Tag Archives: who owns the rights to a painting

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.