Question Hello Sir: I have acquired a portrait painting (18" x 23") identified as Frederick Ludwig, Furst von Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen, 1746-1818. The painting is oil and depicts a man in 18th century garb (looks like Geo Washington) wearing sash and badge of a Prussian order. On the back of canvas is the date 1784 and information in German about this man. The style of writing is not 1784 but maybe 1860s; the painting style appears much earlier. I am trying to determine when this painting was painted. There is no signature or date on the painting. There are numerous fine cracks in the paint throughout. The date 1784 on back is above the biographical information, and appears to have been added later. The last line is "painted as a Prussian colonel" which would be historically accurate to the 1784 date. Is there any way to determine the age of the painting from examination? The style is certainly commensurate to the period, and the subject, a Prussian general who fought Napoleon in 1806, not likely one who would have been widely painted after his death. Any advice? Thank you.
Answer Yes, Mark, there are experts who can determine age. I am not one of them. I believe there are scientific tools that can determine age of canvas, the paint, etc. Call a museum in your area; second choice, good appraiser or auctioneer. Sorry I can't help more. Alan.
I can provide sound advice on buying, collecting & understanding fine art, especially original works by 20th century masters and leading contemporary artists. I can also explain techniques used to create original works and offer tips on how to tell whether or not a piece is an original work of art.
I have been active in the art world for twenty-seven years. I owned and operated four galleries and a wholesale showroom on both coasts. We specialized in original works by 20th century masters and emerging artists. I have been an art consultant, artist's representative, lecturer, auctioneer, and curator. I had a radio show for two years, "Today's Art World with Alan Klevit" [Washington, D.C.]; hosted two television shows on the arts for six years [Los Angeles Area]; have written for numerous local papers and international art magazines; and currently write a syndicated column, "The Art Beat." I conduct art auctions for charities throughout the United States, and am a frequent speaker/auctioneer on upscale cruise ships, and at civic organizations and local television shows.
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Education/Credentials Undergraduate and graduate degrees from Georgetown University and The American University