For most of us, we can’t always buy original pieces of art because of their high price tag. For much of the art that both Sherri and I like, original pieces range from $25k-$500k+ and at this point, we have other areas that we’re prioritizing our investments.
Artists generally make different types of prints of their work so that the particular piece exists far beyond that one original master. There is certainly a market for buying/selling/trading high quality prints and that is an area that I’ve been exploring for a while now, whilst we furnish our new home here in Westchester.
Once you fall in love with a piece, you’ll find out that the gallery or artist has the piece in special prints. I would highly suggest you only buy prints that are part of a limited edition as you don’t want the artist creating more supply, as the price of your new art will potentially go down (supply/demand science). If it’s not part of a limited edition, chances are, the print is part of an Open Edition. This means that the artist or his publishing company will still have the right to create more prints and send them into the market.
The most common types of prints are: serigraph, lithograph, and giclee. Please note that I’m not an expert but have found the following information to be useful.
Serigraph: Considered an original graphic, they are produced as multiples. The process employs silk mesh, which is blocked by a photoemulsive varnish. Various color separations are projected onto the photosensitive surface that create stencils through which ink is rolled, brushed or “squeegee´d” onto high-quality paper in multiple layers. Each color requires a separate “screen” and may number into the hundreds; resulting in vibrant and richly textured silkscreen prints.
Lithograph: Considered an original graphic, they are produced as multiples. The artist draws on the surface of a limestone block (traditionally) or metal alloy plate (contemporarily), with a grease pencil or “touché”, where he would like his image to appear. The surface is dampened with water and oily ink is rolled over the drawn areas. The ink clings to the greasy marks, but not to the dampened areas. Paper is applied to the stone and the ink is transferred from the greasy, inked areas. Each color in the print requires a separate stone or plate and sometimes as many as fifty stones or plates are used.
Giclee: Considered an original graphic, they are produced as multiples. The term originates from the French “to spray” and employs inkjet color application and digital color separation. Millions of ink particles can be applied simultaneously to the paper. Flawless color reproduction and extraordinary consistency are the trademarks of this new technology and is rapidly becoming the preferred method of fine-art print production.
Just because a piece of art is a print, doesn’t mean there isn’t a heavy price tag associated with it. We’ve found above prints to be anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. The prints are usually signed by the artist and come with a COA (certificate of authenticity).
When buying prints, there are different editions that you can purchase which include the limited edition, artist proof and so on. You’ll usually always buy from the limited edition (mostly 100-250 prints) but if there are any prints labeled a/p (or AP), you may want to consider that. An a/p is an artist proof.
Artist Proof: An old tradition of reserving a quantity of prints for the artist’s use, usually equal to about 10% of the edition. In the early days of printing, these prints were the only remuneration the poor artist received. Proofs are signed by the artist and numbered showing the quantity of Artist’s Proofs issued in the edition and generally marked a/p. Because of their highly restricted number, Artist’s Proofs are sold at a higher value than the regular prints in the edition.
Hopefully, you found this post useful. There is certainly a lot more to talk about which I’ll cover in the coming weeks. Have fun art spotting… and don’t forget to send me links to artists that you find interesting!