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What Kind Of Art Is That?


how to frame pictures

custom framed art printHave you ever walked into an art gallery, store, or frame shop and seen all kinds of beautiful framed art and wondered just what it was. This article give you a quick education about the art you are seeing.

There is all kinds of art available in the world! Whole books have been written about just one art subject. Here we don’t have a whole book. In fact all we have is a few web pages. This discussion then is only going to touch upon a few kinds of art that would be of most interest to the average person.

Cheap Posters
First off, there are cheap department store type posters that sell for a cheap price. They are printed on cheap lightweight paper and do not last very long. You will see these framed in department stores for low prices. They are framed, but not custom framed, there is a difference. Example, cheap could mean the pictures are mounted on mounting boards that are full of acid. Many cheap pictures are framed using these poster prints, that is how they can keep the costs down. You get what you pay for in this world. You cannot frame pictures using archival materials and sell them at these low prices. They have to go as low in price as they can to compete with the store down the road. So everyone is trying to put out the lowest price which means using the lowest cost materials.  It is even getting extremely hard to find these pictures framed with a wood picture frame these days.

A true quality print, custom framed will outlast the furniture in many homes; indeed a properly framed print should outlast the owners! The above posters usually have poor quality paper. They are very light weight similar to writing paper. Quality posters and prints which I will discuss next are published using heavy weight lithograph paper, similar to light weight cardboard. Cheap posters also use inks that fade relatively quickly compared to quality lithographs.

Quality Posters and Prints
Next, you have your good quality posters and prints that are printed on good quality heavy weight acid free paper. These last years and years if framed properly. Posters many times have a large name or title along the bottom, or even in the image itself. An example would be an Ansel Adams poster with his name printed in large letters along the bottom.

Prints usually do not have any large wording on them, and almost never in the image. Sometimes, the above poster will be matted with the large title letters matted out so that they cannot be seen. This poster can than properly also be called a  print.
In other words, a picture framed with large letters like a name along the bottom is referred to as a framed poster. The same picture with the large letters matted out is referred to as a framed print. Both these pictures can have the best quality paper and inks, but don't confuse these with department store posters, which basically have no value at all.

art and print catalogsOpen edition prints
Open edition prints are printed on good quality heavy weight acid free paper. These prints are called open edition because the publisher is free to publish as many as they want to, any time they want to. These prints make great interior decoration and sell for $15.00 or more. They almost never increase in value and are brought for decor. Custom framed posters and open edition prints almost always sell for over $100.00 depending on size and the materials used in framing them. You can find them framed for less, but then usually the prints are mounted on low quality mount boards, plastic frames or cheap glass or Plexiglas is used. You cannot get top quality by paying low quality prices.

Open edition prints are found in galleries and frame shops. Besides the pictures found on  gallery walls, most have a resource room with catalogs of open edition prints. Many people go in, sit down and study these catalogs to find just the perfect art for their homes. Most of the art ranges from $15.00 -$50.00. The gallery owner orders the art for you. These then are shipped to the gallery in paper tubes.

Art always makes a great gift! Most of the best galleries will have catalogs of prints for you to look at. Be advised there are so many good prints that people quickly become confused and undecided about which ones to purchase. It can be a help to decide what style of art you are looking for first, for example, wildlife art or contemporary art.

framed art in an art galleryLimited Edition Prints
These are only made on the very best acid free paper available. These prints are almost always numbered and signed by the artist. Since only a limited number of these prints are made, and never reproduced again, they usually sell out quite quickly. Indeed, they can be completely sold out even before the prints are made, because of advance orders placed by art galleries. These prints will last indefinitely if properly custom framed and keep increasing in value as they age. These prints almost always sell for over 50.00, but most are above $100.00. I’ve seen lots that sell for $1000.00 and many for much more.

Custom framed, they sell in the 250.00 -1000.00 and above range. There are many people who have brought limited edition prints a few years ago for $80-100.00 that are now worth thousands. There are even whole magazines devoted to the collector of Limited Edition Prints. They have lists of what limited edition prints originally sold for and what they are selling for today. It can be amazing to see how quickly some of these prints increase in value.

There are people throwing away valuable prints or selling them for peanuts on lawn sales. I can name several people who have picked up really good, sold out, limited edition prints on yard sales for 50.00 and less. There is one catch however. Just because a limited edition print is sold out, it still may not be worth very much. Among other things, the print must have been properly custom matted and framed. A $1000.00 print can be quickly ruined by framing using non archival materials.

A collector or framer can look at a print and tell you if a print has much value because of this one quick kill factor. If a print has been framed by dry mounting, or hasn’t been framed with true conservation materials the print may not be worth anything. Conservation framing is more difficult to do than regular framing. For example, many of the matted and or framed limited edition prints bought at print auctions are not conservation matted and or framed and their intrinsic value actually decreases over the years instead of increases.

Often these prints are framed the cheapest way possible to keep the costs down. If in doubt take your print to a framer and he can tell you what materials were used to frame the print.

print tupes for mailing art printsUnframed prints should be kept lying flat, not rolled up in a tube as prints left in a tube have "memory" and will eventually be ruined. Limited edition prints are not usually found in catalogs. It would make no sense for a company to spend thousands of dollars to create a catalog of limited edition prints. Soon the prints would be sold out and the catalogs would be worthless. Instead, publishers work though art galleries. They show art galleries what they have then it is up to them to buy some prints and show them to clients in order to sell them. Sometimes they send preview materials and flyers, which have small photos of up coming prints. It costs thousands of dollars for a gallery to stock limited edition prints and that is why you almost never see very many limited edition prints in malls. The prints you see at the malls in the bins are usually open edition prints, not limited edition.

Many art galleries stock only original art that is sold on a commission basis. These galleries do not have to invest much money up front for the art. All it takes to start such a gallery is a building. There are dozens of artists waiting to place their art in them. The waiting list can be very long. Original art can also be much harder to resell. Unless the piece has been done by a really well known artist you have to find someone new who wants that piece of art every time you try to sell it. For example, if you buy an original landscape for several hundred dollars you cannot resell that art unless you find someone else who loves it like you do. Usually there are no magazines listing this piece, maybe no ones ever heard about this artist before. There aren’t many magazines listing the resale value of original art such as those about limited edition prints. It is an expensive option to open any kind of art gallery.

Limited edition prints on the other hand are usually more in demand. These prints have been advertised over and over again. The good artists stay in business because their prints sell. They in turn do more limited edition prints, which causes them to become even better known as time passes by. Soon lots more people start buying the prints than there are prints available and the prices go up. When gallery owners see an artist becoming popular they place orders for the prints even before they are printed. Lots of times the limited edition prints are completely sold out this way before the publisher even prints.

Keep in mind, what ever type of art you buy, we always encourage you to buy the art that you like. We never encourage people to buy art for investment purposes only!

Thank You for visiting
Sincerely, Reimond Grignon