How do I find out the artist's name for a family portrait oil painting?

  1. profile image50
    lxkelly1posted 5 years ago

    How do I find out the artist's name for a family portrait oil painting?

    This painting was painted by an artist about 1844 and 1845 in Traverse City, Michigan, USA.  The painting was not stored properly and the artist's name along with some other parts of the painting dryed out and chipped off so there's now way to tell who painted it.  My mother has seen similiar paintings on the Antiques Road Show but she is 90 years old and doesn't remember who painted these similiar paintings.  This oil portrait is of my Mother's grandmother or great grandmother and we would love to find out more about it and the artist who painted it.  Thank you for your help.

  2. snakeslane profile image81
    snakeslaneposted 5 years ago

    Hi lxkelly, if you go to the museum in that city you may be able to dig up some info on what artists were doing portrait painting around that time and narrow it down that way. Then try to find city records of names you come up with. Would be worth the effort

  3. Amanda Severn profile image97
    Amanda Severnposted 5 years ago

    Hi lxkelly, portrait painting is a very particular skill, and most artists who painted portraits in the 1840s would have honed that skill, as, in a time before photography became commonplace, good portrait artists were in high demand.
    If you have a local museum, you could see whether there are any portraits hanging there that are in a similar style, but the curators won't necessarily be able, or willing to advise you. It doesn't hurt to enquire, however.
    If the portrait is of a particularly high standard, you should approach a local art and antiques auction house for their advice. If your mystery artist painted many portraits in Traverse City, the chances are that an auctioneer will have had a few through his hands.

    I wonder from your question whether you are hoping to sell this painting? Portraits are not always so valuable as you might imagine, unless they are of a particularly handsome or beautiful sitter, or they are by a well-known artist. An auctioneer will give you good advice as to it's saleability.