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CSEM start-up MATIS to revolutionize the authentication of works of art

Wednesday 5 October 2022

Thanks to the technology developed by MATIS, misinterpretation, misattribution and forgery are now a thing of the past for the art market. | © CSEM / Antal Thoma

MATIS, a start-up created within the CSEM, revolutionizes the identification of works of art thanks to deep tech and AI to make the expertise of paintings easier.

Investing in the art market has aesthetic and financial appeal, but it is not without risks. It is true that paintings provide a high return on investment and the sector is booming. However, even the most experienced collectors and investors can be fooled by counterfeiters. It is estimated that 50 percent of all artworks in existence are misattributed or counterfeit. Start-up company MATIS, whose name stands for Monitoring Art with Technology, Innovation and Science, has developed an innovative, patentable solution to this problem.

The technology and extensive experience of the CSEM in the fields of image processing, AI, specialized algorithms for pigment recognition and representation, or drawing visualization, has enabled MATIS to develop a state-of-the-art solution combining optics and AI. This affordable scientific method helps specialists to appraise works of art on a daily basis.

Thanks to an easy-to-use multispectral camera and a specialized image processing algorithm, the solution of the Neuchâtel-based start-up reveals information hidden in the paintings. The camera transmits this information to the PIGMA software, an interface specially designed for MATIS. By combining classical signal processing and machine learning techniques, PIGMA reveals features invisible to the naked eye, such as erased signatures, another work hidden beneath the apparent work, and pigment representations, and thus supports experts in their analysis.

An unparalleled technology

At this time, the technology proposed by MATIS is unparalleled and has a direct impact on the overall art market turnover. It is based on multispectral imaging and machine learning that performs a true “digital and chemical fingerprinting” of the artworks.

All information is then encrypted and stored in a secure database relying on blockchain technology, allowing for future traceability, as well as investment and insurance operations.

"This represents a global market of more than CHF 2.2 billion every year. For the past 3 years, we have been carrying out market analyses and customer prospecting, and we have developed a model adapted to the needs of our target customers," explained Marie Didier, CEO of MATIS. "We are looking at a market launch by the end of 2023".

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