Limited Edition Series - What is It?

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Unlimited reproductions and artist proofs are not accepted for ArtsPay exhibitions.

The Artist:

  • An artist can do whatever they like with their images. Some approaches are regarded as unethical. Large or additional series after the first series has been released have been a ‘value’ problem in the art world, and among unsuspecting purchasers.
  • An ethical approach is for the artist to decide in advance how many editions there will be in the series, to number and sign each so that purchasers/ exhibitors have that info in advance.
  • A variation on the size and the format for reproduction ( paper, resin, sheet metal) does not create a new edition series as all copies of the same original.
  • Anything above 25 copies, maybe pushing 50 for the famous, are not considered LE but “Open Reproduction” or posters.
  • The concept of LE in the strictest sense came from printmaking, which involved the artist’s hand on every copy before the original, the plate, was destroyed at the end of the run.
  • For photographers their original was their negative; as above.
  • For a painter the original is the painting and beyond that, only copies or reproductions can be made. These can be numbered and signed, borrowing on the concept of LE. For example one artist who had 5 copies of her abstract painting printed on aluminum but there will be no more made – the 5 copies plus original with this information recorded on the back.
  • Limited edition works must be signed and numbered, preferably on the border of the work itself. The recorded sequence (i.e. 3/10) indicates the placement of the artwork in a series.

The Art Show / Exhibitor:

  • Sets specific rules for work to be included in an exhibition as suits the objectives.
  • Promoting local original artwork and providing public clarity around the value of original art are AP goals.
  • Open reproductions or large series may be appropriate for other exhibitions and sales but are not included in AP shows for this reason.
  • LE series are limited to ones with 10 copies in total, or less.
  • If copies are to be made of an original on display, the purchaser should be informed in advance.