Gallery owners or antique dealers have only their taste, their experience and their acuity to rely on in order to make a name for themselves. Why else do customers remain loyal? The offer of quality not found elsewhere is the key to success. There can be no compromising on this. It is their job to select. They have to spot good-quality works hidden amidst the mass of mediocrity when others will see only famous names and signatures.
The signature is not everything, especially as apocryphal signatures abound. Before selling on a painting, when cleaning or restoring it, a good art dealer will always check the signature with ultra-violet. Even though a fake signature does not necessarily mean that the painting is not authentic, it does provide a clue.
Anybody deciding to buy in an auction house, without seeking advice, had better know the work in question, because the auction house does not have to guarantee its authenticity, unlike the art dealer who is required to do so. But it is only fair to add that some reputable auction houses make a point of selling good quality works.
In short, a collector must find a reliable intermediary to work with and establish a relationship of trust according to personal tastes and temperament. What is most important, rather than just getting a "bargain", is acquiring something that will provide satisfaction, regardless of how it was purchased.
The current prices of Liège landscape painters are, barring some rare exceptions, an insult to their memory. There could be no better time to purchase that dream painting with great potential for increasing in value.
It is worth noting that it is better to buy (for the same price) a good work by a little-known painter than a poor one by a famous artist, the risk of buying a fake being lower and the pleasure more intense. But, as usual, it all depends - each to his own. Of course there is nothing like an exceptional painting painted by an exceptional painter. The same applies to the size of the picture: better a good small canvas than a poor big one.
The intention is not to establish a hierarchical classification. A wide range of qualities are presented, suited to all temperaments. A harsh critic might say "where the best sits side by side with the worst"; it is more accurate to speak of a diversification of genres and levels so that everyone can find their place.
The dictionary of the Liège school of landscape painters contains numerous illustrations. The purpose is to provide general insight into the artists 'work. The selection is not elitist but representative. It is a general dictionary and not a restrictive selection of the best from the Liège school of landscape painting, for which Jacques Goijen can help you.
Quality is commonly appreciated and valued. Good quality induces another form of hierarchy: the monetary value of artworks. This is a return to true values. It is logical to pay more for what is best, and vice-versa, it is unfair, or even silly, to pay too much for poor quality, even when something is "in vogue". This is where the trusted advisor steps in.
Lovers of Liège art can now easily build up exceptional collections corresponding to their taste, their temperament, their culture and their financial means.
Jacques Goijen will be happy to discuss the matter with you further at one of his exhibitions.