With the modern art world leaving elitism behind, prints have become a key player in helping collectors with different budgets to own limited edition artworks without breaking the bank.
The technology of printmaking, which first fell into place around 1400, meant that original artworks were easily reproduced an unlimited amount of times transforming media for the rest of history. With time, artists started developing their own prints in limited runs to set affordable price points and retain their value over time.
In this guide, we hope to help you understand the different types of prints that are available, and what is useful to consider when choosing an artwork.
Captured, Touch, and Flowered by Lisa Hardy, Giclee Prints
ORIGINAL ARTIST PRINTS
These are prints that have been manually produced by the artist using traditional print-making processes and a unique printing plate. Even though the prints are reproductions of the same image, hand-printing opens up room for unpredictability making each piece unique and slightly different.
Here Now by Richard Hart, Screenprint.
Azul by Rose Electra Harris, Etching.
1. INTAGLIO PRINTS
Intaglio techniques, from the Italian ’to cut into’, incise the image onto a master plate. The incised lines hold the ink creating the image. Etchings and engravings are the most common intaglio techniques, seen below in Girl With A Fig Leaf by Lucian Freud and Minute Changes by Partnership Editions artist Cecilia Reeve.
Top tip: intaglio prints are delicate and elegant, great if you are looking for a light and airy piece.
Girl With A Fig Leaf by Lucian Freud, Etching.
Minute Changes by Cecilia Reeve, Etching.
2. RELIEF PRINTS
Reliefprints use the opposite method to intaglio, carving the negative space and leaving the area to be printed untouched. Linocut, woodcut, and lithography are great examples of this practice seen below in Pastis by Partnership Editions artist Rose Electra Harris, and Teeny by Henri Matisse.
Top tip: relief prints translate expressive and textural ‘brushstrokes’ creating a lovely hand-crafted feel.
Pastis by Rose Electra Harris, Linocut.
Teeny by Henri Matisse, Linocut.
Screenprintsuse a stencil method, forcing the ink through the non-blocked mesh areas seen below in Pink Power by Camilla Perkins. Andy Warhol famously used photographic silkscreen printing to reproduce images from popular culture like his many celebrity portraits.
Top tip: screenprints are great at translating colour-blocking artworks and will brighten any room!
Pink Power by Camilla Perkins, Screenprint.
Andy Warhol working in his studio.
GICLEE & FINE ART PRINTS
These prints are digital reproductions using professional inkjet printers, archival quality inks, and Hahnemühle Fine Art paper, ensuring the best colour intensity, detail resolution, opacity, and resistance to ageing in our prints.
These high-quality prints are great at translating the details, textures, and intricacies of an original work of art, and can be reproduced in unlimited and limited runs. Unlimited runs or open editions are often more affordable, while smaller editions can be seen as more valuable to collectors.
If these prints aren’t signed, it is important that they are accompanied by a signed certificate of authenticity to confirm the number in the edition and prove that the print will never be printed over the limited edition run.
Top tip: at Partnership Editions, we release seasonal drops of giclee prints in limited run reproductions of your favourite artworks from past collections. Sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date on our print releases and shop our latest Spring Limited Edition Prints Collectionnow.
Spring Limited Edition Prints by Camilla Perkins, Cecilia Reeve, and Isabelle Hayman.
We hope this guide is a helpful tool to understanding prints and the intricacies behind the printing processes and techniques.