top of page

Artificial intelligence and art forgeries

The main Swiss radio channel in French "RTS" debated on whether artificial intelligence could help in detecting forgeries in the art market. The discussion was initiated by Christiane Hoppe-Oehl, founder of Art Recognition, a company based in Zurich that created an AI system allowing to recognize whether a work of art is genuine compared to other works by the same artist. The AI System purportedly also helps to detect not only fakes but also forgeries, i.e. works that are in the style of an artist.

I was asked whether AI could help in detecting fakes and forgeries in the art market. In summary, AI contributes to the spectrum of technology available to authenticate works of art. Scientific research is one of the authentication tools available to experts. It will not suffice in and for itself, but most supplements the other tools that are connoisseurship (judgment by eye) and provenance / archival research.

Moreover, the art market has its own rules among which the existence of "expert authorities" for certain artists, specifically for modern and impressionnist works. Without the approval by such expert authorities that a given artwork is the real thing, no auction house or renowned dealer will accept it on consignment.

Hopefully these experts will be open to new technologies and ensure that their authentication processes are reliable. In a context where dealers include large authenticity disclaimers in their terms of sale, the verification of a work's authenticity by buyers remains key.


bottom of page