WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN INVESTING IN FINE ART PRINTS
BUYING AND COLLECTING PRINTS PRO’S AND CONS
In a world were buying unseen prints via the internet, online auctions etc is getting easier and more enticing, one has to be vigilance before you buy and lose money
In the last 7 years of dealing I have seen a huge amount of prints that are not signed, are proofs, or even photocopies of prints or especially glued down onto cardboard. In most cases one cannot go back on the trade. We have lost a lot of money and by reading the below might limit your risk when buying.
BUY SIGNATURE PRINTS, OR PRINTS THAT YOU ENJOY
Most mature artists have developed their styles over a period of time, such as Kentridge, Pierneef, Muafangejo, de Jong, Boonzaair etc, of these many prints embody the artists style, like Pierneefs “Doringbos”, Muafangejo’s “Battle of Rhokes drift”, or Boonzaaiers Lino Flowers. These ‘signature’ works stand out more than the artists earlier works or experimental works. Were this doesn’t apply is with Battiss where he could do different styles in one days creation. These works are both pleasing and easy to resell given their strong stylistic rendering.
If you don’t want to buy signature works nothing stops you from buying unusual prints from the artists studio,
DON’T BUY UNSIGNED PRINTS, UNLESS YOU LIKE THEM
Although most prints weren’t signed before the 1920’s (These include Rembrandts, Durer’s etc) signing and editing prints caught on in the 30’s. Many artists who found themselves having completed an edition might have a few unsigned or uneditioned works for friends. In some cases the artist may have signed off the master copy and let the Master printer edition the work, only too die before the signing, this is the case of Peter Clarke’s Icarus and many prints proofs that Tim Print Studios did for Robert Hodgins did before they died. In other dubious editions, I have seen many Fred Pages unsigned, tempting as it may, rather buy the work for your own pleasure than expect any investment returns on them. In the case of Battiss, be very wary if the print is signed by Giles Battiss, and Not Walter Battiss
BE CAREFUL ABOUT BUYING FAKE OR PHOTOCOPIED PRINTS
The most common of these reproductions of Pierneef’s was legally done in the 70’s using a halftone screen. To most these prints look like an original, even the signature, however on closer examination the grey signature turns out to be a half tone print. The only other photocopy that I have seen is a deJong that was photocopied and glued down onto board.
DON’T BUY UNTIL YOU TAKE THE PRINT OUT OF THE FRAME
Most Auction houses and art dealers wont take prints out of the Frame, which seriously creates a risk on your purchase. 1 In most cases the print would have had mountboard acid burn, 2 The print would have been glued to a chunk of cardboard either with wood or worst a rubber glue. 3 General bug activity. Generally one can see if the print is stuck down with glue as its too flat for a piece of paper to lie for 80 years still stretched.
DON’T BUY DIGITALLY REPRODUCED BATTISS PRINTS FOR INVESTMENT
Any print that is reproduced digitally which also scans in the edition number and the orgenal artists signature and then resized or reprinted is not an original print but more of a reproduction of the artwork. These usually have no investment resale value at all, and the sad part is an enthusiastic buyer gets burnt at the potentially cheap (but decorative only) purpose.