A mechanical reproduction, produced through industrial printing, is a sign of mass production. For this reason, these reproductions only have value for their decorative qualities. Get out the magnifying glasses!
First, you must observe the printing pattern, measure the lack of depth in the material. To do this, examine the composition under a magnifying glass and look for the print grain. However, be careful of more elaborate reproductions that use different methods to give the illusion of being original compositions. A Deceiving Film Some reproductions are covered with a plastic film that gives the illusion, sometimes very deceiving, of an oil painting. Start by checking that the relief given by this film and mimicking brushstrokes corresponds well to the pattern. Observe the depth of the material, as the film dissociates the relief and the paint.
Under the highlights, the pattern Some reproductions are highlighted with paint, oil or gouache. To spot them, you must look for areas that are generally not highlighted: faces, hands of characters, details. If you observe a printing pattern in these areas, it is a composition without value. Chromolithography Some of these reproductions are called chromolithography. It is one of the first industrial methods of producing color images.