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Why You Should Sign a Painting

by | Sep 21, 2019 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

From about 2002 to 2016 I didn’t sign the front of my paintings. Why?

Because I felt like signing was interfering with the pictorial plane. Ever see wonderful artwork but you find yourself distracted by some gigantic signature? I saw that more than once. When I attended art school no one was signing their work. To sign a painting was suddenly to throw your signature into an art critique. Perhaps after critique week was all done everyone scrambled back to the dorms and signed their work in the dead of night. But if they did, I missed it.

Now I sign my art. Legibly. Think: big capital letters. Why?

Up close photo of block letter signature

Easy to read signature I now use.

One day I was at work at a museum. The people in charge of the Permanent Collection, the Exhibition Committee, and the Director were all taking turns trying to read the signature on a painting. An inventory was being undertaken and at the moment this particular work was a bit of a mystery. Suddenly I realized, this is what I was setting up for the future. If my work were to belong to a collection, a future curator may curse me – who did this painting? Is this the one we are thinking it is? How do we know?

Prior work of mine is signed on the back, or the side. But if you ever have any questions, I am here. And I now sign on the front. So that the next person doesn’t have to remove a frame from a work, guess, or bite their nails.

If big, block letters aren’t your thing, that is fine. Just think about having a legible signature. Someone in the future will be glad you did!