COLLECTING PRINTS

I AM NEW TO COLLECTING, WHERE DO I START? 

There are many places to start looking for fine art, including galleries, museums, art fairs and many other dedicated institutions both nationally and worldwide. It is through these institutions that you will be introduced to those artists whose work will resonate with you in some way and whose work you may aspire to collect. 

Many collectors will work with a core group of dealers, with whom they will have built a trusted relationship, dealers who are committed to quality, connoisseurship. Finding a gallery or dealer can be difficult, but with regards to print recourses such as the “IFPDA’s” website, or “Printed Editions” will help you find reliable, trusted and outstanding dealers of both traditional and contemporary editions. 

HOW MUCH SHOULD I SPEND WHEN BUYING A PRINT?

Quality, rarity, condition, desirability and the state of the art marketing are all factors that can and do determine the price of a print. However the multiplicity of print is also a factor that can make print collecting an attractive and affordable way to begin you very own Fine Art collection. Because of prints multiplicity original fine art prints can be found for as little as £100, whilst others may soar into four, five, six or even seven figure sums! What is important is that you find a print that suits your personal tastes and your budget. It is important to say here that you should always “trust your instincts”. 

WHAT IS AN ORIGINAL FINE ART PRINT? 

An original fine art print is a work on paper, (or other substrate) which has been conceived by the artist to be realised as a print – in opposition to a reproduction of an existing work in another medium. 

HOW WAS THIS PRINT MADE? 

You can find out more about the processes used in the creation of a print though a simple cross referencing of our Printmaking Glossary associated with prints and printmaking. 

I WANT TO SELL A PRINT, HOW SHOULD I SET ABOUT DOING THIS?

Galleries and dealers have an established client base, usually tailored toward their specialist field or artist stable. As such they are best suited to selling your prints, for which they will receive commission. 

BUT JUST HOW MUCH IS THIS PRINT WORTH?

There are many factors that can be attributed to the market value of a print. These are, but are not limited to, the condition, the prints rarity and the demand. Publicly available auction results can give a good indication of this. To get a more informed evaluation of any work you own, it is recommended that you contact an expert dealer. Conduct a search on the "IFPDA’s" website, here, within their members listing you will be able to locate a dealer with expertise relative to your artwork. 


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CARING FOR FINE ART PRINTS

THE DANGERS:

LIGHT, HUMIDITY, HEAT & POLLUTION

Exposing prints to light, weather direct UV rays from the sun or artificial light from florescent tubes or bulbs, is one of the most harmful byproducts of collecting and the most frequent of mistakes.

Changes in humidity will cause molding and foxing on a print, reddish brown stains that can found scattered over the papers surface. Foxing is a negative factor in the value of the paper item when confronted with collectors, however, foxing does not affect the integrity of the paper product. 

Modern homes are heated well and this too can have a negative impact on a paper item or print. There is a chance that the heat will cause humidity levels to drop below 40% which in turn can cause prints, or rather paper to dry out and turn brittle. Temperature fluctuations can also cause paper to expand and contract at rapid rates, which in turn can affect the surface and the finish of the printed inks.

Pollution can be transferred to a print, from papers with acid content, furniture, dirt or the oils from your palms, when those items are direct in contact with one another. Your print should be made on acid free paper, this is something you should consult your gallery, publisher or dealer on prior to purchase.

 

THE SOLUTIONS: 

STORAGE – IN AN IDEAL WORLD

The best preservation for a Fine Art Print is not in a frame, but in a box. Each print should be stored in its own acid free folder faced in acid free tissue. Each print should be stored in horizontal position and never in direct contact with another print. Large metal plans chest are the best solution, as metal has no chemical emissions. The humidity in your store/home should be between 40% and 60% .

FRAMING

Works of Art on paper are damaged more frequently by poor quality mounting and framing than by anything else. We recommend that you have you Fine Art Print framed by a “conservation framer”. Bu doing so you will safeguard your prints integrity to the best that framing will allow. Please remember that best preservation for a Fine Art Print is not in a frame, but in a box. (See Storage – in an ideal world).

What will a conservation framer provide?

Your print will be backed with conservation board. This will protect the reverse from exposure to any materials with a high acid content. Mounting the print then allows for the paper to contract and expand naturally during any change in temperature. A quality sealed frame then protects the print from most humidity changes (except those of an extreme nature). Lastly if UV light is going to be issue your conservation framer can recommend any number of UV protective glass or PVC solutions to protect you print.

DISPLAY

A few simple rules will help preserve your works in the long term.

1.     Always avoid hanging your print in direct sunlight.

2.     Place something behind your hung print to allow air to circulated between the frame and the wall, thus preventing condensation.

3.     Be cautious not to hang your print above a rising heat source, IE a radiator.

4.     If you intend to light your print use incandescent lights, with no UV content and a low wattage.

5.     Maintain a room temperature of 19º C - 22º C. This is the optimum room temperature for works on paper.

TRANSPORTATION

Transporting prints requires care and consideration. Prints should be sent flat. If a print is to large to do so and it must be rolled, it should be removed from the roll immediately on point of arrival.

In some instances, not all prints can be rolled. This may be due to paper thickness, hand painting, gilding or other additions to the surface of the work that may damage as a result. Rolling can also damage the pigment of a printed surface.

The print packing should be made as stiff as possible. Tri-wall card or other similar products are suitable. Care must be taken to leave space between the edge of the print and edge of the packing. Whether individually packed or in a suite the prints should be secured to the exterior packing to prevent sliding during transportation.