Below is a recent question by a painter whoÂ had limited edition prints published, only to find herself in a quandary.Â My answer follows.
Q:Â Recently I had limited-edition giclÃ©e prints done of one of my paintings. When the prints arrived, I noted that my signature and date no longer appeared in the lower right corner of the prints as they had on the original. When IÂ queried the printer, he responded, â€œHaving two signatures on a piece (one in the composition and one signed) is tacky.â€Â Â What is your opinion?
A:Â This decision is, in my opinion, strictly up to the artist, who owns the painting and therefore the copyright to ALL images made of it–unless someone duped you into signing away the copyright, something I never advocate.Â
This is not the decision of the printer, at least not if youâ€™re the one footing the bill.Â However if you signed a one-time copyright agreement with the printer, and if the printer is footing the bill, then this issue will have to be resolved between both parties, assuming itâ€™s an issue at all.Â It really shouldn’t be.
Most painters who have S/N prints made of their work opt to include the signature in the image.Â They then either sign and number near the signature, or on the opposite side of the print.Â Where one signs is simply a matter of personal preference, or where you feel it will look best on the varying images.Â Itâ€™s not necessarily always in the same place each time.Â But in general, you will wind up signing somewhere near the bottom, in the left-hand or right-hand corner.
Retaining the signature as part of the print tells buyers that the piece is a reproduction of an original.Â As your career grows, this will make a signed print of greater value to your collectors.Â Will it eventually become â€œpriceless?â€Â Ah, that depends on the level of your talent, the winds of fate, and how well your reps market you.Â Either way, thatâ€™s something you probably wonâ€™t learn about until after youâ€™ve joined that great artistâ€™s colony in the sky.