About Me

My photo
Wrendesign is an artist-owned company showcasing about 400 original paintings and also offering a section on illustrated children's stories online which can be downloaded free for single use. This blog is maintained by one of the resident artists. To see our website please click on link above.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Signed and Numbered Editions - What Does it Mean?

Original Graphics and Limited Edition Prints (included Giclee) are usually signed and numbered.

They are supposed to be signed by the artist (but in actual practice, in large editions, they may delegate someone else to sign them).

They are numbered like this   125/500.  

This indicates number 125 out of a total of 500.

In the case of actual original graphics (such as if pulled off a lithograph stone) the first number is supposed to be the actual place in the edition.   2/100 would be the 2nd print pulled out of a total of 100.   Lower numbers may (or may not) be more valuable as presumably the stone would be less worn.   But also, the artist sometimes makes changes during the run, so # 30 may be slightly different from #29, etc.    Since the artist presumably approves each print before signing any print in the edition should be okay.

In the case of limited edition prints done photographically (including Giclees) all the prints should be exactly the same, barring some flaw in the paper or something.   So, the lower numbers should be no more valuable than any other.    In actuality, the prints are usually not numbered in the order they came out anyway - they are usually numbered by what is most convenient, such as in what order they arrive in front of whomever is doing the numbering (probably not the artist).   The value lies in the fact that there are a limited number of them.

The total in the edition can be misleading anyway.   There are always a number of artist's proofs.   These are not counted in the total edition.   In the old days, the artists proofs were the first printings and the artist either approved them or made changes before proceeding.    Sometimes, they were "extras" given to the artist to enhance their income.   At any rate, they are never counted in the total edition, and there is no way to know how many there were, but there are usually not a huge quantity.
If you see one for sale it will be signed and say AP in lieu of the normal edition #.   Since they are frequently seen, I assume this is still standard practice even with limited edition prints.

As for the signature.   Let us assume that the artist actually signs each print.   In large editions this is not always true, but it is generally not possible to know. 

One other thing - with current technology, it is no longer necessary that the artist order the whole edition printed at the same time.   Once the up-front scanning cost is done, they need only order a few prints at a time.   And they do not have to number them in the order printed.   Thus you might get #34 out of 50 but only 12 have actually yet been printed.    I am not saying that all artist's do this, but it is accepted practice. 

No comments:

Post a Comment