LabCom V1 - Laboratoires communs organismes de recherche publics – PME/ETI

Laboratory-Workshop for authentication of works of art through non-invasive analysis – Lab4Art

Submission summary

The art market, which includes classic and modern art as well as contemporary, is based on a definition of the value of a painting based on its rarity and the "judgment of history", powered by art historians and experts. Recent cases have shown the need for a better traceability of cultural objects to fight against illicit trades (1.5 billion euros in 2012 according to UNESCO) and to combat counterfeiting (no clear estimate is known on its financial impact) and particularly following the cases Beltracchi and Ribbes, two forgers who have produced in France and Germany many pastiches of very high quality. The art market is currently very active, the total amount of auctions of 25 billion euros abroad in 2012 (with more than one third of transactions in China).
The Laboratory of Molecular and Structural Archaeology (LAMS), a research unit (UMR 8220) of CNRS and University Pierre and Marie Curie is developing new methodologies for analyzing Cultural Heritage materials. Non-destructive analyzes are performed with portable instruments developed in the laboratory which can be used in-situ, with great flexibility.
L'Atelier du Temps Passé is a Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) specialized in the conservation and restoration of works of art, and particularly in the field of easel paintings and polychrome art objects, both classical and contemporary. Located in the heart of Paris, under the Viaduct des Arts, the company operates since thirty years, for private and public customers: private collectors, historic monuments, museums, foundations, etc. Today, a small part of its activity is in the field of consulting, expertise and research authentication of works of art.
The joint laboratory Lab4Art (Laboratory-Workshop for authentication of works of art through non-invasive analysis) aims to develop with the Atelier du Temps Passé innovative scientific methods to increase credibility of the painting expertise thanks to new scientific documents. The notion of "lab-workshop" emphasizes the complementarity of the two structures and the need for sharing the methods, know-how and expertise with each other, including the use of the equipment developed at the Laboratory Archaeology Molecular and Structural and its skills in the field of physical chemistry applied to art. The project aims to develop R & D to provide data and scientific images useful for authentication of works of art.

Project coordination

PHILIPPE WALTER (Laboratoire d'archéologie moléculaire et structurale)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


LAMS Laboratoire d'archéologie moléculaire et structurale

Help of the ANR 300,000 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: September 2016 - 36 Months

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