Notable: When is a “Limited Edition” Really Limited?, July Issue of PDN

In Article, Black and White Photography on June 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm



© EGGLESTON ARTISTIC TRUST/CHEIM & READ A new digital edition of this William Eggleston image, "Untitled c. 1971-1974," sold for $386,500.

We have always thought that when a photographer issues a limited edition of an image that once the edition is complete, no more images could be produced of the original. Apparently we were naïve …

The trouble began after Eggleston created new, limited-edition digital inkjet pigment prints of some of his most iconic images, and sold them at a Christie’s auction in March. That single-owner sale raked in $5.9 million for the benefit of the Eggleston Artistic Trust, a private entity controlled by Eggleston and his two sons.

Shortly after the sale, financier Jonathan Sobel, a long-time collector of Eggleston’s vintage dye-transfer prints, sued the artist. Sobel claims that the new prints-which Eggleston made at 44 x 60 inches and issued in editions of two copies each-effectively diluted the market for Eggleston’s work and thereby devalued Sobel’s collection of 16 x 20-inch dye-transfer prints. Sobel also says that by issuing the dye-transfer prints as limited editions in the first place, Eggleston effectively made a legally binding promise not to issue more prints, but broke that promise by issuing the digital prints.

For more on all this: PDN Online

Note this is the PDN Fine Art Issue, with articles on what Gallerists and Private Dealers want from photographers.

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