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Fine Art/Print or Watercolor


How can one determine if a picture is a print or original watercolor? Does it take an expert or are there some simple methods that can be used? Is there a book or guide available on this subject? I think I have an outstanding watercolor by a listed artist but not positive.

James, It often takes experience to tell the difference between a watercolor and a print. Usually it is obvious, but at times it is almost impossible to tell. Some prints exhibit "benday", these are tiny dots that can be seen under magnification, they make up the color scheme in mechanical production.
I don't know of a particular publication the would be "prints vs. watercolors." You should be able to find a book on "how prints are made" or the "history of printmaking." These would describe the difference between etchings, engravings, aquatints, drypoints, lithographs, etc. Once you understood these methods you can better distinguish them from a watercolor.

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Daniel A. Hynes


Collecting, buying, selling, identifying, and caring for paintings, drawings,and watercolors (19th and early 20th century American and European). No prints, contemporary art, or works executed after 1940.


35 years as a fine art dealer, including 3 years as a gallery director. Also was art expert for Leslie Hindman's Auctioneers, and for Dunning's Auction.

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