How to Recognize Early 1900s Bessie Pease Gutmann Prints

By Kate Craig ; Updated September 15, 2017

Bessie Pease Gutmann was a children's book illustrator from 1905 to 1935. Her popular prints, such as "The Awakening" and "A Little Bit of Heaven" are popular with collectors. To obtain such a print, it is important for a collector to understand how to differentiate between a reprint and an original. However, even if the work of art is being sold over the Internet, there are a few key steps a collector can take to ensure that their investment is secure.

Determine whether the piece is on glossy paper or on matte paper. Originals will be on matte paper, while reprints will be on glossy paper. Glossy paper will be reflective and smooth while matte paper is porous and slightly rougher to the touch.

Look for the art work's print number. Each of Gutmann's works will have a number associated with the specific print. This number identifies the number of prints the artist made of that piece.

Find the "Gutmann and Gutmann Copyright, New York, NY" seal. Each of Gutmann's pieces has a copyright seal.

Locate the title of the print. It will be in block print below the painting, usually with the copyright date beside it. New prints have the title in script rather than block print.

Check to see whether the margin has an embossed stamp. Not all prints have this. These are the plate markings.

Look to see whether the print has a poem about a girl sharing her ice cream with her dog on the back of it. Two of Gutmann's pieces, "The Reward" and "In Disgrace" have a poem that goes with those pieces in the early 1900 prints.

Tip

If you're buying online, be sure to check the seller's credibility ratings.

Ask for photographs of the artwork so you can see the seal, block print and print numbers.

Key identifiers are the print numbers and copyright seal.

Warning

Occasionally, an original print won't have a title and it might go by more than one title. Don't let this be the deciding factor in determining whether the print is an original.