There are many kinds of prints that are seen in the world. For example, some prints are merely photos of artwork that are reproduced in massive amounts, with none of the limits associated with fine art prints, and sold for a relatively low price. Posters seen in a dorm room are an example. However, fine art prints are the highest quality prints one can find with those found in a museum to be the premium. If you purchase a reproduction, such as a poster, it will not have the quality and the printing style of fine art prints.
Printmaking is an art form. It is a way for an artist to create art. In fact, printmaking is what some artists do exclusively.
An original print is the most precious and can sell for millions of dollars depending on the artist. Editions of prints are not as pricey but can command a substantial amount. A first edition print is a fine art print that is created from the artist’s original plate, mesh, stone, etc. These are the most premium and the most costly. From there, editions are produced. If 100 editions of a print are produced, a print with the number 5/100, or the fifth print of 100, is more valuable than the same print with the number 70/100, for example. If the print is signed, that also increases its value.
Prints can be bought online, at art fairs or art galleries.
However, anything valuable is always a target for con artists and schemers who attempt to sell forgeries or pieces of art that is not representative of what is being claimed. Therefore, if you are purchasing fine art prints, always work with a reputable dealer. This is even more important when you are buying fine art online. It’s essential to ensure that your money is protected and that extra care is taken to ship your art to you safely and securely.
There are a wide variety of prints available on the market to collect for your home, office or business. What are some examples of the types of fine art prints one can collect?
The oldest form of fine arts printing is wood cut. It dates all the way back to China and grew in popularity in the West in the 13th century. Artists such as Emil Nolde were fond of the process. It is a process of creating an image carved in wood. After the image is carved, the surface is inked with a roller and then printed. The result is an image left where the wood has not been carved away.
The process of etching became popular in the 19th century with artists such as Rembrandt and Samuel Howitt. Similar to engraving, the method of etching uses acid to create marks on metal printing plates. A copper plate is heated and then covered with a layer of wax. When the wax cools, it’s impenetrable to acid. An artist will use a sharp tool to cut through the wax, exposing the copper. The copper plate is then dipped in acid to create the etched lines. The plate is removed, the wax wiped off, and the ink is pushed into the grooves. Paper is placed over the plate to create an image in black and white.
Invented in the late 18th century, and popular with artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec and later with 20th-century artists such as David Hockney, the process of lithography is making fine art prints by the use of a metal plate or a flat stone surface. An image is applied to the surface using a medium that is grease based, known as a tusche. An acid solution is placed over the surface. This solution makes it so the image attracts printing ink but the blank areas do not attract the ink, drawing water instead. The image is fixed with a solvent, and the surface is dampened with water. Ink, which is oil based, is applied to the surface with a roller, and this ink only sticks to the image. The surface is then placed on a lithographic press which is then covered with damp paper and a board. As a result, the image prints in reverse.
Fine arts printing includes screen printing, a process that was first used by the Chinese approximately 2000 years ago. It’s also known as silk screening due to the Japanese method of using silk to create the mesh. Artist such as Andy Warhol, in the 1960s, was famous for creating art by the use of screen printing. Today, screen printing is done with a mesh or a screen for every colour that needs to be printed. Ink is pushed through the mesh, often with a squeegee, one colour at a time, to create the design.
Giclée printing is another form of fine arts printing that came onto the scene in the early 1990s as a result of computer technology. Therefore it is one of the newest types of fine art. It is known as the first generation of the process known as digital reproduction. Graham Nash, of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, made it popular. In fact, one of Graham Nash’s employees, artist Jack Duganne, invented the term “giclée.” Today, giclée printing is called ink jet printing. It is more than a reproduction. It is a process that uses archival papers, archival inks, and colour quality control.