AI Detects Fake Listing on eBay, Paintings For Sale Over $100,000

eBay Painting Listings

On eBay, art lovers around the world can purchase works by the likes of Vincent van Gogh, Salvador Dalí, and Henri Matisse. Among these listings is Forest With a Stream, priced at $599,000.

“Up for sale is this original antique French Impressionist oil-on-canvas painting by [the] famous Claude Monet,” the listing reads. It is signed “C. Monet” and dated 1867.

However, according to Carina Popovici, CEO and co-founder of Art Recognition—a company that employs artificial intelligence to help authenticate art—the painting is a fake.

Popovici tells the Guardian’s Dalya Alberge that her firm used A.I. technology to analyze images of paintings listed on eBay and found many that were likely inauthentic. These tools have flagged 40 paintings so far.

In addition to Forest With a Stream, Art Recognition’s algorithm identified a $165,000 work attributed to Pierre-Auguste Renoir as inauthentic.

eBay Shopping

An image of the allegedly counterfeit Renoir painting, which the seller removed after hearing from the Guardian eBay
“We looked today, and we downloaded some images, and there were fakes all over the place,” Popovici adds. “I’m sure that this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

To authenticate artistic creations, Art Recognition uses two neural networks that analyze the patterns of a work’s composition and style.

The company’s algorithms are trained to recognize “details such as the artist’s brushstroke, edges, shapes, color variations; high-level composition elements including motif repetition, object placement and proportions; as well as other features that are distinctive to the analyzed artist,” per Art Recognition’s website.

The company’s art historians also “play a critical role by cross-validating every data image used in our algorithm against the most reliable sources available for a specific artist,” Popovici tells Artnet’s Holly Black.

Popovici’s company, which collaborates on research with Liverpool University in England and Tilburg University in the Netherlands, has analyzed 500 works across numerous collections, including London’s National Gallery and Oslo’s National Museum, as the Guardian reports.

eBay Painting Listings

According to the company’s website, it can also identify “digital forgeries produced by a generative A.I.,” a concern that’s taken on increasing urgency in recent years. While art forgery is not a new phenomenon, the speed with which today’s forgeries can be made and sold presents novel challenges.

The Renoir listing was removed after the Guardian contacted the seller. Forest With a Stream, however, is still on eBay.

“The sale of counterfeit items is strictly prohibited on eBay, and we are committed to ensuring that goods sold on our platform are authentic,” the company tells the Guardian.

“EBay proactively blocked 88 million suspected counterfeits from being published in 2022 while removing 1.3 million items from the platform following a review by an eBay investigator.”

Meanwhile, the listing for Forest With a Stream states, “I fully guarantee that the painting is an original 1867 oil on canvas signed and dated by Claude Monet.”

Nate O'Hara
Nathan is a seasoned commerce writer with a passion for unraveling the intricacies of the business world and distilling them into engaging narratives. During his academic journey, he delved deep into subjects like economics, marketing, and entrepreneurship, honing his analytical skills and developing a keen understanding of market dynamics.