Reading the fine print: Are reproduction prints collectable?

Part 3 of our 'Reading the Fine Print' mini series. 

The world of prints is surprisingly nuanced. For both emerging and established collectors, prints represent a cornucopia of diverse and accessible art. But figuring out the intricacies of prints can be tricky. That’s why we’re tackling some of the basics. This week we’re tackling reproduction prints.

What is a reproduction print?

The difference between an original and a reproduction print lies with artistic intention. If an artist intends to create an etching – then no matter how many times it is printed, each print will constitute an original work of art. If however, a work was originally a painting and then photographed to make prints, the subsequent prints are reproduction prints.

Different types of reproduction prints

Not all reproduction prints are created equal. The differences lie with production value, rarity and how involved the artist is. Depending on these factors, some reproduction prints will be seriously collectible.  

Take the limited edition archival pigment print of Charles Blackman’s 1956 painting ‘Feet Beneath the Table’. To create this print entailed the artist, publisher, museum and artisan printmakers. First, the publisher obtained a sharp high-resolution photograph of the painting – in this case, 'Feet Beneath the Table' was photographed from the National Gallery of Victoria. The file was then transferred to master printers, who work with state-of-the-art machinery and archival quality materials. These experts also consulted with the artist and his representatives to ensure the reproduction rigorously aligned with the palette of the original painting. Satisfied, Charles himself signs the print.

'Feet Beneath the Table' testifies to the skill of a masterful team, while also connecting to Charles himself. This is why it is so valuable. For fans of heavyweight artists, reproduction prints like these can offer a sweet avenue into their most iconic moments. They also make heavenly gifts!

Happy Collecting!

See all of our available Prints, here. 


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