Art is one of the most subjective human pursuits. One man’s masterpiece may be another’s horror, and even an artist’s own child might not appreciate his or her parent’s work. While there are many ways to determine whether a painting is the real deal or a reproduction, technology in recent decades has enabled forgeries to be identified with relative ease. Special paints, canvases and other materials have been created that can be used to verify a painting’s authenticity. In addition to these aids, professionals who study art have developed certain criteria they use in determining whether a piece of art is real or fake.
The first step an authenticator takes when trying to determine the authenticity of a piece is to look at the work itself. A forged painting will usually have different brush strokes than those used by the artist. Also, many fraudulent paintings are made with inferior paints that lack the luster and depth found in real art pieces. Original paintings also show signs of aging.
Look for a signature that matches the artist’s known work. The signature may hold the most valuable clue as to whether a painting is real or fake. It has been said that forgers will often try to copy the style of an artist’s signature, but this can be one of the easiest things to determine authenticity by.
The materials used in creating the piece should be considered as well. Many forgers try to save money by using cheap paints and canvases. This can be apparent when looking at the painting up close; authentic paintings are generally painted with high quality, more expensive materials.
Examine the brush strokes – if they look too perfect, it might be fake. The painting should also not look too new; signs of aging in the materials and art itself can indicate its authenticity.
The frame is another area that needs to be taken into account when considering if a piece is authentic or not. It may provide valuable information about the origins and history of the painting, even if it does not help determine whether it is real or fake. For example, if the piece is in an older frame, yet appears brand new it might be a red flag that the art is not authentic. If this happens to you, consider looking for clues in other areas of the painting before making your final decision about its authenticity.
Compare the painting to other paintings from the same artist ; the differences between them may provide valuable clues as to whether it is real or not. If you believe you have a piece of original art, and want to verify its authenticity – check for signs of aging and examine the materials used in creating it. Also take into account where it came from; if possible, compare your painting to other works by the same artist.
Study how light is reflected off of colors in an original painting . Does it seem brighter and more vivid, or duller and washed out? This can indicate if it is real or fake. Even the frame of a painting may hold valuable clues about its authenticity.
How to tell if a painting is real or fake?
If you are still unsure whether your painting is real, there are several organizations that can help you verify its authenticity. The International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) offers a free evaluation service to anyone who believes they have an authentic piece of art. You can also contact the American Society of Appraisers.
The bottom line is that if you think you might own an original work of art, it is in your best interests to get it authenticated by a professional. This will save you money and heartache in the long run.