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How do I Find an Art Expert?

Jessica Ellis
Updated May 17, 2024
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If you are seeking advice or appraisal about a work of art, or simply have a specialized question to ask, an art expert may be able to provide you with the knowledge you need. "Art expert" is a broad term, encompassing many individuals from broad educational and experiential backgrounds. Be sure to check the credentials of any expert you discuss personal items with, and remember that a second opinion is never a bad idea.

To find an art expert, you may begin on a local level by talking to nearby antique dealers or local museums. Try to discover if they use a local appraiser or firm that may point you in the right direction. If your question is about a specific artist, historical period, or style, you may need to look for an art expert that specializes in the field.

Consider checking with the art department of any nearby universities, but be careful to look at credentials. Degrees in art history or art, while valuable, do not necessarily mean that a person is truly an art expert. Be sure to ask polite questions about the background and experience of anyone you speak to, particularly if your questions regard a potential new discovery that could have financial value. Additionally, if any nearby art museums deal with the period or artist you are researching, consider requesting an appointment with the curator.

If you have a piece of art with an undetermined origin or history that you think may be valuable or historically significant, consider contacting an art expert who works at an appraisal firm. For a fee, these companies can research and discover the history, artist, and market value of a piece. If you are planning to have the artwork insured or are preparing it for sale, it is important to find an appraiser whose work is certified by a recognized appraising organization. For a list of such experts, try contacting one of the many overseeing appraisal groups, such as the American Society of Appraisals, Appraisers Association of America, International Society of Appraisers, or the Private Art Dealers Association.

If your questions are more general, such as how to get into collecting or research for a publish work, you may be able to answer your own art questions. Thousands of publications are available online and in libraries on the history of art and the lives of artists. For help directing your search, contact local professors and museums. Art lovers often enjoy discussing their obsession and may be happy to set you on the right path.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for WiseGeek. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.
Discussion Comments
By anon349429 — On Sep 26, 2013

It does not sound like the usual representation of a last supper. And I'm only guessing, but it almost sounds like a Masonic reference, with no link in my mind to the really stupid movie and book-- "The Da Vinci Code" (stupid from a factual and historical perspective).

Anyway, the numbers might also be references to texts in the Bible...? It doesn't sound like typical Christian iconography (symbolism). You'd have to post some photos somewhere, say how it came into your possession, and give some description of the visual acuity of your own naked eyes before any one could get a good idea of where you are coming from in relation to the picture. Good luck. -- Jabbahdah.

By anon219925 — On Oct 04, 2011

I have a Last Supper painting and all the Disciples have dates in the palms of their hands, and other symbols too. Of course it takes a magnifying glass to see and also a camera to really zoom in. One other thing on this picture is Jesus has the date in his hands the date, 1373. There are dates like on the ninth one, 13 on neck and A.D. on the sixth one, the number 13 is on his forehead, and if you bring the picture up more closely, you can see prophets surrounding Jesus. They are in robes. Is this for real?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
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