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The Art Market is a high selling one, pieces selling for extraordinary prices. This prospect of making coin often entices forgers to create fake paintings, artworks. Because it is such a common phenomenon to come across when purchasing art, it’s important to have some sense of what art may be real or fake. Although it’s always best to get a professional opinion on the matter at the end of the day, and to buy your art from a trusted seller, here are some tips so that you can discern whether a piece is real or a duplicate.
If you have a particular artist or art style in mind- make sure to do your research! Have an idea of the styles of work that the artist did, what their trademark style or mark was. Make sure you see it clearly in the piece that you’re about to invest in. Vet the work online and make sure it isn’t just a copy of a piece that the artist did, or a copycat piece using their trademark style. It’s Important to see that the work is not just done by a forger and being passed off as one created by the artist you wanted to purchase from.
The artist’s signature is a big tell of the artist’s work, oftentimes the signature is consistently placed and done in a particular style on all of their works. Looking at the piece you are purchasing, find the artist's signature and try to see if it is consistent with their other works. If it is placed or positioned differently than the others, reconsider purchasing this piece. Any deviation from their pattern of signature is a major red flag and a big tell of possible forgery.
Excluding the materials used, and whether or not they were available during the artist’s time, the actual hold of the work gives a lot away. The canvas, wood and nails can be a sign of the paintings age and what time it came from. Forgers may have used varnish and tea bags to stimulate the idea of an ‘aged’ painting, it's important to try to identify which ones are authentic and which are fabricated.
An original piece of art would have layers and depth present in it that can be seen by the naked eye. A print would lack that perspective. You can tell if its a print by viewing the texture of the work, holding it up to the light and looking at the work. An original and real work would let light go through the canvas, but a print would not allow any light to pass. Looking carefully at the work itself to make sure that you can see the variety of size and texture that authenticates the work is important. If the work if a print it would not have any inconsistencies, an immediate tell of a dupe.
The most simple way to tell if a work is real is to look at it’s Authenticity Certificate. A Certificate of Authenticity is a document that proves that the work is authentic and provides details within the work that only the original one would have. All original artworks would have one, its a mandatory document that is sold with an original work of art. It allows one to identify the origin of the artwork, if the painting you’re looking at does not have one than you should walk away. This certificate can also be forged, so stay alert incase that happens.