An old painting can be worth a lot of money, so if you and your spouse jointly own such a piece of art, you want to be sure how much the painting is actually worth. Massachusetts couples who end up divorcing face the thorny question of who gets the painting, and in some cases the painting ends up being sold with its value split up between the spouses. So it is a smart move to understand how paintings are evaluated.
Hobbylark says you should see if your painting is an original, as it will be worth a lot more if you own an original piece. Checking the painting with a magnifying glass to look for pencil lines under the paint or variation in brushstrokes can help tell an original work of art from a copy or a print. Still, owning a print does not automatically mean your artwork is worth a lot less. Limited editions can still be worth a lot of money.
Perhaps you do not know the artist of your painting. If you learn the name of the person who painted your artwork, you can check online to see how much the artist's work is worth. There will likely be an identifying mark on the painting, perhaps the signature of the artist, the artist's initials, or a monogram. There are websites with artist signatures, so if you do find a signature, check to see if the signature on your art is authentic.
Take care as you examine your painting. If your art is old and framed, do not take the frame off. The act of removing the frame could damage the value of the painting and you might accidently damage the art as well. Also, the frame could be valuable as well. In some cases, a frame may be more valuable than the painting it contains. Removing a frame from the art could damage the frame and rob it of some of its value.
Even knowing these facts, it is wise to find a professional art appraiser to assist you in determining the value of your art. Still, it is helpful to know the basics of evaluating art. In the event you divorce, you will want to get the right price for your art and not be shortchanged. Making sure you own an original work or a limited edition print means you will likely reap a substantial amount even if the art must be sold to divide up its value between you and your spouse.
Due to the many differences in divorce cases involving highly priced art, this article should not be considered as legal advice. Its purpose is to inform readers on high asset divorce topics.