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Behind the Frame With a Prominent Valley Art Appraiser

Going inside the frame with art appraiser Allison Gee.

By John Roark | Photography by Rick Gayle


“Examining a canvas with a black light can identify inpainting, which is when an artwork’s original layer of paint has been added to or altered, the presence of which can greatly decrease the piece’s value.”


“An appraisal requires extensive research and meticulous notes. To keep track of conversations with galleries, auction houses and experts—or the timeline of my own thoughts and observations—I have a system of color-coding using highlighters for at-a-glance clarification.”


“Many of the homeowners I work with have pets. I have found that carrying a supply of dog biscuits can help me make four-legged friends.

“Oftentimes I spend an entire day at a residence examining a large collection and don’t have time to break for lunch. I always bring a bag of M&Ms with me for sustenance. They don’t leave crumbs and are easy to access when I need a little quick nourishment.”


“The catalogue raisonné is a scholarly compilation of an artist’s known works that includes provenance and exhibition history. This essential resource is frequently my starting point for verifying a piece’s authenticity.”


“The value of an artwork is often related to its size. I use a tape measure to precisely record dimensions. The cloth tape ensures that a work does not get scratched or otherwise damaged during this process.”

For more information,  see Sources.


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