“Originality” means 10 or fewer original copies…?!


The economist says: “scarcity confers value”.  Hence, signed numbered artworks by mediocre dead artists command a higher price than unsigned photocopies by Picasso.

Artists know that by producing more lithographs from a single plate, they can earn more money from just a little extra effort.  How many “limited edition” copies shall I make?

The public at large is generally naive concerning the nature of “original” artwork, and are often surprised to see the same Rodin sculpture at another foreign gallery when going on vacation.  When is a copy an original piece of art?

As usual, there is a simple answer to all such complex questions.  The correct answer is 10.  See for yourself…

(…extract from the College Art Association website — see link below)

In evaluating sculptural reproduction we are confronted with such difficulties as historical and customary usage challenging dictionary definitions. The word replica, for example, historically has more honorable connotations than at present. Today “replica” is often used to signify an anonymously made commercial imitation or reduction of sculpture in a museum or other public place. But it is also sometimes used in legal terminology to indicate a casting made by the sculptor himself. Another example of confusion over definitions occurs in response to the question of what constitutes an “original” bronze sculpture or an “original” print. The crux of the problem is that casting and printing are reproductive methods and the word “reproduction” does not convey in the public’s mind the values associated with the word “original.” Even when used with a lifetime cast by Rodin or etching by Rembrandt, the word “reproduction” suggests to many people that they are not looking at the real thing. Uniqueness or rarity are so prized by the public that many are dismayed to see the same works by Rodin and Rembrandt in several museums.



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