Art Prints Explained - Remarques, Certificate of Authenticity

Art Prints Explained 
Article 3 – Matted, Remarques, Certificate of Authenticity

In this third and final article, let's look at some of the added "extras" that can be part of buying a  giclée.

Matted Prints or Giclées:
A matted print is surrounded or framed (and attached to) by a heavyweight cardboard frame, called a Mat or Mat-board.   The mat-board gives the print the appearance of being framed and larger than it really is, and some think it has a more professional appearance as well.   A matted print does give the collector a better visual idea of what the print will look like when it is framed.  However, there is a fee included in the print price for the mat board and usually the mat is replaced when the print is framed by a framing professional.  If an artist doesn’t present their giclées in a mat it doesn’t make them any less professional.  They may not want to risk damage to the print by mounting it in a mat knowing that it will most likely be removed and reinstalled in a complimentary mat when framing.
Personally I don’t like to sell my prints installed in a mat.  I generally only sell them in a mat-board when a gallery or representative requests them matted.  I feel that when a collector buys a print they will have it matted and framed at the same time so that the mat will complement the frame and fit into the frame properly and therefore a mat is a wasted expense that is passed on to the collector.  

A Remarque or Remark is a “live” small, drawing or symbol that an artist adds to a giclée.     
The artist that had created the original work that has been reproduced in the giclée, paints or draws a smaller piece of artwork on to the border/margin that surrounds it. The presence of a remarque increases the value of the giclée.  Sometimes a Remarque will simply be a small symbol by the artist signature.  The artist Thomas Kinkade liked to leave a small fish or cross next to his signature on his paintings.  If he were to sign a giclée and add one of those symbols, that could be considered a Remarque.  However a Remarque is more notably a tiny piece of art that has been done “live” in the margin. For example, if I were to do a Remarque on my print of “Red Cloth Still Life” I might paint or draw a small apple or a candle flame in the margin.  I have seen Wildlife artists include some very intricate remarques.  On a print of a retriever out running through a marsh with a duck flying up, there could be a tiny painted duck Remarque or maybe some cattails. 
You should expect to pay extra for a Remarque because it is a small piece of artwork.  It also makes the  giclée a lot more valuable and desirable.   It is advised that a print with a Remarque be professionally framed due to the need for extending or notching the mat window to accommodate it.
As I said before, I like to leave at least 1 inch of margin around my reproductions.  That way I have plenty of room for a Remarque or personal message if the collector requests.  The extra margin can be cut if it isn’t needed when framed.

Certificate of Authenticity:
An original paper document that may include the artwork/print’s title, edition size, the date printed or the date signed, the artist’s signature and/or artist’s seal.  Sometimes the document will even include the artist’s bio, the archival information such as paper type or ink type.  The information on this document will vary from artist to artist and according to what type of print you are purchasing.  Providing a certificate of authenticity can actually increase the value of the print, making the print a better investment for a collector.  (As a collector, which would you rather buy; one with authenticity documentation or one without?)  You will most often fine a Certificate of Authenticity with limited edition prints, but there are some artists that include them with all prints. 
My Certificate document includes information about the print, a short bio about me and an embossed seal.  Currently I only include them with limited edition prints but I am re-considering including them with some of my others as well.  Such as prints of paintings that won awards and such.

Advantages of buying Artist Giclées:
Generally speaking, when you buy a giclee from an artist, you won’t have a mass-produced piece of artwork.  Therefore, there is less chance of having the exact same artwork as the one hanging on a neighbors wall.  There is always the exception to the rule though, especially if the artist is a popular or local artist.
When buying from an artist you can have a live artist signature on the art print which you won’t find when buying art from a large manufacturer. 
It is more customized décor - You can choose the frame or finish to compliment your style, home or office.  They can be custom framed for a more creative finish.  Or they can be installed into a ready-made frame for an inexpensive finish.    Either way, you get to do the choosing.

I am an artist and yet I still enjoy buying giclées of other artist’s work.   Whenever my husband and I go away, we look for places that sell giclées or prints of local artists work.  It gives us a memory of the place that we visited and adds variety to our décor.   We bought a large graphite piece when we were in Paris and had it framed when we came home. 


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