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Peter Fuhring

What sets prints apart in comparison to other works of art is that they are, by definition, multiples. This implies that printed images were not produced for one patron or a single client but for a wider audience. The person who made a print understood this condition from the outset and this awareness demanded attention to the marketing of his prints. In principle, anyone could sell a print: the printmaker, printer, print publisher, a specialized print-seller, or any person who owned a print, although, during some periods and in some countries, guild rulings limited such activities. In principle the market for prints was open, but the way prints were marketed underwent enormous changes over time. The commercial life of a print begins with the passing of information about the plate’s existence, which was done either by displaying an impression or by writing about it.

The display of prints in printmakers’ workshops or ateliers, starting in the late ...