Scientific Analysis, Traceability and Study of Artworks

Art forgeries

It is believed that at least 40% of artworks on the market are forgeries.

The press often surprises with news about the proliferation of art fakes and even to the world's most prestigious museums, including the British Museum or the Louvre, have organized exhibitions this topic. It is considered that an artwork is a forgery when someone sells it as an authentic of an author but really knows that the author was another. To copy, to paint "in the way of" or to make a pastiche is not a crime and they have been different forms of learning of the artists in all ages.

We can find two types of forgeries: the new creation artwork and the ancient artwork that a profitable commercial attribution is given, even with manipulations as addition or elimination of a signature. Nowadays, the application of scientific techniques to art market has become an essential practice to catalogue works of art.

Some forgeries analyzed in our lab are shown. In all cases, the owners have consented the publication of the results.


Initial attribution: Cecilio Pla y Gallardo (Valencia, 1860 - Madrid, 1934)

3 oil paintings on panel (signed and, one of them, dedicated)


Identified pigments:

Rutile: first use in painting, 1940

Phtalocyanine Blue: first use in painting, 1935

Dating: 1940 - nowadays


Initial attribution: Joaquín Torres García (Montevideo, 1874 - 1949)

Oil on canvas (signed and dated, 1930)


Identified pigments:

Rutile: first use in painting, 1940

Pigment Violet 23: first use in painting, 1960

Dating: 1960 - nowadays


Initial attribution: Ricard Opisso i Sala (Tarragona, 1880 - Barcelona, 1966)

Watercolor on paper (signed)


Identified pigments:

Rutile: first use in painting, 1940

Pigment Red 254: first use in painting, 1980

Dating: 1980 - nowadays

This forgery plagiarizes a part of the next original drawing by R. Opisso published in L'Esquella de la Torratxa