Certificate of authenticity of the artwork

It is not uncommon for an artist to wonder how to prove that he is the legitimate author of his painting. Meanwhile, the practice has already been formed in the world, according to which authorship, as well as the description of his work, the artist directly enters into a certain certificate of authenticity of the work of art. What is it, and also how such a certificate will help the buyer and the author, we decided to find out in more detail.


Certificate of authenticity of the artwork

A certificate of authenticity of a work of art is a document confirming the authorship and authenticity of a work of art. This document is a guarantee on the part of the author (for example, the artist) that a third party (the purchaser of the work) buys the genuine author’s work. The presence of such a certificate is a necessary condition for, for example, the sale of paintings at auctions (in the case of resale, the author of the picture will also receive a reward, as provided for by the legislation of the country “On the right to follow,” in which the author is a resident).


What should the certificate of authenticity contain?

  • Photography and title of the artwork;
  • Surname and first name (pseudonym) of the artist;
  • Material/technique/other elements of art work performance;
  • Year of creation of the work;
  • Exact dimensions of the work;
  • The place of creation of the work (city and country);
  • It will also not be superfluous to indicate the contact details of the author of the work for ease of payment of remuneration in the future (right to follow).

Such Certificate of Authenticity is signed personally by the artist, and is also created in at least two (optionally in three) copies – one copy for the buyer, the second – remains with the artist, and the parties can agree to create another third copy of such a certificate and send for storage to a third party (depository).

Why do you need such a certificate?

For the buyer: in the case of the purchase of a certain work of art, such a certificate is an additional guarantee of the authenticity of a specific work of art, proof of its originality, ownership of the authorship of this work, proof of the originality of the work and proof of the authorship of this artist (almost as an analogue of the registration of copyright for the work). The certificate of authenticity is similar to the passport of the work of art itself. The certificate can only be issued for the original of the author’s work, and not for the author’s copy (this moment is worth remembering).

For the artist: important for the artist is that the artist, as the author, retains a number of property copyrights (especially for key uses) in relation to such paintings, namely, a work of art cannot be reproduced without the written consent of the author (this can also be indicated in such a certificate). In addition, the certificate of authenticity of the work of art will significantly affect the increase in the cost of the work of art at the time of advertising and sale.


Lawyers of the Legal House “Copyright” advise to draw up an agreement on the transfer of rights, which indicates the methods of using the work that the author transfers. Such an agreement goes, as a document also to the certificate of authenticity for each work of art, which is signed by the artist (author). This is not only proof of authorship, but also serves as a means of increasing its own sales income, including obtaining royalties from resale at auctions.

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