Study the Back and the Front of the Painting
• Gallery labels, auction stickers, and museum inventory numbers at the front of the painting give very important information about the provenance of the painting.
• The backs of old paintings suppose that of mid-20th century antique paintings darken significantly through the years. If the canvas back is white or light beige, the painting is not old.
• There should be some signs of wear like more crackle marks on the frame, even the canvas sometimes.
• The stretcher wood that holds the canvas darkens down the several years. Antique darkening can be forged, but you can never be fooled if you check the nails and the hanger of the stretcher.
• Check the age of the nails. Old nails prove the painting is old, and new nails obviously indicate that the painting is not really antique.
• Not only old nails, but also old wood on the stretcher and older and darker canvas back indicate that the painting is antique.
• You can also do some research about the depth and number of paint layers needed to produce the color of the old painting. The feel and look of the antique arts are a big proof.
• Examine the dirt and dust of ages, texture, color brightness, etc.
• Finally, do not forget to follow your nose. New paintings smell differently and old ones have the faint reek of feebleness.
Get the Work Appraised by Third Party
Suppose, you come across 20th century antique paintings for sale. Consider a third party to review the painting. Send good quality digital photos of the 20th century paintings shot in daylight along with the back and front of the painting, close-ups of any labels, markings, or signatures, and also send a note of the size and dimensions of the artwork to the third party whom you can get online also. The person to whom you are sending these for identification assessment must have a certificate from one or more of the professional associations of art appraisers, and not a dealer of art himself/herself. They charge some amount for each assessment, offer no guarantee of value or authenticity from this process, and only judge the digital images based on the information you give them.
It is always better to study the latest reports of common scams and forgeries on paintings. While it is possible to identify the age of a painting by yourself, it is always better to consult a relevant professional for a totally reliable identification of the antique painting.
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Article Added on Monday, May 12, 2014
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