Treasure Detectives

How to Spot a Fake: Paintings

How to Spot a Fake: Paintings

Some fake paintings have been so convincing, they've made it all the way into auctions at Christie's and Sotheby's auction houses.

A lot of the fakes and forgeries today — Warhols, Da Vincis and more — are made in China. In this clip from the CNBC reality series "Treasure Detectives," art detective Curtis Dowling, says that famous artworks are copied by the thousands in places like Shenzen.

In an age of perfect digital reproductions that can be doctored to look like valuable original paintings, there are a few factors buyers can consider to determine a painting's authenticity.

First, Dowling says, potential buyers need to know the artist and their body of work. Look at the signature and the frame to see if anything is off. Look at the colors in the painting – not all paint colors were available in the past. That's why savvy buyers will bring a color chart to see if they spot a color that wasn't possible in the era the painting was made.

But don't just look at the front. Flip that painting over. What surface is it painted on, and how does it sit on that? How does it feel and does it look aged enough? Considering these aspects are a few ways to avoid paying too much for a copycat.

Check out the clip and see if you can learn how to spot a fake.

(Read More: Slideshow: Fakes and Forgeries That Fooled the Experts)

Tune in to "Treasure Detectives" on CNBC Prime, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET