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What is an open edition print?

What is an open edition print?

Just what are open edition prints and how do they differ in terms of quality and price? Here's our take on open edition prints

Costing significantly less than a limited edition print, open edition prints are a terrific way of allowing those with any budget to enjoy art and have it on their walls. But what exactly is an open edition print?

Let's look at what we mean by print first.


The word "print" generally means a printed reproduction of a an original piece of work, These reproductions and the printing processes provide differing quality prints.

Giclee (pronouced gclay) - a fine art printing process which combines pigment based inks with high quality paper, often cotton rag paper, bartya paper or canvas. The combination of the paper and the printing process give the print a soft textured feel which is closer to the feel of the original painting. Giclee's are normally limited edition prints, rather than open edition prints. Vettriano's giclee limited edition prints are printed on cotton paper.

Lithographs - a cheaper method of printing than the giclee above. Lithograph printing doesn't give the same textured feel that giclee does and that is one of the reasons that artist's tend to use giclee for their limited editions rather than lithograph printing. The print quality of lithograph printing is normally very good, although it can vary.


What is an open edition print?

An open edition print is a print that has no limit to the the number printed. They are not numbered nor signed like limited edition prints.


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Is it a poster?

Some refer to open editions as posters, however, posters normally refer to an event or an exhibition and so, generally, have information on them giving details of the event. The word poster tends to lend itself to disposable art rather than a high quality print you would want to mount and frame and keep long-term. Although, event posters are highly collectable too!


What about signed open edition prints?

Open edition prints are often signed by artists. They won't be numbered like limited editions. Open editions are, by definition, not limited to the number that are signed or produced. We are often asked if signed open edition prints are worth more or less than a limited edition print.

The success of Jack Vettriano's prints have helped dub him the "people's painter" and he releases many of his paintings as open edition prints. Some limited editions have never been released as open edition prints and some open editions have never been released as limited editions.

If you have a signed open edition print of Oh Happy Days, this could be rare. This print was never released as an open edition print and it is unlikely that Vettriano has signed many of these open editions.

Valentine Rose was released as a limited edition silkscreen print. It was subsequently released as a signed open edition print for an event hosted by Jack Vettriano. The limited edition version is worth significantly more than the open edition version.

Typically, a signed limited edition print costs more than a signed open edition print which costs more than an unsigned open edition.


Consider a bookplate print

If you have been looking for a particular print of Jack Vettriano you may come across bookplate prints. These are, literally, pictures from Vettriano's books that people have removed and often mounted and framed. You may also find that these are signed which often happens at gallery and signing events. The colour and print quality is very good, which can be confirmed by anyone who has ever read Vettriano's books. When these are mounted and framed they are of a high quality and should definitely be considered if you are looking for a specific signed print.


If you are looking for an open edition print then go for quality by buying a lithograph, and buy directly from a Jack Vettriano official stockist. You can find all our open edition prints here and our selection of signed prints here.


Wondering what the image is at the top of the page? It is Jack Vettriano's Something in The Air, find out more about it here.
Tags: Prints