Are you shopping for art for just the right piece to complete your décor? You'll find a plethora of art at vintage stores and antique malls. Some stalls cater specifically to old paintings, maps, or empty frames, so take a peak in all the kiosks and booths. But know what you're looking at before you go.
Paintings versus prints
It's easy to mistake a print for a painting when it is in an old frame and sold as antique or vintage. Don't misunderstand, a print, especially one known as a hand lithograph, can be quite valuable, and certainly be the perfect choice for your décor, but it's best to know the difference. Paintings have discernable brushstrokes while print reproductions have very tiny dots. Take a good look, up close and personal. The value in the painted art is that it is original. The value in hand lithographs is the work and detail involved.
Lithographs typically come numbered and not mass-produced. Prints, on the other hand, when mechanically reproduced are less valuable than a lithograph with their evenly spaced dots and uniform color. But a print is still worth purchasing if it fits your décor, just know before you overpay for it.
What if it’s cracked?
Old paint cracks. That's part of its charm and value. The fine web-like cracks have a particular name: craquelure. In no way does craquelure indicate that there is something wrong with your painting. It often denotes your pieces is likely authentic and sought after by collectors.
Should I reframe it?
Original frames and the nails used to hold the painting in the frame and hold the frame together often contain vital information that dates the piece. If the wood has aged or the metal patinaed, that indicates the frame might be older. Often, framers placed a mark, label, or stamp on their work too, so if your frame or backing has such a mark, it might reveal, with a little internet sleuthing, the frame’s age.
What if there isn’t a frame?
While it’s nice to find the perfect piece in the original frame, some art makes its way to vintage shops because of a damaged or broken frame. Don’t be afraid to put an older print in a modern frame for an eclectic look.
Is it authentic?
When shopping at an antique mall or store, try to learn as much about the art as possible. The dealer might have information on where it came from, or how old it is. It may have come as part of an estate sale and could even have accompanying documentation to prove its age and ownership.
If you have the art, but no place to hang it, your real estate professional will happily help you find just the right place to showcase your collection.