Artist Signatures - What You Need to Know!
Placing your signature on an art piece is the ultimate statement of creativity, ownership, and pride. A lot of artists prefer to display it in their artwork extravagantly but others put it subtly, making it barely noticeable.
Just like paintings and exquisite artworks, it's a personal choice depending on the artist's preference. Artist signatures are important to show to the whole world who created the artwork. There are a lot of things to know about why you should know the history and importance of artist signatures.
Read on and find out what a simple signature can reveal and why it is an essential part of every art masterpiece.
Signatures Show The Artist's Personality
There are two kinds of signatures, block printed and handwritten. A carefully written hand-scripted signature shows the complexity and personality of the artist.
It creates a personal touch to the artwork. The simple block-printed signature shows that the artist wants to provide viewers that he or she is authentic, simple, and unobtrusive.
An Artist Signatures Is Part of The Artwork
Artist signatures started during the early Renaissance when art was being recognized as a celebration of an individual's creativity. A signature separates creative talent from lesser peers. It also ensures that the artworks are rightfully credited to the creator.
Art buyers want to draw attention to their collections to show off their financial standing. Viewers are eager to know who created the marvelous pieces of art and a simple artist's signature is enough to tell them who created it.
It's More Than Just The Artist's Signature
A signature has more purpose other than claiming the artwork. Artists may have personal reasons why they may opt to have their signatures on an art piece.
Artists create multiple pieces of masterpieces over a long period. Both collectors and artists want to know when and where the masterpiece was completed. An artist's signature provides origin and identification.
Besides the signature, the artist can also include a date, place, time, and a few more additional details about the work. This method is helpful when an artwork is being identified if it is given as a gift, commission, or commemoration.
Signature as a Way of Dating Works
There is no single way to identify the variety of a single signature. Every signature is different even if it came from the same person. Many artists use variations and symbols in their names.
A notable artist, James McNeill Whistler used different styles of his signature to make his works unique and varied. Although these signatures can be quite confusing, it is an essential tool when dating artworks.
Another example is when Picasso dropped his middle name, P R for something more artistic. He also changed his signature, later on, adding a dash signifying the completion of his work.
The variety of signatures helps us trace the history and dating of every important artwork. It showed us how art transformed throughout history.
Not All False Signatures Come With Bad Intentions
False signatures can be misleading but it is made with good intentions. Some artworks have doctored signatures to prevent them from being confiscated or destroyed.
Artists during the Second World War often doctored their signatures to save their work.
An example would be German soldiers would destroy any artwork created by a Jewish individual.
Jewish artists would try to falsify their signatures to preserve their work.
Hidden Signatures Provide a Wealth of Information
You might not appreciate it but hidden signatures provide priceless information about the artwork.
It can reveal a lot of information over time. The Australian Art department found a hidden signature by the artist, Tom Roberts.
The famous portrait of Louis Abraham showed no signs of signatures or dates whatsoever.
As the team worked around under the light, something caught their eye and they took photos of the suspected part of the art piece.
They sent it to a digital studio, enhanced the photo, and revealed a signature.
The signature had a dedication and date and was confirmed to be painted by Tom Roberts.
Spotting a Fake Signature
There are a lot of cases where artworks have been falsified with a fake signature.
Usually, a painting can be imitated together with the creator's falsified signature or someone might add a mimicked signature at a later date to deceive buyers and increase the value of an art piece.
Experts say that detecting a fake signature is easy.
There is usually a difference in the execution of the signature.
A fake signature often has a deliberate manner you wouldn't see in an authentic one. Faked signatures often lack fluidity and consistency.
Questionable signatures are also often put under UV light and the difference in pigment will show up by a flaring effect. Artists who have minimalistic signatures are prone to be victims of forgers.
Myles Foster who was a brilliant watercolorist has a very simplistic "BF" signature and forgers often imitate his signature.
Not All Work Has an Artist's Signature
It is important to know that not all artists autograph their work. Pay attention to artists who commonly don't use signatures.
Artists such as Cristopher Wood and Stanley Spencer don't sign anything in their work. Finding out if the artist signs their work is important in research.
A signature is often a piece of the missing puzzle and if you are not aware that the artist doesn't sign their work, you'd be looking for places you can't find.
Signatures are just one part of the painting when it comes to research and everything you need is on the masterpiece itself.
You can check the paint layers' age or look at the whole picture and see if it's been retouched.