The Journey into Becoming a Rare Art Expert

We hear Lisa Barnes’ story on how she became an expert in rare art. She tells us her journey into specializing and how she is often called on cases regarding theft and fraudulent art.

Lisa M. Barnes and Associates is a personal property fine art appraisal business.  Over the past 26 years, I have developed a business as an appraiser/expert witness.  My educational background provided me with the skill set to create and perform expert services in the area of fine art with hands on training at institutions in London, Paris, and Italy.  Rather than pursuing a traditional education, I attended Oxford, Sotheby’s, Christie’s, the LOUVRE and The British Institute in Florence where I was able to study and physically handle rare art from the 14th century to today.  I furthered my education with work experience at a notable art gallery in Chicago, Richard Gray.  Later I worked for a major art investment fund in New Zealand and acquired first-hand knowledge in art as an investment.  I then developed one of the premier corporate art advisory firms and over a two-year period built 10 major corporate art collections, as well as implemented a public art programme in Wellington, New Zealand.

Many people do not know that from a monetary point of view, art is the second largest crime in the world, which includes fraud and theft.

In 1990 I moved back to the US and became the youngest member of the Appraisers Association of America.  While continuing my art consultancy, I began appraising art for museums and private collections.  In 2001, I was asked/approached to appraise a Picasso in Las Vegas that the clients wished to sell.  This case involved work with the US (AZ) attorney and FBI.

Over the next several years, I joined the Forensic Expert Witness Association and spoke at conferences where I furthered my skills as an expert witness.  I acquired the skills and tools to educate both the client and attorneys on the complexity of the art world.  Many people do not know that from a monetary point of view, art is the second largest crime in the world, which includes fraud and theft.

Over the past ten years, I have been retained and as an art expert in both superior and municipal courts, working for both private and corporate clients.  My experience and knowledge have had a positive impact on many disputes to the substantial benefit of my clients.

Recently, I have found one of the major challenges as an expert witness is that attorneys have a tendency to demand short deadlines without understanding the complexity of researching and navigating the art world.

My experience as an art consultant, gallery owner, and appraiser has afforded my clients a multi-faceted understanding of the art world.  I also have copyright experience.

Recently, I have found one of the major challenges as an expert witness is that attorneys have a tendency to demand short deadlines without understanding the complexity of researching and navigating the art world.  For example, unlike a car that one researches Blue Book value, an art appraisal involves more varied criteria to evaluate a work of art. Considerations are authenticity, condition, provenance, aesthetics, artist’s reputation, history and comparables.  For instance, not every work of art Picasso created is a million-dollar work.

I believe as an art appraiser, we wear several hats.  We need to be sympathetic to the needs of the client, be diplomatic, and be a good detective and analyst.

There is also forgery to consider, especially when appraising Dali, Miro, Chagall, Picasso, Rembrandt, Warhol.  A well-educated appraiser can detect indications of a fake although unfortunately, their services are frequently sought only after an ill-advised purchase has already been made.

I believe as an art appraiser, we wear several hats.  We need to be sympathetic to the needs of the client, be diplomatic, and be a good detective and analyst.

Lisa M. Barnes

42302 N. Vision Way, Suite 105 Anthem, Arizona 85086

623.582.4500

Lisa.rareart@gmail.com

Fax – 623.582.4505 Cell – 480.212.6248 Web – www.rareart.net

Lisa Barnes is a seasoned professional with 26 years experience as a professional art appraiser and an expert assisting insurance companies, attorneys, estate planners, wealth advisories and banks, as well as providing philanthropic services for new and aspiring collectors.

 

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