It has been a little more than six months since the site went live and, to our delight, we have connected with many people from all over the world. Some of the folks that wrote to us knew Jan, some just had an interest in his art, and others owned Balet paintings or prints.
Just recently, a new contact described for us a print he owned. As we read the description, we began to be concerned. It seemed that this gentleman’s print was an unauthorized lithograph – not one personally created by Jan himself. That led Marie and I to think it would be a good idea to include in our blog some keys signs to tip off buyers that the Balet print they have – or were about to buy - might not be the real thing.
First – Jan did not sell any of his original prints that were not numbered and signed. He did, on occasion, send an unnumbered print to a friend, but these usually had a greeting written where the number would normally appear. Some original lithos without numbers and signatures exist, but to the best of our knowledge, they all belong to us as part of the Jan’s estate.
Second – Jan’s numbered prints, as you would expect, carry a designation such as 12/300 – that is, the 12th lithograph in a run of 300. One sure way to prove that a Balet print is not original is if the bottom number is higher than 300. Jan, being meticulous about his lithos, never printed run of greater than 300.
Third – some of the unauthorized prints are not the correct size. These lithos are often slightly smaller or larger than the legitimate, Balet-produced prints. Jan also regularly used a special paper on which to produce his lithos and it is sometimes the paper itself that will give a clue as to whether or not the print is authentic.
Fourth – the Balet name or logo on most of the original lithographs was part of the print itself. Although he did stamp his “mark” onto some prints. However, these prints would have likely been of a lesser quality than the lithos - screen prints, for example. Also, when he signed prints, he always signed them in pencil.
Our best advice is - would-be buyers beware. Not all Balet prints are created equal. Purchasing your print from our website or from a reputable art source will help ensure that you get an original Balet lithograph.
If you own a Balet print and are not sure if it is an authorized one, we invite you to email us with the details to see if we can help authenticate it.