IS A PRINT MORE THAN JUST A COPY OF AN ORIGINAL?
Although printmaking involves reproducing an image, a print is more than just a copy of an original. Prints are not made in large production runs intended solely for commercial sale. A limited number (known as an edition) are produced, with prescribed routes for initial sale — either through the artist, a commercial gallery or a publisher. As a result they are true works of art, and as important to the artist as drawings or other works on paper. – Christies
- LOOKING AT PRINTS
What Is An Art Print?
At it's simplest, Art Prints are multiple impressions of the same image created through an image transfer process. "Original" Limited Edition Prints are created with the direct involvement of the artist and are numbered and signed by the artist. Signatures count for a lot in the print market; it indicates the artist approves it, and, claims it as his or her own work.
Art prints can be printed using a number of different printing methods and on a variety of different materials. There are many types of prints and the process is constantly evolving. New technology blurs the boundaries between artistic mediums in much the same way that offset lithography and silkscreen did a generation ago. The four best-known techniques today are Screenprint (silkscreen or serigraph), Offset Lithography, Digital Printing (Giclée) and Photographs. Art prints, even when they do take the form of a poster, are artworks in their own right.
When traditional methods such as etching and lithograhy no longer sufficed, artists turned to commercial print techniques not readily available at fine-art print shops in the early 1960s. Pop artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and James Rosenquist discovered that commercial techniques such as silkscreen and offset lithography best suited their large-scale work, which was drawn largely from mass media and consumer culture. Metropolitan Museum Of Art :: Postwar Print Renaissance in America
Prints on quality archival paper or canvas is a wonderful way to build your collection of art with pieces you love, especially if your budget is limited. Transform a room in your home, office, vacation residence. Do a little research and "brush up" on the history and terminology of the print market. If you are an art buyer for large projects, purchasing a quantity of a larger edition will likely net you a sweet deal.
- PRINT TYPES, METHODS
- SILKSCREEN / SERIGRAPH
Serigraphy is also called screen printing or silkscreening. It has a long history that dates back to the Song Dynasty in China (960-1279). The technique made it's way to Western Europe in the 18th century. Later, a group of artists who later formed the National Serigraphic Society coined the word "Serigraphy" in the 1930's to differentiate the artistic application from the industrial process. It's a combination of the words “Seri”, Latin for silk, and “Graphein”, a Greek word meaning to write, or to draw.
The rise of Pop Art in the 1960's brought screenprinting to a whole new level. The artists of the time experimented with colors and textures that were not reproducible in other artistic mediums. Today, serigraphs are widely accepted as Fine Art Prints.
A screen is used to transfer a visual image onto paper. Fabric is tightly stretched over a wooden frame to create the screen. The non-printing areas are blocked out by a stencil, and paint is forced through the non-blocked areas and onto the paper using a squeegee.
Owning one of the Girl With Genips (shown above in the introduction), is like owning an original piece of art. Because Peter's work was difficult to produce, he created the color separations (stencils) for each color. Even though all the prints produced with the same screen are meant to look the same, because of variations in pressure, paint thickness and positioning, no two prints are truly identical.
The Art of Printing: Serigraphy
- OFFSET LITHOGRAPH
The Art of Printing: Offset Lithograph
Offset printing, also called offset lithography, or litho-offset is a traditional type of printing process dating back over 100 years to 1904 when an American printer, Ira W. Rubel, of Nutley, N.J., accidentally discovered the process. It is a widely used printing technique in which the inked image on a printing plate is printed on a rubber cylinder and then transferred (i.e., offset) to paper or other material. The rubber cylinder gives great flexibility, permitting printing on wood, cloth, metal, leather, and rough paper.
Offset printing produces a consistent high image quality with sharp and clean images and precise color because the rubber blanket conforms to the texture of the printing surface. Accurate Color reproduction is important to high-value brands with brand-centric Pantone colors where color consistency and representation is of the utmost importance. Peter Lynn Editions Limited Edition Offset Art Prints maintain a reproduction quality so superb, they capture both the color, texture and fine line work of Peter Lynn's original art style.
The technique is based on the lithographic principle that "oil and water don't mix". A flat (planographic) image carrier on which the image to be printed obtains ink from the rollers, while the non-printing areas attract a water-based film (fountain solution), keeping the non-printing areas ink-free. The image is picked up from the plate (zinc or aluminum which has been treated with an absorbent oxide) by a rubber roller which then prints it onto the paper.
Modern offset printing uses a computer-to-plate technique. Each plate has to be laser etched using information from a digital file of the image. It is done on a press composed basically of three rotating cylinders: a plate cylinder, to which the metal plate is fastened; a blanket cylinder covered by a sheet of rubber; and an impression cylinder that presses the paper into contact with the blanket cylinder.
The Art of Printing: Giclée
Giclée is a French term coined by American printmaker Jack Duganne in 1991. It describes the way the ink is applied to paper during the printing process. The French verb "gicler" means "to squirt" or “to spurt” and this refers to how an inkjet printer works. Giclée prints were originally produced on an IRIS ink-jet printers that were capable of producing what appeared to be "continuous tonal" prints to the naked eye. Continuous tone also refers to the bit map file of a scanned image.
Not all inkjet prints are Giclée prints. There has been a shift in the art print world over the last decade to where the word “Giclée” has been appropriated into what we call a “fancy marketing term.” A quality Giclée depends on resolution, ink, paper, and printer type. It is a process that uses acid free papers, pigment based archival inks and professional 8-color to 12-color large-format ink-jet printers. The "jets" spray tiny dots of pigment-based inks onto paper or canvas which have a sticky membrane coating that allows the ink to adhere to the substrate (paper or canvas).
- SILKSCREEN / SERIGRAPH
- WHATS THE DIFFERENCE?
Offset Lithograph vs. Gicleé
A question often asked is "What's the difference between a Giclée and an Offset Litho?." The answer depends on several factors including image quality / resolution, type of printing equipment used, inks and paper, prepress preparation, how closely involved the artist was in the print process, where it was printed and whether it is a part of a hand-signed (not a printed signature) First Edition or an unsigned Decorative print.
Offset Lithography has been around for over 100 years and was generally regarded as the method for producing higher quality print images. Today, Digital Printing technology using Offset Lithograph and Laser and Inkjet Printers has advanced so that the difference between a high quality Photo-Offset Litho and a Giclée are minimal. Look at any modern presswork under a loupe and you'll see those ubiquitous halftone dots. Even inkjet presses use dots to create the final image. The difference is more a matter of project type, price and budget.
Of course pre-press production and how closely the artist was involved in the entire printing process plays a very important role in how the final image will turn out. Peter Lynn worked closely with the printers every step of the way. From creating color separations by hand for silkscreens to proofing the high resolution photographs taken of his original artwork and watching as each printed sheet of archival quality paper rolled off the state-of-the-art printing presses for the Limited Edition Offset Lithographs.
Print longevity refers to the number of years a print will last before it begins to fade. In the past decade there have been huge advancements in print longevity due to ink and fine art paper options that all meet gallery and museum standards for longevity. Peter Lynn's remaining Limited Edition prints for sale have been around for 30 + years. Each print still looks as fresh as the day it was printed. Keep in mind that any print, whether it's a high quality Photograph, Giclée or Offset Lithograph, Woodcut, Etching or Monoprint – in all cases, how well you care for your print will increase their longevity.
Open Edition vs. Limited Edition
In printmaking, an edition is a number of prints struck from one plate, usually at the same time. When you discover a print or photograph that you want to buy, the next step is to look at the artwork’s edition information. With Open Editions, the number of prints that can be created and sold are unlimited. With Limited Editions, the artist restricts the total amount of artworks produced in the edition. These are normally signed by the artist in pencil, and numbered. No more prints can be created after they are all sold.
Is a print labeled 1/100 more valuable than a print labeled 100/100? There’s a lot of debate floating around about that and you will find erudite yes and no answers. Limited Editions are usually sold in the number order that they were printed. However, keep in mind, sometimes they are not. This fact dispels the myth that a print with a lower edition number is more valuable (exempting Artists Proofs). That being said, if there are just a few prints left from a popular Limited Edition, the price of the remaining unsold work will be higher. All else being equal, the more rare and "the closer to the artist's hand," the more valuable the work of art — an original work is more valuable than a signed, limited-edition print, a signed print from a smaller edition is more valuable than one from a larger edition.
- PRINT CARE
- CASE OF THE SHIPWRECKED FINE ART PRINT
Peter Lynn once received an email from someone who had acquired one of his "Marigot Market Women" Limited Edition Prints over 25 years ago. They sent an image of a water and mildew spotted, half-faded image. They wanted to know how to repair it since they liked it so much. They informed Peter that they inherited the print. They had bought a small boat from someone and the print was hanging in a frame next to a porthole in the cabin.
Peter's advice was "Buy a new one." Read our Print Care FAQ's and it will last 30+ years.
- SUNLIGHT / UV
Never hang or exhibit Fine Art Prints in direct sunlight and try to avoid strong indirect sunlight. When framing it's best to use glass. Today, both glass and acrylic (plexiglass) picture framing glazing can be made with UV-battling coatings or components that prevent UV radiation from permeating the glazing and reaching the artwork. Anti-glare options are also available.
- MOISTURE / HUMIDITY
Avoid keeping your print in environments such as a bathroom where the humidity is often high. Microorganisms may begin to grow on the paper artwork and cause discoloration from mold and mildew. The paper can also ripple.
Don't hang prints near areas that get too hot or cold, like fireplaces or radiators. Too much dry heat can cause inks to crackle and the expansion and contraction of the paper fibers. This can make the print surface uneven. This is why museums keep a constant temperature in their exhibition rooms.
Atmospheric pollutants like cigarette smoke and other airborne particles like dust, dirt, sweat and oils from your hands can cause problems.
- HANDLING, FRAMING, STORING
When handling prints on paper, you should try and touch the paper as little as possible, and avoid touching the image area entirely.
Improper framing can permanently damage your print. Works on paper are generally more delicate than works on canvas and should be framed behind uv-protectant, anti-glare glass. Use acid-free, archival materials and avoid using self adhesive tapes to mount prints. There should be space between the print surface and the glass. Seal the back to prevent air pollutants from getting in and to help keep bugs out too!
If you use a wood frame, cover the rabbet (the space in which the frame contents sit) with acid-free material to prevent the acids in the wood from seeping into the artwork. Acid-free linen tape, or even tinfoil can be used as a barrier. If you're using a metal frame, this isn't an issue.
Care must be taken with framing or stretching Giclée printed on canvas. Some stretching/separating at the edges is possible, ink can shear off and the primer substrate on the canvas can fail.
If your prints are not on display, the best way to keep them safe and looking great is to store them flat (horizontal) inside of a metal or wood flat file, or a specifically designed, archival box or rigid folder. Protect the prints from the wood by layering with soft acid free paper.
Prints can be transported flat or rolled. Make sure that all materials that are in direct contact with the print are acid free. The print package used for transporting should be very stiff. We use tubes that that are made of cardboard and are firm enough not to be crashed during the shipment. Also, the prints should be separated and fixed in a way to prevent sliding and rubbing of packing materials across the surface of the paper.
We ship large-sized prints like our hand-printed silkscreen, flat.
- CASE OF THE SHIPWRECKED FINE ART PRINT