The Assessment of Works of Art Provided by the National Gallery to the General Public
The National Gallery in Prague holds an authorization “to provide expert valuations of paintings, sculptures, graphic works and works created through other media, provided the nature of these art objects is relevant to the activities pursued by the National Gallery in Prague”. The National Gallery in Prague elaborates expert statements for various entities, for example, courts.
The National Gallery in Prague is also authorized to provide paid expert assesments of cultural objects for the general public (both to physical persons and legal entities) for the purposes of:
- determining whether an object is of high artistic value
- confirming or refuting the authorship ascribed to a specific work of art.
Note: This service provided by the National Gallery in Prague does not include the estimate of the object’s potential market value. Such services are granted by auction houses that offer assessment services on their Web pages (some for free).
Expert valuations of artworks are performed by the National Gallery’s art conservation and restoration department, which includes a chemical and technical laboratory, and by the National Gallery’s respective Collections (Collection of Old Masters, Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art, Collection of 19th Century Art, Collection of Prints and Drawings, Collection of Non-European Art), to which the work belongs in terms of its age and character.
A request for the valuation of a cultural object that falls within the activities pursued by the National Gallery in Prague is sent usually together with a photograph of the object (ideally in a 9 x 13 cm format) and relevant information about the object to the National Gallery’s headquarters address hereunder:
Národní galerie v Praze
Staroměstské náměstí 12
110 15 Praha 1
After the request is accepted and a decision is made as to whether the character of the cultural object falls within the activities of the National Gallery in Prague, the applicant is usually invited to bring the object to the National Gallery’s art restoration and conservation department where the applicant will be given free curatorial consultation and a recommendation as to whether or not it would be effective to request an expert statement on the object. Should the applicant wish to have an expert statement elaborated, further procedures will be recommended to the applicant. These include such procedures as:
- X-ray imaging (black-and-white photographs)
- Infrared vidicon camera examination, including colour photographs
- UV luminescence
- Chemical analysis of pigments and grounds, including colour photographs
- Assessment of pigment binders
- Colour-layer stratigraphy in paintings
Based on the applicant’s consent to the services offered, a contract will be drawn up, stating that the art restoration and conservation department is authorized to perform the agreed-upon specialized services. The contract will also give the complete price for the restoration and conservation department’s expert statement (including colour photographs based on the department’s technological examination ordered) and for the expert assessment of the art work made by an art historian from the National Gallery’s respective Collection.