17 Sep 2007

Prints can make a good investment too

(Nalini S Malaviya)

Prices of original artworks - paintings, sculptures, digital art or installations - have surpassed expectations. Art is quite unaffordable for many people. Therefore, more people are turning to limited edition prints to satisfy their passion for art. Prints happen to be a good investment but one must be thoroughly versed with the different kinds of prints that are available in the market to be able to make a sound investment. Here is an explanation of some of the commonly-used terms in association with prints:

Limited edition print

This implies a certain number of pieces, an identical series that is created by the artist himself. In fact, the artist determines the number of prints in the series and these are usually signed and numbered by the artist. In addition, the plate or stencil used to produce the prints is destroyed to ensure that the prints cannot be replicated again.

Remember, these prints are not 'posters' or reproductions of paintings that are available freely and have no investment value. An artist print is usually manually produced and since it is limited in number it has an investment value, plus these are priced significantly lower than paintings, which makes it an attractive investment option. In contrast, posters are mass-produced, and even though these are an inexpensive option they serve only a decorative purpose. Lithograph, serigraph, giclee, etching, intaglio are some of the options available as limited edition prints.
MF Husain - Serigraph on paper

Image courtesy www.affordindianart.com

Lithograph

This literally translates into 'stone drawing'. A lithograph involves a process of printing from a small stone or metal plate, which follows the principle that oil and water do not mix. These manually produced prints are usually 10-20 in number, whereas offset lithographs that are produced industrially may have 500 or so prints.

Serigraph

This is produced when ink or paint is forced through a fine screen onto a surface, usually paper or canvas. A different screen is used for each colour, and the result is therefore rich in colour and may have some texture as well. A serigraph is generally more expensive than a lithograph and also has better quality in terms of colour density and resolution.



(Published in Financial Times)
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