which was sold for US$415,600 to a private collector at an auction last year, had been forged. Although the artwork itself was proven to be authentic, the incident raised further suspicions surrounding the authenticity of his paintings.

In May and July, the police arrested three art forgers for 55 fake pieces claimed to have been done by Ufan, and selling them through the same gallery implicated in the latest police discovery. With four of the 13 paintings seized by the police credited to this group and six paintings claimed to have been forged by the latest forgery ring, the source or sources of the remaining three seized paintings are still unknown.

Ufan has been steadfast in his claims that the paintings alleged to have been forged are in fact his works. “A person’s flow and rhythm are like one’s fingerprints, which cannot be imitated,” he said at a press conference in June, after examining 13 works the National Forensic Service seized and identified as fake. “They are undoubtedly mine.”

#TagsmartTips for TOAF artists

Hi there! As The Other Art Fair approaches, we at Tagsmart thought we could give you a hand. We know how overwhelming an art fair can be, so we’ve created this handy checklist to help you make sure you don’t forget anything:

1. Photograph all your artworks and ensure you have the best quality digital copies saved.

2. Create your artwork records on the Tagsmart Certify platform: guarantee the authenticity of your artworks, create your online catalogue which can be viewed and shared on social media or via email, and ensure you will be able to issue secure Tagsmart Certificates of Authenticity for your buyers at the fair. Not a Tagsmart Certify artist yet? Register now!

3. Set all prices set and have cheaper priced artworks for those who cannot purchase the more expensive pieces. Don’t forget to bring along some red dot stickers to indicate an artwork has already been sold.

4. Let our team know if you need any Tagsmart Certify materials. Do you need Smart Tags for your artworks? Order them now! How about some promo materials? Just get in touch and we can send you sample Certificates of Authenticity and ‘Tagsmart Registered’ wall stickers.

5. Don’t forget your business cards to be given to your buyers and people who show an interest in your work. How about sending a newsletter to your collectors too?

6. Package and transport the artworks with special care and create label cards to be included alongside the artworks.

7. When setting up the exhibition space, imagine how visitors will interact with your artworks. Which piece will they see first? Try to plan ahead what will be replacing the sold artworks.

8. Take pictures! This is a moment you will want to remember for years to come!

Good luck, have fun and enjoy yourself!

Halidonto's Cyborgs are invading Tagsmart!

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As a Tagsmart Certify artist, Hallidonto now protects his work from being faked or forged and gives his buyers 21st-century peace of mind. Our smart DNA tags attached to his artworks act as a seal of authenticity and our uncopiable physical and digital Certificates of Authenticity provide irrefutable proof of provenance and ownership for his buyers.

Check it out here!

Tag Me Up!

To celebrate the summer, here’s a sizzling hot offer to our favourite artists:

Tagsmart will tag your inventory and all new editions with no upfront cost per tag. You simply pay us when the tagged artwork is sold*.

We want to make it easy for you to secure your artworks with our Smart DNA Tags and uncopiable Certificates of Authenticity, so visit www.tagsmart.com/register now and secure your slot.

*Registration fee and min order quantity apply.