“I want to be a machine”, said one of the most famous printmakers in the world, Andy Warhol. His silkscreen prints are the works that are most frequently associated with his career. Prints do have the potential for investment returns like other ‘unique’ works. In the late 1940s and 1950s Picasso and Matisse both dabbled in printmaking. Printmaking goes back all the way to medieval art. During the Renaissance famed German artist Albrecht Dürer was a printmaking, his speciality being engravings and woodcut. There’s also an increase in multiples in the art market, this includes photographs, iPad drawings (made popular by the innovative Mr David Hockney) and other ‘digital paintings’. Why then are people apprehensive when it comes to adding prints and multiples to their collection?
Many fear that because there is more than one copy, the value of the work will be less. However, this is not true. Prints have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars to even millions as was the case with Picasso’s prints, which can sell for up to £5 million (artsy.net). Often the cost of a print or a multiple is cheaper than the cost of a unique work, thereby allowing prints to provide the perfect entry point to collecting art on a budget. They’re also a great way to add to your collection to create a well-rounded collection.
When looking to buy a print it is important to keep the following factors in mind:
1. Not all prints are reproductions of original works; some works are made by the artist with the intention of having multiple editions.
2. If you are buying a print made by the artist and not a reproduction of an original work, then ensure that it is signed by the artist.
3. Limited editions prints are deemed to be more exclusive and likely to show greater increase in value even if there are thousands of editions. In comparison open edition prints where the final number printed is unknown show slower and often a less certain increase in value.
4. The reputation of the artist is an important factor to consider and does determine how the value of the piece will be change over the years.
So where should you look?
2. Galleries that sell originals of the artist and/or have a track record of selling prints.
3. Websites like artsy, artnet and saatchiart that have a reputation for selling authentic works
4. . Auctions: Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillip’s: giants of the auction world all hold auctions of prints and posters; it’s a good idea to follow them on instagram or subscribe to their updates to stay in the loop. It usually does take 48 hours for them to verify your payment method so it’s best to get ahead of the game and get yourself verified before any auction is announced and this is a useful tip for any auction: prints or otherwise.
5. Print fairs like the London Original Print Fair, which is on till May 31 2020