Artist signed prints at auction
By William Gregory MRICS, Golding Young and Mawer.
Affordable art is a term that often features in the title of exhibitions and auctions and can illustrate the conflict between price and value.
Prints have always been a way of allowing a route to economical art ownership. Whilst gallery prices for certain artists can at first appear expensive, they will often be a fraction of the cost of original works.
Prints can be produced through a variety of processes, with the additional cachet of being artist signed and/or limited edition.
This feature is usually located in the margin of the picture in the white border, whereby the artist will sign either in pen or pencil and number the piece (e.g. 1/25 being the first print in an edition of 25).
Impressed blind stamps may also be used by the publisher to further confirm the individuality of the picture; the prints can often come with detailed certificates of authenticity.
At a recent art auction five prints sold, each demonstrating the format of artist signed prints.
The top price went to the North West artist Laurence Stephen Lowry, although not for a typical scene of matchstick men and industrial buildings. This more scenic picture of sailing yachts sold to a bid of £3,400.
Welsh artist Kyffin Williams’ original works have increased at auction over the last decade and can exceed £60,000, making the initialled print of an elderly gentleman (Welsh farmer) an easier proposition to the budget, selling for £240.
Internationally renowned artists can also be purchased, although not artist signed; a diptych lithograph titled Whaam! by Roy Lichtenstein commanded a final bid of £360.
Leading British postwar artist Graham Sutherland was represented at the auction with a signed and numbered print titled Toad 2, achieving £340 at auction.
Finally, closer to home, a signed coloured print by the late Colin Carr, past editor of Lincolnshire Life, titled Sunday Morning sold at the auction for a very modest £15.