Antique paintings are a common valuable collectible. Due to this, there are often forgeries done in order to make a modern-day painting appear to be older. Luckily, a few key indicators can hint at whether a painting is antique or not. Below we will lay out a few tricks in telling if a painting is antique and if it is also valuable. Of course, if you are going to be spending a large sum of money on a painting or asking for a large amount, it is best to get that item professionally appraised before you make the purchase.


Materials Used

The first thing to look for when trying to determine the authenticity of an antique painting is what materials were used. Painters from different time eras used paints with distinct materials, and so if a painting is said to be from a specific time period, an easy way to verify this would be to test the materials in the paint. For example, painters in the renaissance typically used plaster paint and tempera paint when constructing their artwork. Also, if the painting was done on a canvas, the material of the canvas could hint at whether the painting is an original or not. In the 1900s, plain weave was the typical canvas used by artists. While the materials used for the painting can indicate the authenticity of an older painting, so can the application.


Application Techniques

One important detail to look at when trying to authenticate a piece of art is what the application looks like. Typically, many forgery’s will contain paint that you can see the strokes of brush bristles. Real antique paintings would not have been applied this way, and so this is a huge indicator of whether the piece is real or not. The vibrancy of the colors applied can also hint at the realness of a piece. Some eras are known more for vibrant colors, while others are known for having colors that fade easily. Thus, if the paint looks too fresh, it is probably a forgery, and at the very least, you should not put any money into it without having it first appraised. 

The layering of a painting is also another factor to consider. Real antique art will contain layers on top of layers of paint in order to bring depth to a piece. Many forgeries will be completed with one to two layers of paint. The more depth there is to a painting, the less likely it is a forgery. If there is no depth, it is possible that the antique painting is actually a print, and in this case, it is a forgery and not an original. After looking at the application of the painting, the third and final thing to check for is the artist’s signature or calling mark.


Artist Identification

If you are able to find a mark or signature that can tell you who created a painting, you can research this artist to see what time period he/she is from and see whether your painting is consistent with the type of art they are known for. If you believe your piece was done by someone well-known, you can have the signature or mark authenticated so that the value of your painting will increase. To put it simply, knowing the artist who created a painting can tell you what time period it was from and how valuable it is considered.


Final Thoughts

Ultimately, if you have an antique painting and think it is worth something, you should get it appraised. Having an item appraised and authenticated is the only way that you, and anyone else, can be sure of the authenticity of a piece. When it comes to antique paintings, this is all the more important because forgeries are common due to the high demand and value of most art pieces. Call or email us today if you have an item you would like us to have appraised!

-Prestige Estate Services