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How to Tell a Paul Detlefsen Print From an Original Painting

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My major interests and career include piano tuning, aircraft piloting, and nature walking. My talented wife made the chain-linked armor.

This is the Paul Detlefsen print that I own; it's titled "Happy Days."

This is the Paul Detlefsen print that I own; it's titled "Happy Days."

Collecting the Work of Artist Paul Detlefsen

Paul Detlefsen was an artist who got his start in the 1950s. He painted warm scenes of children playing, farms, wagons, and other happy settings. You can tell a lot about his work based on the names of his paintings, which celebrate warmth and good times. Here are some examples:

  • "Vintage Horse and Buggy Days"
  • "Big Moment"
  • "Good Old Summertime"
  • "Happy Days"
  • "Memories"
  • "Barn Farm Scene"
  • "Serenity"
  • "Red Barn"
  • "The Smithy"

Folks love his paintings because they inspire nostalgia for a better time when life was simple and the pace was slow.

My Detlefsen Print

The framed print pictured above is called "Happy Days," and I found it in a secondhand store in excellent condition. It was a fortunate event to find this one, since it is not available on Amazon. I suspect that it could be rare, even though it is a print rather than a painting.

A print is a reproduction of the original painting. Making prints is a good way to allow many people to enjoy the painting without having to pay a lot.

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How to Determine if You Have a Print or an Original Painting

There are many Paul Detlefsen prints out there that someone might mistake for the real thing, especially if they're framed. To ascertain if your picture is a print or an original painting, try the following techniques.

  • Use a magnifying glass to view it close up. You will see tiny dots if it is a print. If it's an original, you'll see brushstrokes with uneven paint daubs on the edges of the canvas. The paint daubs will be hidden beneath the frame.
  • Look for a signature and number. Most original paintings are hand-signed and numbered by the artist. You may also see a copyright symbol.
  • Touch the painting gently. You should feel layers of paint if it's an original.
  • Sniff it. Original paintings take a long time to lose the smell of oil paint.
  • Ask a professional to assess it. Some reproductions are so good that the dots are hidden and can even appear like brushstrokes. In order to be certain, have your painting evaluated by an expert before selling it. You can also ask your local professional artist to take a look. They can usually tell if a picture is a print or not.
  • Get it appraised. There are mercenary artists who paint copies of famous works and try to pawn them off as original paintings. These works are simply known as "fakes," "copies," or even "reproductions." Getting your painting appraised will be helpful before you try to sell it as an original.

Are Paul Detlefsen Paintings Worth Much?

If you find an original Paul Detlefsen painting, you won't become rich from selling it. They tend to go for around $200.00 to $300.00 on eBay. Still, it is just nice to know that yours is an original and should slowly continue to climb in price.

Overview of Paintings by Paul Detlefsen

There are a wide variety of Detlefsen paintings and prints, like "Blacksmith's Shop" and "Happy Days" (the print pictured at the top of the article). I enjoy them all, but his mountain scenes are especially beautiful. One painting shows a little boy herding the cows along, and that's another favorite of mine.

I also enjoy Detlefsen's piece that shows some kids hiding and watching a romantic couple float by in their red canoe. When I saw that print for the first time, I had to chuckle. Another new one for me was a picture of some boys skinny-dipping. This print shows a church in the background that makes me wonder if the kids were skipping out.

Brief Biography of the Artist

Paul Detlefsen was born in Denmark in 1899. He moved to the United States and took art lessons at the Art Institute of Chicago.

After trying out different art jobs in Hollywood and being successful there, he decided he wanted something different. So he left that type of work and started to paint scenes from the "good old days" for calendars, jigsaw puzzles, and similar products. Paul continued to paint until his death in 1986.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

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