Printmaking is a science. When collecting prints you enter a whole world unto itself filled with connoisseurs, specialists and conservators with PhDs dedicated to the field. Prints are not mere ephemera or valueless reproductions but rather incredibly undervalued fine art objects that involve complex printmaking techniques that have been perfected over centuries of practice. Print experts have established a hierarchy of material, production and pricing that very few have mastered. There is even an entire glossary of terms pertaining just to printmaking.
Fine art prints have always been collectible items thanks to Picasso’s and Matisse’s forray into printmaking. Making prints helped both artists reach a global audience and establish their reputation as household names. Today, prints serve the same purpose for many artists. Due to the globalization of the art industry and the downfall of the financial markets, art collecting has become more attractive and the market for buying prints has grown significantly. More and more people are beginning to value and collect prints also because it is an affordable entry point for collecting fine art. You cannot afford to own a Jasper Johns painting for a million dollars but you can afford a beautiful museum-quality print by the artist.
Understanding the value of a print, however requires time and dedication to look and learn. There are many different print processes and techniques and one usually must consult with a qualified expert to trust that the work is in good condition and of remarkable quality. Understanding the numbering process for each edition alone can seem daunting. You need to know the difference between a trial proof, an artist proof and a unique proof for example, which can be confusing at times. With a little patience however, anyone can learn how to successfully compare and contrast prints and identify the nuances in quality, texture and color. For an aspiring connoisseur, collecting prints and limited editions can be an enjoyable and rewarding treasure hunt while opening up a whole new world.
EditionedArt makes collecting easy and fun. You, too can become a print expert yourself. Starting collecting with us today!