PhillisWheatley-webIt is very difficult, even impossible, to make decisions about authenticity without seeing the work in person. Some museums offer expertise to guide owners in their own research as a service to their communities but only when the work of art can be studied in person, and most cannot “officially” authenticate objects. Research begins by consulting a catalogue raisonné (listing and description of all of an artist’s output). Some catalogues raisonné include information about copies and forgeries.

The standard index to these specialized and very useful reference works was first published as The Print Council Index to Oeuvre-Catalogues of Prints by European and American Artists, Timothy Riggs, (New York, 1983). A continually expanded and updated version of this resource edited by Lauren Hewes, Nicole Simpson, and now Britany Salsbury is available on-line on  this website (select “Search Oeuvre Catalogues” above).