Whether you’re seeking original paintings or art prints from noted artists or even inexpensive reproductions, the more information you have the better decisions you will make concerning selection, condition, conservation, and framing of the pieces you’ll acquire.
The cardinal rule is to always buy what you love. If you have an initial positive response to the art, then chances are you will appreciate the work more as you live with it. Fortunately, today, different venues through which fine art is presented offer many opportunities to enjoy art in your own environment regardless of your budget.
Not everyone is able to consider the acquisition of fine art originals. However, a number of printing techniques and reproductions make available a good deal of pieces with the aesthetic value we all enjoy along with varying collector values.
An original painting, be it created with watercolor, oil, acrylic or some other substance, is generally considered to be one in which the paint is applied using a brush or other means of application to an appropriate surface to derive a single work of art. Its value is based not only by its aesthetic, circumstantial, or historical attributes but also by the fact that it is one-of-a-kind.
Original Art Prints
Some artists utilize methods of printing in which different materials such as linoleum or wood blocks, stones, copper, steel, aluminum, plexiglass plates, or silkscreens, are utilized to apply ink. While a number of prints might be generated from the same plate, each is considered to be an original print due to variations inherent in the application process by which each piece is produced.
Collagraphs are created through the construction of collage-like “boards” which are used like a plate to apply the ink to paper. Louis Pohl developed his own special technique of collagraphic printing utilizing mixed media to achieve the varying textures and intensities that he felt were lacking in the traditional methods being used. The short life expectancy of the boards generally limited the number of prints that could be generated in this fashion and along with the individual variations from one print to the next this provided the different attributes upon which the individual prints are valued.
Serigraphs are created by a process of silkscreening which allows for more accurate and higher-quantity printing of the master than is provided with collagraphs.
In traditional Lithography, the image is created or transferred onto a limestone or photosensitive plate, inked up with rollers and printed by hand on paper on a large flat press.
Digital Art Prints are created directly on a computer with an image or drawing application, then printed on an inkjet printer on archival quality paper.
Most original art prints are printed in editions, bearing a number and the signature of the artist certifying the total number of prints that were made for the particular work. For example, a print bearing the number 3/10 would indicate that it is print number three of a total of ten prints in this edition.
Offset Lithographs and Giclees are both printed reproductions of art pieces offering popular works at consumer prices. Offset lithographs are produced using commercial offset printing as for magazines and brochures, and are generally run in large quantities to allow affordability.
Giclee is the French word meaning to spray or squirt. Giclee prints are a popular form of reproduction where a digital image of an original work of art is printed from an inkjet printer onto paper, canvas or other media. Giclees are more expensive than offset reproductions, but offer the advantage of producing one or a few prints in a cost effective way on a variety of substrates.
As stated at the outset, the cardinal rule of buying art is to buy what you love. The business of collecting art for investment sake is a speculative one. The learning curve is steep and it’s always reassuring to know that whether or not the pieces that grace your space are valuable, they are objects that you treasure!