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Reply to "Art Enthusiast:"


I'm not sure there is a more misunderstood word within the art world. A topic far better to discuss over a dinner and wine, but a few thoughts.

First off, the very finest museums and galleries across the world are filled with so called, prints.

An etching, woodblock, linocut, intaglio, lithography, aquatint, relief, drypoint, collograph, serigraphy, monotype, iris and many others are all types of prints. Many of these have been around for hundreds of years. Rembrandt was a printmaker extraordinaire.

Prints should never be thought of as less in quality, originality, value or uniqueness summarily. That would be a mistake of the uninformed. (I'm not talking about offset printing.)

There are reasons an artist will choose to use printmaking as their choice of production. A couple of examples. Think of an etching. One can create tension in their work that cannot be achieved in traditional painting. Serigraph and silk-screen creates something/ statement that often cannot be recreated in traditional painting, and the same can be said for all and other forms of prints that I listed above.

I have heard people say, they do not like Giclees. A giclee can be an original work of art, and often is although they do not have to be. There are serious artist that create the original art piece within the computer and then print the piece using machine technology. There is no 'original' painted piece that was then copied. I have heard people ask to see the original from the Giclee, and the artist must explain, there is no such thing. This is not a reproduction, it is the original.

I think it also helps for someone to understand the reason artist often use a form of printmaking. One of the driving forces from the late 1800's - forward is a rejection of control, power, possessiveness and the role of art in the modern world through the eyes of then emerging artist and even established artist then and now. Printmaking was in many ways a way for an artist to give the finger to the powerful, elite, the church or the high-and-mighty state owned museums and such. There was a rejection of a museum, the Vatican or even a gallery choosing what was seen and by whom or what was not and when. Offering multiple prints was just one way to break such control that artist often despised. From the Vatican to the Louvre, someone is choosing what is seen and what is not, and only about 10% of what is owned is on display at any time.

There was also the thinking from artist that art should not be for only the well-to-do,or people that had the money or even access to museums, and serious art should be affordable and hanging in the dorm rooms of students across the world.

There is also the thinking that print number 1 or 5 or 10 is better and more valuable than print number 300. There was a time that could be the case as the print transfer may lose some of the clarity with use. An example of this would be a stone transfer. Print 1 would surely be better than print number ???. This is really not the case often today. Print number 300 can often be just as nice as print number 1. ( many variables for sure) One of the things that has given some collectors great consternation today and some are evening suing is the fact the printmaking today is often better than in the past. Say you bought a Picasso or Warhol from decades ago, and their estate decides to release new screenings from the original screenings. These can clearly be better than the one you may have bought as processes, paints and materials can be better today than decades before. It is an ugly battle in the art world. I see re-releases far better than what may be in a museum today.

Think about a clay or plaster Giacometti being bronzed. Does one think there cannot be several cast from the bronze that are excellent? The art world has been turned upside-down with Giacometti non-original works in museums across the world today and it is ugly.

One must think about why you are buying a piece of art. Is it as an investment or is it because you love the work and want to enjoy it and make it part of your daily life?

I have just touched on the subject, and far too much to discuss here, but I will close by saying the word print is being painted with a far too broad of a brush. Wink