So you want to buy some original linocut prints, but not sure where to start? Buying linocut prints are a great way to add some unique original handmade art to your collection. And often, they can be much more affordable and can suit a range of budgets compared to original watercolour or oil paintings. I’ve brought together my thoughts, as a printmaker, on what to look for when buying a linocut print - to help you understand and choose the best linocut print for your budget.
What is Open Edition versus Limited Edition?
So you may have noticed these terms floating around when describing linocut prints, or you may have seen some tiny numbers in pencil on your artwork with the signature. Edition is an important factor that will impact the value (and therefore the price) of the linocut print. So what does it mean? In printmaking, an edition tells us how many prints are printed from that same block.
A limited edition print means that only a finite number of prints, (which are usually determined by the printmaker) are produced. For example a limited edition of 10, 50 or 100 prints. Once the entire edition has been printed, no further prints can be made from that block, and the block should be destroyed. Having a limited edition print creates rarity and therefore increases the value, and this is reflected in the price. You can tell if the artwork is part of limited edition if it is numbered. E.g. a print numbered 6/25 is the 6th print in a limited edition of 25.
Opposite to this are Open Edition prints. An open edition print means that there are no limits to how many prints are or will be made from the relief block. It could be 20, 100 or 500 prints, but this number will never be documented on the print itself. Because it is open edition, it inherently holds less value, and are usually much lower priced. Sometimes they are annotated as ‘o/e’ on the artwork or just left blank with the signature only.
Why are the Linocut materials important
It is important that the materials used to make the linocut, and then how it’s packaged and stored or displayed, help improve the longevity of the artwork. Have you ever noticed aged newspapers that have been sitting in the sun for a while turn yellow and brittle? It would be a huge disappointment if you had invested a significant amount of money into an artwork piece, only for you to notice that it turns yellow and dull after a short period of time. Artwork that hasn’t been created with acid free or archival materials do not age well and will degrade much more quickly compared to ones that have been. This also applies to materials that come into contact with the artwork directly (so how it’s packaged and sent to you), and how you display it (more on this a bit later). Look for mentions of acid free paper, and acid free or archival packaging. This does mean that it will be reflected in the price too, as archival materials cost more than non-archival materials.
Everything mentioned so far, impacts the value and therefore the price of the linocut print. Other factors that can impact the value could be the popularity of the printmaker too. So all this needs to be taken into consideration and factored in with your budget. It may be a little far fetched to find small limited edition linocut print at the lower end of the price range.
Framing your linocut print
And don’t forget about framing your linocut print. This can often be seen as a ‘hidden’ cost because it is usually seen as an afterthought, but can be just as important. Framing, not only helps show off the artwork, but more importantly it protects it too. (Nobody wants spoiled yellow art!) The mount materials should be acid free as they come into direct contact with the artwork. If you are planning on displaying your artwork in a slightly sunnier area, then glass with UV protection can be worth the investment. Speak to your local picture framers who can give you the best options.
Are you ready to start collecting Linocut prints?
As with any piece of original art that you consider buying, make sure you love it! Art is subjective, it’s emotional, it tells a story, you connect to it. You are going to display it in your home, and look at it every day, so make sure that you love the artwork.
And if you appreciate the process of making linocut prints, or enjoy the style of them, then linocut prints are a fantastic way to add unique original art to your collection. If you have any questions about the artwork, don’t be afraid to ask the artist. Hopefully I have given you a few helpful thoughts and considerations that will help you decide on your next linocut print to add to your walls.
Make sure you check out the linocut prints I have to offer here