Buying from Masterworks Fine Art vs. Auction Houses

Buying from Masterworks Fine Art vs. Auction Houses

This section is meant to contrast auction house statements of authenticity and condition and compare them to Masterworks Fine Art’s terms and conditions of same. The statements extracted from the website or catalogues of the auction houses listed below are direct quotes. These have been extracted from their Conditions of Sale.

In effect they state that all auction items are sold “AS IS” with no statements of guarantee or condition attached.

In Contrast: Masterworks Fine Art’s guarantees BOTH the authenticity and the condition of its works – IN FULL – for the lifetime that our clients own a work. There are no exceptions or restrictions to this statement.

There is an understanding between the auction house and the buyer that once the sale is finalized, the auction house absolves any responsibility for what they just sold. There is a strong element of risk involved with this type of sale. A great deal of expertise is needed when dealing with auction houses for this reason.

There are those collectors who compare our pricing with that of auction houses. Those who compare Masterworks Fine Art’s Condition of Sale in terms of guarantee and authenticity are out of touch with the reality that we must back our sales in perpetuity to the original seller. While our pricing is below retail, we have not and will not attempt to match auction pricing.

Our prices are slightly higher (sometimes even lower), but we hold ourselves to higher standards. Read below for excerpts of various Conditions of Sales from the following prominent auction houses:

Christie’s

“Neither Christie’s nor the seller provides any guarantee in relation to the nature of the property… The property is sold “as is”… All statements by us in the catalogue entry for the property or in the condition report, or made orally or in writing elsewhere, are statements of opinion and are not to be relied on as statements of fact. Such statements do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by us of any kind. References in the catalogue entry or the condition report to damage or restoration are for guidance only and should be evaluated by personal inspection by the bidder or a knowledgeable representative. The absence of such a reference does not imply that an item is free from defects or restoration, nor does a reference to particular defects imply the absence of any others.”

Sotheby’s

“All property is sold “AS IS” without any representations or warranties by us or the Consignor as to merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, the correctness of the catalogue or other description of the physical condition, size, quality, rarity, importance, medium, provenance, exhibitions, literature or historical relevance of any property and no statement anywhere, whether oral or written, whether made in the catalogue, an advertisement, a bill of sale, a salesroom posting or announcement, or elsewhere, shall be deemed such a warranty, representation or assumption of liability. We and the Consignor make no representation and warranties, express or implied, as to whether the purchaser acquires any copyrights, including but not limited to, any reproduction rights in any property. We and the Consignor are not responsible for errors and omissions in the catalogue, glossary, or any supplemental material.”

Bonhams & Butterfields

“All property is sold “as is.” Neither Bonhams & Butterfields nor the consignor makes any representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the merchantability, fitness or condition of the property or as to the correctness of description, genuineness, attribution, provenance or period of the property or as to whether the purchaser acquires any copyrights or other intellectual property rights in lots sold or as to whether a work of art is subject to the artist’s moral rights or other residual rights of the artist. The purchaser expressly acknowledges and agrees that in no event shall Bonhams & Butterfields be liable for any damages including, without limitation, any compensatory, incidental or consequential damages.”

Doyle New York

“All lots are sold “AS IS” and without recourse and neither Doyle New York nor its consignor makes any warranties or representations, express or implied, with respect to such lots, except for the limited warranties expressly stated in the Terms of Guarantee section of this catalogue… Express or implied warranty or representation of any kind or nature with respect to merchantability, fitness for purpose, correctness of the catalogue or other description of the physical condition, size, quality, rarity, importance, medium, material, genuineness, attribution, provenance, period, culture, source, origin, exhibitions, literature or historical significance of any lot sold. The absence of any reference to the condition of a lot does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging; nor does a reference to particular defects imply the absence of others. References in the catalogue entry or the condition report to damage or restoration are for guidance only and should be evaluated by personal inspection by the bidder or a knowledgeable representative.

The Terms of Guarantee are controlling, and no statement, whether written or oral, and whether made in this catalogue, an advertisement, a bill of sale, a salesroom posting or announcement, the remarks of an auctioneer, or otherwise, shall be deemed to create any warranty, representation or assumption of liability. All statements by Doyle New York in the catalogue entry for the property or in the condition report, or made orally or in writing elsewhere, are statements of opinion and are not to be relied on as statements of fact. Except as stated in the Terms of Guarantee, neither Doyle New York nor the seller is responsible in any way for errors or omissions in the catalogue or any supplemental material. Buyers are responsible for satisfying themselves concerning the condition of the property and the matters referred to in the catalogue entry.”

SWANN Galleries

“All property is sold “as is” and neither Swann nor the consignor makes any warranties or representations of any kind or nature with respect to the property or its value, and in no event shall they be responsible for correctness of description, genuineness, attribution, provenance, authenticity, authorship, completeness, condition of the property or estimate of value. No statement (oral or written) in the catalogue, at the sale, or elsewhere shall be deemed such a warranty or representation, or any assumption of responsibility.”

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

“All lots are sold “AS IS” and without recourse and neither Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Inc. nor its consignor(s) makes any warranties or representations, express or implied with respect to such lots. Neither Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Inc. nor its consignor(s) makes any express or implied warranty or representation of any kind or nature with respect to merchantability, fitness for purpose, correctness of the catalogue or other description of the physical condition, size, quality, rarity, importance, medium, material, genuineness, attribution, provenance, period, culture, source, origin, exhibitions, literature or historical significance of any lot sold. The absence of any reference to the condition of a lot does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. No statement, whether written or oral, and whether made in this catalogue, or in supplements to this catalogue, an advertisement, a bill of sale, a salesroom posting or announcement, the remarks of an auctioneer, or otherwise, shall be deemed to create any warranty, representation or assumption of liability. Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Inc. and its consignor(s) make no warranty or representation, express or implied, that the purchase will acquire any copyright or reproduction rights to any lot sold.”

SKINNER Auctioneers and Appraisers of Antiques and Fine Art

“All property is sold as is, and neither the auctioneer nor any consignor makes any warranties or representation of any kind or nature with respect to the property, and in no event shall they be responsible for the correctness, nor deemed to have made any representation or warranty, of description, genuineness, authorship, attribution, provenance, period, culture, source, origin, or condition of the property and no statement made at the sale, or in the bill of sale, or invoice or elsewhere shall be deemed such a warranty of representation or an assumption of liability.”

Suggested artworks:


  • Le Bouquet Rouge (The Red Bouquet), 1969
    Marc Chagall
    Hand Signed Color Lithograph for sale
    REQUEST PRICE/SUBMIT BEST OFFER
    W-5553

  • Roses et Mimosa (Roses and Mimosa) from Nice & the Côte d’Azur, 1967
    Marc Chagall
    Hand Signed Color Lithograph for sale
    REQUEST PRICE/SUBMIT BEST OFFER
    Item # 4977

  • L’Atelier de Nuit (The Studio at Night), 1980
    Marc Chagall
    Hand Signed Color Lithograph for sale
    $15,000.00 $10,000.00
    Item # 4966


  • Bouquet (Bunch), 1955
    Pablo Picasso
    Picasso Madoura ceramics
    REQUEST PRICE/SUBMIT BEST OFFER
    Item # 5279

  • Toros Vallauris (Bulls in Vallauris), 1958
    Pablo Picasso
    Hand Signed Color Linocut
    SOLD
    Item # 5315

  • Madoura Ceramic, Bouquet à la pomme (Bunch with Apple), 1956
    Pablo Picasso
    Pablo Picasso Ceramics
    REQUEST PRICE/SUBMIT BEST OFFER
    Item # 4874

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Shipping Informatoin

Custom Packing and Insured Shipping
Expert custom packaging and insured shipping guarantees the safety of your work and the security of your investment while in transit.
We typically ship using FedEx, as they assume full insurance for door-to-door transit of your artwork. We charge actual shipping and insurance costs, plus the cost of the packing materials. We never charge a handling fee. Feel free to contact us for shipping quotes. Should you opt to use a shipper other than FedEx, we ask that you please notify us prior to shipping. Please note: shipments to California residents are subject to local sales tax.

Masterworks Fine Art Gallery schedules shipping for our clients. Works can be shipped via FedEx Ground (3-5 business days), 3-Day, 2-Day, Standard Overnight or Priority Overnight shipping. Purchases typically ship within 3 days of payment clearance. We ship daily, Monday – Friday. Special delivery arrangements can be made, if needed.

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