How to Identify the Artist of a Painting?

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Do you think tracking down the artist of a painting is frustrating or impossible? Well, for your information, it is not!

In reality, the challenge of finding the mysterious artist can be easy and fun.

There are so many resources available today which makes the challenge smooth and simplistic. And once you uncover the mystery about the artist, it can be immensely gratifying.

So let us take a look at the different methods you can use to uncover this mystery.

The Act of Narrowing Down

Street Painting

Narrow down the possible artists. Like cops narrowing down the list of suspects. This act of narrowing down can help you immensely.

Artists of different periods and different cultures have different styles. For example, if you see an old painting depicting a street or landscape, you can relate it to French impressionist artists. Not always, but most times. Artists like Camille Pissarro and Antoine Blanchard are famous for these kinds of paintings. Next up, identify the style of painting followed. Whether it’s abstract and modern or rather traditional. You can also narrow down your search depending on the medium of paint used. Whether the artist used oil paint, watercolor, or any other medium.

How Internet Can Help?

Artist Monograms

Things can be easy if there is a signature of the artist on the painting. If the painting is by some famous artist like Picasso or van Gogh, obviously, you would have identified it by now. But sometimes, the artist may not be that well known. The signature on the painting might be partial or blurred. Now what to do?

These days, internet has become the first place to look your answers. In this case also, if you plead before the internet, you won’t be disappointed. Websites like can help you in identifying the artist. The website even allows you to search by monograms. Here, you just need to enter the letters that you see in the artist signature and you will get a list of signatures containing those letters. From the list, you can compare signatures until you find a match to zero-in on the artist.

If you run out of luck on this website, search some of the other auction websites like Sotheby’s or websites like Art cyclopedia. These websites contain artist profiles and most of their paintings. Maybe this is where your luck hides, who knows! You could even try sending a photograph of the painting to people behind these websites. This could really simplify your challenge.

The Google God!

Google Image Search

Another great way to identify the painting and artist is by using Google Image Search. Here is what you need to do. Take a photograph of the painting, save it to your computer, upload the image to the Google Image Search engine and wait for the results. If you are lucky, you will get every detail you need about the painting from this simple search.


Don’t Forget Books!

Signature Books

If you are not an ‘internet guy’, you still have many options left. Books are definitely one of them. You will find many books in the market that are databases of artist signatures. “Artists’ Monograms and Indiscernible Signatures: An International Directory”, a series of books by John Castagno, is an example. He has collected and published signatures of more than 55,000 artists around the world through this series. The book has different sections for signatures, monograms, symbols and even Cyrillic signatures. If the painting in your hand has any of these monograms or symbols, this book is sure to be a great resource.

The Fine Art Museums

If there are no symbols or signatures on the painting or none of the above stuff works for you, visiting a fine arts museum might be your last resort. Most such museums have a separate division for research and they can help you identifying the artist. In case the artist turns out to be someone famous and accomplished, it can only mean one thing; it’s your lucky day!

So accept the challenge and start searching for the artist. Once you find the artist, share your experience with us. How challenging or easy it was and how gratifying the experience was. We would love to see your comments!

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About Shyam

Shyam is the founder of Visit our store for a wide selection of wall art, paintings, stickers and other home decor products.

3 Responses to “How to Identify the Artist of a Painting?”

  1. I have a John Wayne painting that is the only one that exists. He posed for the artist to paint it during the filming of Rio Bravo. It was given to me through a Will. I am also a huge John Wayne fan. I have had this very large Black Velvet oil painting for 14 years now. Want to find out who painted it because it goes to my son who is also a huge fan of “The Duke” if you can help it would be greatly appreciated. Thank You,

  2. I have owned a watercolour for over thirty years,and I’d love to know more about it.
    The scene is a very simple desert,whith a figure on a camel.The signature looks like
    V.elyto.can anyone help ?
    Thanks John

  3. i have a painting which i think depicts a spanish house by a river, detail is very good with a signature that looks like lohe it has a line underneath the lohe and two dashes like the number 11 any help would be appreciated. thanks john

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