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Ways to Check Authenticity of a Painting

February 12, 2014

Buying an original item of painting can be really expensive, especially if you are planning to purchase the work of an already established artist. Moreover, there is always the risk of buying a fake and the bigger the amount of money involved in the transaction, the higher the risk. If you have an eye for art, you already know how to stay away from printed cheap copies. However, the art of forgery has reached such levels of sophistication that you sometimes have to really be an expert in order to spot counterfeited paintings. If you are not an expert yet, and still want to make a first evaluation of the painting you want to buy yourself, here are some tips that will help you stay safe – at least safer than if you didn’t know them:

Try to learn as much as possible about the painting and the artist

Information is power. You have already heard this a thousand times, right? Well, in most cases this proverb proves its real value as it always pays to be informed. Prior to making any purchase decision, try to find out as much as you can about the painting and its creator.  What’s that piece of art’s history? What is the artist’s style? When was that painting created? Is there anything special about the painter’s technique? These are just few of the questions you might want to ask yourself and find answers for before buying a painting.

Visit some museums

Taking a tour of the local museums can never be a bad idea. Check what art museums you can find in your area, even take a short trip if necessary and study some patinas. Talk to the museum assistants and they will for sure be glad to provide you with some useful insights into the different ways to check the authenticity of a painting. Learning all sorts of things about the respective work of art, its creator and the artistic trend it belongs to will pay off not only for authenticity checking purposes, but also for your general knowledge as an art lover.

Look for anachronisms

Although forgers have improved their techniques a great deal during the latest decades, they still make mistakes that should make you look further and investigate the respective painting’s authenticity. For instance, if you see that the canvas is stapled on the side of a painting dating from the 18th century, you should consider this a warning sign. The frame’s fitting is also an aspect to look into when analyzing a painting. Are there any bristles on the canvas’ surface? You should know that forgers don’t use high quality raw materials and their brushes often leave traces on the painting that are rather easy to detect even by a non expert eye. Look into the artist’s signature! Compare it to the signature featuring other works of art created by the same person. This is a distinctive sign that differentiates a genuine painting from a fake one.

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