Animal Crossing fake art: How to spot fake vs real painting and statue differences in New Horizons

How to sidestep forgeries in New Horizons.

Spotting fake vs real art in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is one of the more difficult challenges unless you majored in the subject.

This is important if you want to walk away from Redd with the real deal, allowing you to complete the Museum.

That said, fake art is also attractive in its own way, with some amusing differences in each knock off you might want to display on your island, as well as rare haunted art to find to freak out your friends with.

Before we get started, make sure you have unlocked Redd and the gallery on your island, allowing him to show up so you can start browsing his wares.

On this page:

How to spot fake vs real art in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Redd's rotation of art on his ship will often feature forgeries.

Though the first work of art you acquired from Redd on the island is genuine (which allows you to open the Art Gallery - and also for Redd to lull you into a false sense of security) long time fans of the series will tell you - more often than not - his wares are fake.

animal_crossing_art_real_fake_21
Something tells us we might...

To help you decide, you can inspect each work of art closely before you purchase it.

Thankfully, there are a few telltale signs to see how you can spot what is real and what isn't:

  • Fakes will have a detail or two that's a little odd. As art in Animal Crossing is often based on real world works, you can compare the two to work out what's different - like a game of spot the difference (with costly and embarrassing consequences if you get it wrong).
animal_crossing_art_real_fake_18
Some fakes - such the larger size of the figure in this Graceful Painting - are harder to spot than others.
  • Forgeries which appear in New Horizons are different to those in previous games, even if the same art pieces return. For example, according to grob95 on reddit, returning pieces such as the Wistful Painting will be fake if she wears a star earring. In New Leaf, she would be wearing a red hat. For long time players of the series, it's time to learn how to spot forgeries at a glance all over again!
  • Fake paintings can also be haunted, and though these characteristics aren't always obvious, they can show in Redd's ship showroom before you buy them. (We discuss more about how haunted paintings present themselves the end of this page!)
animal_crossing_art_real_fake_14
The Wistful Painting's star-shaped earring is a dead giveaway - as well as the haunted characteristic of their eyes being closed.

Those are the basics - but how do you tell the specifics differences between fakes and the real thing?

Fake paintings vs real paintings in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Below are the differences between real and fake paintings in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, shown visually with this graphic by Celesmeh on reddit side-by-side:

animal_crossing_fake_real_art_painting
Image credit: Celesmeh on reddit

To clarify in writing, the fake vs real painting differences in Animal Crossing: New Horizons are:

Animal Crossing PaintingFake vs Real differences
Academic Painting fake vs real differences Stains; the fake version will have a mug stain in the upper right corner
Amazing Painting fake vs real differences Hat; the central person with a red sash will not be wearing a hat in the fake version
Basic Painting fake vs real differences Hair; the fake painting has a fuller fringe than the real version
Calm Painting fake vs real differences No fake version; the painting is always real
Common Painting fake vs real differences No fake version; the painting is always real
Detailed Painting fake vs real differences Colour; the fake painting's leaves are purple, not blue
Dynamic Painting fake vs real differences No fake version; the painting is always real
Famous Painting fake vs real differences Eyebrows; the fake Mona Lisa will have excessively arched eyebrows
Flowery Painting fake vs real differences No fake version; the painting is always real
Glowing Painting fake vs real differences No fake version; the painting is always real
Graceful Painting fake vs real differences Size; the real version has the figure only occupy about 2/3rds of the painting, the fake is 3/4s
Jolly Painting fake vs real differences Missing flower; the real version has a flower in the bottom right corner, the fake does not
Moody Painting fake vs real differences No fake version; the painting is always real
Moving Painting fake vs real differences Trees; the fake version has a clear sky with no trees in the upper right corner
Mysterious Painting fake vs real differences No fake version; the painting is always real
Nice Painting fake vs real differences No fake version; the painting is always real
Perfect Painting fake vs real differences No fake version; the painting is always real
Proper Painting fake vs real differences No fake version; the painting is always real
Quaint Painting fake vs real differences Jug; there is a tiny amount pouring from the jug in the real version
Scary Painting fake vs real differences Eyebrows; the fake version has eye brows pointing up in the middle
Scenic Painting fake vs real differences People; the real painting has two people walking with dogs in the lower left corner, not one
Serene Painting fake vs real differences Colour; the animal has dark fur in the fake and white fur in the real painting
Sinking Painting fake vs real differences No fake version; the painting is always real
Solemn Painting fake vs real differences Doorway; the fake version has an arm pointing up, the real one has it pointing to the left
Twinkling Painting fake vs real differences No fake version; the painting is always real
Warm Painting fake vs real differences No fake version; the painting is always real
Wild Painting fake vs real differences Colours; the fake version has the figures painted dark and light, the real is light and dark
Wistful Painting fake vs real differences Earring; the fake version will have a star-shaped earring, the real painting is round
Worthy Painting fake vs real differences No fake version; the painting is always real

Fake statues vs real statues in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Below are the differences between real and fake statues in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, shown visually with this graphic by kylebv on reddit side-by-side:

animal_crossing_fake_real_art_statue
Image credit: kylebv on reddit

To clarify in writing, the fake vs real statue differences in Animal Crossing: New Horizons are:

Animal Crossing StatueFake vs Real differences
Ancient Statue fake vs real differences Antenna; the fake statue has antenna sticking out of the sides at the top
Beautiful Statue fake vs real differences Necklace; the fake statue has a necklace, the real one isn't wearing one
Familiar Statue fake vs real differences No fake version; the statue is always real
Gallant Statue fake vs real differences Book; the fake statue is holding a book until their right arm
Great Statue fake vs real differences No fake version; the statue is always real
Informative Statue fake vs real differences Colour; the fake version will be a bright blue colour, the real statue is a grey colour
Motherly Statue fake vs real differences Mouth; the fake statue has a tongue sticking out, the real one does not
Mystic Statue fake vs real differences Earring; the fake statue has a large earring on their right side, the real one does not
Robust Statue fake vs real differences Watch; the fake statue is wearing a watch on their right arm
Rock-head Statue fake vs real differences Mouth; the fake statue has more of a smirk than the real version
Tremendous Statue fake vs real differences Handle; the fake statue has an additional handle in the middle, the real statue just has two at the sides
Valiant Statue fake vs real differences Foot; the fake statue shows their left foot, the real one has the right foot showing
Warrior Statue fake vs real differences Tool; the fake statue is holding a tool between their hands and the ground, the real one does not

Which art will never be fake in Animal Crossing: New Horizons?

To clarify things further, certain pieces of art has no fake version at all. This means if you see it on sale, it's definitely the real deal!

Thanks to Accadia on reddit, we know these pieces are safe to buy from the outset:

  • Calm Painting
  • Common Painting
  • Dynamic Painting
  • Familiar Statue
  • Flowery Painting
  • Glowing Painting
  • Great Statue
  • Moody Painting
  • Mysterious Painting
  • Nice Painting
  • Perfect Painting
  • Proper Painting
  • Sinking Painting
  • Twinkling Painting
  • Warm Painting
  • Worthy Painting

New to Animal Crossing? Our Animal Crossing New Horizons tips can help with the basics. From the off, there's fish and bugs to catch, flowers and fruit to grow, villagers to add or remove and tools such as the new ladder and vaulting pole to collect. Once you have settled in, you'll want to be making as many Bells as possible, start collecting K.K. Slider songs and work on your island star rating, increase your HHA ranking, incorporate Feng Shui into your room design and acquiring kitchen furniture. Recently added were Leif and Redd, who deals in fake art. Don't forget to partake in Wedding Season!


What to do with fake art and how haunted art works in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

If you buy fake art - whether on purpose or by accident - it cannot be donated to the Museum or sold in Nook's Cranny - the owners of both will reject you trying to pass them on.

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Blathers will always tell you if a piece of art is fake before it's accepted into the Museum.

Though you can chuck fake art in the Resident Services recycling bin, fake art is worth hanging onto and displaying in your home and island. Not only because they have some novel differences to make as a fun addition to your home, but fake art often has another unique quality - they can be haunted.

As reported in our story on the phenomenon, this takes on different forms - such as the Wistful Painting (Girl with a Pearl Earring) opening and shutting their eyes, and the Ancient Statue (Dogū statue) levitating.

Though it's not confirmed if all fake art is haunted, or whether some days it will be haunted and other days it will not, the thing to look out for is haunted art will transform late in the day.

Check from dusk onwards to see if your art is taking on any unusual characteristics (more than their usual fake appearances, anyway). This is also a useful second method to spot fakes in Redd's ship showroom before you purchase if you aren't 100% sure.

In our eyes, this makes collecting fake art even more valuable, and is another thing for you to collect and display off in your home. Now if Redd's visits were more frequent...

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About the author

Matthew Reynolds

Matthew Reynolds

Guides Editor

Matthew edits guides and other helpful things at Eurogamer.net. When not doing that, he's out and about playing Pokémon Go or continuing to amass his amiibo collection.

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