Fine Art Prints: An Accessible Way to Collect Art

Woman with tattoos holding a fine art print by Jeremy Novy at Voss Gallery in San Francisco

Young and experienced collectors agree that fine art prints are a great addition to any collection!

Original artwork by emerging artists can sell for hundreds to thousands, and even those of us who truly value these pieces may not be able to budget for least not right now. That’s where fine art prints come in! Fine art prints allow art lovers to own and display beautiful works of artat an accessible and affordable pricewhile supporting the contemporary artists who created them.

What Are Fine Art Prints?

Fine art prints are high-quality reproductions of an artist’s original two-dimensional artwork that have been professionally scanned by an artwork reproduction technician to ensure color accuracy. These museum quality captures are then digitally printed on acid-free paper using no-fade inks to prevent the work from cracking or turning yellow over time.

Giclée (pronounced zhee-clay) is from a French verb gicler meaning “to spray,” alluding to the technology used in the printing process in which inks are “sprayed” onto a surface. This type of print uses archival pigmented inks produced with wide-format inkjet printers that can hold up to 12 pigment colors, thus producing a sharper image with a wide range of vibrant colors.

Extended arm holding an abstract fine art print by Natalia Lvova at Voss Gallery in San Francisco

Fine Art Prints Are Not Your Average Poster or Photograph

Fine art prints should not be confused with posters or photographs. Reproduction print processes involve a degree of skill and technical knowledge to create quality fine art prints that best represent the original work.

Typically made from natural fibers, the special paper used for fine art prints needs to be able to absorb the pigments to ensure a high-quality image. With proper care, these prints can last just as long as the original piece. 

At Voss Gallery we pride ourselves in working closely with artists and San Francisco’s top printing companies to select the best paper, ink, and printer to produce our fine art prints. Posters, by comparison, are printed on papers that tend to have acid in them. Mass-produced and easy to make, posters can easily fade and do not typically increase or retain value over time the way that fine art prints can.

Photographic prints are made using light-sensitive chemical reactions similar to traditional photography. In this process, color-reactive paper is exposed to LED lights to create CMY dyes on the glossy, semi-gloss, or matte photo paper. Prints produced in this fashion are considerably more cost-efficient than giclée prints, however with only three ink combinations they are unable to capture the full range of hues in the work.

Young collectors looking at fine art prints by The Tracy Piper at Voss Gallery in San Francisco

Are Fine Art Prints Collectible?

Fine art prints are definitely collectible items! In 2011, a print of Pablo Picasso’s La femme qui pleure sold for a record-breaking $5,122,500 at a Christie’s auction in New York! Although this is an extreme example, a healthy market for fine art prints exists. How much a particular print will be worth in the future depends on a few factors.

Limited edition prints (usually in an edition size of 100 or fewer) are the ones most likely to increase in value as a smaller print run creates scarcity. The artist and their representative gallery typically determine the quantity of the limited edition prints produced based on collector demand, physical print size, and the trajectory of the artist’s career. The artist then hand-signs and consecutively numbers each print in the margin (beginning with the number of that specific print in the run followed by the edition size). An artist-signed certificate of authenticity issued by the gallery is also standard practice.

Open edition prints have no limit on the amount produced and thus are unlikely to increase in value in the future as they can be printed in the hundreds to even thousands. Despite this, they are higher quality than posters or photographic prints and can enhance the beauty of any room when displayed properly. If you’re looking to support emerging artists and invite inspiration into your space, open edition prints are a fun way to purchase the latest art trends on a budget.

Hand-embellished prints are reproductions that an artist adds their signature touch to by drawing or painting on top of the printed image. This can be as minimal as adding a few markings to the surface or as complex as adding brushstrokes to the majority of the entire print. An artist’s embellishing technique is as unique as the work they create, which makes any single hand-embellished print in an edition subtly unlike any of the rest.

Keep in mind that the value of a fine art print is in no direct relation to the value of the original work of art itself. However, the demand for the print can increase and become more collectible as the popularity of the artist grows. Clearly most of us know who Pablo Picasso is, so it’s no surprise that his prints sell for a lot of money. Many of today’s emerging artists will go on to future art world stardom, and if you own one of their original prints, it could definitely become a highly sought after collector’s item.

Woman holding an abstract fine art print by Natalia Lvova at Voss Gallery in San Francisco

Perfect Pieces for New Art Collectors

Fine art prints are a great way for young collectors to start investing in art while supporting the creative careers of the artists they love. By purchasing fine art prints, you can begin curating your own art collection to reflect your personal style and valuesnot to mention a great conversation starter for your next gathering! Whether you’re just looking to add some color and liveliness into your space or you’re interested in creating an aesthetic gallery wall in your home, fine art prints are the perfect gateway into building an art collection that you truly love.

I Bought My First Print! Now What?

So you’ve just made your first print purchase, what’s next? You will want to showcase and care for your print properly to prevent damage and ensure longevity. Prints are best stored and displayed in a quality frame. This is where you have the opportunity to make some artistic decisions such as the material of the frame, color, matting, type of mount and size. It’s always recommended to have your work framed by a professional who has experience with fine art prints to ensure the materials used are safe for the piece. However, we do our best at Voss Gallery to produce standard-size prints so it’s easy to find premade frames on a budget for display purposes. Keep in mind that prints (when not displayed in a frame with UV-protective glass) can be damaged by direct sunlight and humidity. You’ll want to avoid exposing your art to these conditions when displaying or storing.

Two millennials looking at a fine art print at Voss Gallery in San Francisco

Shop For Fine Art Prints At Voss Gallery!

If you’re ready to enhance your living space and bring some original art pieces into your home which will have your friends talking, check out our collection of limited edition, open edition, and hand-embellished fine art prints! We offer locally-printed reproductions of original artworks from a carefully curated selection of New Contemporary artists. With a variety of styles and new prints released monthly, we know you’ll find the perfect piece to add to your personal collection.