Monday, September 30, 2019

Defiant Vision | Q&A: Proofs vs. Finished Work

In this series, Aprile Gallant, Senior Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs answers visitor questions about the SCMA exhibition Defiant Vision: Prints & Poetry by Munio Makuuchi. Visit the exhibition to pose a question in the comment book, then check the book and SCMA Insider for the answers! 

Question #2:
I noticed the majority of prints say either “1st proof,” “2nd proof,” “artist proof (A/P)” or “studio proof (S/P).” 
Does this mean they are not the final version? Are they of less value?

Thanks for your question!

Yes—anything marked as a “proof” is usually considered part of the artist’s process, and may have been made before the artist considered the work “finished”

BUT. . .

The fact that Makuuchi signed most of these works seems to suggest that he thought they were finished enough to put his name on. 
Also—Makuuchi rarely made full editions (i.e. printing a number of copies of the “finished” work) so most of his works only exist in “proof” states. 
Generally, there is no difference in the market value (i.e. price) for a proof—in fact, if there are few of them, they might be considered “rare” and cost more. 

Do you think the aesthetic value of a proof or unfinished work is less than a finished work? If so, why?