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My best greeting

My question is about the right way in buying original paintings :

When I want to buy an original painting from its owner , What's the necessary information , artistic details and  official certifications  . I must ask the owner to send it  to me ?
Or in other words what’s the professional method in getting details about an original painting specially if the buying will be online ?

Thank you

William Selton
Tel Aviv – Israel  

Dear William, I have no involvement with contemporary art. I can only tell you how I would buy a painting by a deceased artist. First I want to know the media (oil, gouache, watercolor, etc.) and is it on canvas, wood panel, pressed board, paper, etc. ? I want a complete description of the condition. If canvas, any tears, patches, overpaint, lining (original canvas backed with another canvas), has it been cut down or reduced in size ? If watercolor or gouache I want to know if there is any discoloration, tears, foxing (rust-like spots). If on paper is the paper loose and free or glued down to something ? Is the frame original ?
Is the artist listed, what are his credentials ? Is the painting a typical subject and in the typical style for the artist ? Is there any exhibition history for this particular painting. Provenance (history of ownership) of the painting ?
Paintings are always sent to me for my examination and approval before I pay for them (sometimes I will send a post-dated check for the seller to hold). Have an agreement with the seller as to who pays for shipping. Usually the seller will pay for the packing and shipping to me and if the painting is not acceptable I pay the return shipping.
As far as certificates, usually they are worthless and don't mean a thing. Only when you are buying a costly painting by a very important artist, such as Monet, would you likely receive a certificate of authenticity from the author of the catalogue raisonne or the acknowledged expert on that particular artist. Also, be aware there are many fake certificates of authenticity.
Most important, somehow you need to verify the reputation of the seller.

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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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