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Holding Steady: Prints emerge as a safe investment (Art + Auction)

This article came out a while ago (2010) but much of the data is still relevant for people who want to learn more about the investment potential of limited edition prints. According to Art + Auction, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s prints have doubled in value in just one year.  The artist’s Back of the Neck screenprint with hand coloring dated 1983 from an edition of 24, sold for $243,500 at Christie’s in April 2010.

There used to be more Basquiat’s paintings on the market than prints but after 2007, sales for his prints started to outpace paintings, even doubling the number of paintings in 2008 (See attached graphs).

We will be following the print market this year and provide an update to compare. Stay tuned!

“Over the past decade, prints have accounted for a significant chunk of the fine-art auction revenue. Although most of the works–which range from lithographs and silkscreens to etchings and drypoints–are relatively affordable, with more than half selling for less than $5,000 over the past 10 years, many examples have fetched upwards of $100,000. We looked at three artists with strong print and painting markets–Jean-Michel Basquiat, Sam Francis, and Andy Warhol–to determine how the two media compare. Below are line graphs of the art prince indexes for their paintings and prints, based at 100 in January 2000; on the opposite page are bar graphs of the volume of prints and paintings sold by each artist at auction. Because of the low price point needed to participate and its relatively high liquidity, the print market offers opportunities for smart investment in addition to aesthetic rewards. Of course, prints, although less volatile than some other media, are not immune to contractions in the art market, as our art indexes make clear. Overall, however, none of the three artists’ works in the medium lost value over the past decade, despite the ups and downs of the economy experienced during that period. A $100,000 investment in a Warhol print in 2000 would have quadrupled in value by 2010.”

Food for thought!

Print Market

Jean-Michel Basquiat print market..not too shabby

Andy Warhol print market

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