Art Prints V Original Paintings

Sometimes people think they are getting an original painting and they end up getting a print. To avoid confusion, it is becoming important to know how to distinguish a print from an original painting.
Art Prints

 are multiples of the same piece, created through a printmaking technique. One of the most common types of prints is the one produced by a photo-mechanical process. The image is photographically transferred from an original source and is mass reproduced. Do not confuse this with original prints.
Original Prints

 are artwork from a matrix, which is generally a single metal plate; stone block, wooden block or screen that is hand-made by the artist. Each impression is done by the artist or artisan and the matrix is later destroyed. The prints are traditionally signed and numbered in pencil by the artist and generally called “Limited Edition Prints”. The numbering is done in this format: 149/300. Original prints can also be considered investments and bring with them the level of status that mass reproductions do not.
Before you ask a museum curator, art collector, appraiser or other art expert, these tips can help you differentiate a Print from an Original Painting:
  • An Original Painting has textured brush strokes. Watercolor or gouache original paintings will typically be in a rough paper with a distinctive grain.
  • A Print is usually flat and has a dot matrix pattern, the same pattern you find in magazines or book images.
  • An Original Painting has irregular and uneven paint on the edges of the stretched canvas.
  • A Print usually has sharp, even and clean edges; where the buyer typically does not look.
  • An Original Painting examined under a strong light might show pencil lines from the artist’s original sketch and changes made by the artist while painting.
  • A Print frequently has a number of identification and a copyright logo printed in small letters.
  • An Original Painting has rich and vibrant colors, and overall, looks, feels and smells like an original.
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