Founded in 2000, Orion is a privately held firm that investigates the structure and composition of materials found in art, artifacts, architecture, collectibles, forensic evidence, and manufactured goods.
In addition to elucidating the identity of materials, Orion's investigations resolve questions and disputes concerning attribution and authenticity, and provide leads in civil and criminal investigations, which often culminate as expert opinion in court proceedings in the USA and abroad.
Orion's clientele includes collectors, auction houses and art dealers, law firms and law enforcement agencies, museums and art conservators, and Fortune 500 companies – such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Christie's and Sotheby's, the United States Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation, AXA Art Insurance Corp. and AIG, Dupont and Colgate Palmolive.
Experience and Expertise
James Martin founded and operates Orion Analytical, LLC.
Mr. Martin has undertaken more than 1700 analytical studies and consultations for clients in North and South America, the European Union, Africa, and the Far East.
James holds academic appointments as a Research
Scientist in Chemistry at Williams College and Adjunct Professor at New York University. At the Federal Bureau of Investigation Counter-terrorism and Forensic Science Research
Unit, he instructed forensic analysis between 2002 and 2008, and since 1994 has conducted art fraud and forgery investigations for the FBI.
establishing Orion, Mr. Martin
founded and operated for ten years a not-for-profit laboratory supportedby the U.S. Department of the Interior, and instructed paint analysis
at the Smithsonian Center for Material Research and Education and the
Getty Conservation Institute.
James received his M.S. from the University of Delaware/Winterthur Program in the Conservation of Artistic and Historic Objects in 1989, and was a Samuel H. Kress Fellow at the University of Cambridge, England. His educational background includes chemistry, art history, art conservation, studio art – and each of the technical and scientific methods Orion employs.
Mr.Martin also trained as a classical painter in the style of Dutch and
American masters. His knowledge and skill making and using art
materials helps him differentiate fakes and forgeries from priceless
James is a member of the American Academy
of Forensic Sciences, a charter member of the American Society of Trace
Evidence Examiners, and is a Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC). He chaired AIC's Research & Technical Studies Subgroup, was a
member of its Ethics and Standard Committee, and was Program Chair for
the 2007 Annual Meeting on Fakes, Forgeries and Fabrications.
Mr. Martin also is a member of the American Chemical Society, the New
England Society of Microscopy, and the Society of Applied Spectroscopy,
is a contributor to the American Society for Testing and Materials and
the Infrared and Raman Users Group, and serves on the Advisory Council of the Appraisers
Association of America.
Orion is headquartered in Williamstown, Massachusetts – home to Williams College, the Clark Art Institute, and MassMOCA – about one hour east of the Albany International Airport, and about three hours from New York and Boston.
We conduct onsite technical examination and imaging, noninvasive elemental analyses, and sample collection throughout the USA – and abroad.
Orion's facility is equipped with state-of-the-art research instrumentation for infrared microspectroscopy (FT-IR), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, x-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy, polarized light microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, stereomicroscopy, sample preparation, and scientific photography.
Scanning electron microscopy with
backscattered electron imaging and x-ray energy-dispersive spectrometry,and other instrumental methods, are used for research at nearby
academic institutions. Further, Orion collaborates with respected
scientists and researchers at other institutions, who are expert in
x-ray diffraction, instrumental chromatography, radiocarbon dating,
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