Frequently asked questions about Norman Rockwell's artwork?
1. How can I tell if my Rockwell print has value?
Norman Rockwell is one of the most licensed artists of the 20th century. His paintings have been reproduced in many different forms. However, the real collector items are the signed limited edition lithographs and collotypes published by one of three main publishers during Rockwell's lifetime (Abrams, Circle Fine Art, and Eleanor Ettinger, Inc). These prints can be identified by several features: both styles of prints are on paper with full margins around the perimeter; collotypes were printed on a heavy coated paper and lithographs on Arches (cotton rag) paper. The prints bear an original pencil signature by Norman Rockwell on the right side of the lower margin and an edition number in pencil on the lower left side. A few of these prints were published in an edition of 100 signed and numbered images with 10 artist proofs. However, the vast majority were printed in an edition of 200 signed and numbered images, with 60 artist proofs and 35 Roman numeral artist proofs. In addition, some images included 25 deluxe artist proofs on Japon paper (a somewhat translucent paper commonly called rice paper). The value of all of these prints can range from a few thousand dollars to several thousand. (See our print section).
2. I have a plate signed Rockwell print, what is this?
Some of the Rockwell prints published after his death bear a facsimile signature. (A plate signature means that his signature was reproduced on the lithographic plates and not hand signed). Some of these images were published in an edition of 200, however, there are many that were printed in much larger editions. There is only one print in an edition over 200 that was hand signed by Norman Rockwell, and that image, "Bicentennial Celebration", appears to be the last print hand signed by Rockwell before his death.
3. What is the retail value of a Rockwell plate signed print?
The value of these prints can range from a low of $400 to a high of about $1,300 depending on the size of the edition and the publisher.
4. I have a well known Rockwell image on canvas, what is this?
Many of the favorite Rockwell images were reproduced as prints on canvas (canvas transfers). These images are not hand signed by Rockwell (though they have the reproduced signature from the original painting). The canvas transfer prints have a value of $75 - $100.
5. How can I be sure it is or is not an original?
Determined it might be an original? Look at the surface of the image carefully with a loupe or magnifying glass. If you see a uniform dot pattern then you know that it is a print (the dot pattern is a result of the color separations for printing). If it were a painting, you would see texture from the paint, paint brush strokes, or you might detect faint pencil lines beneath the paint. If the image has any printing on the front of it such as copyright and date, copyright Curtis Publishing, or a printed title, then the image is a printed reproduction. If you still think it is an original, please call us.
6. What is a "collotype."
Official definition: A photomechanical process by which inked reproductions are transferred to paper directly from an image formed on a sheet of hardened gelatin.
7. How does that differ from a lithograph?
Rockwell's lithographs are photomechanically reproduced just as the collotypes are. The difference lies in the method by which the image is transferred to plates for printing. The collotype was considered a superior process, thus some of the better Rockwell prints were published in this way. As mentioned above, there is a difference in the paper used as well. Collotypes required a special coated paper and the lithographs were printed on more traditional Arches paper.