Blog by Dr. Lori

Researching Tips: Works of Art

by Dr. Lori Verderame
Researching Tips: Works of Art

Collecting and researching your art, painting, and sculpture finds can be a fun, fascinating, and profitable hobby. When researching on scholarly or museum websites, you need to know art's unique vocabulary. Take it from a reputable appraiser, Dr. Lori Verderame, who earned the Ph.D. in art history. It can help you correctly identify and value your flea market, yard sale, or Goodwill painting find.

If you see a work of art described using one of these terms below during your research, you should know what it means and how that equates to appraising the work's value. Identifying your art is the hardest part of appraising it. You can save yourself time and avoid mistakes by sending me photos of your find. I can correctly identify and value it for you. You can also use my expertise by studying the three terms below as they affect a painting's or sculpture's history, background, and value.

1. "Attributed to"

The term "Attributed to" an artist ("Attributed to Rembrandt"), more on Rembrandt prints, is used when physical attributes and evidence of a painting, print or sculpture point to the work of a particular artist as its maker, but there is no confirmed, supporting documentation. "Attributed to" indicates that an expert or experts believe that all the available information about the work of art strongly suggests that it is the work by that artist. Attributions are regularly used in the world of fine art and museums. It can help to increase the value of an object because it indicates that qualified experts have reviewed the object and have made such a determination or attribution about the painting or sculpture.

In terms of value, an "Attributed to" statement is better than an "Unknown artist" statement. As a qualified expert with a Ph.D. in the field, I am often asked to attribute paintings, prints, and sculptures to particular famous artists. Bring your piece to one of my appraisal events so I help you.

2. "After"

Black Americana painting

If a work of art is listed as being "After" an artist ("After Picasso"), see a 50,000 dollar Picasso drawing bought at a yard sale for only 2.50 dollars, that means that the subject and the style of the painting in some way references, copies, or imitates the methods and manner of that artist. "After" further indicates that it is known to experts and others that this particular work of art is not an actual, confirmed or attributed work by a particular artist. The term "After" is often used to demonstrate the popularity of an artist's mature or characteristic style and when it comes to value, it is better to have a work that has been "attributed" to an artist rather than one that is made "after" the work of an artist.

3. "In the Manner of"

"In the Manner of" an artist means that a work of art has been produced in a way that is quite similar in style, subject matter, or painting method to that of another artist, but it is well known that the work is not the work of that artist. This description can negatively impact the value of the work of art. Physical attributes like the age of the canvas or the use of a particular type of paint that was invented after the artist's death would be some of the reasons why a painting that looks like a particular artist's work would be deemed "In the Manner of".

When it comes to researching paintings, sculpture, prints and other art work in museums, galleries, dealerships, and online, you need to understand the meanings of art's specific vocabulary terms if you want to correctly identify your find or work of art and determine its true value. I can always offer my expertise at my events or by reviewing pictures you send.

Schedule a Dr. Lori Event

Dr. Lori events
Dr. Lori presents her popular Antiques Appraisal Comedy Show around the world at 150 shows a year entertaining audiences. Ask us how to book an event for you.

Dr. Lori's Blog

Dr. Lori reveals insider information and tips about the world of antiques. Subscribe here »
3 Fine China Care Tips

3 Fine China Care Tips

Are you ruining your Fine China and don’t even know it? Maybe you are displaying it in your china cabinet or stacking it in a drawer. Ph.D. antiques appraiser Dr. Lori reveals tips to correctly store, display, and move your fine china and antique dishes. Avoid stacking and wrapping mistakes using newspapers and bubble wrap.

Read More »