How does the art of A K Nicholas compare to other offerings? When buying limited edition art, there are a number of factors that may affect how attractive the artwork is to you. Many are a matter of personal taste, but items marked as red flags indicate questionable practices.
|A K Nicholas||Some others|
|Artwork sIgned?||Yes, by the artist.||Not signed.|
|Certificate signed?||Signed by the artist.||Signed by a publisher.|
|Single edition and size||Yes.||No, multiple editions, various sizes.|
|Single substrate||Yes. Smooth, heavy, fine art paper.||Various papers or canvas of variable quality.|
|Available on consumer products||No.||Same art as cell phone case or posters.|
|Archival||Yes.||Printed on cheap paper (red flag).|
|Edition sizes||Typically 25 or fewer||Over 150 (red flag)|
Just “signed” is not enough
Signatures are important and not all are the same. What to look for: what is signed and by whom? Artwork, signed by the artist is the most prized. The words "signed certificate of authenticity" don't always mean the art is signed by the artist. A certificate signed by someone other than the artist is the least coveted.
To compute the total edition, add together all impressions of the artwork in all sizes. For example if there are 50 at 20x30 inches, and 25 at 24x36 inches, plus 5 artist proofs in each size, that makes a total edition of 85. Confusing? That's one reason I produce my images in a single size, and shy away from unnumbered proofs. The edition size you see written on the photograph is the total edition.
Its widely considered that editions totaling more than 150 are a mass produced consumer product, not a limited edition artwork. Some collectors draw the line at 100. In general, serious collectors are not interested in larger editions.
Merchandise or art?
Merchandising promotes the sale of goods and there is nothing immoral about it. Reproductions of famous artworks appear on many consumer products because we can't afford a real Van Gogh. But most collectors prefer real art. Be alert for images with multiple options for size, paper or canvas choices, or even color variations; these give you a clue that you are being offered mass-market consumer decor rather than artwork.