Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

November 6, 2012 at 11:36am

CLAYTON ON ART: Want to buy a print?

Recommend Blog Post
Total Recommendations (0)

KNOW WHAT YOU'RE BUYING >>>

Years ago my wife and I stopped in a Gig Harbor gallery where I saw photo-reproductions of paintings printed on canvas and sold as original art. You can find the same kind of thing in big art sales set up in parking lots or at places such as Fred Meyers and Target.

Guess what, folks, this ain't art.

You can also buy a print of Picasso's "Don Quixote" for $14.99 or Salvador Dali's "The City of Drawers" for $31.99 from art.com.

No kidding.

Guess what, folks, that ain't art either. Well gee, you might say, it looks just as good as the original. If you say that you must be blind. But what the heck. If it makes you happy, go ahead and spend your money.

There are legitimate prints of fine art that are actually worth prices in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars. These are etchings, lithographs, silk screens or other original prints that are created by the artist, printed in a limited edition by the artist or under the artist's supervision, and signed and numbered. There may be hundreds or even thousands of copies of original but limited-edition prints and they can sell for much less than an original painting; yet, if they are signed and numbered they are considered original works of art - and they are a boon to artists and collectors alike.

If it's not signed and numbered you can be sure it is worthless. If it is a so-called print of a famous painting, then it's not a print; it's a photographic reproduction and it is worth precisely the cost of the paper or canvas it's printed on and nothing more. Although, the frame may be valuable. The giveaway that the painting in the Gig Harbor gallery was not real was that it had heavy brushstrokes but not real texture other than the weave of the canvas. Such reproductions are to art what laminate is to hardwood flooring.

If the dealer is trying to pass off a reproduction as original art it is sometimes hard to tell. Your best bet is to buy from a reputable gallery and ask about the authenticity.

To further muddy the already murky waters, we now have giclée prints on the market. Giclée is a relatively new method of high-quality inkjet printing that has been embraced by artists as a way to sell their work to people who can't afford originals. They are more akin to legitimate artists' prints than are the cheap photo-reproductions sold in low-end department stores, and lots of respectable artists sell their work as giclée prints. That's fine so long as they are honest about what they are selling.

I just found the website gicleegallery.us that specializes in selling giclées on paper or canvas for prices ranging from $45 to around a thousand dollars. The samples I looked at, by-the-way, were atrocious. They claim their prints are "genuine giclees (sic) guaranteed to last longer then (sic) the original paintings and photographs. Most of them are released as Limited Editions, signed and numbered by the artists themselves, and come with a Certificate of Authenticity." On the same page they called them "reproductions." Guess what, folks, they have to be either prints of reproductions; they can't be both (technically they are prints because they are printed, but according to the accepted definition of a fine art print they are not). And how can we trust the so-called numbering to be accurate when they have the image in their computers and can print out as many as they can sell?

Personally, I am intrigued by the possibility of giclées. I can photograph one of my paintings, take it to a printer and have a giclée made and sell it to someone who can't afford the original. The buyer is happy and so am I, and the reproduction looks almost as good as the original. I checked with a local print shop that does giclées and the man at the print shop said it's done all the time and the artists typically charge three times what it cost them to have the print made. The artist pays, say, $50 to have the print made and sells it to the buyer for $150, which is a good deal for any work of art.

I think that's a legitimate business practice, but how do they number them? Traditionally prints are numbered 1/150, 2/150 and so forth, that last number being the total number of prints in the run, and they destroy the etching plate or lithograph stone so no more can be made. But giclée are printed from digital photos and there is no limit to how many can be made.

Buyer beware. Ask about what you're getting, and to play it safe buy from local galleries or artists and not big box stores, and beware of online stores.

Filed under: Arts,

Comments for "CLAYTON ON ART: Want to buy a print?" (1)

Weekly Volcano is not responsible for the content of these reviews. Weekly Volcano reserves the right to remove reviews at their discretion.

User Photo

Gary Arseneau said on Nov. 10, 2012 at 9:04pm

November 10, 2010

Dear Mr. Clayton:

Your education of the public on what is and what is not an original work of visual art versus a reproduction, is to be commended.

Your factual perspective is supported by The Fifth

Leave A Comment

(This will not be published)

(Optional)

Respond on Your Blog

If you have an Account you can not only post comments, but you can also respond to articles in your own blog. It's just another way to make your voice heard.

About this blog

News and entertainment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most awesome weekly newspapers - The Ranger, Northwest Airlifter and Weekly Volcano.

Recent Comments

Walkie Talkies said:

Thanks for posting! But I want say that Walkie Talkies are really required while organizing fun...

about COMMENT OF THE DAY: "low brow’s" identity revealed?

Humayun Kabir said:

Really nice album. I have already purchased Vedder's Album. Listening to the song of this album,...

about Eddie Vedder’s "Ukulele Songs" available today - and I don’t hold a candle to that shit

AndrewPehrson said:

Your post contains very beneficial content. Kindly keep sharing such post.

about Vote for Tacoman Larry Huffines on HGTV!

Shimul Kabir said:

Vedder's album is really nice. I have heard attentively

about Eddie Vedder’s "Ukulele Songs" available today - and I don’t hold a candle to that shit

marble exporters in India said:

amazing information for getting the new ideas thanks for sharing a post

about 5 Things To Do Today: Art Chantry, DIY home improvement, "A Shot In The Dark" ...

Archives

2021
January, February, March, April, May, June, July
2020
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2019
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2018
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2017
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2016
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2015
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2014
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2013
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2012
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2011
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2010
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2009
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2008
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2007
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2006
March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December