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How Can You Detect a Fake Painting? Know the Basics!

Paintings and artwork are the results of the blood, sweat and tears of artists. Also, people often have to pay a fortune to buy these paintings. Thus fake or forged paintings and art is a serious crime and should not be treated lightly.

However, the biggest problem of separating an original painting from a fake one is that most people cannot detect the forgery. The dupes are so convincing that it becomes impossible to tell them apart from the real one. Even famous auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s got tricked into believing that a fake painting was the original piece, and received quite a lot of flak for it.

But there are a few methods to detect a fake painting. Some of them include invasive and non-invasive scientific resolutions, while anyone who wants to buy art can employ the others.

How to detect a fake painting without involving any scientific methods?

There are specific methods a person can employ to distinguish a real painting from a fake one. Even though they are not foolproof, these techniques do an excellent job of detecting a dupe. For instance:

  1. Research

Most art enthusiasts do a fair bit of research before choosing to invest in a piece of art. It is especially helpful to look at the provenance of the painting. Provenance is a document that records the ownership history of a piece of art. Also, researching about the artist’s other work is also beneficial because it gives buyers an idea about what to look for in the painting (like distinguish brush strokes, style etc.)

  1. Examine the layering

Even though checking the layering is not very effective (because a convincing dupe will have them) it is still a place to start if you think that a painting is fake. Most original paintings have layers of paint to them while dupes lack the depth and quality that original art has.

  1. Signature

Often the placement and style of an artist’s signature can reveal a fake painting. For this method to be effective, buyers have to research the artists’ previous work and thoroughly examine his signature on them.

  1. Get the painting checked by a professional

If a picture is worth a lot of money, it is best to get it appraised by a professional. Make sure the appraiser is experienced and good at what he does. Getting an expert’s opinion on the authenticity of a painting is always recommended before buying it.

  1. Scientific methods to check the authenticity of a painting

There are several scientific methods, both invasive and non-invasive that can be used to determine if a painting is original or not. For instance, non-invasive methods like X-ray, optical imaging, UV light or infrared is quite popular as they do not have any lasting effect on the paintings.

If this first layering of the method does not work, people have to resort to invasive methods like Peptide Mass Fingerprinting (PMF), Radiocarbon dating etc. But these procedures are highly expensive and unaffordable by most people.

Thus if you want to buy a painting, it is best to research and trust your instincts; this can help you detect a fake painting in most cases.

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