Guide to Buying Fine Art
Buying a piece of fine art is a big decision and one that can be daunting if you are buying for the first time. Here at Evergreen Art Café, our mission is to make the process of buying art an enjoyable process that is affordable and accessible to everyone.
The following information is here to help you understand the terminology used to describe the different types of art we sell, together with some additional information, which may be of interest:
Let’s start with an easy one! An original is exactly what you would expect it to be. If the piece you are interested in, is listed as ‘Original’ then this means the artist has created this and there is only one in existence. Original artwork can be paintings, sculptures or any other piece of art created directly by the artist.
If you buy an original from Evergreen Art Café, it will be signed by the artist and will come with a certificate of authenticity as your guarantee that it is an Artist Original.
Limited Editions are high quality reproductions of the original artwork. They are only reproduced a set number of times and this is known as the Edition Size. Each piece is approved by the artist to confirm that it is a faithful reproduction and is then numbered and signed by the artist as their commitment that no further reproductions of the art will be made.
Generally, the smaller the edition size, the more valuable the limited edition becomes to the collector and its market value can increase over time, if demand outstrips supply. Edition sizes vary but are limited by market forces, not by the physical constraints of the printmaking method.
The Fine Art Trade Guild print standard recommends edition sizes of no more than 850 in total. However, in today’s art world, this would be considered a large edition as the trend over the last few years has been for much smaller edition sizes.
Every limited edition sold by Evergreen Art Café comes with its own certificate to confirm its authenticity as a genuine limited edition.
Giclée (pronounced gee-clay) is a method of creating reproduction fine arts prints in extremely high resolution.
The giclée method can print on to premium art paper, which is then mounted with acid-free, archive quality mount board ready for framing. It can also print direct on to canvas, which is then tightly stretched on to a wooden frame, ready to hang as a box canvas (no framing required).
Limited Editions can be created using the giclée method but it will only be a limited edition, if it has been signed and numbered by the artist and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.
Artist proofs are an additional number of prints that are created prior to the full limited edition run (they can also be known as printers proofs). These proofs are the first prints to be approved by the artist before the full edition is produced.
Artist proofs are also signed and numbered by the artist but usually in very small edition print runs (maybe only 10 or 20). Technically artist proofs are the same as the main limited edition print run but can often be more collectable or fetch higher prices due to the smaller edition size.
Evergreen Art Café occasionally has access to artist proofs. If you are interested in an artist proof of a particular piece, please contact us and we can speak to the publisher or artist on your behalf.
Open Edition Reproductions
An open edition reproduction print can be produced in any quantity and the image may also be used in other ways, such as on tableware, calendars, greetings cards etc. Open editions tend to cost less than limited editions and are much less likely to increase in value.
In America, open editions are called 'posters' and this is a term increasing in use worldwide, though 'poster' was traditionally a term used to describe advertisement artwork.
Here at Evergreen we tend not to sell open edition reproductions or ‘posters’ as we focus on original artwork and limited editions.
Art as an Investment
The art market can be fickle and the value of an original or limited edition over the long term is very hard to predict. The artist’s reputation affects value, so research the their past achievements and recent prices. Rarity is also an important factor, as is condition (in the second-hand market).
Here at Evergreen we don’t like to advise our customers on buying any particular piece as an investment. We believe you should buy art because you love it first and want to enjoy living with it in the here and now. Its future re-sale value should only be a small factor when making the decision to buy.
When buying on the secondary market or antique prints, the condition of the piece is very important. If prints have noticeable damage or been exposed to adverse conditions such as damp, the value might be affected. Visible damage such as these can put off collectors. If the colours are faded, the value may be considerably diminished. Always check the art carefully.
Evergreen Art Café concentrates on selling new originals and limited editions but we do occasionally get offered second-hand art from collectors wanting to sell. If you have a particular piece in mind please contact us and we may be able to help you to find it!