Historically, local (mainly amateur) art clubs offered only original art work at their exhibitions. One of those where I am a member debated recently whether or not we should allow "good quality" prints to be sold alongside unframed originals. The argument was that prints are cheaper to buy and so more might be sold creating a greater income for both the selling artist and the society, which takes a commission on sales.
I think this is a fallacy and undermines the actual purpose of much amateur art. Let me explainI
Paradoxically, I'll start by declaring that I have owned several giclee quality prints and proudly display them in my home. Apart from enjoying and appreciating the images, there is a very simple reason for buying these prints ... I could not afford the original by the artist! I had a Constable once; I have a Henderson Cisz which cost quite a bit but well short of the £50,000+ likely to have been paid for the original. So, prints per se are not necessarily "a bad thing" in my eyes.
However, I do not see my artwork - or any mainly-amateur artwork - as in the same market place as Constable or Cisz. If Amateur Art Clubs - and amateur artists - have a purpose, surely, it is to create original work and offer it at such reasonable prices that "ordinary" folk (not those who are able to buy work in National galleries let alone at Bonhams or Christies) are able to own such things - truly individual pieces of art.
Giclee prints are now of such a high quality that those same "ordinary" folk could be forgiven for not really understanding why an original - even one by an amateur artist - should command a significantly larger price tag. Consequently, I suspect that in time and, particularly, in group exhibitions, we would unwittingly be encouraging our prospective purchasers to buy the print and not even worry that it is not "original".
Go into any big department store and there will be a section selling hundreds of prints. Undoubtedly, there is a market out there - in my view, to do with "home furnishing" rather than art appreciation. My hope here is that some of those millions who buy a print in a store will soon discover that for the same price or even less they could have owned a unique artwork.
I just hope that when they go off to their local art club exhibition they will find those exclusive offerings for sale and not just another rack of copies.