Friday, June 20, 2014

Art Terms Decoded: What does "Stoned Signed" or "Plate Signed" Mean?

Andy Warhol "Marilyn Monroe Castelli Invitation" signed in felt pen.
As you begin to delve deeper into the world of fine art collecting you will find that one of the most important indicators of value and potential worth is the artist's signature. Some might even say that this is the most important aspect of an artwork that makes it a desirable luxury commodity.

The reasoning behind the incredible value of the artist's signature above all else, is that a signature is the easiest way to determine the authenticity of a work of art. Many have tried to fake the signature of the great master artists throughout time and sometimes people are fooled - but often expert art dealers, gallerists, curators and appraisers are able to catch a fraudulent mark. A fake signature automatically calls in question the authenticity of the work itself whether it is a painting or original

Picasso "Le Vieux Roi" hand-signed in Blue
Picasso "Le Vieux Roi" Plate Signed in Red

From a pure collectorship stand point a hand-signed artwork is going to be the most valuable investment. That is not to say that an unsigned artwork does not have value, it just means the MOST valuable artworks are hand-signed ones.
Picasso "Ronde de la Jeunesse" Signed in the Stone
So this brings us to our term "Plate Signed" sometimes also known as "Stone Signed". A plate signed work is specifically referring to an original print or graphic on paper with a printed signature. This is precisely what it sounds like; a plate signature is a signature that is part of the composition and is printed along with the art image. As an example scenario: Pablo Picasso draws an etching composition onto a metal plate - he then signs the plate and dates it - the plate is inked and pressed onto paper and along with his etching Picasso's signature is printed. This would be a "plate signed" original etching.
The term "stone signed" is exactly the same but specifically references the stone slabs that might have been used to create an original lithograph. Sometimes artist catalogue raisonnes reference that an edition is "sign in the stone," which is also the same. 
The most important take-away in terms of collecting a plate or stoned signed artwork is that it is not equivalent to a hand-signed work and should be valued as such.
You can see more of our hand-signed, plate signed, and stoned signed original prints on our website:

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Art Terms Decoded - What does "Acid Free" Mean?

Pablo Picasso Linocut - Perfect Margin Conditions

Have you ever bought an original art print and encountered the term "Acid Free"?  Probably your art dealer or framer mentioned it? Well here is a useful definition of this important art term to give you some insight into protecting and preserving your fine art print investments:

Example of Acid Burn from non-archival framing

The term "Acid Free" refers to the materials used to frame an original artwork. When you frame a work of art - particularly a work on paper you must be extremely careful about the framing materials. Cardboard or regular tape have acidic properties that will eventually over time "burn" the paper or canvas that is exposed to them. The exposure to acidic matting, paper, or even storage materials causes a brown discoloration and deterioration of the paper. Many times the discoloration may occur underneath a frame and cannot be seen.
Pablo Picasso Etching with acid mat burn

When an artwork has been exposed to acidic materials and discolored it seriously devalues the piece. As mentioned in previous posts the investment quality of an artwork is heavily determined by the excellent condition of the piece. That is not to say that a damaged piece has no value, sometimes prints can be restored by a professional paper conservator depending on the level of damage, however this can be an expensive process.

To safely protect your fine art prints and artworks specify to your framer that you want only Acid Free or Archival matting, backboard, and hinging. We additionally recommend UV protective plexi-glas to further preserve your artwork.

For More Information on Art Conservation and Professional Art Terms visit our website:
We also welcome comments and questions regarding archival acid free preservation! / 310-270-4880