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Limited Edition Prints as an Investment!

Limited Edition Prints from Red Rag are not promoted as art investments. Our advice to potential customers of art prints is the same as our Art Investment advice for puchasing original British art works.Put simply purchases should be made solely of buying what you like.

The Limited Edition print and art print market has expanded enormously over the last decade. This growth in art print sales has been stimulated by a number of factors. Firstly there is an increasing interest in contemporary art, but the production of Limited Edition Prints has also benefited from the introduction of technical initiatives such as digital photography and notably Giclee prints technology.

The introduction of lower production costs and increasing sales of limited edition prints has encouraged many artists to produce prints of their art works. By simply signing and numbering each limited edition print some British artists and publishers create a valuable source of income for themselves.For the art collector signed limited edition prints provides the opportunity of owning a piece of art which has a degree of rarity value. But buyers should be aware that not all art prints will increase in value and may not necessarily be good value for money.

The signing of art prints by artists is considered to date back to around the 1930s when a Paris dealer, Leo Spitzer, persuaded some of the day's leading artists such as Matisse and Picasso to create print copies of their original paintings and then sign them after which he would sell them. Since then the art print market has developed in many (often confusing) directions.

The art print and limited edition print market is not clearly understood and a classic area for misunderstanding. Art print collectors are offered a wide array of art terminology such as: "limited edition," "signed by the artist," "numbered by the artist," "artist's proof," "printer's proof," "hand embellished". Rather than helping buyers of art prints the differences between kinds of art prints are often ignored by some art galleries and art dealers anxious to make a quick sale.

Like any other form of investment it is important to understand what drives the value of art prints and limited edition prints. An artist's name on an art print or limited edition print can increase the price by two or more times.This does not mean signed art prints have intrinsic value only to the autograph collectors, but it is true that in some cases the entire economic value of an art print is in the signature.

An artist signature on an art print is important but it is wrong to conclude that all limited edition prints which are signed have real investment potential.Many British artists and art galleries promote that by signing a print the artist approves and endorses it and that the art print has real value. However, in some instances, artists have no involvement in the technical processes of printmaking other than simply signing the limited edition print.

The resale value of many mass produced signed art prints produced by publishers is poor. Apart from the artist's name and reputation the key factors which have historically driven the prices is what kind of print it is and the degree to which the artist was involved in the art print production.

"Original Prints" , where a British artist has worked on it him or herself,will perhaps have a longer lasting value than a digital reproduction. For example a Graham Clarke or Karolina Larusdottir limited edition print or etchings,requires the artist to draw an image onto a metal plate with a stylus - after this an acid bath later burns the design into the metal, and print impressions are taken from that.Obviously this more traditional technique requires the artist to be fully invloved in the production of the print.

A lithograph print is also classified as an original art work. This is because the artist must draw directly onto a metal plate. Printers ink is then rolled onto the image, adhering only to the drawn areas. Other variants judged as "originals" are Engravings, linoleum cuts, woodcuts and silkscreen prints (serigraphs) if they have been created by the artist.

Most of Red Rag British Limited Edition Prints are produced by Giclee technology. This typically involves taking a digital photograph an artist's painting, which is then transferred to a computer before being reproduced on paper or canvas using an ink jet printer. The production of Giclee art prints may have little involvement by the artist apart from signing and numbering the finished limited edition prints.Because Giclee technology is comparatively new there is little historic evidence of the investment value of these limited edition prints, but the sheer numbers of prints now being produced would indicate that only a small percentage of Giclee art prints will appreciate substantially in value.

So the Red Rag Gallery advice remains - buy limited edition prints which you like and not for investment purposes. When buying the more you know about prints the better. Ask how the prints were made and how much the artist was involved in their production. It is also important to know how many limited edition prints are in the edition and whether the image could be used again to create more art prints. And, have any other print editions been created of the image. These factors, plus the price and quality of the art work and the reputation of the artist, determine the existing and potential value of a limted edition print. However the true value is what the limited edition print means to you.



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