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The terms "Limited Edition" and "Open Edition" are used in both the Print and the Bronze markets. In Fine Art, a “Limited Edition” refers to a specified number of reproductions of a specific work of art.
Fine Art Prints - In the Print world, exclusive “Limited Edition” prints are created at a certain size, on a certain premium substrate, and in only a limited number. In contrast, an “Open Edition” print can be reproduced on many surfaces, in many different sizes, and in as many ways and as many times as desired. Open edition prints will cost less due to availability and production methods.
Bronze - In the Bronze Sculpture world, a “Limited Edition” bronze refers to a very exclusive specified number of sculptures being reproduced from a specific work of sculpture. (An "Open Edition" bronze would be similar to and Open Edition print, in that there would be an unlimited number of sculptures that could be produced from one work.)
Limited Edition Prints
Open Edition Prints
Limited Edition Bronze Sculpture
How the Website Aids Print Selection
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A “LIMITED EDITION” PRINT AND AN “OPEN EDITION” PRINT?
In the Fine Art Print world, a “Limited Edition” print means that a certain 2- dimensional art work will be reproduced as a Giclée print only a set number of times on certain defined premium surfaces and in certain defined sizes. (For my work, I have selected 2 different surfaces: a premium quality acid-free archival canvas in two depths [either a standard ¾” depth that can be framed [either through me or your own choice of framer, or as a 3” colored-edge “gallery wrap” whose edges either repeat the print, or are a solid color, and which remains unframed when hung]; and a premium quality acid-free archival 100% cotton rag watercolor-weight paper [which can be matted and/or framed, again, either through me or your own choice of framer].)
The number of prints to be produced from a certain painting/scratchboard/photograph are set at the artist’s discretion. This means that if I decide there will be 125 prints in a limited edition, only 125 Giclée prints will ever be produced in this manner. Each of these premium prints will be personally signed and numbered by me. (Located somewhere along the bottom edge of the print will be my signature with an assigned unique edition number which will be something like “9/125”. This specifies that it is the 9th print out of a total of 125.)
When the total number of 125 Giclée prints on this premium canvas at the set size have been produced, no more limited edition prints of this work will ever be produced again. This is what makes a Limited Edition work both unique, exclusive, and more valuable for a Collector, and the rest of the world – because only a certain number were ever produced, and they are lucky enough to own one of them!
SO WHAT IS AN “OPEN EDITION” PRINT, AND HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM A “LIMITED EDITION” PRINT?
An “Open Edition” print is still an acid-free quality archival Giclée reproduction print of a certain work, but the choices of print size dimensions and surfaces are more varied (with surface choices of medium grade canvas, art paper, photo paper, wood, or metal), and with an unlimited number of prints available.
*Note- One truly wonderful thing about this website is that if you are selecting an open edition print, you can actually see what all the various options (surface, size, mat, frame, etc.) look like on the website! Toward the bottom right of the page of an individual piece, there is a button that says “Wall Preview”. After you select your various options from the tables above, you can select the “Wall Preview” button and it will show you the work you are contemplating with the various options you have selected. Clear as mud yet?? Ok, say you want a print of a particular piece, and you think you want it on metal with a 2” white mat and a barnwood frame. You go through and easily select these options from the tables. You are thinking about putting it in your living room above your couch, and wonder just what that might look like... When you go to the “Wall Preview”, you can select a living room setting (or office, bedroom, nursery, conference room, sitting area, café, reception/lobby, or restaurant!! In fact, the only thing I think they left out was a bathroom!). Then you can even choose a color for the room (from the two leading paint companies’ most popular colors or easily create a more individualized color, as well), that matches what you have in your own situation! Magically the print appears, set up with your mat and frames choices, and in the case of a living room setting, shown over a 7’ couch for scale! You are now instantly able to make some judgment calls about how it will look in your space. Does it look too big and dominate the room, or too small and seems swallowed up? Maybe you don’t really like the barnwood frame and might like a lighter colored maple frame with that print, or decide you might prefer the print on canvas. You can easily go back and alter your selections until you are satisfied. You might even decide that the colors of the print just don’t look right with your wall color, and perhaps there is another room where it would fit better. All of these things are instantly visible for you, and you can continue to play with all the variables until you reach a combination that works for both your budget and your individual tastes. And this means your satisfaction will be assured because all the choices have been personally selected by you to work in your particular space!
Open edition prints have no printing limit on them, are not signed or numbered, and are generally a less expensive alternative than the premium Limited Edition prints. This is a great option for those on a more restricted budget who want to brighten their home or office space with a piece of art that speaks to their soul and makes them smile.
*Note- We all seem to have that one little nook or wall space where only a certain size print could go. For my open edition prints, I have selected some of the most common sizes for listing on my website. However, if you have need for a particular height or width that is not shown in the open editions print table, please contact me, either by phone or email, to see if the size you need might be available. I would love to help you find something that would bring you joy!
In the bronze sculpture world, the term “Limited Edition” means that a certain sculpted work can be reproduced in bronze a certain number of times. Limited editions of bronze are generally much smaller than flat art, so it is a much more exclusive piece of art. Bronze is a very involved process of many layers, but simply put, the original sculpture (generally created in clay or sculpting wax, but could also be wood, plaster, stone, etc.) has a mold made over the original piece. That original piece is later removed from the mold. At this point, using the “Lost Wax Process”, a new wax is poured into the mold, which will be basically an exact copy of the original sculpture. I will stop my description there, as this is only the tip of the very lengthy production process.
So, back to the definition of limited editions as it pertains to bronze sculpture… Say, the artist (me) sets the number of limited edition bronze castings to be 25. This means that only 25 reproductions can be produced from the mold. Each of these works will be personally signed and numbered by me. (Located somewhere on the bronze, will be a signature and its unique edition number which will be something like “9/25”. This specifies that it is the 9th casting out of a total of 25.) And while this individual sculpture will be the same in shape and texture as the original work, depending on the patina method employed, each will end up with a similar but individual patina (coloration). Depending on the particular artist, sometimes a Collector will have a say in the type of patina they desire for their specific piece (especially if it is a pre-cast piece).
So, in this example, when a total of 25 sculptures have been produced from the mold, the mold will then be destroyed, and no more of this bronze sculpture will ever be produced. This is what makes a Limited Edition bronze work so unique and valuable, both for the Collector and the rest of the world – who knows that only a certain number were ever produced, and they are lucky enough to own one of them!
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