To Sign or not to Sign?
If you are an artist then this blog is for you
... and the answer to the question without doubt, YES!
To me, the signing of a painting is like the full stop at the end of a sentence.
A painting isn't finished until it's signed. It is the way of the artist saying that their work is completed and they are satisfied.
The signature doesn't have to be blazoned across all of your fine work, it can sit discreetly at the bottom of the canvas or even hidden within the work. Some of the best signatures I have seen are the ones you have to search for, I get a real kick out of that.
There is also nothing wrong with signing the back of your work either if you feel that there is absolutely nowhere else to sign because of the nature of your painting. Just own it!
I have also seen many signatures on the side of the canvas, which I have also been known to do. This is ok, as long as the canvas doesn't get framed at a later date.
I have seen stamped signatures, as in just the first letter of the artists' name. I have seen a Newcastle supporter sign his work with a football shirt, now that's creative!!
One thing I know for sure is that potential clients do not like to see signatures and titles painted artfully across the image. They feel it is distracting, I'm sure you can understand why.
Consider this: if your unsigned artwork is displayed in a gallery there will be an information label showing your name, title, medium and size. Once that label is removed, the purchaser may eventually forget the name of the artist. A future heir may not be able to find out who the artist is. All your hard work would then go unrecognised!
When thinking about dating your work, I am in two minds about this. I understand why it makes sense to categorise your artwork in a calendar fashion for either copyright and authenticity issues. I also understand why collectors prefer it so they can follow an artists career development. The only issue I have with this is that it dates the artwork and could suggest how long it has been sitting on the gallery shelf. Sometimes buyers may try and use this as a bargaining point for a lower price.
If nothing else, please sign your painting. It demonstrates ownership and provides value to your beautiful work.