Posters, Paintings or Prints, Oh My!

One of the hardest components of my job in appraising fine art is letting clients recognize once their prized pieces of art are worth less than they mean. Far less in many type of cases. And one of the many widespread cases in which this occurs is when those clients have posters or prints versus paintings and don’t recognize the distinction. Until they satisfy me, that is! The harbinger of negative news!

Don’t get me wrong! Even some posters can lug in a pretty penny. An original James Bond Dr. No movie poster from 1962 offered at auction for simply over $20,000 in 2015. And an simple 1967 fan club poster of the Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band went for virtually $60,000 in 2014. Of course, it assisted that it was signed by all 4 Beatles!

All various other points being equal, though, original painted functions of art appraise for greater worths than limited edition prints. And restricted edition prints appraise for higher values than open edition published reproductions prefer posters. Just inspect out the auction results in the Andy Warhol Marilyn examples above!

Think selling your art repertoire will fund your at an early stage retirement? Or donating it to a museum will certainly reduce your IRS taxes liability? Think again! You could have prints versus paints worth much much less than you think. Here are my 8 top tips for informing the difference:

Prints versus Paintings Tip # 1: Can You See or Feel the Texture of Paint?


Detail of Vincent Van Gogh, Wheat Field with Detail of Peter Paul Rubens, Study of Two Cypresses, 1889 (Source) Heads, 1609 (Source)

Typically, real paintings have individual brush strokes you can watch or feel. This is particularly true of Impressionist and also Post-Impressionist artists like Monet, Van Gogh, and also Gaugin.

You are watching: That painting looks the way i feel

Other artists look for to get rid of all proof of their brushstrokes. Instead, they usage plenty of layers of very thin, translucent pigments and also glazes blended together to develop fine distinctions in shade and tone. Renaissance artists favor Leonarexecute Da Vinci and Peter Paul Rubens provided this strategy. So did Luminist artists such as Frederick Edwin Church or photorealists favor Chuck Close. In this situation, your painting will certainly most likely look and also feel prefer it has actually a smooth lacquer surconfront to it.

Prints versus Paintings Tip # 2: Can You See or Feel the Texture of Canvas?


Close up of a high resolution photographic print on canvas Detail of Howard Behrens’ On Lake Como signed restricted (giclée) edition giclée

Does an artist distribute paint so thinly over a canvas that you have the right to see or feel the texture of the fabric ideal via it? Not usually and also not favor what you watch above!

A method was invented in the 1980’s in which digitized scans of fine art can be moved to canvas utilizing a special massive inkjet printer. This type of photographic transfer print is referred to as a giclée. The excellent news is that giclées make good art affordable and also accessible to practically anyone. The bad news is that a giclée can be so realistic that people have the right to mistakingly think they are buying an original work of art instead of a published remanufacturing.

The finest way to tell if you have a giclée versus a paint is to run your hand also along the surconfront. A giclée will have actually a fully unidevelop canvas texture to it. Tbelow won’t be any kind of of the telltale swirls, skips, buildups or brushstrokes indicative of actual paint. It will certainly look and feel even more choose the colors are embedded into it.

Some artists make giclées of their very own original works that they then hand-embellish, sign, and also number. A giclée like this will certainly be a bit more hard to distinguish from a paint. However, huge locations in which the picture has been printed instead of painted need to still be watched. Hand finished giclées frequently appraise for a greater values than those that haven’t been. It’s equivalent to the difference in between an open up edition poster and also a hand signed, limited-edition fine art print.

Prints versus Paintings Tip # 3: Is There a Clear Boundary to the Image?


Franz Marc, The Riding School, 1913, woodblock print Edge of a painting on canvas

If your artwork-related image has actually what looks choose a clean, straight, arbitrary boundary about it that doesn’t extfinish to the edges of the canvas, paper or other surchallenge, you the majority of most likely have actually a print of some type.

In the woodblock printing process supplied in the instance, an artist carves or gouges his architecture out of a level surconfront choose a block of timber, linoleum, or metal with defined edges. Ink is then applied to the continuing to be high, level, uncarved components and also is moved to a receiving surface choose paper or canvas onto which the block is pressed. This is referred to as a relief printing process. The edges of the block are often incredibly clear, or there could be a tiny bit of seepage caused by the ink squishing out from under the block.

When an artist paints directly on a surface, by contrast, the edges will certainly be uneven, ragged or will certainly extend all the means to the edges of the surchallenge.

Prints versus Paintings Tip # 4: Is Tbelow a Lip Around the Image?


Leroy Neiguy, Scampering Back, Color Etching, 1972

In particular forms of printing processes, the ink is wiped amethod from the surface of the plate and also retained in the grooves that have actually been reduced, scrapped, gouged or etched away. The ink from the grooves is required out onto the paper using extreme pressure that leaves an indentation of the plate in it. If you check out a right increased lip about your artwork-related, it is many likely a print from this sort of procedure, called intaglio printing.

Sometimes you can’t view a lip bereason the print has been framed in a method that doesn’t display it, or it has actually been trimmed amethod. Trimmed prints are worth less than untrimmed ones. Beware of buying any type of prints sold as intaglio prints such as etchings, engravings, and aquacolors that execute not have actually the plate note mirroring.

Prints versus Paintings Tip # 5: Is Tright here an Edition Number on the Artwork?


Leroy Neiman, Scampering Back, Edition Number

A number in the create of xx/yyy is the edition number of a limited-edition print. The 54/150 in the Neimale etching here tells us that it is the 5fourth print in a print run of 150 full prints.

Why are some prints numbered prefer this? Hand-made printing matrixes (the surface the architecture is sculpted, attracted or etched onto) break down through usage. Artists mostly overcheck out or conduct the print process themselves and will only make as many kind of prints as will certainly meet their top quality criteria for a finished product. After printing, the artist will certainly go earlier over the prints and hand number and sign them in order, commonly in pencil and also normally external of the plate note, in the margin of the paper.

Never buy a so-referred to as limited-edition print without being able to see the edition number. It could be a photomechanical copy rather. Also, watch out for prints via print run numbers over around 250. This might be an additional indication that the printing process was photomechanical which will certainly make the print far much less practical. It’s also good to examine up on your artist and view exactly how many type of various prints and also print runs were made of your print. In addition to consistent edition prints, tright here are regularly artist’s proof prints (A/P or E/P), printer’s proof prints (P/P), hors d business or totally free prints (H/C), bon á tirer or all set for print prints (B.A.T.) and entire added print runs done making use of a various printer or a different type of paper. There deserve to likewise be prints made posthumously from existing plates which are less helpful also.

Prints versus Paintings Tip # 6: Is the Artist Signature Printed or Hand Signed?


Pablo Picasso, La Ronde de la Jeunesse (The Youth Circle), 1961, (signed in the plate and in the margin and also numbered)

Many artists, prefer Picasso, put his signature in the plate as component of the style provided for his prints. Eextremely print made would screen that same signature as part of the published artoccupational. That doesn’t make it a signed print, though! A true, signed print will certainly have actually a second, hand-rendered signature by the artist generally in the margin. And a true signed, limited-edition print will have actually the edition number also added to the margin. If this item did not have the second faint signature in pencil and edition number shown in the close-up views, it would certainly most likely be a photomechanical reproduction worth under $100. With it, it is worth over $1,000.

Prints versus Paintings Tip # 7: Can you See a Dot Pattern Under Magnification?


Close Up of a Photomechanical Copy of Julio de Diego’s Blueprint of the Future, 1943

The initially thing I execute once I’m asked to appraise a fine art print is to look at it under a loupe or magnifying glass. If I can see some kind of dot pattern, it’s a dead giveaway that I’ve got a photomechanical remanufacturing quite than an original fine art print or painting. The nature of the pattern can actually expose the specific printing procedure used. The resulting value is essentially the exact same, though, whether it’s a digital or balance out approach.

Sometimes an artist will certainly sign photomechanical prints under the ideal scenarios. A great example of this would certainly be an artist who autographs a poster at an exhibition of his functions. Such an autograph ca rise the value of the print. That doesn’t make it an actual fine art print, though.

Prints versus Paintings Tip # 8: What Does the Web Tell You?


Winslow-moving Homer, Snap the Whip, 1872, Oil on Canvas

The Web is your frifinish as soon as you must research study your artjob-related. And it’s a lot much less expensive than getting an art appraisal!

If you understand the title of your work, put it in your search engine and also check out what comes up. Maybe you think you have actually Winslow-moving Homer’s Snap the Whip, for example. But Google tells you that the original lives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It additionally finds no much less than a dozen digital print-on-demand sites that sell reproductions of it for under $100. It’s probably safe to say that you have a print in this circumstances. If you don’t understand the title, researching your artist can shed some light on it. If you don’t have actually either, try taking a snapshot of it through your phone and uploading it to Google Imeras.

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Don’t hesitate to ask a professional for assist if you’re still stumped! Museum curators, framers, restoration specialists and art appraisers prefer me can all allude you in the right direction.