Art print from negative question

My friend has several wonderful paintings that have never had prints made of them. The artist, Marie Theresz Martin was a Dutch abstract painter from the mid 70s who committed suicide. I have had no luck locating her work. Part of the reason is that my friend, along with a small group of his acquaintances own the vast portion of her work and have never published it.

He says he has several “high quality” negatives of a few of the pieces and has offered them to me to get prints made.

What would be the best way to go about this? I could easily take them to the local photo place and have simple large scale prints done, but I want something that will be framing quality.
Also, what would something like this cost??

I will prob do both as I want them on my walls soon, but I also want a nicer version for later framing.

I think I can also get a copy of the negative as well!

Thanks in advance.

This is just my experience locally so YMMV. Rather than go to a regular photo place, look for a place that does large-scale prints as a speciality (here it is a place that does slide processing as well). They have the experience to match colors correctly, especially if you are able to bring in the original. They can also print on matte paper that looks like canvas, which will make it look that much more like a print of the original painting.

Here, a piece around 16x20 is $45, and a ~20x30 is $90. There are upper limits on size at some places, but generally they can do a small poster size.

Not to throw a spanner in the works (yeah, right, like that’s gonna stop me), but who owns the copyright of the original work that the negatives were made from? If your friend owns the paintings, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he has the right to make copies, does it? Shouldn’t the copyright still be owned by the artist - and now that she’s dead, her heirs? Maybe I’m wrong, just asking.

BTW, since these are “high quality” negatives of valuable artwork, do not, do not, don’tdon’tdon’t take them to your local photo shop, where some untrained, uninterested teenager will scratch them beyond use cramming them into the enlarger. Even if your negatives don’t get ruined, you’ll get lousy prints. If you want to do this artwork justice, do yourself a favor and get proper enlargements done at a good custom lab, as gigi said. They will take care of your negatives and have the skill and equipment to make the best print possible. It’ll cost more, but it’s worth it. And go to a good frame shop, too. It would be a shame to spend $50-100 on a print, put it in a $20 frame and have it deteriorate in a year because of acid, etc in the matting.

Also, there is a limit to how large a decent enlargement can be made from a negative. 16x20 is often kicked around as a maximum for 35mm film, but it really depends on many factors. The professionals at the print lab should be able to help you out with that.

gigi I think that canvas-style paper is awful. My folks had a family photo printed on it years ago. Gives me the willies just looking at it. In any case, the print is going under glass, so the best paper surface is probably glossy.

First of all, you want to go to a PROFESSIONAL photo lab, not just the “local photo place” or simply a “place that does large-scale prints as a speciality”. You can find pro labs in most major, and some not-so-major cities (you didn’t think us pro photogs took our film to Wal-Mart did you?).

Next, for the ultimate in quality, find a lab that works with digital files. They can scan the neg and digitally “clean-up” any imperfections that may exist (of course, I’m referring to imperfections in the neg, not the original artwork), as well as optimize the file for output.

And that brings us to output…fine art, archival quality inkjet prints are available at most labs that deal in digital. What’s more, the print can be made on virtually and medium that will accept the inks (watercolor paper is but one option).

And finally, as a professional, I must bring up the issue of copyright. Does your friend own the copyright to the painting? Keep in mind that ownership of the painting does not, necessarily = ownership of the rights to copy it. By having a copy made, you could be breaking the law. Granted, if rights have not be transferred, whomever shot the neg already broke the law…but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. I know it seems like a lot of trouble to go through for a couple of prints to hang in your living room, but for your own legal protection, you may want to contact whomever has oversight of the estate of the deceased artist, and ask for permission to make a copy.

The following links are from

Hey, MikeG, I see by your profile that you’re in Chicago. Does anybody know a good pro lab in the Chicago area that can help MikeG out?

Photog: careful when you use big words like “archival” in reference to ink jet prints. I’m no pro, and I assume that pro ink jets may be different from comsumer-grade ones, but can they really last as long as a traditional color enlargement? As far as cleaning up the negative, traditional spotting methods have been around a very long time. They’re every bit as effective as digital, and you don’t have to add in that extra generation (i.e. scanning). Call me luddite, but I’d stick with traditional enlarging methods if I was starting with a good negative.

Thanks for the info…it’s what I am looking for!

My friend does have the copyright and has said he will give me written permission to create prints. I have not talked about multiples but I will as I love the work and want to see it brought before a larger audience.

I have a former landlord who is a photog and owns a company that specializes in Panoramic stock images (the name of the co. tells its focus perfectly!)
I am waiting to hear from him for production info.

I most likely will put them in high quality frames with UV resistant glass. I am not the biggest fan of low reflectivity glass but I have heard there have been some improvememnts.

Thanks again and feel free to add any more info if you find it.

You can also get a Canoscan scanner that can scan that film & then you can do the work on your own computer. Which gives you more control & saves money & you can then have it printed at the store if you want anything too big for a computer printer to print. Dont use inkjet ink as it fades.

If you want a long-lasting image, I’d skip the inkjets, they aren’t archival, won’t even last a few short years. I’d take it to a fine-arts photo lab and ask them to make a Cibachrome or other good archival color photographic print. The standard photo printing methods are pretty good, inkjet can’t hold a candle to them in color quality or longevity. I have some early cibachromes that a friend of mine did, they must be about 25 years old and don’t show any signs of fading despite hanging on my wall on display continously. The prints are huge, like 24x36in, but he works from 4x5 negatives, you could really only expect 11x14 or 16x20in max from a 35mm negative or slide.