How to Research a Disney Art Piece

You have an amazing painting–you found it in your attic, inherited it from your mother, or got hooked by the charms of an art gallery. Now what? Is its value rooted in your tie to the artist? Or are you just attached to it for sentimental reasons? Should you sell it? Is it worth anything?
First of all, congratulations on your splendid new piece of art. Even if it doesn’t strike you rich in the long run, the sentimental value and history that accompany the piece are enough to make it priceless. Now let’s see if anyone else agrees.
Get the Bare-Bones Details
Before you take your piece of art anywhere for perusal, appraisal, or simple praise, take down some bare-bones details.
  1. Take multiple photos of the piece so you don’t have to lug the art work around with you.
  2. What is the piece made of?
  3. How was it made? Was it carved, etched, cast, painted (and in what media)?
  4. What is the piece’s title and subject?
  5. Who is the artist? Is there a signature or are there initials on the piece?
  6. Are there any numbers, marks, inscriptions, or damages?
  7. When was it created?

Dig a Little Deeper
If you were able to find the name of the artist or the title of the piece, you can find out more about the piece by doing simple research. Visit your local library–it will likely have a requisite reference book and art-savvy librarians to help you figure out the next step in your research. If you’re lucky enough to live by an art museum, they also have libraries, though these are not generally open to the public. It doesn’t hurt to hit some books and discover what you can about your piece of art.

Have it Appraised
What if there was no artist’s signature on the piece? Not sure what it’s made of? Your best bet would be to find an expert or appraiser to evaluate the piece. Depending on the appraiser you choose, this step can be expensive, and it won’t guarantee that your art would be worth a lot of money. Before you spend money on a professional, consider looking for free opportunities at your local museums.

If you still want to have the art professionally appraised, you can consider the Appraiser Association of America and the American Society of Appraisers. These sites refer you to a local appraiser who might be able to help you.

Have it evaluated by an auction house
By now, you should be seriously considering selling your art piece because you know it will fetch you a hefty price. Several websites, like ArtPrice or Telepraisal, will provide auction results, a price list, and news on upcoming auctions. If your art piece is a print, the International Fine Prints Association will help you search for dealers in your area.

Whether you choose to sell your art, researching the piece you have can be gratifying and liberating. You’ll learn so much about the history of the work of art, understand the artist who created it, and learn about the subject.

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