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How to properly sign a limited edition print and a few more questions

Anatoly Kasyan , May 29, 2006; 02:38 p.m.

It's not the first time I'm selling a printed work(though normally I do advertising photography), but, probably, the first time I need to take it really seriously, because the client wants it to be a very limited edition. There were questions here similar to mine, but i'll specify some aspects, and will ask a bit more.

1) The print is going to be 76x125 cm (30x50"). Never sold before, but I've presented this very image to my friend as a gift a couple of years ago in 20x30 (8x11,5")size. Should the latter count as the first released print of this image and this big one as a second, or, as I've most commonly heard, you should count release numbers within print size categories( i.e. #2of20 in NNxMM" size)?

2)The client asks for the proof of this print being of limited edition. Should I issue some kind of a written statement or a certificate to him??? Or simply sign on the reverse? How should I correctly sign it? Like #1 of 20 plus date of issue and the year of being taken? What is the most commonly used and preferred pattern (used by galleries and those who collect photographs)?

3) Does selling an image as a limited edition print restricts or forbids further commercial use of the image? Say, using it in a calendar or poster printing? or annual reports or whatever printed advertising product...

4) What should I do, if I've already sold or presented as gifts some prints (mostly in not a really large sizes, and not many)that I've later decided to be worthy of being issued in limited edition. Should I find and sign them as first or second released ones, and sign next ones according to the order? Or simply leave it as is?

I will be really grateful for your recommendations and answers!

Responses

caleb condit , May 29, 2006; 03:05 p.m.

Since this is the first one made at this size, it's number one, or an AP (artists print). IF you plan to print more at this size, make it 1/20. If not AP.

But this whole thing of numbering comes from the history of traditional printmaking where an artist makes a certain amount. It was considered that when an artist makes 20 vs 200 prints there is more care put into the 20 and they are also lower in supply.

I think you should label this one 1/(however many you plan printing), and call it a day. The other sizes you gave as gifts would be AP, and this will be a limited edition at this size.

Thomas Sullivan , May 29, 2006; 03:23 p.m.

good question.....and I don't know. But if I may, I would like to add one more scenario to your list.

If you made the exposure in say, 1996, and you printed 3 already.....same size....one to a relative (gift), one to a friend (sold to relative to give as a gift to friend because they liked her copy), and one for yourself......now you start actually selling prints as a business venture. And, you continue to print that print in that size....because, lets say, it just looks perfect that size....., is your first print now # 04 or is it # 01.....or some other number inbetween?

also, as the artist, you hang your pics in your own house....because you like them...and because the print is actually the final image and you want it even if you don't hang it.......but you also sell the same print, same size in your business........the sold one.......# 01 or # 02?

I mean, seriously, I'm the artist, and I don't mind limitted editions at all, but it is my art........I should at least get to keep one "free" copy of it........IMHO.

and yeah, all your questions too Anatoly.........is confusing, isn't it?

Jose Cardenas Sarre , May 29, 2006; 05:56 p.m.

You can make a certificate for each print so the owner of the print may know the characteristics of the print like number of copies, paper, format, dimensions.. etc. and state if this will be only one production series... or you can hold the rigth to make a new production series. Ie.. ''Finish to print the (date) at (place) n/## prints''

This is how some Master-Print' work in traditional printmaking.. in the Serigraphy Word. An art dealer may have some certificates so you can take a look or get more clues.

Bruce Levy , May 29, 2006; 06:27 p.m.

My approach is if I'm going to do a run of 20 prints at 8X10 and twenty at 11X14, each "run" is numbered as a discreet number set: 1/1-1/20. This would be true for both sets, as they are different "groups". I would try to print a whole run at one time, to truely keep them as close to identical as possible. If I change a color or tone, it is not a print of the original, and needs to be numbered or designated seperately. The prints you gave out earlier have nothing to do with a fromal run of prints. You might, though, keep records of where your prints go if you are printing for fine art sales, regardless of whether they are gifts or not, in the event that you become as sought after as Steichen, it will thus become part of your photographic "bibliography".

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