9 Tips on How to Tell if a Painting is Valuable

9 Tips on How to Tell if a Painting is Valuable

The most expensive piece of art is Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi. It was auctioned off at $450,312,500.   

Unless someone did their research, they may not have even realized that the painting was valuable. 

If you own a painting and are wondering how to tell if a painting is valuable, click here for some tips and strategies that can help you tell if the art is worth something.

1. Find Out Who Owned It Beforehand

One good indicator of how to tell if a paint is valuable is to figure out who owned the painting beforehand.

If someone who was high up or well-known in the art community owned the painting, then there might have been a reason for it. They knew that it was worth more. 

In addition to that, it also adds more value to the painting based on who had owned it previously.

You should try and do some research on the painting. Create a list of all the people who have owned it and for how long. Ask the person you buy the painting from where they got it. 

You can also ask them if they have any other receipts or documentation to go along with the painting. You will also be able to tell who owned it by checking the back of the painting.

If you can't find any information, you should be able to take it to a museum, university, or another appraiser to figure out who owned it before and to make sure it's authentic. 


2. Figure Out Who the Artist Is

After you find out who previously owned the photo, you should also try and figure out who painted it. 

If it is a well-known artist, it will automatically be worth more just because of the name attached to it. But if the artist is someone who isn't well-known, you should still do your research.

If the artist led an interesting life or was significant in some way, this could be good news for you and your painting. If the artist died early and only painted a few paintings, this also adds more worth to it. This means that the supply can't meet the demand which drives up the price.

If the artist isn't historically known, you will still want to do some research. Sometimes current artists are very trendy and can get more for their paintings. 

For example, Bansky is very popular currently, and his graffiti-type paintings recently sold for $1.4 million, partly due to his popularity. 


3. Check the Condition of the Piece

Before you buy a painting, you should make sure that you check the condition of it.

You'll want to check to make sure that there are no rips, tears, or cracks. If there are issues with the painting, this will decrease the value. 

Someone will have to pay more to touch the painting up. If the paint has also faded, you may not be able to get as much money for it. 

4. Consider the Subject Matter

The subject matter of the painting even plays a factor in how much the painting is worth. 

Historically, portraits of beautiful women have sold for more money than paintings of men. There are a few exceptions to this, but if you have a painting of a beautiful woman, you could make some more money.

Other subjects, such as landscape paintings can also be tricky. Happy, bright, and colorful landscapes tend to be worth more than dark and gloomy landscapes. 

However, if the painting was painted by someone famous, the subject matter will not matter as much.

5. Check the Frame

The frame of the picture can also indicate what a painting is worth. It even makes it worth more. 

Some pictures come in high-quality frames, which are actually worth a lot. If the frame is extravagant or significant, it could even be worth more than the actual painting.

The frame should match the century of the painting, but historically, 19th century frames are more intricate and can add more value than one form the 20th century. 

6. What was it Painted On?

The type of material that the art was painted on also plays a role.

In general, paintings that were done on canvases sell more versus ones done on paper. Paintings also are worth more than a print or even sketches. 

7. What Colors Are Included?

Sometimes colors can also play a factor in if the painting will be worth a lot.

Colors can make us feel all kinds of different ways, and this could persuade someone to pay more money for it.

If your painting has a lot of red in it, you're in luck. In the past, red has been the color that has brought in the most money.

In fact, red paintings earned about $21,000 more than other paintings. 

For example, a painting called Blood Red Mirror by Gerard Richter sold for $1.1 million. 

Another all-red painting that sold for a lot of money was Concetto spaziale, Attese by Lucio Fontano. This one sold for $1.5 million. 

8. How Big is It?

Another thing to consider is how big the painting is. If you can hang the painting on the wall and notice that it demands attention, it is worth more.

This is called "wall power." It is one of the most important factors in the cost.

Hang the painting on the wall and ask yourself a few questions. Do you find yourself drawn to it? Are you curious about it? Do you feel intense emotions when you look at the piece?

9. Flip the Painting Over

The last thing you can do to determine the worth of your painting is to just flip it over.

There is normally important information on the back, like who previously owned it and maybe who the painter was. Sometimes painters will put their signature either on the front of the painting or on the back.

If there is a signature and it hasn't been authenticated, you want to consider having an expert look at it.

In April 2018, one painting, The Garden by Mary Louise Fairchild MacMonnies, was going to sell for around $8,000. After checking the back and seeing the signature and some other key information, the painting sold for $37,500.  

Use These Tips for How to Tell if a Painting is Valuable

Figuring out how to tell if a painting is valuable can be difficult sometimes, but with these steps, you should have a better idea of how much your painting is worth.

Even with these tips, sometimes it can still be difficult to really tell if your painting is worth anything or not.

For an expert opinion, bring your painting in to our Portland shop. We can help you appraise the piece.

Once you have your price, we can also help you sell it, so stop in today!




Share this story