I have been selling on ebay for just over one year and during this period I have witnessed an alarming number of fake Irish painting being offered for sale. An art forger will go to great lenghts to dupe you out of your hard earned cash. By following this simple guide you will not get stung.
The most likely Irish paintings to watch out for are those which tend to make substantial amounts of money at auction. Less professional art forgers will usually target the following Irish artists who printed their monogrammes and signatures unto their paintings. Conor, ( William Conor ) Luke, ( John Luke ) Markey, ( Markey Robinson ) O'M ( Tony O'Malley ) LMH, ( Letitia Marion Hamilton ), Bingham, ( George Bingham ) Percy French, Kernoff, ( Harry Kernoff ) Orpen, ( William Orpen ) D. O'Neill, ( Danial O'Neill ) Maurice C. Wilks, Paul Henry, This last artist was colour blind in certain colours and this important fact has escaped many art forgers.
Certain lesser well known Irish artists paintings are beginning to make increasing large amounts of money at auction in Ireland. This is not because more people are becoming aware of their talent, but because their paintings could be easely mistaken for those of a more famous artist. The signature will then be removed and that of the more renowned artist substituted. A prime example would be a painting by the Irish artist McGovern. He painted in the style of Percy French. His paintings would fetch around £30 - £50 at auction in Ireland. A Percy French watercolour would fetch from £5000 - £12,000.
Don't be fooled by the seeming aged or dirty look of a painting or the distressed frame. Old gallery labels do not prove provanence of a painting either. Many scamsters collect old frames and Gallery labels with great dedication. Many others will pay large amounts of money for old oil paints and watercolour pigments. This same rule would apply to all paintings regardless of origin.
This is a typical sample advert for the sale of a fake Irish work of art:
" This painting is signed ----- and in my opinion it is a genuine painting by the renowned Irish artist -------, but you make up your own mind and do your own research. See my 100 % feedback." ( There usually follows a detailed discription of the artists style and technical detail and an even longer discription of what price that particular artist is likely to fetch at auction ) " The painting is housed in its original frame and bears an old Gallery label with the original price of the painting. There is an old inscription written in pencil on the reverse. " A scamster will always attempt to disarm a potential buyers logic. They will appeal to the gambler within you and make you believe that they are giving away a valuable work of art. Any reputable art dealer would know what potential price a work of art is likely to make at auction. Why would anyone wish to sell a painting worth a thousands of £££s on ebay at no reserve and for a few hundred pounds if the painting was genuine. Dealers sell art on ebay to make money. They don't waste their time and energy taking worthless paintings to public auction houses where they have to be fully authenticated before being offered for sale.
You would save yourself enormous trouble and expense to ask the seller direct if they will guarentee that the painting is genuine and that it has been examined by a reputable art auctioneer. If the seller informs you that the said painting was bought at a local car Boot sale and that they could not be bothered taking it to an auction because of all the hassle and time involved. Then it is time to waken up and smell the coffee. Remember the old maxim " Beware of Greeks bearing gifts " and remember what happened to the ancient city of Troy.
Old pencil inscriptions are easy to fake on the back of any painting. A discription in old ink is harder to fake, but not impossible due to the availability of different coloured inks at a good Pen shop.
If you know nothing about art in general, only purchase what you really like yourself and within your budget. Forget about chasing after the big names. Knowledge is power and fortunes are being made on ebay by those with knowledge. Many famous artists never signed their paintings, You will never make a fortune buying art at auction without research, knowledge and years of experience.
Check out the following art reference website: artprice.com
Don't give the scamsters an inch. Question any seller to produce facts regarding what they have for sale. If the seller is on the level they will gladly provide you with the information you desire. Watch out for evasive tactics and don't do business with those sellers who will inform you that they will be away from home during the period of the auction and cannot answer questions.
Never leave positive feedback for any painting purchased on ebay until you have had the work authenticated by an expert. If the paintings is not right then demand a refund.
Post Script: It seems that I have hit a raw nerve in the above article on fake Irish paintings. A well known seller of " Irish Art " has asked me why I have one negative against my profile and four neutrals. The answer to that is simple. When you confront a person that they are selling forged Irish art. They will retaliate with negative feedback. I am not a self appointed Policeman on Irish art as this dealer has observed. I am attempting to prove that " everything that shines is not gold " to those who lack knowledge and that there are those who deliberately intend to exploite another persons ignorance on the subject of Irish art for self gain. I shall be reporting this dealers email to ebay and I don't expect that they will be a member of the ebay community for much longer.