How to start buying art prints: Everything you need to know

12 November 2018|investment |James Nicholls

How to start buying art prints: Everything you need to know

Record-breaking auctions and multi-million dollar sales often attract the most media attention in the contemporary art market, and this can be intimidating for would-be art collectors. For this reason, the art prints market can be a godsend, providing a more affordable way to purchase pieces by household names.

Nevertheless, the prints market can still be a daunting place, and new collectors can still have plenty of questions to ask. We’ve looked to answer some of them here.

What are art prints?

“A lot of people really just think that prints are reproductions of existing paintings, which is really not the case at all,” Rachel Gladfelter, director at Pace Prints Chelsea, recently told Artsy.

Prints are legitimate works of art in their own right, not just copies or posters of original works, though they are often produced in editions. In fact, many dealers and artists argue that the medium allows for a new level of experimentation.

Here at Maddox Gallery, we’ve been lucky enough to have had established Young British Artist Dan Baldwin in residence, screen printing limited edition art prints as part of the Mayfair Art Weekend. Similarly, our event at Smallbone of Devizes for London Festival of Design 18 event featured live screen printing which attendees could actively get involved in.

Why should I buy?

Lindsay Griffith, prints and multiples specialist Christie’s, told Artsy that the art prints market is regularly seen as “a gateway point to the art world.”

“It’s certainly still perceived that way by many,” she explained, “but I think that’s a bit of a misconception, because people collect prints at any stage of their collecting career.”

One of the many benefits of art prints is that they are one of the easiest mediums to display, when compared to large scale paintings or sculptures – especially in smaller urban spaces. As a result, art prints are a favourite among interior designers looking to add a big hit of colour without reorganising an entire room.

However, as prints are often on paper they can require particular care. Things to consider include temperature, humidity and natural light as well as direct wear and tear. Maddox Gallery advises clients on framing, hanging and storage to ensure they are able to keep their art prints in the best condition possible.

How much do they cost?

The art prints market is also attractive for new and established collectors alike, as it’s possible to purchase art by established names at affordable price points.

Galleries often collaborate on prints with artists, providing the perfect way for individuals to start buying art prints and growing their collection in an affordable manner. For instance, recently our clients had the opportunity to purchase the first ever limited edition print by Bradley Theodore for just £3,000, compared to his paintings which start from £5,000.

However, prints can differ dramatically in price. For instance, Christie’s saw prices reach $275,000 for an Andy Warhol screenprint. The Scream (After Munch) (1984) was intended as an edition but never produced in full, and so there were only a small number of impressions made, each with unique colour combinations. As this represented a rarity for the prolific Warhol, the work commanded a high price.

Where should I go?

There are many places where you can buy art prints, from sales at well known auction houses to online sales, annual print fairs or your local print gallery.

Maddox Gallery Editions is our newly-opened location on Shepherd Market, Mayfair, and our first space dedicated entirely to limited edition art prints. Pay us a visit and find out more about the variety of works we have on show.

Written by James Nicholls, Chairman, Maddox Gallery.

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