Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How to Tell a Real Oil Painting

How to Tell a Real Oil Painting thumbnail
An oil painting is an excellent investment, assuming it's authentic.
An original oil painting adds a certain aesthetic to your home, but verifying that the painting is indeed an original is a critical step in the purchasing process. As technology advances, disreputable dealers and outlets are finding new ways to create impressive forgeries and reproductions. Knowing how to tell a fake from the real thing helps you protect your investment and ensure you are getting what you paid for. There are several simple methods for getting a general idea of a painting's authenticity.          


  • 1
    Do some research on the artist if other work is available. You should be able to spot stylistic similarities in his brushstrokes, subject matter, paint density and overall technique.
  • 2
    Buy paintings only from respectable art dealers with strong references. One of the best ways to avoid a forgery is sticking with dealers known for their attention to detail. 
  • 3
    Smell the painting. It may seem strange, but oil smells very different from acrylic and you should be able to spot the difference in a relatively new painting.
  • 4
    Ask a professional for assistance in verifying and dating the piece. Professional art consultants have access to technology that you do not and can provide a much stronger certification. This is especially important for high-value paintings.
  • 5
    Compare the price of the painting you are looking at with other works by the same artist. Not every painting will be the same, but if the one you are looking is priced far below other similar works, you are probably dealing with a forgery.
  • 6
    Examine the signature of the artist. Compare this signature with other paintings by the same artist, as well as with the signatures on other paintings offered by the dealer. Signatures should look natural and should not stand out from the piece. Signatures are also almost always applied to the painting using the same medium; pen or pencil signatures may be signs of a forgery.
  • 7
    Keep an eye out for new artists without representation. You can often find genuine oil paintings in small galleries or cafes, in which case you usually deal directly with the artist instead of a third party.


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