Monday, April 18, 2011

Fine Art Limited Edition Print Disclosure Laws


I have had several enquiries about Certificates of Authenticity (Provenance) for the fine art digital print industry. During my research for a lecture on fraud in the art world last year, I came across a legal article that summed up what should appear on a limited edition art piece, regardless of production method.

In fact there is quite a controversy among the traditional print artists and the new media and digital art community, which I will write about in my next Blog.


Fine Art Limited Edition Print Disclosure Laws

by Joshua Kaufman, esq. (e:mail ppfa at
Because there is no uniform model, we would suggest that a Certificate of Provenance should contain as much information as possible: the idea of which is to prevent fraud.  Although some states limit the Certificate of Provenance to limited editions, others require it for any image or art object that can be produced in multiples.
     * It should come from someone who has the authority to actually create a Certificate of Provenance —the artists, or the artist’s agent or publisher—and that should be stated on the Certificate of Provenance.
    * Samples of the Certificate of Provenance should be available prior to any sale.
    * A Certificate of Provenance should be provided for all sales of all art.
      The Certificate of Provenance should include:
    * Name of artist
    * If the Certificate of Provenance comes from someone other than the artist,
    * Who and what is the relationship.
    * Title
    * Description or photograph of print or object
    * Dimensions
    * Year printed
    * Year the original was created
    * Medium of the original
    * Medium of the print
    * Number of prints: signed/numbered
    * Number of proofs signed/numbered, 
    * Edition size
    * Re-strike edition?
    * Posthumous edition?
    * Status of artist’s signature
    * Edition is part of a series of editions: artist proof, press proof, transfer, etc.
    * Name and location of printer
    * Status of the plate or master: destroyed, on file, etc.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Burrard Bridge #2 - 11" x14" Acrylic on Canvas

12 tips on preparing your work for giclee reproduction.

1) Do not put a final varnish or glaze on you piece prior to having it reproduced.
2) Have your originals scanned or professionally photographed before you part with them. They are your legacy and may be valuable to you long after the original is sold and the money is gone. In fact, each piece of your art is copyright for your lifetime and is assignable to your heirs for 50 years after your death. Your art should play a part in your wills and estate planning.
3) Scan images at a minimum of 267 - 300 PPI up to 4 sq. feet. Larger images should be scanned or photographed at a minimum of 200 PPI.
4) Images that have metallic or reflective paint or glazes would be better turned into a film transparency first prior to final imaging. Flat bed scanning cannot reproduce the nuances without a
5) Don't sign original until you have it scanned or photographed.
6)Place an original signature and edition # on each giclee you produce.
7) Closed editions have a start number and a closing number an example is 18 /100. The first number indicates the print number, the second the length of the edition. An open edition doesn't have closing number, this makes them less valuable.
8) Artist are allowed 10% of editions to be produced as artist proofs. For example an edition of 5o prints would have 5 artist proofs. They can be used as promotional material by galleries. (Assumes balance of edition distributed to galleries.)
9) The First giclee artist proof #1/100 is considered by galleries as the original digital print. It is considered to be more valuable because, by traditional it is usually kept by the artist until death.
10) Artwork must be flat on scanner bed. To eliminate extra charges, remove matting and frame before delivering pieces for scanning or photography
11) Artwork can be printed on the edges of your canvas to cover the sides of your stretcher bars so no frame is necessary.
12) Enhance your Giclees to increase their value.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What's a Giclee?

I have been neglecting my blog for several years and much has changed in the fine art digital printing industry during this time. As a senior with a background in the global creative industry, I paid little attention to the new media.until I attended a social neworking seminar by Rebecca Coleman in January. The power of networking was confirmed with the revolts in Africa and Egypt.

Over the next few weeks I am going to invite discussion on the digital fine art industry including  giclees,  the new mixed media, limited edition print disclosure laws, the various original print mediums and a section on art fraud.. 

In this first Blog I would like the reader to understand the meaning of the word "Giclee", it's authors intent in 1991 and try to clarify the confusion that exists about the word 20 years later.

What is a Giclee?? When you hear the word think "museum quality digital reproduction"

Giclee Printing is the technique of producing fine art prints using digital imaging technology. Archival pigmented inks are printed onto special coated fine art media such as artist canvas or a variety of cotton rag papers. This high standard technique is used by museums and galleries around the world for their art reproductions.

Giclee prints are made by scanning original artwork, scanning a film transparency or inputting digital  photography. This high resolution digital file is then adjusted in the computer to capture all of the nuances in the artwork. The ability to capture the digital information accurately and precisely is a marriage of the technology and artistic ability. The skill of operator and the quality of the equipment being used will determine the final print quality.

The biggest challenge in working with artists is managing expectations. It is a new medium. The longest serving and largest customer base of this technology are self published artists working the various show circuits. Through experience, they have learned how to create artwork maximizing all this medium offers and make a substantial living. Today emerging artists, even "Sunday Painters"are taking advantage of this affordable, museum quality, reproduction technology. This includes the use of giclees in the creative process of the New mixed media

How Giclee got it's name.
In the mid 1980's the one thing that became quickly apparent to the early digital art pioneers, was the lack of a proper name to describe the prints that they were making. By the close of the 1980's, digital printers were installed all over the world and spinning off full color proofs in commercial printing plants and pre-press shops. These prints were used to check color and get approvals before starting the the main print run. They definitely were not meant to last or be displayed on anyone's walls. In 1989 they were referred to as IRIS Prints, IRIS Proofs or simply IRIS, based on the name of the lead pioneering manufacturer of digital printing equipment at the time Iris Graphics of Bedford Mass. The name stuck.

However this wasn't good enough for the new digital fine-art printers such as Jack Duganne, who was the first printmaker at Nash Productions. He and his associates wanted to draw a distinction between the beautiful prints they were labouring over and the quickie proofs the commercial printers were cranking out. In short, a new name and brand identity was required for the the makers of archival quality fine art prints destined for global galleries and public art sites.

And, they got it. In 1991 Duganne had to come up with a print-medium description mailer announcing California artist Diane Bartz' upcoming show. He wanted to stay away from such terms as "computer" or "digital" because of the negative connotations the art world attached to the new medium. Taking a clue from the French, Duganne opened his pocket Larousse and searched for a word that was generic enough to cover most inkjet technologies into the future. He focused on nozzle, which most printers used. In French that was le gicleur. What nozzles do is spray ink, so looking up French verbs for "to spray", he found gicler, which literally means "to squirt, spurt or spray". The feminine noun version of the verb is (la) giclee (pronounced Gee - clay) or that which is sprayed or squirted. An art industry moniker was born.

Today, 20 years later, although the debate continues among some, the term "Giclee" has become established with traditional media artist and photographers. The term "giclee" has become part of the printmaking landscape; a generic word like Kleenex, that has evolved into a broader term that describes any high quality, digitally produced fine art reproduction.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Mobile Giclee Printer

When the car vacates the premises, ( go to "Alley Gallery" on my site) from under my studio, I pull out the world's largest laptop. It's a 4' x 10' x 2.5' mobile giclee printer. It houses a full compliment of Epson Professional hardware including a 12" x 18" scanner, a 12" x 18" tabloid printer and 24" roll printer coupled to a Fiery and dual hard drive Mac OS and monitor. Customer files which are generally 50 -125 MB each are backed up by a portable 500Gig HD. There is also room for my paper & ink stocks, customer back up CD's and a complete tool kit for stretching canvas.

I recessed the monitor, the printers and flush mounted the scanner in order to have a flat working surface. It allows me to scan, in sections and seamless merge, large works up to
4' x 6' although my own 3' x 4' canvases are tough enough
and can take up to 15 scans each.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The New Mixed Media
Start with your favorite high res digital photo or have your print scanned @ 300 dpi for the finished size of your image.
Using Photoshop or similar program adjust color to your liking then try one of the several art tools available to change
the visual texture of your art. Add an interesting detail or two. Print out on your color printer - Voila! your very own New Mixed Media artwork. If you want to take it to the next level have a giclee on stretched canvas produced of your work. Over paint with a medium to heavy clear Gel coat. Let dry, then using your acrylic paints, enhance the existing colors, add images or whatever, until your tummy tells you to stop. Finally, if you like what you see, rescan, make final adjustments and print your artist proof #2. In this way you could produce a series of different images from one original.