Original Prints vs. Reproductions

The Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art’s online Canadian Art Database includes a section on Printmaking, where I found a good explanation of the difference between an original print and a reproduction, something that is still confusing to many people, and is an important issue for buyers of art.

The introduction states: An original print is an image that has been conceived by the artist as a print and executed solely as a print, usually in a numbered edition, and signed by the artist. Each print of the edition is an original, printed from a plate, stone, screen, block or other matrix created for that purpose.

A reproduction (although often called a print) has no relationship whatsoever to an original print; it is a copy of a work of art conceived by the artist in another medium (painting, watercolour, etc.). The reproduction has usually been made by photo-mechanical means. Numbering and signing a reproduction does not change its essence; it is still a reproduction. It is not an original print.

Continue reading under Definition of Original Print in this section.

Of additional interest here, The Printing Process Illustrated is a guide to some original printmaking methods.

See also previous posts What is a Print? and more on prints.

More about original prints on Mauricio Lasansky’s site, an artist whose drawings and prints I admire greatly.

June 24, 2004 in Printmaking by Marja-Leena