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Sotheby's announces the acquisition of Orion Analytical and appoints James Martin as Director
Over four decades, James Martin has developed a unique and peerless skillset as a scientist, art conservator and teacher. Photo: Sotheby's.


NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s announced the establishment of a Scientific Research Department led by renowned scientist James Martin, who will join Sotheby’s this week following the acquisition of his firm, Orion Analytical. Employing state-of-the-art technical and scientific methods, the new department will complement the world-class expertise and provenance research behind the works of art, objects and wine offered by Sotheby’s. Bringing scientific expertise in-house mirrors a trend seen in the world’s great museums and places Sotheby’s in a position to provide even greater service to collectors.

“Sotheby’s has had the pleasure of working with Jamie for the better part of the past two decades, and over time it became increasingly clear that rather than work on a one-off basis we could create something unique within Sotheby’s that would further distinguish us in the marketplace and at the same time help to make the art market a safer place,” said Tad Smith, Sotheby's CEO.

Over four decades, James Martin has developed a unique and peerless skillset as a scientist, art conservator and teacher. He has undertaken more than 1,800 investigations for clients on five continents, and taught at The Getty Conservation Institute, The Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute, and the FBI’s Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit. He also holds academic appointments at New York University and Williams College. James has conducted art fraud investigations for the FBI for twenty years, and played a central role in the most significant forgery investigations of recent times.

“Having worked closely with Sotheby’s for decades, I am very pleased to be joining the company,” said Jamie Martin. “The range of works offered by Sotheby’s, as well as the breadth of existing expertise and experience, provides for a unique opportunity to leverage my capabilities across the company’s global platform. I am also looking forward to continuing my teaching and professional collaborations with museums and conservators, as part of my work at Sotheby’s.”

Some of the techniques employed by James include: technical imaging, magnified visual inspection, elemental analysis, and molecular analysis. His work on cultural property from ancient Egyptian artifacts to contemporary paintings can detect anomalies and anachronisms that raise questions about the attribution or age of works, or prove works misattributed or fake. As part of the attribution and valuation process, his work can provide investigative leads and test hypotheses of specialists and researchers.






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