All About The Artist's Certificate of AuthenticitySaturday, September 12, 2009
What Is a Certificate of Authenticity?
How to get a COA
What an authentic Certificate of Authenticity should include
- It should be authored by the artist, or their publisher or dealer or agent and if the COA is authored by someone other than the artist, it should state who and what their relationship to the artist is and their full contact details.
- Name of the artist and preferably their location and contact details (and web address).
- Title of the artwork.
- Date of completion. There are various dates that can be included, depending on the medium involved. For paintings, the date of completion. For prints there is the date of completion of the original, the date of this print edition and the date of signing the print. These all help art historians and collectors to understand the timeline of the artist’s work.
- Medium. The materials used to create the artwork. For prints of an original artwork in another medium, both the medium of the original and the medium of the print should be listed. The exact materials used in creating the piece helps the collector to verify they have the authentic artwork, and greatly helps conservation decisions. This can include the paint or ink type, the printing device, the canvas or paper type, source and weight and any pertinent or known archival properties. Professional artists prefer to use professional grade materials and take pride providing a piece made for longevity.
- Description or preferably an image of the artwork.
- Artwork dimensions. This helps the buyer to check whether the art piece has been altered since it's completion. It also makes it easy for them to order a correctly sized frame.
- Signature of the artist.
- Copyright statement. The copyright holder should definitely be identified and possibly also the applicable law and any reproduction rights. It is possible that the work will be under a public license or only have some rights reserved. In this case, copying of the work may be permissible.
- Extras which can be included are additional information on the techniques used to create the image, further information about the subject matter of the artwork, artist’s comments on the piece and for photos, details such as where the shot was taken, the GPS benchmark, date, time of day and camera used.
For prints, there are quite a number of extra details that should be included:
- The number of this particular print within the edition and the edition size. ie 4/10 (print 4 of 10 prints)
- Whether the edition is an open edition (more prints can be produced at any time) or limited.
- The number of prints and proofs in the edition that are signed/numbered, signed only, and unsigned/unnumbered.
- Whether the edition is a restrike or posthumous edition.
- Whether the edition is part of a series of editions. eg artist proof, press proof, transfer, etc.
- The status of the plate or master. Is it destroyed or on file? If the master has been destroyed then the edition is truly limited.
- Name and location (and web address) of the Master printer / publisher.
- Signature of the printmaker