How and Why to Sign Your Artwork – The Art League Blog
Jul 30, I sign my paintings with my full name on the back so as not to .. I do the first print on my studio wall for my records then date it for future. Jun 19, Esoterica: Signing and dating is not often covered by the “how to” art . call it an original if only one copy is printed and signed as the original?. Artist signatures first became prevalent during the early Renaissance, which saw art resulting in the subsequent proliferation of copycat prints labelled 'after Dürer'. confusing, they can actually be very useful when it comes to dating a work.
This could pose a problem. Also, is it inappropriate to use a title more than once? Thanks for all your valuable help! Charles Sikes — Jun 19, Re: I take exception to both…especially the signing. I have taught seminars about the early Taos painters to and found that the great Victor Higgins as well as others often did not date their work for the reason that you stated. This has made it difficult for the art historians. The gallery and the buyer can then have this information if needed but it will not be on the painting.
Maxine Price — Jun 19, I agree with Robert about not dating your paintings as well as signing unobtrusively and in the same place — lower right. I paint an under color on all of my paintings and since I paint pretty thickly I scratch my signature into the wet paint. If I am painting an abstract on a gallery wrapped canvas and I think the signature might distract from the design I will scratch my signature on the side of the canvas.
I also keep a file that has the date of the paintings in case I get inquiries although I have never had anyone ask for that. On some older paintings that I put the date on the back side I have gone back and gessoed over the date. I agree that clients might make a judgment about a painting with an older date even though it is still a good painting. I was shocked to see North American artists sign their name with the addition of the copyright symbol! How deep can you drop?
I know the dividing line is far from clear, and that all good art as to do with money, but still… I prefer to sign my paintings, either full name, or initials, plus the date. To be sure, I sign the back and add the date, even day-month-year if I feel that it the moment or encounter was an important one. If finished in one sitting I might scratch my name with the back of my brush in the wet paint.
I agree with Robert, unobtrusive and clear. Some artists sign with a grand flourish: I have given commissions to galleries in their territories, even though I know the customer has found me on the web.
Here is the deal though, with some notable exceptions, galleries come and go and relationships with galleries change over time, and ultimately I want interested people to find me. Some galleries also wanted me to take down my website Though everyone calls me a painter I am photographic based and work in limited editions, and I also sign and date originals on the back printing archival pieces as needed.
The plate sign on the front has the date when I finished the piece. So my pieces currently have a plate sign with date the image was created and url small left or right which ever is better for the piece. On the back I sign again, number and indicate the inventory number of the piece.
If I found the correct gallery to act as a master distributor, I might change these practices and take down my website or better yet have the gallery be the only contact on the website. Gerda Hook — Jun 19, Good topic! There are times when he has actually improved my paintings by deepening the saturation of certain hues.
Do they number their prints as well understanding that there is no real reason for doing so? Neither strikes me as particularly honest.
Signing and dating
So, what do the pros do? Peter Worsley — Jun 19, From: Carolina Medina — Jun 19, I recently saw several Monet works in the same place. They were all signed with the same signature and it was always on the bottom.
But some were signed on the right, some on the left, and some in the middle. The coloration of the bottom portion of the paintings seemed to be the deciding factor: Karen Benedetti — Jun 19, I agree with all of your comments about where to put a signature and if you should put one on a painting and also dates.
Richard Nelson — Jun 19, Sorry, folks, but if you have to ask questions like this, find another profession. Carole Perry — Jun 19, I just wanted to thank you for your clear and well-stated input on this often debated subject.
I mostly work in glass, and have followed my many predecessors lead by unobtrusively dating my work on the bottom, but I believe I will stop doing that immediately.
I will also make a point in my paintings to be much more consistent with my signature — your thoughts on this make excellent sense. Terri Higgins — Jun 20, When I was in art school they kept telling us not to sign the front of the painting because it was pretentious and I noticed other artists from other art schools doing the same thing, even a high school student I met.
Out from under the art school thumb, I now sign the front of my paintings and also date them because the buyers request it, that made my decision for me. Peter Brown — Jun 20, Most of my work is small and precise. The idea of putting my name on it, on the front of it, just feels silly.
My composition is the painting, my name is on the back of the panel, and then on the backing of the frame.
Having paid much attention to the painting itself, and having ample space to include my name, data, and address on the back, why would I then chose to deface a square inch on the front with my signature? Such data on the back of the painting adds a personal touch though I also agree with a discreet lower left or right corner front signatures.
Peter Waters — Jun 20, Perhaps you intentionally did not comment on it to stir up conversationbut would not a signing thereon be of value in any copyright dispute?
Ralph Hislop — Jun 20, Some years ago you remarked to another artist that having an older,dated work hang in a commercial gallery might make a potential buyer think of stale buns in a bakery. I took that to heart and immediately stopped dating my pottery.
I now cringe a bit when I turn over an older piece and see a date on the bottom. Helen Opie — Jun 20, From: Unless you know what your are looking at, it is practically indecipherable. The signature itself gives the feeling of additional haste.
Was this a ploy? Kathleen Lenshyn — Jun 21, My problem is my last name is too long, in my handwriting anyway.
So I thought up a simple sign, but then who would know what that sign means. Gabriella Morrison — Jun 21, Signing and dating artwork is a matter of convention.
Signing and dating prints: Printers and Printing Forum: Digital Photography Review
Personally I find signatures on paintings to be obtrusive and intrusive to the process of immersion in considering the impact of the work. In fine art printmaking not reproductions the convention of signing in pencil, giving edition number and title is somewhat less disruptive of the viewing enjoyment.
Personally dislike signing my own work, because it is not important that I did them, but the impact the work may have on another.
If someone wants me to sign the front of a painting, I do so reluctantly, while holding my nose, so there are few of my signed painting floating around, includng one which ended up in a second-hand furniture store That little experience reminded me to remain humble, and to set little stock in the illusion that my work will have legs into the future, or have anything beyond fleeting importance.
I do tend to date my signatures on oil paintings as I find most clients prefer this and so do I but on my watercolours and drawings I confine things to initials only. Thomas Nelson — Jun 22, I will usually sign my work in a somewhat unobtrusive manner, usually on the lower right side.
I like red ocher so long as the color does not detract. This works nicely for the neighborhood in which I live and work, however we really must be aware of the times in which we live, Peter Waters has a good point. One must be prepared to deal with copyright disputes. Several times now I have found my work showing up in places and in forms for which I did not give permission and felt embarrassed by the use.
I also clearly spell out reproduction rights in my bill of sale. As a side point, I have done a reasonable amount of restoration work. I am also something of an amateur historian so I get asked to look at old paintings a lot. I like to be able to do some research and tell something about a nice old painting that has been in someones family for some time. This motivates me to take digital images and a written record of the work, sometimes even while it is in progress, and include the provenience in an envelope attached inside of a canvas.
I have always attached a piece of thin fabric or sometimes paper over the back of a canvas to keep out dust and bugs so its fairly easy to hide this envelope inside. I guess I hope that my work will be among those old paintings that will have been in someones family sometime in the future.
Finally,I hate to see signatures that are little more than banners that detract from the work. Tikiwheats — Jun 22, Robt, you must have a big, healthy, sturdy, cushioned butt. They often include a date or two for photography, date of image and date of print are the two most often used. They sometimes include the title of the print. They use anything from metallic-ink sharpies to pencils. They write on the back, or in the margin on the front, or within the actual image.
The full form I like is to put the image title and year photographed in the bottom margin at the left, and the signature and year printed at the right.
If I were clever and thought ahead more, I might print the image title and year photographed as part of the image an image of my careful printing; I can do it once legibly if I get enough chancesand only do the actual signature and year printed by hand. How Specifically, with what? The requirements as I see them are: Given the complexity of the inkset-plus-paper chemistry encountered in modern digital inkjet prints, adding a third thing, the ink from the signing pen, to the equation is at best a wild gamble.
The totally conservative approach is to stick to pencil graphite, not very reactive or India ink basically a carbon suspension in water, not very reactive.
- How and Why to Sign Your Artwork
- Making Fine Art Prints: Signing
- Signing and dating prints
I tried a bunch of pens I liked writing with and had sitting around on this paper.