Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Le Repas Frugal (The Frugal Meal) by Pablo Picasso

Le Repas Frugal, 1904
Image: 46.3 x 37.7 cm

Poised between Pablo Picasso’s two most significant periods, Le Repas Frugal (The Frugal Meal) by Pablo Picasso represents a pivotal point in the Pablo Picasso’s printmaking oeuvre. As part of Picasso’s first suite/series of etchings, entitled La Suite des Saltimbanques, Le Repas Frugal contains elements of both Picasso’s Blue Period, marked by its melancholic introspection, and Picasso’s Rose Period, characterized by Pablo Picasso’s fascination with strolling acrobats or players. The bohemian life of those who lived on the edge of society was important to the young struggling Picasso as he too frequented the circus, the theater and music halls to escape from his impoverished lifestyle.

Les Pauvres (Saltimbanques Suite), 1905
23.6 x 18 cm
The Frugal Meal portrays an iconic image of a starving couple with a meager spread. The nearly skeletal man looks to the side as he comforts his female companion, perhaps denying their dire circumstance and blind with the hope of a better tomorrow. The woman stares with tired but tearless eyes, engaging an empathy that can only be acquired by a human diligently struggling to maintain dignity in the face of destitution. Other etchings from the Saltimbanques Suite also portray these scenes of insolvent social outsiders.

The Frugal Meal
displayed at the MOMA, April 2010
Executed in only two states, The Frugal Meal etching possesses a remarkable confidence and skill that belies Picasso's lack of formal training in printmaking. Having just learnt the etching technique from Ricardo Canals, a fellow resident of Montmartre, it is astonishing that Pablo Picasso produced this icon in the history of printmaking at the age of only twenty-three. Le Repas Frugal is considered one of Pablo Picasso’s masterpieces as a printmaker and was only Picasso’s second work created in the medium. The medium of etching would fascinate Pablo Picasso for the remainder of his life.

First printed in small numbers by the printer Eugene Delatre in 1905, The Saltimbanques etching plates were later acquired by art dealer and publisher Ambroise Vollard. Vollard had the fragile copper plates steel-faced and, in 1913, the edition of 250 was printed by Louis Fort. Together with an additional eleven drypoints and two etchings made by Picasso between 1904 and 1906, these early prints are commonly known as the Saltimbanques Suite.

Le Repas Frugal was recently exhibited at the Pablo Picasso Prints and Paintings exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Frugal Meal is a part of the permanent collections of the following museums and institutions:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The Musee Picasso, Paris
The Museo Picasso, Barcelona

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Georges Braque Biography

“Once an object has been incorporated in a picture it accepts a new destiny.” – Georges Braque

Oiseau Blanc, 1961 , Ceramic Plaque
Artist Georges Braque was born on May 13, 1882, in Argenteuil sur Seine, France. The son of a house decorator, Georges Braque received his first art lessons in painting from his father. In 1890 the Braque family moved to Le Havre, where Georges Braque would attend evening art classes at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts from about 1897 to 1899. At the age of 19, Georges Braque left for Paris to get a craftsman certificate.

From 1902 to 1904, Georges Braque studied art at the Academie Humbert in Paris, where Braque met artists Marie Laurencin and Francis Picabia. By 1906, Georges Braque had evolved his art from the Impressionist style into the bolder Fauvist style. Georges Braque showed Fauvist works of art the following year in the Salon des Independants in Paris. Georges Braque had his first solo art show at Daniel-Henri Kahnweiler’s gallery in 1908.

In 1909, Georges Braque began to work very closely with artist and collegue Pablo Picasso, as the two artists’ styles were becoming very similar. Both Braque and Picasso’s art showed an increased interest in geometry and simultaneous perspective, and by 1911 Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso had developed the artistic style of Cubism. One of Picasso's many pet names for Georges Braque was 'Vilbour' or 'Wilbourg', a reference to Wilbur Wright. Pablo Picasso saw in their 1908-1914 creative art partnership something that was akin to the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright, the pioneers of sustained powered flight. In 1912, Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso started to incorporate collage elements into their art and to experiment with the papier colle (pasted paper) technique, in which Barque utilized a roll of wallpaper found in a local shop. Braque and Picasso’s productive collaboration continued until the outbreak of World War I in 1914.

Georges Braque served with honor in the French army during World War I and was seriously wounded in the head, leaving Braque temporarily blinded and unable to create art. Upon recovering in 1917, Georges Braque began a close friendship with cubist artist Juan Gris.

Theiere et Fruits, c. 1950 , Collotype

After the war Georges Braque became freer and less schematic in his art, moving away from the harsher abstraction of Cubism. Braque painted many still life subjects during this time, maintaining an emphasis on structure. In 1922 Georges Braque had an art exhibition at the Salon d’Automne in Paris that brought Braque great fame and recognition. During the mid-1920s, Georges Braque designed the art decor for two Sergei Diaghilev ballets. By the end of the decade, Georges Braque had returned to a more realistic interpretation of nature, although certain aspects of Cubism always remained present in Braque’s art.

 In 1931, Georges Braque created his first engraved plasters and began to portray mythological subjects. Georges Braque had his first important art retrospective in 1933 at the Kunsthalle Basel. In 1937 Braque won First Prize at the Carnegie International, in Pittsburgh.

Georges Braque at his studio with Mourlot and Master Printers, 1962

During World War II, Georges Braque remained in Paris. During this period Braque primarily painted still-lifes and interiors, and Braque’s art became more and more somber as the war continued. From the late 1940s Georges Braque created numerous lithographs, engravings, and sculptures where, Braque utilized recurring themes of birds, ateliers, landscapes, and seascapes. Georges Braque, along with Henri Matisse, is credited for introducing Pablo Picasso to Fernand Mourlot, and most of the lithographs, illustrated books, and original prints Braque created in the 1940s and '50s were produced at the Mourlot Lithography Studios. In 1948 Georges Braque was awarded the main prize for painting at the Venice Biennale, and in 1951 Braque was made a Commander of the Legion of Honour. A few years later, Braque employed his skills as a craftsman, when Braque designed stained-glass windows for the church of Varengeville and painted the ceiling for the Etruscan Gallery at The Louvre. In 1961 George Braque had the distinction of being the first living artist to have his art exhibited at The Louvre.

Louvre I , c. 1955, Lithograph

Louvre IV, c. 1955, Lithograph

During the last few years of Braque’s life, ill health prevented Braque from undertaking further large-scale commissions, but Baroque continued to paint, create lithographs, and design jewelry. Georges Braque died on August 31, 1963, in Paris with his wife, Marcelle, at his side.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Joan Miro and Carborundum Etchings

Trace sur la Paroi IV, 1967
Etching, Aquatint with Carborundum
73.5 x 104 cm
 Throughout his life, Artist Joan Miro worked in several printmaking processes, including engraving, lithography and etching, as well as the use of stencils (called pochoir). Joan Miro stated that printmaking made his paintings richer, and gave him new ideas for his art. 

Exile Vert, 1969
Etching, Aquatint with Carborundum
102.5 x 70 cm
A major breakthrough for Miro's graphic work arrived through an introduction, by renowned master printmaker Robert Dutrou, to carborundum (silicon carbide engraving) in 1967. The Carborundum printmaking process, pioneered by Henri Goetz, is an engraving technique requiring the use of an abrasive ground (carborundum) added to the etching plate to create a granulated or textured surface. Joan Miro found that by combining this new technique with other etching methods, especially aquatint (a painterly technique of engraving a resin ground on an etching plate rather than the plate itself), Miro could invent images to rival any painting, thereby ennobling the art of printmaking. The etchings and aquatints with carborundum, created from 1967 through 1969, set an incomparable standard for quality and indicated to the artist the incredible possibilities inherent to the carborundum technique, which Joan Miro would continue to explore throughout the balance of his career. The importance of this series of carborundum aquatints conceived from 1967 through 1969 was recognized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1970 with a special exhibition devoted to them titled Joan Miro: Fifty Recent Prints.

La Fronde, 1969
Etching, Aquatint with Carborundum
106 x 70 cm
In the final decade of Joan Miro’s life, Miro devoted himself primarily to the art of printmaking, literally flinging himself headlong into project after project. Miro'sretreat from painting was not due to any weakening of his creative abilities or fertile imagination, but rather a focus especially on etching as the chosen means to an end. This was also a busy period for Robert Dutrou. From 1976 to 1981, Joan Miro created twenty-two compositions in etching, aquatint and carborundum with him, many on a large scale, as well as completing many engravings as illustrations for books.

Would you like to Collect Joan Miro Original Works of Art? Please visit our website to view our complete collection of Joan Miro Carborundum Etchings for sale.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Wifredo Lam

“With regard to life, modern painting is a revolutionary activity…We need it in order to transform the world into a more humane place where mankind can live in liberty…We must accept these things with passion. It means that we must live imaginatively.”   – Wifredo Lam

Le Regard Vertical, 1973

Wifredo Lam was born December 8, 1902, in Sagua la Grande, Cuba. Lam’s father was a Chinese immigrant, and Lam’s mother was of African, Indian, and European descent. From and early age Lam was exposed to rites of the African orishas, and Lam’s contact with African celebrations and spiritual practices proved to be Lam’s greatest artistic influence especially in his lithographs, etchings, aquatints, and engravings.

Demons Familiars (Pleni Luna Suite), 1974
In 1916, the Lam family moved to Havana, where Wifredo Lam attended the Escuela de Bellas Artes. During the early 1920s, Lam exhibited at the Salón de la Asociación de Pintores y Escultores in Havana. In 1923, Lam moved to Madrid. While living in Madrid Lam studied at the studio of Fernando Alvarez de Sotomayor, the Director of the Museo del Prado and the teacher of artist Salvador Dalí.

In 1929, Lam married Eva Piriz, who tragically died of tuberculosis two years later, as did Lam’s young son. This heartbreaking event may have contributed to the dark and brooding appearance of much of Lam’s later lithographs, etchings, and aquatints.

Lune Haute (Pleni Luna Suite), 1974
In the early 1930s, the influences of Surrealism were evident in Lam’s work, as was the influence of artists Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. Lam moved to Paris in 1938, where Picasso took Lam under his wing, introducing Lam to many of the leading artists of the time, such as Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque and Joan Miró. Picasso encouraged Lam’s interest in African art and primitive masks, and Lam’s involvement with Santería, a religion rooted in African culture, would become integral to his work. During that year, Lam also traveled to Mexico, and stayed with artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

By the late 1930s, Lam was associated with the Surrealists. Wifredo Lam had his first solo show at the Galerie Pierre Loeb in Paris in 1939, and Lam’s work was exhibited alongside Picasso’s at the Perls Galleries in New York.

The Jungle, 1949

During World War II, Lam spent most of his time in the Caribbean, along with Claude Lévi-Strauss, André Masson, and André Breton, whose poem “Fata Morgana” Lam illustrated in 1940. Lam eventually moved back to Havana in 1941. Lam’s first year in Cuba marked a pivotal point in Lam’s artistic development. In this year Lam was introduced to the theories of Carl Jung, and by the end of 1942 Lam began ‘The Jungle,’ one of Lam’s most powerful masterpieces. In “The Jungle” Lam’s exploration of mythic images paralleled that of the Abstract Expressionists. Lam created his own style by fusing Surrealism and Cubism with the spirit and forms of the Caribbean, easily found in his graphic works.

Tree of Feathers, 1974
Between 1942 and 1950, Wifredo Lam exhibited regularly at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York. In 1946, after a four-month stay in Haiti, Lam returned to France via New York. In 1960, Lam established a studio in Albisola Mare, on the Italian coast. The winter of that year Lam married Swedish painter Lou Laurin. Lam and Laurin would have three sons together.

In 1964, Wifredo Lam received the Guggenheim International Award, and in 1966–67 there were multiple retrospectives of Lam’s work at the Kunsthalle Basel; the Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels. Wifredo Lam died September 11, 1982, in Paris.

See more works by Wifredo Lam.

Select Museum Collections:
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Guggenheim Museum, New York
Tate Gallery, London
Metropolitan Museum, New York
Reina Sofia National Museum, Madrid
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City
National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lithographic Vintage Posters

Henri Matisse "Madame de Pompadour" 1951
Vintage poster collecting became fashionable at the turn of the 19th Century. Vintage posters were a vibrant and expressive form of advertising meant to attract the throngs of everyday consumers in cities both large and small. These vintage posters had to be visually striking and immediately convey their message in order to entice the viewer. Vintage posters were typically placed at street (eye) level, and often these vintage posters were positioned in prominent areas such as gallery windows, railway stations, street kiosks, or on the sides of buildings where the vintage posters could be easily seen.

Pablo Picasso "Galerie Beyeler" 1967
As vintage poster collecting grew more popular, vintage posters were burglarized from billboards at an alarming rate, and it became increasingly difficult for advertisers to keep their vintage posters on the streets. As a solution to the problem, vintage poster lithography workshops increased production and began selling the vintage posters to the public.

Marc Chagall "Le Baie des Anges" 1962
These collectable vintage posters were created in lithography print workshops (also known as ateliers) that specialized in the print medium of Lithography. The Atelier Mourlot, founded in 1852, was a lithography print studio located in Paris that produced a number of vintage posters. Originally a printer of fine wallpaper, the Atelier Mourlot became involved in the printing of illustrated books as well as high quality vintage posters for the French National Museums and major foreign institutions. By 1937 the Mourlot lithography studio had established a reputation as the largest print workshop of vintage posters by master artists.

Joan Miro "Galerie Maeght" 1948
The Atelier Mourlot lithography studio was generationally operated by the sons of founder Francois Mourlot. The Atelier Mourlot took a modern artistic turn when Fernand Mourlot invited the master artists of the time into the Mourlot lithography studios to learn the technique of lithography. The Atelier Mourlot lithography studio played host to many major 20th century master artists including: Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Miro, Chagall, Leger, Dubuffet, Moore, Le Corbusier, Calder, Kelly, Rauschenberg, Matta, Bacon, Ernst, Lichtenstein, and many more.

Marc Chagall "The Magic Flute" 1967
Mourlot encouraged these master artists to work directly on the lithography stones or plates to create original vintage posters which would then be printed in small editions. The results of this artistic print collaboration between master artists and Mourlot were technically inventive, visually captivating and opened a unique realm of creative expression known as Fine Art lithography. Mourlot was proud of these vintage posters which bore the Mourlot family name and they became known worldwide for their originality, beauty and craftsmanship.

Original vintage posters by master artists of the 20th Century, have come to be recognized as a highly collectible form of art, whether for pleasure or for investment purposes. World-renowned museums exhibit vintage posters and many have permanent collections of vintage posters. Magnificent examples of such vintage poster collections can be found at the Louvre, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern, and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Le Corbusier "Tapisseries Recents" 1960

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Henri Matisse Biography

Odalisque au Coffret Rouge,1952
“What I dream of is an art of balance, purity and serenity devoid of troubling or disturbing subject matter…like a comforting influence, a mental balm—something like a good armchair in which one rests from physical fatigue.”
                                                   – Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse was born in Le Cateau-Cambrésis in northern France. Matisse first began painting in 1889, when Matisse’s mother gave him art supplies during a period of convalescence following an attack of appendicitis. Henri Matisse discovered “a kind of paradise” in painting, and Matisse abandoned his legal career, to the deep disappointment of Matisse’s father.

In 1891 Henri Matisse moved to Paris to study art at the Acadamie Julian. It was here that Henri Matisse achieved proficiency in academic painting in the classic reserved style. In 1897, Henri Matisse was exposed to the artwork of Van Gogh and the palette of the Impressionists, which deeply changed Matisse’s understanding of color. Henri Matisse was greatly influenced by Neo-Impressionist artists: Eduard Manet, Auguste Rodin, Cezanne, Paul Signac and Gauguin.

Woman with a Hat, 1905
Oil on canvas
Henri Matisse had his first solo show at art dealer Ambroise Vollard’s gallery in 1904. At the 1905 Salon d’Automne, Henri Matisse and artists Andre Derain, Maurice de Vlaminck and Albert Marquet, exhibited together. Henri Matisse and his colleagues’ intensely vibrant, spontaneously painted works were jeered by the public, who deemed them exceedingly primitive, brutal and violent. The group of artists was dubbed “Les Fauves” (the wild beasts) by art critic Louis Vauxcelles. Other Fauvist included: Georges Braque, Raoul Dufy, and Maurice de Vlaminck. Matisse’s painting from the exhibition “Woman with a Hat” was bought by Gertrude Stein, who would become an important collector and supporter of Matisse.

Le Buffet, 1929
Gertrude Stein and her brother Leo were avid patrons of Matisse’s work and through Stein’s salons Henri Matisse was introduced to other important collectors as well as artists. In 1907 Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse met at one of Stein’s salons. This was the beginning of a creative association and rivalry between Picasso and Matisse. “No one has ever looked at Matisse's painting more carefully than I; and no one has looked at mine more carefully than Matisse.” stated Pablo Picasso.

After World War I, Henri Matisse had gained a high reputation and Matisse was awarded the French Legion of Honor in 1925. Henri Matisse was an internationally recognized artist by 1930. During the 1940s Henri Matisse also worked in the Mourlot Studio in Paris, creating black-and-white prints for several illustrated books and over one hundred original lithographs, woodcuts, linocuts, and etchings.

Decoupage, 1954
In 1941 Henri Matisse had two major operations for duodenal cancer which had a devastating effect on Matisse’s health and ability to paint. The surgeries left Matisse unable to stand upright in front of an easel, and Henri Matisse was confined to either a bed or a wheelchair. Undaunted by this immobility, Matisse would tape a piece of charcoal to a long stick and Matisse would draw on mounted paper or directly on the walls or ceilings. Henri Matisse discovered a new kind of artistic creativity with papiers découpés, abstract shapes cut from colored paper. “The paper cut out” Matisse said “allows me to draw in the color. It is a simplification for me. Instead of drawing the outline and putting the color inside it—the one modifying the other—I draw straight into the color”. These artworks rank as some of the most joyous artworks ever created by an artist at an advanced age and Henri Matisse continued creating paper cutout works until his death. In 1947 Henri Matisse published Jazz, a limited-edition illustrated book containing original prints (lithographs, etchings and woodcuts) of colorful, paper cut collages.

Odalisque Sur Fond Rouge, 1929
Henri Matisse died on November 3, 1954 in Nice as an innovative artist who explored color and form through his paintings, lithographs, etchings, linocuts, illustrated books, sculpture and stain glass windows. Pablo Picasso once said about Matisse: "All things considered, there is only Matisse".

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Picasso's Ceramics

Pablo Picasso is considered an artistic master, partly because Picasso’s oeuvre extends far beyond traditional painting methods, and encompasses all artistic mediums including: lithography, etching, linocuts, and even pottery. Picasso gleaned a particular joy in creating ceramics, as evidenced by Picasso’s thousands of ceramic objects including: wittily decorated terra cotta plates, charming ceramic figures, earthenware pitchers, clay masks, glazed plaques and hand-painted tiles, all created with Picasso’s child-like whimsy.

By the late 1940's, Picasso was withdrawing from the pressures of Paris and spending more and more time at the Picasso home Galloise, a villa above the town of Vallauris in the south of France. The town of Vallauris had been blessed with ground that yielded excellent clay, and Vallauris had been an important ceramics-producing center from Roman times to the 1920's. In 1946 Picasso was invited by George and Suzanne Ramie to visit the Madoura pottery factory, and in 1947 Picasso began to create his own ceramics at Madoura. Between 1947-1971 Pablo Picasso created more than 3,000 ceramic objects at the Madoura pottery factory, including: ceramic plates, ceramic pitchers, hand-painted ceramic tiles, enamel glazed ashtrays, ceramic vases, and ceramic plaques. For a decade Picasso would also produced linoleum-cut posters for Vallauris’ small summer Ceramics Festival.

While working in the ceramic medium, Picasso would deliberately mismatch or reposition handles or spouts in order to ingeniously create facial or anatomical features on the ceramic objects. Picasso would pick up discarded scraps of unfired clay to create seated or standing female figures, reiterating Picasso’s reflexive obsession with the female form. When is a vessel just a vessel for Picasso? Almost never. Along with Suzanne Ramie's technical tips, Picasso used unconventional tools for surface patterning such as kitchen knives or perforated cooking utensils. The dominant themes of Picasso’s ceramics became: the face; still lifes, bucolic scenes evoking a mythical Mediterranean past, bullfights, and animals like birds and fish. In short, many of Picasso’s life-long interests conveniently found new expression in the ceramic medium.

Friday, July 2, 2010

What makes a good investment art piece?

As a beginning collector, you may find yourself wondering HOW you can determine whether the work you are interested in is a good investment. Multiple criteria will determine this important choice for you


As I previously established in an earlier post, for investment purposes it is wise to collect an established artist (see Who Should We Collect).

Artistic and Historical Significance

This criterion includes originality and creativity. When you are considering a work, ask yourself:

-Is the print an exceptional example of the artist’s work?

-Is it one of the artist’s signature styles?

-Is it one of the pinnacles of the artist's achievement in that style or with respect to his/her output in general?

-How does it relate to other works within that artist’s oeuvre?

-Does it relate to other artworks by other contemporaries of that artist and seem to be "of the moment"?

-Has the print been widely exhibited?

-Is it included in important books and catalogues about the artist?

A good example of historical significance is this Pablo Picasso “Le Repas Frugal”. This etching was created early in Picasso’s career, and marks a pivotal moment between Picasso’s Blue and Rose periods.


This is where the aesthetics come into play, and determines the demand for a print. There are multiple sub-criteria in this category, including expressiveness, emotional power, humor, complexity or creative economy of line.

There are also Technical considerations to take into account:

-How was the print produced?
-Does it display superior craftsmanship or technical excellence?

You may also hear a print be described as a “strong impression,” this literally means that the impression left on the paper was a “good pull” or a good press of the image.


This is especially pertinent to a print. Works on paper are delicate and can easily be damaged by mishandling, poor framing, exposure to strong light and of course the passage of time. But paper is much more resistant than we would imagine. When you look at a Rembrandt etching which is 400 years old and still in very good condition, you can realize that well preserved print can last for almost ever. Of course, the prints in good condition are more sought after by collectors and therefore their prices are higher.

Badly Damaged Etching, Artist Unknown

It is always important to determine the whole condition of a print including margins (full or not), stains, fading, etc..

A frame can be beautiful but can hide defects which can make the print of a much lesser value than the marked price.


The international art market decides the price of a print, based on the principle of supply and demand. Original prints may exist in multiples, but they are still extremely limited. Considering an edition of 50 spread in the whole world you can easily do the math! If a certain print is in demand and the supply is no longer there, the price will go up. The rarity of a piece usually makes it more desirable and more valuable.

You should ask yourself:

-How large is the edition?
-Are there any variations within the edition?
-Has this artist produced many prints or very few?

I am often asked if the number of the edition also determines the value, and the answer is no, with a few exceptions. To the art market the number values are all the same so number 11/200 is the same as 199/200. Some people can value lower numbers, and or special numbers but this not relevant. Other exceptions are the proofs and special editions aside from the regular edition. These can be more valuable, because they can be seen as special.


Plate Signed

A signature by hand is important because we always prefer to see the direct intervention of the artist on an original print, although that does not mean that a print MUST be signed to be original. Some print editions are unsigned and still very expensive, a good example of this is Renoir's Enfant Au Biscuit, which was never signed but is still considered extremely valuable.

Hand Signed

Sometimes the signature is in the plate or stone. Sometimes the print is estate signed or estate stamped, meaning it bares the stamp of the Warhol Estate as an example. When researching a print it is very good to consult the catalogue raisonné for that artist, as it will help you determine how the specific edition was signed, if ever.


The provenance is the history of ownership. If a piece was owned by a prestigious collector or famous individual it might be viewed as more valuable. But this is rather true for unique works whose traceability is much easier. Usually the provenance of most prints in the market is unknown and this does not affect their value.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What Artists are the best to Collect for Investment?

There are essentially two kinds of artists that you can collect:
Artists we KNOW, and Artists we FEEL.

"Artists we know" are artists who have established themselves in the art market. If we were to liken these to stocks, these established artists would be considered “Blue Chips.” Obvious examples of these artists would be longtime recognized artists: Picasso, Chagall, Matisse, Warhol, Lichtenstein, etc. But also more and more living artists like David Hockney, Damien Hirst, Gerhard Richter, Peter Doig, Lucian Freud, Robert Indiana, Christo, etc.
Woman admiring Pablo Picasso prints at the MET Museum, New York

ArtistsWe Feel

"Artists we feel" are just that, artists that perhaps have not yet established themselves in the art scene, but we feel they are something special, and have great potential. These artists are comparable to a stock market “Start-up.” Of course there is no guarantee that these artists will ever reach Museum Status, but that is not why we invest in these artists, we invest in them because their works speaks to us on a visceral level, and we feel them with our hearts and souls.
Unknown Artist Exhibition, Los Angeles

Artists we know vs. Artists we feel

There is nothing wrong with spending some money on the artists we feel and love, just to have the pleasure of seeing them on our walls. My recommendation is to keep these kinds of investments low enough to enjoy without losing a lot, as money is hard earned, and a substantial price should only be paid for REAL VALUE with a strong future potential. If your purpose of collecting is investing then GO WITH WHAT YOU KNOW!
 Andy Warhol, Moonwalk, 1987 Screenprint

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why Should We Collect Original Prints?


The first and probably the most obvious reason for us to collect original prints is that they are simply more affordable than other mediums. The affordability also lends itself to better quality and quantity. For the same price as a small painting by an unknown or minor artist, you might be able to collect an important print by a major internationally famous artist such as Picasso, Chagall, Matisse, etc.

Picasso Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City 2010

A Picasso painting recently broke the world record and sold for more than 106 Million dollars, but you could acquire a museum quality Picasso graphic for under $20K.

You get more for your money, and the prospect of owning an original work by a master is more attainable than you realize.

Opportunity to Collect a Museum Quality Master
Picasso Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City 2010

Although just about every significant museum of modern art today acquires prints, one of the best examples of the benefits of print collecting was provided by Norton Simon, the industrialist and founder of his eponymous museum, who hoarded Picasso prints like they were going out of style. He acquired 710 Picasso prints but only five Picasso paintings. Clearly, he didn’t do it because, unlike many print collectors, they were the only Picassos he could afford, but rather because the print medium, especially in the hands of Picasso, the greatest print innovator of all time, gave rise to unique and breathtakingly beautiful artistic expressions.


Picasso Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City 2010
It is also good to note that because the original print medium is a medium of limited editions, the availability of these master prints is much better, although many popular or exceptional editions can be increasingly difficult to come by.