Thank you

One year later: a letter from the Tagsmart team

Today we celebrate the one year anniversary of Tagsmart Certify. In that past year, we have made a commitment to continue to advance our authentication solutions so as to establish a new standard for authenticity in art and we’re pleased to say that we have achieved enormous goals in the last 12 months.

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Consciuous of the art market’s needs and lack of regulation, transparency and standards, we have produced stellar first-to-market advances. In April 2016, we proudly introduced to the industry its first all-round complete art authentication solutions. Our DNA Smart Tags for paper works, paired with a unique system for issuing secure Certificate of Authenticity, enabled for the first time artists, galleries and estates to assure the genuineness of their works and protect themselves and collectors against fakes, forgeries and misattributions.

Some months later, our Smart Tag for aluminium works was added to the Tagsmart solution, making it the first standalone secure genetic “stamp” to identify, seal and verify the authenticity of aluminium based works such as photographs. By this time, we have also provided artists with a means to issue secure Retrospective Certificates of Authenticity for works already sold which lacked this crucial document to guarantee its authenticity and generate its accredited ownership history.

Today, as a way to celebrate one year since the launch Tagsmart Certify, we are thrilled to announce the release of our most advanced solution, the Smart Tag for canvas works. A groundbreaking resource for the art world, our new Smart Tag will now empower artists, galleries and estates to set right issues of credibility and trust and offer protection to a larger segment of the market.

Inspiringly, our hard work and product innovation have been greatly noticed by art market in the past 12 months. Always at the forefront of all our activities, our focus on providing an outstanding solution and our dedication to our customers has proved instrumental to our success. In our first year, we have signed up hundreds of artists, including contemporary masters like Marc Quinn, Chris Levine, Mario Testino, Idris Khan and Deborah Azzopardi, as well as some of the most talented emerging figures such as Dan Hillier, Martin Yeoman and Bambi. We also had the pleasure of partnering with influential galleries such as Art Republic, the Mall Galleries, Beers London and Joseph Fine Art, and awe-inspiring estates like The Guirado Estate and The Ken Howard Foundation. Our deepest thanks to all of you, who’ve given us invaluable assistance and feedback throughout this period.

Tagsmart has also caught a lot of interest from the media. We are extremely proud to have been featured in some of UK’s biggest news outlets such as the BBC, the Sunday Times, Sky News and Reuters, as well as in art magazines and portals such as The Art Newspaper, Artsy, artdaily.org and State F22. We were equally delighted with the outstanding response we had in events such as The Other Art Fair, Art16, The Art Business Conference and the London Art Fair, motivating us to continue to develop solutions in a way that is innovative, reliable and with high quality.

None of this would have been possible without the exceptional guidance of our Advisory Board, which features world-renowned art collector Robert Suss as well as some of the world’s leading superheroes in the fine arts and materials science: Dr Matthew Baker, Mike Triggs, Dr Carinna Parraman, Professor John Watts, Dr Melanie Bailey, Graham Bignell, Professor Bill Redman-White, Joanne Wilson, Aino-Leena Grapin, Amy Todd Middleton, Colette Loll and Mike Adam. Thank you for your support and encouragement, always.

As we step into another year, we would like to share with you the marking of a year of Tagsmart Certify and the accomplishment of significant milestones, culminating with the launch of our new Smart Tag for works on canvas. 

But most importantly, we would like to say our most since ‘thank you’, after all this celebration is also yours.

– Tagsmart Team

Museum rewards donor with fake art to hang at home

After collector Henry Bloch donated an enviable group of impressionist artworks to the city’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the museum returned the favor, sort of.

The museum printed digital copies of each of Mr. Bloch’s 29 paintings—including examples by Edouard Manet, Vincent van Gogh and Henri Matisse—and delivered the framed replicas to his home two months ago so he could hang them in the exact same spots as the originals. Mr. Bloch said the copies are so realistic, he has to peer closely to discern the differences. “Every museum should be offering this service,” he said.

Art forgers aren’t the only ones using technology to produce ever-more-convincing fake paintings. Museums, in a rarely discussed practice, are churning them out as thank-you gifts to major donors. Curators say it’s mostly a taboo topic because the recipients don’t always like to admit they’ve got a glorified poster hanging in the place of a masterpiece, but Sotheby’s said auction houses have long gifted their major consignors with framed copies of big-ticket items. 

Julian Zugazagoitia, CEO and director of the Nelson-Atkins, said he initially considered the Bloch copies to be a fluky one-off, a gesture that could allow the museum to display Mr. Bloch’s art as part of its permanent collection when it reopens its renovated European art galleries March 11. Otherwise, it would have had to wait for the works to be given in a promised bequest as part of the 94-year-old collector’s estate. (Mr. Bloch’s foundation paid $12.7 million for the renovation.)

Yet as word spread of the museum’s unconventional offer, the director said his own trustees started reaching out, seeking prints for their art holdings. The director said going public about the potential perk could elicit gifts while donors are still alive. “The offer is becoming part of my tool kit now,” Mr. Zugazagoitia said.

Mr. Zugazagoitia said he is aware that such swapping could undermine one of the intangible factors that fuel an artwork’s value, namely the evidence of the artist’s own handiwork or at least the artist’s legitimising involvement. The museum itself will continue to display only original works, not copies. “We still believe in the aura of artists’ works,” he said. “People who come here need to see the originals.”The museum’s knockoffs are designed to look real—but only from the front so as not to dupe anyone long-term, said Steve Waterman, the museum’s director of design and experience. The fake canvases lack telltale brush strokes, and the backs of their frames lack gallery labels and other notations that appraisers and authenticators typically use to determine a work’s legitimacy.