Yes, the paint might be cracking on the surface of a canvas, but is that a signature feature of the artist’s work, or a sign of damage? Only experts like the seasoned team at Sotheby’s can correctly assess a work’s physical state and understand how condition impacts value. “Some people might want their Dutch landscape to look like it’s been sitting over a smoky wood fire for the last century,” says Old Masters Paintings specialist Jonquil O’Reilly. But as Episode 2 reveals, “perfection” is a nuanced matter.

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