Certified by Artclear
Presented by the John Martin Gallery at Cromwell Place
Andrew Gifford was on view 6-11 December 2022 at Cromwell Place, London SW7
Works of art sold in this exhibition are accompanied by an Artclear Certificate of Authenticity (or “CoA”). As the first ever show to use Artclear’s new service, Andrew Gifford’s works are unique not just as paintings, but as milestones in the history of art and technology.
Angus Scott, CEO of Artclear: “This is a huge step towards addressing the issue of forgery in the contemporary art world. We are creating an infrastructure that will give users access to trustworthy data about artworks that they can rely on when making all kinds of decisions about them.”
What is a CoA?
A CoA is permanent digital proof that an individual work of art, whether it is an original work or one of an edition, is genuine.
Each CoA incorporates a unique digital code (called a “fingerprint”) which is derived from the physical properties of the individual work of art to which it relates. This fingerprint forms the basis of a digital record which proves the authenticity of the physical artwork, whenever needed.
Step one involves generating the fingerprint. This is done by taking microscopic images of randomly-selected areas of the work, using a specially designed scanner. The scan can be carried out in situ, takes a few minutes and leaves the artwork untouched.
The images are processed to create the fingerprints using cutting-edge technology developed by HP Inc for which Artclear has an exclusive licence for use in the art world.
Step two is for the artist to sign the fingerprint digitally - or cryptographically - to certify that the artwork is genuine.
Verifying an artwork against its CoA
Once a CoA has been created, you can check that a picture is the one certified by the artist simply by scanning the work again. The verification accommodates variations in the condition of the picture or of the environment in which the scans take place. The results are forensically reliable, with less than a one in a billion chance of getting a false result.
Our plan is to distribute Artclear scanners to people and organisations across the global art market.
In the short term, Artclear will provide the scanning services, at the premises where the works of art are displayed or stored.
In what form is a CoA kept?
A CoA is a digital record held on a server. It can be securely accessed via Artclear’s website and will be accessible in the near future via a mobile app.
In addition, Artclear can make a tangible version of a CoA (in the form of a PDF document to download or print) available to the owner of the artwork, similar to the way a bank generates a statement for a customer from the digital data it holds on that person’s bank account.
Protecting the integrity of data
At Artclear, we believe that data related to any work of art in our system should belong to its creator and, once sold, the collector who owns it. We have designed our service from first principles to ensure data is robust and tamper-proof. Users maintain control over access to the data and a mechanism to share it with and prove its legitimacy to other people who might need to know it.
In addition, we are aware that the life of an artwork may be longer than the life of our company. For that reason, we are putting in place legal and technical arrangements to ensure that, should Artclear ever stop trading, data in our systems including the data needed to verify works of art, will still be available to the artists or collectors who own them.
CoAs are just the beginning
Artclear is building a new type of data service that enables the art world to create, manage, share and trust data about works of art. Until now, important information such as the authenticity, ownership, location, condition, encumbrances or royalty-rights of an artwork has been difficult to assemble and verify, keeping the cost of owning and transacting in art high for all market participants.
Artclear’s unique infrastructure links such information indelibly to its source and to the individual work of art to which it relates. We are starting with authenticity data, sourced to the artists who create the works. But our intention is to expand the range of data to encompass many other things that people might need to know when making decisions about owning or transacting in art.
Who is Artclear?
Artclear is a technology company that aims to expand the boundaries of the art market by addressing the problems arising from a lack of reliable, trustworthy data about works of art.
Artclear’s origins lie in the world of financial infrastructure, an important niche within financial services concerned with the safe settlement of payments and other financial transactions. The establishment of financial infrastructure transformed financial markets and it was the experience of Artclear’s founders in working on these changes that highlighted the opportunity of providing similar services for other classes of valuable asset. Artclear’s two founders both have intricate knowledge and experience working with financial infrastructure and the idea of applying the same principles to the art market comes from the interest in art of one the founders.
Artclear has been supported financially by the founders and subsequently by angel investors, many with City backgrounds. Artclear’s Board members have a diverse background in banking, technology and the art world.
Andrew Gifford, 2022
6-11 December 2022
Cromwell Place, South Kensington, London SW7 2JE
On view at