Telling the difference between paintings and prints

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How to tell the difference between genuine paintings and reproduction prints:

Both watercolours / watercolors and prints tend to be purchased ready framed, behind glass, which makes direct inspection difficult without removing the image from the frame.  Meanwhile, reproduction prints are sometimes given a textured, see-through finish, to make them look like genuine oil paintings.  Both these factors make it difficult to tell the real thing from a fake.

However, whether an imitation watercolour or imitation oil painting, you can detect a reproduction with nothing more than a humble magnifying glass, or better still, a camera with a macro setting.  If you focus the camera or magnifying glass on a print, the picture will 'break up', revealing that the picture is actually made up of tiny, printed dots - that is to say, not paint.  If using a camera set to macro, a resulting photo will reveal this more clearly.

If you are looking at a genuine painting, the image will continue to be viewed as solid paint, even under a high magnification.  This technique allows you to inspect a painting, even without removing the covering glass.  In the past, I have been sold a print as a painting on eBay and have used close up photographs of the dots as evidence for a refund claim.  This evidence is incontestable and should  result in a prompt and full refund.

Happy and safe art bidding and buying!


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