The art market offers buyers an extraordinary array of beautiful paintings from which to choose. These rare and prized pieces come with a hefty price tag, and this means that forgers stand to gain a lot from selling fake paintings to unsuspecting customers. In fact, the Fine Arts Expert Institute in Geneva, Switzerland has estimated that about 50 percent of fine art sales are forgeries!
An experienced appraisal service in Maryland can spot a fake, but many people purchase before having their supposedly valuable piece of artwork evaluated. Unfortunately, this means that when they go to sell it again down the road and finally do have it appraised, they often get terrible news! Countless buyers are duped every year with prints, lithographs, or extremely convincing fakes.
The best thing you can do when you’re ready to purchase a piece of valuable artwork is to find a good appraiser who can confirm its authenticity—or let you know it’s a forgery—before you buy. It’s also good to become familiar with some of the biggest giveaways that point to a forgery. Here are four important red flags to consider:
- Inconsistent style
Look up other paintings by the artist and ask yourself if, logically, this painting fits the same style. For example, if the artist painted cheerful subjects in bright colors at the beginning of his career, but became drawn to dark subjects and colors near the end of his career, your painting should fit into the correct part of the timeline. If it doesn’t, it’s probably a forgery.
- Modern materials used in old paintings
Art has evolved over time, and some types of paints, woods, and canvases simply weren’t available back when many valuable works of art were created. For example, acrylic paint was not developed until 1934; therefore any painting that has acrylic paint but is supposedly from the 1800s is certainly a fake. The same is true for a painting’s frame materials.
- Vague documentation
One important piece of information you absolutely must have is the purchase history of your artwork. In an ideal situation, you should be able to view the owners of the painting from present day all the way back to when it was painted. If the owner can’t tell you where it was purchased, there’s a good chance it’s not an original work.
- An unbelievably good price
There’s a reason some things are just too good to be true. If you find a very valuable painting that is selling for a shockingly low price, you might want to hold off on purchasing it until you can have it appraised. There’s a good chance you’re about to be duped.
At the end of the day, the safest and wisest course of action is to hire a knowledgeable appraisal service in Maryland to inspect your potential purchase before you invest.