Original Lithographs Are The Gold Of The Art World

Submitted by: Eliz Guide

Original lithographs are like gold in the art world. How many people can afford to purchase an original painting by Van Gogh, Dali, or Picasso? Not a whole lot of them.

Sometimes the gap can be filled by machine made poster prints of some sort instead, but sometimes that just does not address the true desire of the customer. This customer is willing to pay more to get something closer to the real art on canvas, even knowing that it means it will not be an actual piece by the master. Original lithographs are those made by an artist instead of a machine.

Some tips for distinguishing between the two include looking for an edition number or the letters A.P. If it is a fine art print it should be branded as an artist proof or numbered.

Examining the print even more closely might provide some more clues. This might require removing the work from the frame and using a magnifying glass. Any evidence of a mechanical dot pattern or a rosette pattern like one might see in old newspaper comics would indicate an offset print.

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If those are lacking, and especially if the way the paper s ink rests is in any way irregular, there is a good chance that the print is not a machine print.

Printmaking via machine tends to require the printmaker to carve into a soft material, or etch into metal plates, but the mechanics include a different process than this instance.

The artist making original lithographs uses pencils or greasy crayons to draw a mirrored image on a traditionally stone tablet, which, once prepared, is ready to make the print.

The process hinges on the idea of water and oil not mixing. The greasy crayon marks bond with the oil based ink applied to the plate, and then a piece of paper is placed over the plate after water is smeared on the unpainted areas.

These are then put in a press and light pressure transfers some of the ink. If the initial artwork was just an ink drawing, that would be the only press run, but a colorful painting would need further work, several different runs with up to four inks, with the paper needing to be positioned precisely each time through.

The print run for these original lithographs may be kept low in order to keep up the value of the individual print. Some artists are and were more amenable to the idea of low cost duplication of their works than others.

At a brief glance, it may be difficult to know what sort of print is being looked at, and if what appear to be original lithographs actually are or not.

Talking to the proprietor to see if they are fine arts prints may give the best results, but purchasing and displaying what appeals to the customer is probably the best bet. That way he gets to enjoy things that appeal to his personal tastes, and it likely does not matter that much to many customers how the print was made.

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