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  Aviation Art - Answers to frequently asked questions

Over the last thirty years, aviation 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 aviation prints not only by the quality of the images, and subject matter of course, 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.
print signing

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 person listed has personally signed each print in the edition. Signatures are almost always in pencil, few if any are signed with a pen these days, although it was fairly common many years ago. Some prints have been matted to include rare signatures, when these happen to be from the war period they are often in ink, and therefore require particular care when being framed. 

Care of artwork
Caring for your artwork should begin as you open the shipping container, it's best to choose a flat, clean, dry area in 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 print has been un-rolled it's preferable to avoid re-rolling it, not only because it's easy to cause damage during this process, but also because prints should be stored flat to avoid warping. Never store a print in it's shipping tube for an extended period of time (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, mat colour, number of mats, frame style and colour, 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 no acidic materials will be used in the mounting (acid will eventually burn the paper, turning it brown), the print will not be cut, nor glued down, and that a mat or mats 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, it's still highly recommended that either ultraviolet filtering (UV) glass or UV plexiglass be used in your framing. It's still wise however to avoid exposure to sunlight or fluorescent lighting even if you take the above mentioned precautions, UV glass filters out most, but not all of the harmful UV rays.


Open edition:
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.

Limited edition: L/E
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.

Artist's proof: A/P
Essentially identical to the description above, except the edition size is generally no more than 10% of the regular limited edition. Occasionally an a/p 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.

Publisher's proof: P/P
Just about the same thing as 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 P/Ps are no different from an A/P or L/E except for serial number and price.

Presentation copy:
Essentially identical to the limited edition (including all signatures), but lack a serial number and certificate of authenticity. They are usually presented to the aircrew who have signed the print.

An original drawing, drawn directly onto a print. In most cases these drawings appear just beneath the image area of a print, in the signature border.

Giclée is a French word meaning, "Squirt" or "spray" (pronounced "zhee-clay"). In terms of art work, a giclée is a piece that has been produced using bubble jet printing technology, although the printers used for this are of a much higher grade than the normal home computer version, and produce superior image quality when compared to lithographs. Giclées are most commonly offered on canvas, or on water colour paper.

Secondary market:
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 bought one from a collector, these transactions are termed 'secondary market'. Almost invariably, secondary market prints are sold at a higher price than the original issue price, in some cases many times higher.

Sold out:
Although the term is obvious it can have subtly different meanings. Occasionally you will see a notation "sold out at the publisher", when a publisher lists a print as sold out it doesn't necessarily mean that it is no longer available anywhere, one or more dealers may still have the print in stock. On the other hand, a print may still be available from the publisher, but an individual dealer might list it as sold out because he no longer has it in stock, and for whatever reason doesn’t plan to re-order it.

If you have any questions that have not been answered here, please feel free to give us a call at 818 352-7357.