Over the last twenty five years aviation, naval, and other military art has grown from a very small niche in the art world to become a major area of collecting. Many people have been attracted to these prints not only by the quality of the images and subject matter but also by the addition of original pilot and crew signatures to the prints. This is undoubtedly one of biggest factors in the rapid growth of aviation art, as many collectors are keen students of aviation or military history, and these signatures are viewed as adding historical significance to the artwork.
We are often asked if the signatures attributed to a print are authentic original autographs, and the answer in all cases is yes. On this web site, whenever you see "signed by" it means that the individual listed personally signed each print in the edition. Many years ago it was fairly common to sign in ink, but, since ink has a tendency to fade, signatures today are almost always in pencil. Some prints are matted to include rare signatures. If these happen to be from the war period they are usually in ink and therefore require particular care when being framed.
CARING FOR ARTWORK:
Caring for your artwork should begin as you open the shipping container, which should be done as soon as possible upon receipt. It is best to choose a flat, clean, dry surface on which to unwrap the package. Most prints are rolled for shipping, as tubes are the strongest practical container for this purpose. Great care should be taken when removing a print from it's tube and when removing the paper wrapping from the print. (We do not to use an excessive amount tape when packaging prints, as this can make it difficult to unwrap the print without causing damage.)
Once the package is opened, carfully unroll the print, allowing it to relax slowly. Although all prints we sell are stored flat and rolled just prior to shipment, shipping times vary and it may be necessary to allow the print to relax for a day or two. As the print naturally relaxes you can carefully place weights (books work well) on the corners (protected by the tissue paper) to help speed up the process, but be sure not to force it. It is also wise not to re-roll your print. not only because it could be damaged during this process, but also because prints should be stored flat to avoid warping. Never store a print in the shipping tube for an extended period (months or years) as the paper will acquire a curve that no amount of flattening with weights will cure, this would result in a gentle ripple across the surface of the print when framed.
There are many choices to be made when framing a print - matte color, number of mattes, frame style and color, type of glazing, etc. There are as many different opinions on what looks best as there are art collectors, but in one area there is only one logical choice. If you want to preserve your artwork in the best possible condition, you should ask your framer to use "conservation" materials and methods. This means that only acid-free materials will be used in the mounting (acid will eventually burn the paper, turning it brown), the print will not be cut or glued down, and that a matte or mattes will be used to prevent the print from coming into contact with the glass.
Exposure to direct sunlight or fluorescent lighting will cause any artwork to fade. While most good print publishing companies use fade resistant ink, we highly recommended that either ultraviolet filtering (UV) glass or UV plexiglass be used in your framing. It is still wise however to avoid exposure to sunlight or fluorescent lighting as UV glass filters out most, but not all, harmful UV rays.
A batch of identical prints with no limit on the number that may be produced. If the publisher runs out of an open edition they will just print more. Some open editions are signed by the artist, but in many cases they are not.
A batch of identical prints, limited to a given number of copies. For instance, a limited edition of 500 simply means that only five hundred copies of the print will ever be produced. Each print in a limited edition is signed by the artist and individually numbered, i.e. 27/450 would be the twenty seventh print of an edition limited to four hundred and fifty copies.
Essentially identical to the description above, except the edition size is generally no more than 10% of the regular limited edition. Occasionally an AP will bear an extra signature or two, but in the vast majority of cases the only difference between the regular limited edition and an artist's proof is the serial number and price.
Very similar to an artist's proof, although it is slightly more common for a publisher's proof to be issued with additional signatures, and/or companion prints. This is by no means universal, many PPs are no different from an AP or LE except for serial number and price.
Essentially identical to the limited edition (including all signatures), but a presentation copy has no serial number or certificate of authenticity. These are usually presented to the individuals who signed the print.
An original drawing, drawn directly onto a print. In most cases a remargue appears just beneath the image area of a print, in the signature border.
When all copies of a print have been sold, the only way to obtain a copy is to purchase it from a collector who is offering one for sale, or from a dealer who has obtained one from a collector. These transactions are termed "secondary market." Secondary market prints are almost invariably sold at a higher price than the original issue price, in some cases many times higher.
This simply means that all available copies of a print have been sold. Occasionally you will see a notation "sold out at the publisher." When a publisher lists a print as sold out it does not necessarily mean it is no longer available - one or more dealers may still have the print in stock.
Please feel free to call us at (919) 583-8866 if you have any questions that have not been answered here.