Editioned One-Of-A-Kind
 #ARTWISEUP by SAL McINTYRE
AUGUST 30, 2019 
 

Even amidst a sector of art collecting centered around multiples, editions and iterations, it is still possible to come across works touting that special quality for which we are drawn to the art in the first place — the handmade touch. Sometimes the works are unique prints, paintings, drawings or collages made in an edition of one, whether labeled as such or not. And sometimes this can be seen in a small edition of prints where a handmade element has been added across the edition, each final copy a numbered print and process-completed replica— though with a handmade flourish this results in a noteworthy new category of unique. As most know, the handmade is a sparkling qualifier, one that imbues any object with the magic of its creator most directly.

Christo – Wrapped Building Times Square, SIGNED mixed media 2003

Christo is an artist famous for presenting the natural world through a new lens, changing the way a familiar landscape or object is viewed and thus changing its perceived existence— the artist’s touch leading to an altered perspective. What better a fit than for a reproduced print of a concept drawing to have a hand-applied layer, one that brings some of the type of material used in the installation right into the edition itself. Mixed media work Wrapped Building Times Square does exactly that, a stone lithograph featuring a raised building made from cloth and string, signed, titled and numbered out of 200 in pencil by Christo.

Christo – Wrapped Building Times Square (details), SIGNED mixed media 2003

Robert Rauschenberg is known for his multidimensional-looking collages and montages which are rich with layers and variation in materials. Though usually flattened into the confines of a printed rectangle, this 1984 work Untitled is an editioned assembly created with various printing methods and hand-cut paper, the outcome being a tiered shape that breaks boundaries both physically and conceptually. This work also is signed, numbered and dated by Rauschenberg in an edition of 75.

Robert Rauschenberg – Untitled, SIGNED mixed media 1984

Kerry James Marshall’s glorious large format etching Vignette (Wishing Well) is a feat of printmaking prowess, created with the help of the hands of a skilled group of printers in multiple stages— the final stage of which includes a bouquet of carefully cut and hand-applied hearts. Though not immediately apparent due to the print’s lush nuance throughout varying depths, these whispering applications adorn this work with love. Published by Paulson Fontaine Press in Berkeley, California, this work is also hand signed, titled, dated and numbered out of 50 in pencil by Marshall.

Kerry James Marshall – Vignette (Wishing Well), etching 2010 (contact to inquire)
 
"... the handmade is a sparkling qualifier, one that imbues any object with the magic of its creator most directly."
 

In The Sparkly Splendid Lippazanner at the Battle of Austerlitz artist Karen Kilimnik has amplified the desired effect with a wash of hand-applied glitter, such that this equine expression is actually shimmering. Kilimnik's paintings, characterized by loose brushwork and bold colors, are often pastiches of the Old Masters, part of a relatively new genre of painting termed the Iconic Portrait— not commissioned by its sitter but rather based on photographs, magazine cuttings, film clips and the like. Here, this icon’s regality is taken over the top with its glittery addition, driving the point home in magnificent fashion. The work is signed and numbered out of 200.

Karen Kilimnik – The Sparkly Splendid Lippazanner at the Battle of Austerlitz,
SIGNED mixed media 2008

And lastly, for an interesting piece that is what could be called a happy accident and something that printmakers often relish in behind the scenes, Willi's Wine Bar (Misprint) is a great example of an unintentional double-exposure-type image. Every year around harvest time, Willi’s Wine Bar in Paris has commissioned and published a special edition of contemporary posters to help promote artists and the enjoyment of wine drinking, with editions that date back to 1982. This poster from that inaugural year is a misprint, where text and faint traces of another poster appear under the intended art. The result is not only intriguing and full of life, it is an entirely unique outcome, referencing a famous and well-loved artwork but with a twist that is one-of-a-kind.

Alberto Bali – Willi's Wine Bar (Misprint), stone lithograph 1982 (contact to inquire)