Art news /

Insider information about Aboriginal, Asian and Western art

Home / News / "Limited edition" Giclee prints: It's an oxymoron (May 2014)

"Limited edition" Giclee prints: It's an oxymoron

May 2014


"Limited edition" Giclee prints.

It is an oxymoron.

Giclee reproductions of painted artworks are being offered more and more as a legitimate form of Limited Edition printmaking by some galleries. The fact is that Giclee prints are produced on an ink jet printer: yes, the type many of us have at home, and are simply reproductions.

The professional printers are large and can accommodate larger sheets of paper or even canvas, but the technique is identical: they merely reproduce a photographic image and have absolutely no relation to the accepted interpretation of a "limited edition" print.

The editions can be in the thousands. The printer can just keep printing and printing these reproductions. Who then will guarantee that the print you have purchased is "limited"?

At the push of a button another 200 or 20,000 can be printed off. Money can be a big temptation... particularly if its so easy to make this way. I have also seen advertisements pushing the uniqueness (how could they be?) of these prints and the reassurance that they are "signed by the artist". These signatures, like the prints themselves, are almost valueless in this context.

Also, I have seen some advertised as being "Artist's Proof", but as these are identical reproductions, why would there even be a need for an artist's proof (AP) as there is in traditional printmaking? This will eventually become a BIG problem for both the sellers of such reproductions as well as the artists who have allowed them to be sold as anything other than reproductions, let alone the end buyer who will have wasted their money.

It will inevitably reflect badly on our profession generally, due to the poor standards adopted by the minority.

Well, that's today's grump!

This article by Anthony Smith was originally published by Art Antiques Design


Also view:

News bulletins

Receive exclusive news and insider's information about Aboriginal art, Asian art and contemporary international art by email.