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DNA protected art by Pro Hart

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Pro Hart, one of Australia's most popular painters, uses a special method to protect his art from forgery—he codes his paintings with his own DNA. Undetectable to the naked eye, the DNA signature guarantees the authenticity of the paintings.

The painting Red Dragonfly & Ants contains the artist's DNA. 2001 by Pro Hart, oil on board 36" by 30".

DNA Technologies, a company in Sydney, has developed the DNA coding technique, which has been marketed under the slogan 'Knock out the knock-off artists with DNA.'

The precise method is secret, but the artist’s DNA, obtained through a cheek swab, is put into inks, resins or paints and then applied to the painting. A database keeps records on where the marker is placed and the title, size and owner of the painting. A hand-held electronic scanner reads the tagged painting.

The 74-year-old Pro Hart, a former silver miner who lives in the Australian outback town of Broken Hill about 900 miles west of Sydney, has been a favorite of forgers since his art became popular in the 1960's.

Owners of earlier Pro Hart works can get their paintings authenticated for a fee at a special 'DNA clinic' at the House of Phillips Fine Art in Sydney.

Further information about Pro Hart and more DNA-coded artworks can be found here.

Birgit Reinert

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