The Art Of Detecting Forgeries

The Art Of Detecting Forgeries

It is the one thing that every art collector fears and the one thing that every conman out there looks to in order to make money. Producing art forgeries is big business and makes fraudsters an awful lot of money every single year, purely and simply because many art collectors do not know how to identify a forgery and distinguish it from the real thing. There are several guidelines that can help any collector in their quest to ensure that their entire collector is genuine and worth every penny that he or she paid to accumulate it in the first place. The points below will introduce you to the art of detecting forgeries and equip you with enough knowledge to identify a forgery at ten paces!

1. If you like a certain piece of art then the first thing that you should do is research the artist. He or she should have at least one gallery listing and a biography attached to it. You can also try any reviews that have been written covering his or her work. They should give you a good idea of the style of the artist, as well as hopefully covering the piece of art that you have in mind.

2. If the art is by a famous artist then check all aspects of the piece until you are satisfied that it is real. If there is the slightest doubt in your mind about its authenticity then leave it well alone. Never ever take a piece by a famous artist home until you have performed at least one check on it. The first thing that you should check is the signature. Make sure that it is in the same place as on the original. This can be done by finding a picture of the original and comparing it. The style of the signature should also be examined. Although the signature may vary from piece to piece, fraudsters do specialise in copying the signature these days because they have identified it as a major failing on past forgeries. Also check the nature and genre of the painting as well as materials and the texture. These are all elements that will be well documented and easily identifiable on fakes.

3. Always run the title and artist of any famous pieces of art through the FBI’s stolen art database to make sure that it has not been stolen. If it is on the list then you must report it immediately.

4. It may be worth investing in the services of a specialist appraiser to ensure that you are looking at the genuine article and not a fake. Any appraiser worth his or her salt will be able to tell you conclusively whether it is a genuine work of art or a fake within a few minutes. Any appraiser that you do choose should have an excellent reputation and the highest degree of knowledge. You can find those that are members of official bodies like the Art Appraisers of America. This is perhaps your best option because it spares you the hassle of checking out their backgrounds yourself.

5. If it looks old then be suspicious. This may sound like a cliché of sorts in the art world, but it is easy to age a painting if you know how. Look at the back of the canvas as well as the front because some forgers will neglect the back of the canvas after aging the front. A good point to bear in mind is that old genuine paintings ay not be worth anything so have it valued as well as appraised.

6. Make the distinction between a forgery and a copy with all works of art. Copies of certain artists are actually worth a fair amount. For example, famous artists in the making in the past have copied Da Vinci and Monet and those copies are extremely valuable today. Copies do not purport to be the original whereas forgeries do. The key here is the signature. If it is missing then it is most likely a copy and not a forgery!



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Abstract Paintings by Lewis Baber Originals  /Seattle, Washington


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