Dating painting stretchers
Be suspicious of any framed and matted “oil painting” that is covered with glass and has a flat back.
The odds are over 99 percent that the painting is a print. Because a picture is on a stretcher does not mean it is an oil painting.
If in doubt, remove the painting/print from the frame. Reproductions of paintings often are printed on textured canvas-like surfaces, often with pseudo brush strokes, and attached to stretchers.
If fact, all artwork should be inspected outside its frame. Examine brush stroke lines to make certain they correspond to the appropriate color changes. Do not make the mistake of assuming that these reproductions are easy to spot.
If the painting is on board, the board should show signs of warping or cracking. Recently, I inspected an oil painting that had been professionally restored. “Staples indicate reproduction” is a good general rule, but not the only rule used to spot a reproduction. Dirt, grim and the other particles and chemicals in the air age a canvas.
Paintings tend to remain with the first owner until he dies.
When the paintings do come on the secondary market, the vast majority sell for less than they cost new.
If metal, look for a copyright date and signs of oxidation.
There should be a layer of dust on the top of the bottom stretcher that is oily to the touch.
To read When someone mentions oil painting, the tendency is to automatically think “oil on canvas.” Canvas is just one surface medium.