Selling an old master painting

To sell an old master painting at the correct market value it is firstly necessary to proceed to a careful and precise valuation. The estimation of an old master painting is based on various objective and subjective aspects in relation to the current art market. The first step is that of relying on a competent art gallery, with various years of experience in the field and which has been formed by recognised experts or consultants. The gallerist will provide you with a valuation after a careful analysis of the painting and will proceed to the draft of a purchase offer. The most important phase is obviously that of the estimation of the value of the painting but how do you evaluate an old master painting?

How much is my painting worth?

To be able to evaluate and thus sell an old master painting it is necessary to consider various factors and characteristics: the epoch of the production of the piece, the attribution to an author or school, the preservation state, the quality, the provenance and the aesthetics.

Epoch and attribution

Epoch and attribution are fundamental aspects in the valuation of an old master painting. The more the author is important from an artistic point of view and quality the greater the value of the painting will be. In relation to the old master paintings, it is more difficult to go back to the author, since the pieces were rarely signed. In this case, the valuation of the painting is mainly based on the quality and the aesthetics of the piece.

Quality and aesthetics

The quality and aesthetics of an old master painting are the most complex characteristics to evaluate since they are based on more subjective aspects. The aesthetics of a painting refers to the pleasantness of the subject and to how it is represented on the canvas; the taste of the collectors varies through years, therefore, the aesthetics must be taken into consideration in relation to the current taste. Quality instead is also based on objective aspects such as techniques and materials used by the painter and the preservation state of the painting.

Preservation state

The preservation state is a further fundamental factor to consider in the process of valuation and sale of an old master painting. The conditions of a piece can be good or bad on the basis of the gravity of the damages bore by the painting and the canvas. In the analysis of the conditions of a painting, cuts, breaks, holes, bulges in the canvas, restorations and losses of colour are considered. A bad preservation state will obviously have a negative impact on the valuation of the painting.

Provenance and historical-artistic importance

Provenance remains an important aspect in the estimation of an old master painting, despite being rare to be able to gather information on it. With provenance it is referred to the previous owners of the painting, to go back (in rare cases) to the commission. The more information there is on the history of a painting, the easier it will be to attribute it to an author and have a more precise value.  The historical-artistic importance can contribute to the value of a painting if the work depicts a known character or a particularly important historical event.

If you wish to sell an old master painting and you wish to receive a free, professional and quick valuation, contact Antichità Giglio at one of the following numbers 02 or 335 63.79.151 or via email at

Visit our website to have further information on the valuation, sale and purchase of old master paintings, antiques and antique art.

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