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In an article published on October 10, 2017, Sotheby’s Institute’s Adjunct Faculty’s Roxanna Zarnegar established a list of the nine entrepreneurs she thinks to be the most innovative and important in the art world today.

She ranked Switzerland’s Yan Walther in second place for his work in developing laboratories dedicated to the scientific analysis of artworks, and in creating a digital platform to facilitate the monitoring of an artwork’s state of conservation before and during transactions and logistical operations.

Yan and the SGS Art Service’s team are also recognized for their contributions to an evolution in the way expertise and condition monitoring are now performed, especially their use of scientific methods, proprietary software and a professional, objective and systematic approach to analysis.

“Attitudes in the art world have changed in a spectacularly in recent years”, comments Yan Walther. “When we launched our services, art galleries and auction houses barely spoke to us. I was even politely, but firmly, asked to leave a gallery booth during an art fair! The gallerist told me then: ‘All the works we sell here are authentic, we don’t need scientific analysis!’ But a few years and several forgery scandals later, the art industry is now convinced of the necessity for a more objective and scientific approach to help mitigate the risks relating to the numerous fakes circulating in the market.”

“Attitudes have also changed in the field of condition monitoring. The old system of paper-based condition reports flying with, and often disappearing from, shipping crates, is gradually being replaced by digital systems, such as the one we have developed. These allow for real traceability and consistency in the information being recorded for posterity. In its way, this development is ensuring much better preservation of cultural objects for future generations.”

Founded as FAEI – Fine Art Expert Institute in 2009 in a 70-square meter prefabricated laboratory in Geneva Freeport, the business developed to the point where, in 2014, it could relocate to a dedicated, state-of-the-art 350-square meter laboratory, one of the best in the world for the scientific examination of art works. FAEI was acquired by the SGS group in 2015 and changed its name to SGS Art Services. SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company.

Yan Walther’s team now includes 10 full-time employees and dozens of subcontractors in Europe, UK, USA and Asia. It is still growing…

Read the Sotheby’s Institute article in full >
See SGS art services laboratory and condition reporting solutions in action >

For further information, please contact:

Stephanie Meyer-Pionchon
Global Marketing Manager, Art Services
t: +33 4 42 61 64 46

About SGS

SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 90,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,000 offices and laboratories around the world.