How to Tell if a Painting is Fake

April 13, 2020

Concentration is an original oil painting by Irving Amen

By Chelsea Reed

Picture this scene: You flop on the living room couch after a long day. Your mind wanders on its recent progress and headaches, and maybe what you’ll have for dinner. Meanwhile, your eyes stare into the old Jackson Pollock painting on the wall. It’s been in the family for years. You haven’t paid much attention to it in a while. Suddenly, an idea germinates - what if you sold it?

‘Well,’ you surmise, ‘it’s a Master artist painting, so surely that will fetch a good price.’ But wait! Before you even think about selling it, you must know for sure if it’s fake.

‘Gasp! Fake?! Of course my Pollock is authentic. It  was passed down from my mother’s father’s aunt’s grandfather. He said so.’

Look, we get it. Heirloom sentiment is understandable. It’s 99.9% likely that your… how many times is it?... grandfather was innocent in his dealings. But what if he didn’t know it was fake? What if, after giving it to your son or daughter for college savings, they discover it was worthless. How terrible!

Le Cirque No. 513  is an original lithograph printed in black ink on Arches wove paper  by Marc Chagall, circa 1967It’s true. Forgeries are out there. Where there is valuable art, there is usually a shady character selling a copy as the real thing. Indeed, the dark side of the art market is like something out of the movie “Ocean’s Eleven.” But you can do your own Sherlock Holmes detective work. Here’s how to spot fake artwork from the ‘real McCoy.’  
Clue #1: Get to Know the Artist
This may be the most important clue. Take your time to research the artist, whether they are living or deceased. Get to know their art style and way of life. What materials were available in their time period? What subjects matter to them? This knowledge will help you sniff out what’s amiss in forged artwork. 
Clue #2: Watch out for Giclees
A giclee is the broad term for an inkjet printed copy of fine art. While a giclee in itself isn’t dubious, it’s easier to pass one off as original art than a regular print. The practice is common online. That’s why it’s important to buy and sell your art with a trusted, reputed original art dealer.
Clue #3: Get it Appraised
An official sealed Certificate of Authenticity is good evidence for original art. If the artwork does not have one, don’t worry! There’s still a chance it’s original. A qualified appraiser can help a great deal in determining if the piece is genuine. They also help with taxes and insurance for art donations and investments.
Find Out How Much Your Art is Worth
Curious to see how much your art is worth? Contact Seaside Art Gallery! The owner Melanie Smith is a certified appraiser. Whether you’re buying or selling art, you can rest easy with Seaside Art Gallery. Our gallery is 100% original so you can shop our website with confidence and convenience.

Chelsea Reed is a copywriter who writes online content, articles, blogs, and websites from her base in North Carolina. 

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