How To Spot Fake or Copied Art

How To Spot Fake or Copied Art

Fakes and forgeries are known to exist in the global art market. The quality of a piece of art is influenced by its potential to communicate much more than its surface. Authenticity is one factor that influences the value.

Authentic art is rare overall; Creations require  great effort and attention to details. Copies, however, can be made quickly and cheaply because the faker aims to deceive and sell fast. Thus, forgeries make up a significant part of the market for unreputable art dealers.

The high percentage of inauthentic art on the market is easy to explain. Authentic art is not growing in number but instead is becoming scarce every day. As a result, the market has been flooded with imitations of all sorts, thus creating a culture of fakes that is hard to identify and even harder to differentiate from the real thing.

Digital technology facilitates the creation of forgery to look like valuable original paintings. Thus the buyers may  consider the following steps before purchasing artwork.

1. Do Your Research

"Caveat emptor," Latin for "Let the buyer beware," is the principle that the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of the art before purchasing. As a buyer, you must do due diligence and take the necessary steps to ensure your purchase is original. Indeed, it cannot be emphasized enough that proper due diligence is the key to any successful art market transaction.

In researching the art, it is critical to know what to look for when judging originality. It would be best if you first looked at the artist's work. Observe their signature style and look at their other pieces to get a feel for how they draw. It is also essential to know your source.

2. Examine the Painting

Take a good look at the painting you want to purchase to see the artist's typical style, favorite subjects, composition, traditional medium, painting sizes, gallery tags, or labels. Check any of the following red flags:

a. Signature

When looking at the placement of signatures, it is essential to remember that artists often change their styles over time. However, you can check whether the signature is placed in the same position in each painting and the fonts used. If it is not, that may be a red flag. Also, keep in mind that some artists' signatures are easily copied.

 b. Brush Bristles

Painted copies are often made by using cheap paint brushes. The cheap paint brushes often have hairs still attached to them. 

c. Look at the Front and Back of the Piece

  • The first thing to look at is the patina of the piece itself. Is there dirt and dust of the ages on the surface?
  • If you're assessing how old  a painting is, you'll want to do a thread count as well. This will tell you how many threads were used in its creation. A more recent piece will have more threads per inch than an old piece—and this has implications for how fragile your piece is.
  • Finally, if your painting includes an old canvas, check whether there some patina on its back surface. This could mean that over time, some pigment from your painting has rubbed off onto it—thus making it look aged and more authentic.
d. Check on Layering

Many fakes have no depth of paint, or layers. It's easy to copy a piece electronically but a photo copier cannot get the layers of paint a real piece has.

3. Strong Provenance

Provenance can be falsified. Every effort should be made to ascertain provenance. A strong provenance reduces the risk of art forgery. It refers to the verifiable documentation's history of an artwork, such as sales receipts, articles in newspapers and magazines, and cataloging mentioning the piece. Previous owners may also be mentioned. 

 If you can, don't settle on options that require you to judge artwork for yourself. Get an expert to do the work. Your decision must be backed up by a third party who can objectively and professionally either authenticate or appraise your art.

 Art appraisal and authentication are very different and are two separate fields that can significantly impact the value of your art. "An appraiser's inspection is typically limited to those things readily observable without the use of special testing or equipment" (USPAP's Comment).

Myriam Nader Salomon is a qualified art appraiser who can assess the originality of your Haitian artwork by providing a subjective opinion regarding authenticity, an unbiased opinion on the value of the work of art, attribution, and a readily apparent identity in good faith. She is qualified to appraise Haitian art collections based on years of expertise, research, continuing education, and her family's almost 60-year sale database. Find out more about her services here

4. Purchase Your Art From A Reputable Dealer

Art forgeries are everywhere, this is also true for Haitian Art. That is why you should always purchase from a reliable source like Myriam Nader Haitian Art Gallery.

The gallery has been a leader in the Haitian art worldwide for nearly three decades. Myriam Nader Haitian Art Gallery offers the most impressive collection of Haitian artwork with stellar service experience, specializing in selling and appraising. They securely ship artworks all around the world, so you can easily browse and shop for authentic Haitian art from the comfort of your home or office.


Contact us today to learn more!
(Image Credit: Brian Britigan for Reveal)

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