If you are trying to sell a painting, it is helpful to know ahead of time how much someone might pay for it. A little research can help you determine some facts about the painting and artist, and a professional appraisal can confirm the painting's actual value.
Look for a signature
A signature on a painting helps confirm its authenticity and increases its value. Sometimes artists sign with initials or symbols, so keep looking even if you do not see a traditional signature.
Research the artist
Once you have confirmed the artist's identity, do some research to learn about his significance in the art world. Online art databases and art reference books in libraries should provide some valuable information. Online searches can also give you a sense of the value of the artist's other works.
Search auction records
Art auction websites such as Christie's, AskArt and Sotheby's provide recent auction prices for works by notable artists. Researching the artist's history may also give you comparisons to use so you can assess whether the painting you have is significant and valuable.
Have a professional appraisal done
Once you have a sense of the artist's importance and the value of the painting, take the painting to a professional art appraiser for an estimate. This step helps you prepare to set an asking price at a gallery or an initial bid price at an auction.