"Doe Mesa Afternoon" 9x12, oil
It seems that many painters, as well as the galleries that represent them, are turning to giclée prints.
Well, a giclée print is little different from the poster you hung on your college dorm wall. Sure, it's more (much more) expensive and made with archival inks. But it's still just a printed reproduction.
They are not the same as monotypes, limited lithographic prints and the like, all of which are made through a printmaking process. Wikipedia defines printmaking thus: "Printmaking normally covers only the process of creating prints with an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting." I don't care if the giclée is hand-embellished, numbered and printed on canvas - it's an expensive poster.
The point is this. If you're thinking of buying something that will have monetary value down the road, it's not going to be giclée prints. Those college dorm wall posters you had are worthless. The only value they have is emotional and personal. That poster I had of Van Gogh's sunflowers was a nice decorative piece but it's now worth about five bucks, new.
As an interesting aside, I just looked up Van Gogh sunflower prints on eBay. The poster's buy-it-now price is $5. A giclée version on canvas, framed, is $69.95. Both of these are described as "rare" in the text. But compare these with one of the original sunflower paintings, which sold in 1987 for around $39,000,000 and is today estimated to be worth about $89,000,000.
If you can't buy the original, you're better off buying an inexpensive offset print, not a giclée. Giclées cheat the uninformed public, which is one reason why I don't do them.
In fact, I don't sell prints of any kind, other than on little notecards, because I feel my work is priced so inexpensively that almost anyone can afford it. And wouldn't you rather have the original, anyway? As a student, you can study it in a way you'd never be able to study a print. As a buyer, you've got an investment that a print will never be. Many of my sketches and demos are $100 and under - about the same as that giclée of Vincent's sunflowers - and my gallery pieces aren't that expensive, either. (The painting at the top of the page is for sale. I'll make you a deal - $100 +$10 shipping.)
I know the counter-arguments. If you have one painting that you could have sold a hundred times, wouldn't it make sense to make prints? Sounds good, but I think it devalues the original. I've had patrons buy certain paintings precisely because I don't make prints of them. Some artists will say prints increase the value of the original. I don't think Van Gogh's original sunflower painting has a huge pricetag because of all those prints hanging up on dorm walls. What are your thoughts?