I was recently contacted by a friend (she loves to collect art). Actually, she’s an artist as well as a collector! She was sharing the story with me that I wanted to pass on. Here’s what happened…
My friend mentioned being very upset about something. She had purchased what she perceived to be an original piece of art, an original oil painting on canvas. When in fact, what she had purchased was a giclée on canvas. Now, this wasn’t just a giclée on canvas, it had been hand enhanced.
What is a Giclée on Canvas Print?
If you’re not familiar with what that means, I’d define it for you. A “giclée on canvas” is a very high-quality print on canvas of an original piece of art that’s more than likely been printed using a 12 color process iris printer. A giclée no matter how fine the quality is not to be confused with an original oil painting. If you’re looking for some more information on what this is, you can check out the giclée Wikipedia page for more information.
What’s the problem???
Generally speaking, there’s no problem at all with selling these types of products. HOWEVER, in this particular situation there is a problem. My friend explained that the art work was represented as an original painting and not a print. This is a big no no and it really makes me angry when any artist does this! It happens far to often too, given honest artists all over the world a bad reputation. It’s one of the things that really makes me blood boiling upset.
Deal ONLY with a reputable artist and/or gallery
One must always try and deal with a reputable gallery or artist that will not take advantage of someone by trying to pass off a print as an original. I’ve found over the years that most galleries and artists are very honest, upfront people, however as in any profession there are those that will try and take advantage of someone.
This reminded me of something…I have a friend that’s a jeweler that has a sign hanging up that states,
“If you don’t know jewelry, you better know your jeweler.”
…the same principle applies to both where and from whom you purchase your artwork.
Tips For Further Verifying Authenticity and Originality of Artwork
There’s a few things that an art buyer can do to further authenticate and build up the trust between the artist they are purchasing work from. When purchasing artwork, one must always ask for documentation stating the authenticity by the artist and the gallery. If an artist doesn’t want to provide this the time to prepare this for you then you should proceed with caution. Some artists may not initially provide this documentation for you. However, most will provide this should you be able to provide the proof of purchase and the piece itself for inspection.
Don’t let this dissuade you from buying art. There’s nothing wrong with a giclée or print! Just know what you’re buying…
Purchasing a print or a giclée is a perfectly normal and suggestive thing do to if it makes most financial sense for a collector. As long as the work is properly represented as such, and not passed off as an original piece of art the you have nothing to worry about and there’s nothing wrong with this at all. In fact, I sell limited edition giclée prints all the time and when I do, I always represent them as such! However, the kind of misrepresentation first mentioned in the beginning of this post give honest artist and galleries a bad rap. The age old saying “let the buyer beware ” should be good advice.
Need Art Advice?
I’m always available to inspect a piece of art, and advise as to whether or not it’s an original or print. I have done this in the gallery business for over 40 years and saved individuals in uncomfortable situations such as this for several collectors over the years. The saving grace of the situation is she did not overpay for what she got, but it was misrepresented, and should have never happened. Anyone wishing authentication or appraisals are welcome to contact me anytime you’d like by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org! I love to talk art with all collectors!