artist proof definition

An artist's proof is the impression of a print created in the print-making process to understand the progress of the plate an artist is working on.  An artist proof can also be a test print that shows the colors that make up the final print.  Frequently an artist will make a proof in order to view how the image is going to print.  The term is now often used to refer to the impression of the finished work that is the same as the numbered copies.  The artist's proofs are not given place in the limited edition count.  Traditionally, an artist is not suppose to sell his/her proofs (which may number over twenty) immediately after printing them.

The prints are often signed “AP” or “Artist Proof” with the standard edition size not to go beyond 10% of the regular limited edition size.  For example, an edition of 200 would have 20 artist proofs.  Serious art collectors often want artist proofs because there are fewer of them.  And sometimes an artist proof is remarqued – which makes the print even more desirable.  However, it is important to note that artists’ proofs are not necessarily better in quality than the regular print edition due to modern printing techniques.