What is an Original Print?

Recently there has been much misunderstanding about the meaning of fine art prints, limited edition prints and reproductions. This confusion has been caused by artists who have had cheap reproductions made of their paintings and advertised them as limited edition prints when in fact they were little more than signed posters.

Many well known contemporary artists have done this. Often these editions are high in number, sometimes many thousands. Commercial printers are retained to produce these editions on offset presses at speeds up to and beyond 15,000 per hour. The artist rarely if ever touches them. To offer these as limited edition prints is a travesty.

Limited edition prints (Giclée)

Limited edition fine art prints are created using archival quality, pigment-based inks on high quality, acid-free paper.

Traditionally, limited edition fine art prints are created by the artist in one continuous process, from creation of the image, plate or screen, to publishing of the edition. The term "prints" indicates that there is no original so each print becomes an original. Fine art photography are classed as limited edition prints. Each print is numbered and signed in the artist's handwriting.

Note: A limited edition print should be accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity, signed by the artist, that describes the complete process including production methods, ink, type of paper, number of proofs, light fastness, etc.

Limited edition reproductions (Giclée)

A copy of a work of art done in any other medium is a reproduction, no matter how limited the number made or how they were created. But some are better than others and are of more interest to collectors. Limited edition fine art reproductions are printed, often by the artist but not always, using archival quality, pigment-based inks on acid-free, high quality art paper or canvas. Each print is numbered and signed in the artist's handwriting.

Note: A limited edition reproduction should be accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity, signed by the artist, that describes the complete process including production methods, ink, type of paper, number of proofs, light fastness, etc.

Offset reproductions (commercial)

It is necessary for the collector to be able to distinguish between offset commercial prints and fine art prints. This is not always easy. Traditional commercial lithography uses tiny dots of four colours, cyan, magenta, yellow and black, to fool the eye into seeing various hues and shades. Colors are "created" by printing different size dots of these four colors.

The inkjet family is the largest and most diverse of all the digital printing processes. In principle, inks are sprayed onto a substrate in minute droplets with variable distance, density and size to achieve a wide gamut of hues and tones. Two of the common processes are Binary Deflection Continuous Inkjet (Iris) and Drop-On-Demand Liquid Inkjet (current wide format giclée printers).

A few words about Giclée

Giclée (pronounced Gee'clay) is a French term meaning to spray or squirt. Our fine art prints and reproductions, or Giclées, use inkjet technology, but far more sophisticated than your desktop printer. The process employs eight or more colours of lightfast inks and finer, more numerous, and replaceable printheads. This combination results in a wider color gamut, and the ability to use various media to print on. As the ink is sprayed onto the page it is actually mixed to create true colors.

Shopping cart

 x 
Cart empty