What is an "Original" Print?

Original Print

An original print is an image that has been conceived and executed solely as a print, usually in a numbered edition. Each print in the edition is an original, signed by the artist, and printed from a plate, stone, screen, block or other matrix created for that purpose. There is no one original print from which copies are made. Each print is inked and pulled individually; it is multi-original medium. The number of prints in an edition is decided by the artist, and each print is given a specific number (for example, a print numbered 10/200 is the 10th print in an edition of 200). Sequential numbering provides an accounting for the number of prints in the edition.


A reproduction, although often called a print, is actually quite different. It is a copy of a work of art conceived by the artist in another medium such as an oil painting, watercolor or computer. The reproduction is usually printed by photo-mechanical off-set or digital ink jet printer. Numbering and signing a reproduction does not change its essence; it is still a reproduction of a painting and not an original print.