Services for third parties
If you own a work of art of particular historical or artistic interest, you can submit a request for an opinion from one or more of KIK-IRPA’s team of experts according to the procedure hereunder.
In accordance with the decree of the Regent of 24 June 1948 establishing its missions, last modified on July 24, 2008, KIK-IRPA is authorized to carry out any reasonable service without a fee or for a specified payment.
As a public institution dedicated to the study and conservation of the country’s cultural heritage, KIK-IRPA only accepts objects pertaining to public heritage (museums, churches, administrations, etc.) or presenting, from the Institute’s point of view, a significant interest for scientific research linked to heritage.
The general director and the teams concerned jointly take the decision of accepting a work of art for study (and possibly, following on from this, for conservation-restoration).
Two types of request are possible: soliciting an art historian’s opinion via e-mail or mail; submitting a work of art for examination or conservation treatment. The procedure to follow is identical (see below).
Seeking advice on a work of art
As part of their research activities, the Institute’s art historians can give opinions, without a fee, on works of art linked to their field of expertise. In most cases, the opinion is sent by email or letter. This only offers a general orientation and is not binding to the author or the Institute. No certificate is issued and the market value of objects is never given. Note that the written request, together with any photographs sent by owners, are kept in the Institute’s research files; these photographs are not made available to the public via the photographic library.
Submitting a work of art for in-depth examination
Condition report prior to conservation-restoration
The Institute’s conservators can provide an estimate for the conservation-restoration of important works of art. In most cases, they will study the object in situ and evaluate the extent and cost of the work to be carried out. If the Institute is unable to undertake the conservation treatment, it will refer the enquirer to experienced independent conservators.
The Institute’s technicians can carry out infrared examination, x-radiography and ultraviolet fluorescence photography of a work of art. For security and safety reasons, it is preferable that these examinations are performed in the Institute. However, work in situ is sometimes possible, following a preliminary visit of the building. For museums, the examinations are generally undertaken when the building is closed to the public. Furthermore, note that infrared reflectography and infrared photography are more difficult to carry out on works of art behind glass.
The laboratories contribute to the study of materials and techniques of works of art and monuments. Depending on the nature of the art work, different exams are possible: dendrochronological dating for oak objects (panel paintings, sculptures, etc.), radiocarbon dating, analysis of materials (supports, paint layers, monuments, etc.).
The fees for condition reports, scientific imaging and laboratory analysis are estimated according to the type of examination and the time necessary to carry out the task (number of visits in situ, etc.). However, the general list of fees is available for consultation. The Institute is not liable for VAT.
Works of art examined at the Institute are systematically photographed and the images included in the Institute’s photographic library. Owners may, however, request anonymity. In this case, their collection will be assigned a number guaranteeing confidentiality. For more information, see the document in French or in Dutch.
Procedure for submitting a request
Fill out this form and send it to the General Director (firstname.lastname@example.org) or to the department concerned (or to our postal address: Institut royal du Patrimoine artistique, Parc du Cinquantenaire 1, BE-1000 Bruxelles). Please include good overall photographs (including a photo of the reverse of the work of art if you require a condition report), as well as good photographs of any signature or inscription (on the work of art, on the frame or on the reverse of the object); if the enquiry is sent by email, the resolution of the photographs should be sufficiently high (if possible, images between 1,5 and 2 MB).
The enquirer will receive an answer which will include, in case of a study or condition report, a detailed estimate of the cost and time necessary to undertake the work.