Acrylic versus Oil Painting

24 Feb 2009

Q: How do I tell if a painting has been done in oil or acrylic?

A: For the most part, an acrylic painting will dry leaving a flat finish and an oil painting will dry leaving signs of brushstrokes. On the other hand, there are many mediums that can be added to acrylic paint to simulate the appearance of oil, which makes it more difficult to distinguish between the two. Acrylic paint is also relatively new to the world of painting. It was introduced about 60 years ago by artists such as Motherwell, Rothko, and Lichtenstein. If your painting is older than this, it was probably done in oil.

--by Camille LaPointe-Lyons

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