Lately I’ve found myself more and more interested in art. It’s probably the natural progression of decorating my home, since now that it’s filled (to the brim!) with furniture I’m able to put stuff up on the walls. But man, oh man, I don’t know shit about buying art. It’s so intimidating. And it’s an expensive classroom, if you know what I mean. Sometimes I’ll see notices about what’s sold at Christie’s… an edition print selling for millions? Like, what the what?! How can that even make sense if it’s not the original?!? And then, there are those pieces that are like 1 color and they’re worth 100k. Are we looking at the same thing?! Alls I can say, is that art is a crazy world, but I kinda want in… just a a lot!!
Obviously, what we all want are ORIGINAL works of art. These are one-of-a-kind pieces made with the artist’s hand. Since there are only 1 of these in the world, they are more expensive. (Pamela Bell’s home below)
But that doesn’t mean that art made through a printing method is to be discarded… at least that’s what I used to think! Recently, I was at a flea market and saw a lithograph done by Picasso. (That one piece inspired this post!) It wasn’t cheap. It wasn’t expensive. I really loved the colors and the feeling of it, but I hesitated… was it worth the price? Obviously it was worth something, but I just really knew nothing about what the heck a lithograph was. Enter some HOMEWORK!! Now, I’m kicking myself for not buying the darn thing and I’ll share with you why… and some other stuff I just learned about printed art.
What’s a Serigraph? This is a term I see quite a bit on art listings. It’s when an artist uses a screen printing method to make prints. They run a squeegee over a fine mesh (which could be made of a number of materials) and with a stencil (or 100), they imprint one color at a time of an image. It’s also called silkscreen. Each one is done by hand, but obviously the actual image is the same. Though slight variations will occur because of the process, there is more than one out in the world. However, they ARE worth something (sometimes A LOT) since super famous artists have enjoyed making serigraphs and they often mark the number of prints and sign the piece too.
A lithograph is made using a printing method, with a type of plate (usually stone) and ink. Newspapers are still made this way! Isn’t that crazy? (It’s called off-set lithography) Of course, with art, the materials are higher end, so the result is much nicer, but it’s still pretty interesting to note. A lithograph was a way to bring the cost of art down and for commercial use in the 19th century. And many famous artists became taken with the process… why not get their art out into the world? Here’s a cool video showing how modern lithographs are made – it’s pretty interesting. I especially like seeing the guy put this huge stone into the printing press. Lol! Even though these are made using a template, they are still each made one at a time, have variations and are worth some bucks. A Picasso lithograph? Yes, please. I’ll take a Calder one too.
Have you heard of a Mezzotint? It’s made in a very similar fashion as a lithograph, but the plate is made with thousands of tiny dots that give the print depth and tonality. Because of the use of these tiny indentations, it’s good to know, that you can only get about 100-200 good prints out the process. Usually there is also a “sepia looking tint” which makes it look antique (and cool).
An etching involves making a metal “picture” with wax and acid. Once the “picture” is etched into the metal, it can make hundreds of prints with ink! Engraving, also involves making a photo on a plate (a number of different hard materials) and then using that plate to print art. Some dude named Rembrandt made this one below….
It’s kinda crazy right?!
I was thinking that these printed methods were similar to art you would find on Minted. But those are printed on a specialty printer, NOT done by hand the way these are. Now, I can’t tell you how much any of these are actually worth, but I can tell you that I will have my eyes peeled for the next fabulous lithograph I see!!