25 Sept 2007

Affordable Art Options - Limited Edition Prints

(By Nalini S Malaviya)

Prints as we discussed earlier offer a good investment opportunity at a fraction of the cost of an original painting by the same artist. Here is a low-down on some of the other kinds of prints.

It is a French word and is pronounced as ‘zhee-clay’. According to the wikipedia it is an invented name for the process of making fine art prints from a digital source using ink-jet printing. The name was originally applied to fine art prints created on Iris printers in a process invented in the early 1990s but has since come to mean any high quality ink-jet print. As there is no screen involved, a giclee offers excellent resolution and a rich color density.

It is a printmaking technique, where a design is incised on the surface of a metal plate such as copper or zinc. An intaglio print is created by applying pressure on the paper from a plate where the design is recessed or etched on its surface. Due to the pressure applied in transferring the design to paper, intaglios have a platemark or rectangular ridges that can be seen on the paper. Etching, engraving, aquatint are part of intaglio process.
In an etching, a metal plate is covered with a layer of wax and then a design is drawn over the wax with the help of an etching needle. This plate when immersed in acid etches on the design on to the plate (the acid corrodes the line of the design), while the wax resists the acid. This is also called a line etching. Aquatint involves a process similar to etching, however the end result is finely dotted areas rather than lines.

Limited edition prints are signed and numbered (S/N) by the artist. The lower the number of prints the better its investment value, however the higher the number of prints the more affordable it is.

Artist Proof (A/P)
A limited number of prints (often 20 or less), these are signed by the artist and highly coveted. In the olden days, these were considered to be a quality check in terms of color and other aspects done by the artist at an early printing stage. Now, these are the same as the final edition prints but are still in demand by art collectors and investors, since they are so limited in number.

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