Art collectors have long had the choice of purchasing art on paper or art on canvas. The paper art included original works such as watercolors, pastels, pencil or ink drawings, lithos, serigraphs and etchings….and limited editions reproduced photomechanically from originals.
Canvases were usually original (and costly) works of art. But now, the growing popularity and availability of limited editions on canvas give collectors “the original look” at affordable prices.
So what are limited edition canvases and how are they produced?
There are several ways of producing canvas limited editions such as the once popular “canvas transfers,” made by fusing the top layer of a paper print onto a prepared canvas surface. The result was an image that appeared as you might expect it to — like a paper print fused to a piece of canvas. Often, to make the print look “original,” the artist (or a technician) added textured varnish or paint to the print surface.
Today’s state of the art reproductive technique is the giclée (jhee-clay) method in which high-tech printing equipment sprays millions of digitally-matched ink droplets per second onto a surface. Canvas, paper and archival board are the most common giclée surfaces.
Developed some ten years ago, the giclée has now become the “gold standard” — an important and permanent part of the limited edition world.
This spectacular blend of technology and fine art looks so much like the original work of art that even astute collectors do “double-takes.” Therefore, buyers should be aware that not all “original appearing” works of art are original.
The giclée (unless printed on paper) is meant to be enjoyed without glass, so nothing comes between you and your art.