Limited Edition vs Open Edition Prints

October 7, 2020
Matt Jacob looking at a Limited Edition Fine Art Print

Purchasing art can sometimes be a bit daunting. Many first time buyers find art inaccessible because they don’t know much about it or they don’t understand the jargon being used. Today, I’ll break down the two most common terms used in the world of ‘Fine Art’: Limited Edition and Open Edition.

 

But first, what is Fine Art and what are Fine Art prints?

Fine Art in terms of photography are photographs that express an artist’s perceptions and emotions – more specifically an idea, story or message – and then to share them with others, usually for sale or display, rather than one that is produced in response to a commercial commission.

Fine Art prints are images created on a piece of paper by an artist where the actual creation of the work uses the craftsmanship of a printing press. Novice collectors tend to have the misconception that prints are just reproductions – they are not. Fine Art prints are artworks that bear the trace of the artist’s hands personally, handpicked printer, carefully selected paper. On the other hand, reproductions are copies made mechanically without involving the artist.

 

What is a Limited Edition print?

Limited Edition (LE) refers to the number of prints determined by the artist that will be available for a particular artwork. Due to its scarcity and premium status, LE prints are highly valued in the art market. The number of editions to be produced is entirely up to the artist. In my case, I decided that I only want just one print for each artwork.

View my Limited Edition collection.

 

 

What is an Open Edition print?

Open edition means there is no limit to the number of prints that will be produced for a particular artwork. An open edition print can be printed repeatedly on different mediums the buyer prefers.

View my Open Edition collection. 

 

Is there a difference in the quality of prints?

Both LE and OE prints are quality artworks. The main difference is the amount of attention to detail that’s put into limited edition prints. A limited edition print is overseen by the artist personally, and it includes the story of the artwork and a certificate of authenticity.

 

Which is better for me?

It really depends on the buyer. A few questions you can ask yourself are: What is the purpose of this artwork? What do I intend to do with this piece (collect, decor or resell)? What is my budget?

These questions are a good starting point in deciding whether to go for limited edition fine art or open edition fine art. I always tell my clients that the most important factor in deciding which art to get is to let the art speak to you. Which piece really connects with you? Out of all the factors, that may be the most crucial one.

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