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Fine Art/Artist Identity


Dear Sir,
        I have two pictures which have been in my family for about 30 years, I do not know if they are water colours or hand coloured prints. They are both signed in pencil and each picture has a title and a number in pencil does the number mean they are prints. If they are prints I know you can not advise me but do you know someone who can help. I am going to scan the signature and details of these pictures so that I can put them into some free web space I have. The link to these images will be Hope you can shed some light.

John Brophy

Dear John, What you have are lithographs. Numbering of prints began with etchings in the early 20th century. As etchings are printed from copper plates which wear quickly, each succeeding print is less rich than the previous one. This numbering was adopted by lithographers sometime around the 1940's. 50's. It is a gimmick, as lithographic stones have hardly any wear. Number 350 looks identical to number 1. This ruse is used to quote higher prices for lower numbers, and the highest price for lithographs marked "AP", which means artist's proof. Supposedly an artist might pull the first or second print for himself, when actually the publisher may print hundreds of lithographs and mark them "AP". Contemporary advertising of prints often state that it is limited to 350, but they don't tell you that is the American edition...then there are 350 European edition...and on and on. As you might guess I am not fond of the contemporary print market. People pay $400, $500 for a print that cost $2 to make. The artist has little to do with the production, as it is probably a photomechanical reproduction of one of his paintings. Many if not most of Salvador Dali prints were initially blank sheets of paper signed by Dali, then the publisher would select various images from his paintings.
Cordially, Dan

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Daniel A. Hynes


Collecting, buying, selling, identifying, and caring for paintings, drawings,and watercolors (19th and early 20th century American and European). No prints, contemporary art, or works executed after 1940.


35 years as a fine art dealer, including 3 years as a gallery director. Also was art expert for Leslie Hindman's Auctioneers, and for Dunning's Auction.

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