Some people may be wary about purchasing and selling vintage paintings and wondering what the difference is between a print and a lithograph. So here are some tips to guide you when buying vintage art.
1. Look for a signature
If you are lucky, every old framed picture you encounter will have a clear and readable name signed in one of the corners.
2. There’s a signature, now what?
Right now there are a vast number of artists you will have to learn and spell each of their names. In the beginning, just try to stick to some of the most collectible names and leave the in-depth discussions for the art experts. You simply want to buy and sell vintage paintings, not dive into Picasso’s technique. Here are some names to always be on the lookout for:
- Maxfield Parrish
- John Taylor Arms
- Wallace Nutting
- Marc Chagall
- Thomas Hart Benton
- Henri’ Matisse
- Rockwell Kent
- H. Vogt
- P Newell
- John Boydell
- Sam Savitt
- Bessie Pease Gutmann
- Currier & Ives
- Charles H. Sawyer
- Fred Thompson
- David Davidson
- Florian A. Baker
These are only a few of the more well-known collectible artists from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. If you become accustomed to these names then you will be well on your way to starting to have a bit of knowledge about vintage paintings.
3. Is it an original, lithograph or print?
The best way to decide this is to look at the painting. Does it have numbers that look like this 220/1000 or does it have a printing company label? Is it handsigned? Does it have a lithograph publishing company stamp in any of the corners? Does it have a stamped signature? Is it a copy of an original picture? Is there a printer’s mark or stamp on the back of the painting?
If you are able to find anything on the vintage painting or picture then research what you found.
An original vintage painting is self explanatory – the artist painted it.
A print is a piece of art that meets the following requirements:
- The artist’s creation of the master image on a stone, plate, wood block or other material.
- The execution of the print by the artist or under his/her knowledge and direction
- Approved by the artist himself/herself.
A lithograph is a print reproduced by printing from a smooth metal plate or flat stone on which the design, picture, etc is made with a greasy material that will hold ink/ printing; and the rest of the surface made ink-repellant with water.
The subject matter and condition of the paintings and frames are also vital aspects to think about when purchasing or selling your vintage paintings. A vintage lithograph or print with the original glass or frame generally brings higher prices on the market and good subjects to deal with are art nouveau, art deco, black Americana and Western.