Which art form do you prefer--original or reproduction?

Limited edition Ascot sideboard with vine japanning detail from Martin Pierce Custom Hardware We certainly view our custom designed architectural hardware and furniture pieces as artwork and often refer to them as functional art.  But, fortunately for all of us,  art comes in many affordable forms.  Lisa Leonard from LML Art Group in San Diego, California shared some of her expertise to help you make the right choice for your project.

Original:  Original art is just what it says--a piece of art that is in it's original format. This would include a painting, drawing, sculpture, weaving, etc.   While prints or limited editions may be created from this item,  the original is always the first one produced.  In the event that no reproductions are made then the original becomes an often valuable one-of-a-kind item.

Limited Edition:  When an artist creates a specific number of the same piece and then destroys the mold, for example, it becomes a limited edition piece.  Each piece is numbered so that you are aware of the order in which your piece was cast or created. There are differing schools of thought on the value of the number.  With our obsession with the #1 in this society, some collectors feel that the lower the number the more valuable the piece.  Conversely, others believe that the final number in an edition is more valuable as it is the last one created.  For your enjoyment, Ms. Leonard recommends that, if you have a choice you select a number that is important to you such as an anniversary or birthdate or your own "lucky" number.  At Martin Pierce, we offer limited editions in some of our furniture and hardware collections and those can be viewed by visiting our site.

Print: Prints or off set lithographs are the most inexpensive form of reproduction. They are photo mechanically produced, usually on thin paper.  A good way to make sure you are receiving the form you are paying for, take a look at the item under a magnifying glass.... a print will show a series of dots that make up the image while the more expensive silkscreen will show a solid wash of color.

Silkscreens:  While silkscreens are also printed, it is onto heavier paper and with a time intensive process of paint screened onto paper with each color requiring a different screen until the image is complete.  Silkscreens are often offered in a limited edition, thereby increasing the cost and perhaps even the value.

Giclees:  Giclees are computer generated with ink jet printers similar to your own home printer.  However, the paper is much heavier and the ink (paint) is denser.  Giclees were originally printed as limited editions and considered quite valuable.   While they are more expensive than an off-set print, today's technology makes it possible to print them in vast quantities and they are not considered a from of original art.

The beauty and value of any piece of art lies in the eyes of the beholder but it is also good to be armed with some knowledge before making these very important purchases.

To view our entire collection of custom and/or limited edition hardware and furniture, please visit our site at www.martinpierce.com.