Recognising Antique Paintings

There are many differing opinions as to how old pictures need to be in order to be considered antique paintings. When we hear the term antique most people know and understand that this term refers to an item that is old. When talking about furniture a piece has to be 100 years old to be considered an antique. Cars on the other hand can be considered antique when they are 25 years old.

3 different opinions on antique paintings

  • Strict constructionists insist that only paintings from the Greek and Roman Empire can be considered antiques. Which, if one adheres to their way of thinking, makes most of those paintings in museums and in collectors’ vaults simply old.
  • On the other hand those in the art world who are less regimented accept any painting that is dated in the 1800s and before as antique. While this allows far more paintings to be given the status of antique it also eliminates the possibility that more modern paintings, regardless of how many years they survive, will ever be given an antique status.
  • For that reason, a third group in the art world have declared that any over 100 years old can be classified as antique paintings.

As you can imagine having three definitions of what constitutes an antique painting is bound to cause a lot of confusion making it impossible for anyone who doesn't own a painting from the Greek or Roman empire to ever be really sure whether their painting is really an antique or not. It all depends on who is viewing the painting.

Collectors of antique paintings

Despite the confusion over what qualifies as a genuine antique, the fact remains that there are many collectors of paintings and all are willing to pay high prices for what they perceive as antique paintings. While some of these collectors spend millions and millions to add a single painting by one of the artists deemed as masters to their collection, others turn their attention to those "antique paintings" done by lesser known artists. Still others collect pictures of landscapes or portraits rather than paintings done by specific artists, or just antique oil paintings or watercolours.

Other types of antique pictures

Even prints of antique paintings are prized by certain collectors and can sell for extremely high prices among those looking to collect certain artists or certain genres. In fact, there is a whole new group of collectors that only collect prints of antique or famous paintings. Many will spend years haunting auctions looking for that one painting they want to make their collection complete.

It seems no matter what the definition there is a collector ready and willing to pay the price to add artwork to their private collection. One thing for sure is that antique paintings are not only lovely to look at and a real thrill to own but if chosen carefully can be a very sound investment too.

Find out more about auctions of antique paintings at Boningtons.


When: 10:30 AM

03/23/2016 11:00 AM // 5:30 PM Europe/London
Forest Lodge Commercial Complex, High Road, Epping [email protected] yes //

Saturday 08 Feb 2015 - Sale commences 10:30 AM