While they are in a basic sense, a copy of an original piece, art reproductions are considered artworks themselves. That being said for anyone interested in buying paintings should a keep a few pointers in mind.
There are numerous techniques in reproducing art; they vary from lithographic printing to old school studio hand painting. Prices may well vary with this, but in general they will be cheaper than the original work. Some companies would offer $400 for a $12,000 original. They could go as low as $150, but quality is often compromised in those cases. Companies could also set prices by the relative market value of the original. Van Gogh’s “Starry starry night”—a basically priceless piece—would expectedly be more expensive (> $1000). Prices can also be regional: USA will be cheaper as most companies outsource their paintings from China, while European companies are on the higher scale.
Digital printing is a very popular method of reproducing art. Reproductions by Inkjet printers are called giclées. They are basically the print form of the original art, and as such they could appear flat with no sense of texture or depth. Printers are prone to color inconsistencies, and quantity purchases may observe some discrepancy in color. The images produced, however, have high resolutions and can thus accurately capture details of the original. A lot of confusion is met with differentiating reproduction prints with fine prints. Fine prints are also digitally manufactured, but they are original pieces.
There’s also Lithography and Serigraphy, which share a basic printing process of using a template to transfer imagery onto a medium such as paper. This is good for posters as they are efficient, but still produces flat images as it cannot actually mimic brush strokes. In some cases, where the original was a poster to begin with, a flat image is desirable as being closest to the artwork as the artist intended. This is the case with many vintage posters and travel posters that, such as the works of Australians like James Northfield whose posters advertising travel to Australia can be reproduced as they were originally printed – see australianvintageposters.com.au for prints done at gallery standards. Artagraph reproductions are another novelty. Moulds of actual pieces of art are done to copy the exact texture and color of the original. This kind of reproduction is often rare as curators wouldn’t often be too willing to allow molding substances—usually silicones—to be spread over valuable pieces of art; they could leave residues over the painting and alter its appearance.
Hand-painted reproductions are the way to go if you want them to come as close as the real thing. An experienced artist will be able to emulate the brush strokes, sometimes even incorporate his own technique, and the use of real paint pigments captures the texture and grain of a real painting.
Reproductions are a good way to appreciate art on a budget; that’s why more and more people resort to purchasing reproduced works. Popular masterpieces being reproduced time and again are that of Bosch, Gauguin, Botticelli—what with his glorious Birth of Venus—and of course da Vinci, to name a few. In this modern era, we are now seeing newer ways of reproducing these masterpieces, even in very different media. There’s one work reimagining Michelangelo’s The Birth of Adam as God and Adam sharing a cup of coffee instead of the iconographic reaching-out-of-the-arms—painted in coffee stains. The younger generations are being more adventurous with art; after all it’s a form of freedom of expression. Social media influences have also seeped in to art reproductions such as the utility of photo montage paintings. The advent of apps and portable touch screen tablets has also made a new kind of digital reproduction. While the classics are worthwhile pieces to be reproduced, don’t lose track of the fresher ideas of the recent generation. More article