Oil painting of covered bridge

by Dr. Lori Verderame

Many of us have old paintings hanging around the house and we don’t know much of anything about them. Here are some tips as to what you might look for at that painting that is hanging over your fireplace or that painting that you are considering for purchase.

What to Look For

Look mainly for consistency in the painting’s materials, the brushwork, the subject matter… just about everything.

On the front of any paintings, look for consistent brushwork, objects portrayed realistically, and a pleasing color scheme. Look for any stray brushstrokes or pigment that is not expected to be in a certain area. Look for flaking or stray marks that should not be there. Loss areas or missing pigment are tell tale signs of wear, neglect or damage. Do not try to repaint or repair a painting yourself. If you aren’t Picasso, don’t repaint it. It will only make the painting look worse.

Condition of the materials of a work of art is also very important. Canvas paintings with tears, rips, holes, flaking paint or pigment, and other areas of damage will impact a painting’s overall value.

The back of the canvas is very important too. Most people don’t know what to look for when it comes to assessing the back of a painting. From the back, look for security of the canvas to its wooden stretcher bars and look for a good solid taut canvas. Look for wooden stretcher bars that support the canvas and keep it taut. Make sure to note any markings on the back of your painting as these markings may provide valuable information about the artist, location, date, origin, previous owners, etc.

If you are not sure, attend one of my appraisal events to learn more about the secrets of your paintings.

Get an online appraisal of your painting from Dr. Lori.