Graham Clarke :: What is an Artist's Proof?

What is an Artist's Proof?

Traditionally the artist was commissioned by a publisher or printer to make a
print (etching, litho, wood engraving etc) on metal, stone, or wood. The artist
presented this plate or block to the printer who ran off the edition. The printer
then (we trust) paid the artist and in addition gave him an agreed number of
copies of the work for the artist to either sell or keep.

In modern times (the last 60 or 70 years), editions have usually been ‘limited’

and the number of Artist's Proofs (sometimes abbreviated to A/P) is usually 10%
of the edition size. This is an unwritten rule in the UK., and is generally adhered
to by most printmakers in Europe and to a lesser extent in the USA.

Whether the artist is one and the same person as the printer or publisher, as in
my case, or not, the same system applies.

There is no difference in either content, quality, value, or price between A/Ps or
numbered copies as far as this establishment is concerned. The ownership of
an A/P, however, does imply a purchase direct from the artist, so this may add

The current edition size of my editions is usually between 100 and 400
numbered copies. Therefore there are between 10 and 40 Artist's Proofs (strictly
according to the exact edition size), a proportion of which are not presented for
sale. Sometimes 15 Exhibition Proofs are taken for retrospective use, and the
plate is then defaced.

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Graham Clarke