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Fine American and European Paintings

G.B. Tate & Sons Fine Art
Established 1967

How do I tell if I have a painting or a reproduction?

These are typical characteristics of reproductions ...

1. Reproductions often have copyright information PRINTED on it in small letters, eg: XYZ Art Co. with a Copyright Symbol, "?" and date.

2. Reproductions are usually done on paper, cardboard or fiberboard. This will usually be a grey colored board that is thin and stiff, with little substance, light in weight.

3. Reproductions are sometimes done on canvas. If it is on canvas... hold the work up to the light and view it from behind. If you can easily and evenly see the image of the entire scene from behind, it is probably a reproduction.

4. Many times, you can see a dot matrix pattern, if you look at the surface under magnification. This is the same pattern you will find on magazine or book images, typical of photo mechanical reproductions.

5.  Extra Note:  If you have a Robert Wood, and there is a brass name plate on the frame, with the title of the paintng and name of the artist, the chances are good that it is a reproduction, not an original.

Typical "dot matrix" pattern (magnified) found on photo-mechanical reproductions:

A Robert Wood reproduction with mechanical simulated brushstrokes added:

Details of the surface of a reproduction...

1. Look for places where the paint should be thick.
Here, you see only the image of thickness, but no paint substance

2. See the even "strokes", made by machine in a pattern... no individual hand painted strokes here

3. The pattern of the strokes do not follow the image of the painting, typical of a reproduction

A Robert Wood reproduction with a clear gel applied to simulate brush strokes:
 Notice how the "brush strokes" do not conform to the image of the landscape

A partial Robert Wood signature, typically found on reproductions:

We get many questions about signatures.  In this image, a typical Robert Wood signature has been overlaid with a clear acrylic gel to give it the look
of an original painting.  Note the dot matrix and flat look of the signature... sure giveaways that this is a lithographic print.

Characteristics of Original Paintings

Typical characteristics of original paintings...

Original paintings are often done on canvas, wood or masonite panel, or even paper. Works on canvas usually have a stretcher, which can be used to judge age and authenticity.

Paint has its own character. You can see the flow of paint on a surface, how it stands up on its own and how its color adds to others around it.

You can feel paint with your fingers, rough or smooth, with a tactile sense to it

Notations on the back of the work are often very telling. Look for labels, stamps or written notations that might give you some history, provenance or other indication of authenticity.

Remember... the real thing has its own life... if you have any questions, please check with us.

This is a detail of an ORIGINAL painting by Edward Moran...

Notice how the brush strokes follow the form of the wave,
differently from the Robert Wood details 1 and 3, above


This is a nice and informative label, found on the back of an oil by Walter Williams:


This is a typical notation found on the back of Robert Wood ORIGINAL paintings:

Here are two typical signatures by Robert Wood (also note the paint textures):

Robert Wood Signature 1

Robert Wood Signature 2

This is an unusual, but original signature by Robert Wood, scratched through wet paint with a brush handle:

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