Check out the newest edition of
Boerne Business Monthly magazine.
In this month's edition of our column,
"Mooney Makes Sense" we give a simple
summary of the breakdown of artist
reproductions, giclees and simple
abbreviations you see when shopping the
current art market.
Read the full article at:
Prints, Giclees and Reproductions
By: Gabriel Diego Delgado
With the rapidly changing technologies in electronics, medicine, the auto industries, it is no surprise that technology in making changes in the world of artist reproductions as well.
The term giclee is now the norm in high quality reproductions.
“Gilcee is a neologism coined in 1991 by printmaker Jack Duganne for fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers. It is based on the French word gicleur, which means "nozzle" (the verb form gicler means ‘to squirt, spurt, or spray’)”.
There has been some speculation on artist reproductions, in regards to needs, integrity, price, credibility and other issues that might deter the type of reproductions should we be investing in.
As a high quality ‘print’ of an original painting or work of art, it opens up the possibility of a greater audience with a lower price point. However with that affordability comes the antithesis of the unique artwork. No longer do you have one original, but now one original and many copies, and that potentially can turn clients off.
As you shop limited edition giclee reproductions, you want to make sure you know what you are buying and there are a few things you need to look for. A Certificate of Authenticity will be provided by the publishing company verifying exactly what the print is. Title of the artwork, signature of the artist, the edition number, total edition in set, and date of publication should all be found on this form. The total edition number will let you know how many are going to be printed of this image, and gives good indication on how available the image is on the open art market.
Now let’s decode some of the abbreviations you might see on the certificate as well as the front of the print itself. The common abbreviations are SN, AP, and PP. The SN means “Signed and Numbered”, meaning the print should have a signature of the artist on the front of the image with a clear numerical edition number. The AP means “Artist Proof”, meaning even before the numbered editions are set to roll out from the publisher, the artist themselves see the proofs and sign off on the color registrations; essentially saying, ‘Yes these colors are true to my original artwork and I approve this set of prints’. Sometimes you see limited editions of AP series; this signifies that the artist could have proofed each color as the printer calibrated the saturations. In larger editions, the publisher will do smaller lots of printing, stop, readjust the inks, replace cartridges etc. It should be industry standard that when any change is made during the printing process like this, the artist will come back and look over the next set of prints to verify the colors again after the inks have been changed and the levels adjusted, thus creating editions of AP prints. The PP means “Printers Proof”, meaning, the master printer for the publishing company will also verify the print quality and color registrations after the initial proof by the Artist. The printer will compare the print quality to the original as well as the Artist Proof and sign off on color matches and print quality.
Alternatives to traditional giclees are the “Enhanced Giclees”, which is where the artist or an artist assistant has ‘painted’ on top of the print; often highlighting a section or area of the reproduction creating accents. This increases the price of the artwork as the artist has physically touched the artwork; adding value. However, be knowledgeable as enhancements can be made by the artist assistants, often referred to as “Master Detailers”. These professionals have been trusted and often trained by the artist to paint in a way reflective of the artist themselves. If the demand for the artwork is present, Master Detailers spread out and assigned to territories.
From an artist point of view, we need to look at reproductions from a business perspective. There is a lot of discussion around the need to do prints. It is in my personal opinion, editions should be made only if the artwork is in demand and the supply and demand factor favors multiple editions of one image. Otherwise it becomes an impulse buy, a gift idea and retail commodity, leaving the realm of fine art all together.
If the artist is making a reproduction of an affordable painting, investing financial assets in reproductions, the cost of production could overshadow the cost of the original painting, leaving the artist underwater financially if the paintings as well as the prints are not selling. If an artist makes a reproduction of an already sold item, the professional opinion is that the artist needs to contact the initial buyer of the original and inform them of the potential editions of the image. If the original is not sold and the artist is considering editions, it is recommended they evaluate interest. Is the painting under a certain price point in the market, and if you introduce prints of the work, will the availability of the print deter the selling of the original, I.E. the painting is under $500.00 and the prints range from $50.00 to $100.00.
For a beginning collector, the giclee prints are a great way to start a great collect. The technology offers fade resistant inks, non-acidic materials and a shelf life of over 125 years. Now go out there in that vast art world more knowledgeable and make some educated art purchases.
*A selection of World Renowned Artist, Thomas Arvid giclees and original artworks will be featured at the J.R. Mooney Galleries, Boerne for March 14, 2015 Second Saturday. Call 830-816-5106 for details.