Tag Archives: what is a giclée

How to Tell If You’re Looking at Real Art, or a Reproduction

~ by Maria Benner

The name of our business is Real Art Is Better, and people often ask, “What is real art?”  Although there is no widely-accepted definition, generally people know it when they see it.  Right after buying one of Scott’s original oil paintings, customers often exclaim, “This is my first piece of real art!”  But simply put, when speaking about wall art, real art is original paintings that an artist actually created by hand.  They can be oil, acrylic, pastel, water colors, etc.  The reason I’m writing this post, is because I’ve noticed that often people have a difficult time differentiating between real works, and reproductions.  And that’s largely due to the way art reproductions are often presented by artists and galleries to look like “real art”.

Reproductions of art come in many forms, and often they are hung on walls of galleries without a proper explanation, masquerading as real art, when in fact, the piece is a reproduction.  So, pay close attention if you’re about to buy a piece, to be sure that you’re getting an original, if that’s what you want.  There’s nothing wrong with buying, or selling reproductions, just as long as the customer is aware that he/she is not getting the real thing.  The best way to tell the difference is by reading the details on the price tag.

Giclée – a high quality reproduction using an inkjet printer.  These are often printed on canvas, and look almost like the real thing.  Pay attention to the price tag, it should tell you whether the piece is a giclée, often also referred to as a “print on canvas”.  Often they are framed to make them look even more like originals.

Prints – these reproductions are easier to recognize, because they are printed on paper most of the time, but can also be printed on canvas, metal, wood, you name it.  Sometimes these are framed as well.  The price tag should say “print”.  Some prints are limited-edition, which means there’s a number under the image like 112/500.  This means that only 500 copies will be produced, and you’re looking at copy #112.  Sometimes prints are signed by the artist.  The smaller the number of total prints produced, the more valuable the print.

So, next time you’re perusing art at a gallery, pay close attention to the price tags to see how art is labeled.  If the tag says “oil on panel” or “acrylic on canvas” then you know you’re buying real art.  Sometimes artists will paint a few strokes onto a canvas print, which is a nice touch, and makes the painting look more like an original.  In this case, the tag should say “painted giclée”, or “painted canvas print”, or something similar.

Scott sells original oil paintings and limited-edition, signed prints.  You can differentiate easily between his prints and originals.  At an art show, or at the studio, the art hanging on the walls is real.  Each piece is an oil painting on panel, framed in a natural wood frame.  There is only one in all of existence, and the value of it will increase over time.  Limited-edition, signed prints are in the black print bins.  They are printed on paper with archival ink by an inkjet printer in our studio, signed by Scott, and numbered.  Prints can also increase in value, but not as much as originals.  We chose to make prints, because we realized that some people don’t have a budget for originals, but still love the images, and we want them to be able to enjoy them.

To see the latest Clendaniel originals and prints, I invite you to attend Scott’s art opening on June 7th at Midnight Sun Brewing Co. in Anchorage.  He will kick off the art show at 5pm by tapping a firkin of Sloth Belgian-style stout barrel aged in bourbon barrels and cask-conditioned with tart cherries soaked in Cabernet!  Scott’s paintings and prints will be on display at the brewery and available for sale until July 4th.  If you’re on Facebook, here’s a link to the FB event.

Black Note Stout by Bell's Brewing Oil Painting by Beer Artist Scott Clendaniel

Framed original oil painting.

Limited-edition print, numbered and hand-signed by the artist.

Limited-edition print, numbered and hand-signed by the artist.

The Difference Between an Original Painting and a Print

~ by Maria Benner

What is the difference between an original oil painting, a limited-edition print, a giclee, or a regular print?  Here’s a simple answer.

Original Painting

The artist actually painted every brush stroke by hand, spending hours, or even days applying paint directly to the painting surface.  There is only one original in the entire world, and even if the artist tried to paint it again, it would be almost impossible to replicated every brush stroke exactly.  So an original painting is one of a kind — no one else in the world has it.  This is why prices of originals are much higher.

Aspen Trees in Fall custom oil painting. 36"x18", oil on panel.

Aspen Trees in Fall custom oil painting. 36″x18″, oil on panel.

Limited-Edition Print

A print is a reproduction of an original painting.  It can be printed on canvas, metal, paper, vinyl, etc.  The artist does not even have to make prints, someone else who has legal rights to the image can produce prints using a camera or a scanner, and a printer.  A giclée is a print that is printed with an ink-jet printer.  We use an Epson ink-jet printer to make prints of Scott’s oil paintings, using archival ink.

So what makes a print limited-edition?  When we release a new print, we arbitrarily decide how many copies we will make.  We print on demand, so we don’t have to store thousands of prints.  So let’s say we decide that we’ll make 80 copies of a certain print.  That means that after all 80 are sold, we won’t make any more.  That’s it.  So the smaller the release number, the more valuable the print is, because there are fewer of them.  We number each print at the bottom of the image, so it will say 12/80 for example.  Many people prefer to have the first one, so if you act quickly after we announce a new print release, you can get #1.  Each print is also hand-signed by the artist.

A regular print is not limited-edition and often is not signed.  The artist, or anyone with rights to the image, can make as many copies as they want.  Usually these prints are the cheapest, because there are so many of them, and more can be made at any time.

Limited-edition print, numbered and hand-signed by the artist.

Limited-edition print, numbered and hand-signed by the artist.

The artist automatically owns the copyrights to his/her painting.  A person can purchase the copyrights from the artist.  The price is set by agreeing on the number of times the painting will be reproduced for profit.  So, if someone wanted to purchase the rights to a Clendaniel original, the price would be the cost of the original oil painting plus the number of prints that will ever be made of that painting x retail value of those prints.