The Artnet Auctions Prints and Multiples Team Answers Your Questions About the Prints Market and our Biggest Sale of the Year
The sale is live now through October 14.
Artnet Auctions’s biggest sale of the year, “Premier Prints and Multiples,” is now live through October 14, presenting the opportunity to bid on a curated selection of prints across mediums and techniques, from unique screenprints and monoprints to etchings and editioned sculpture by artists such as Keith Haring, Robert Rauschenberg, Banksy, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, Sam Francis, Robert Longo, Barbara Kruger, and many more.
To mark the event, the Artnet Auctions prints and multiples team fielded questions from the public. Read on for our specialists’ replies to your most pressing questions about the top lots from the sale, and what’s in store for the future of the prints market.
What print do you most want to take home from the sale?
“If I could pick one lot from the sale to take home with me, it would be the Sam Francis monoprint from 1978,” said specialist Sylvie François Sturtevant. “His monoprints are some of his most sought-after graphic works, and this one in particular is absolutely beautiful, with that bright blue against the crisp white paper.”
Monoprinting is a unique method of printmaking because, unlike methods where multiple originals can be made, each image is one of a kind. The method is conducted by applying paint or ink to a flat metal, glass, or plastic sheet, and transferring the image to paper by manually rubbing or using a press. Sam Francis’s Untitled (EXP-SF-09-#8-78), was printed on hand-made paper in collaboration with Garner Tullis at the International Institute of Experimental Printmaking in Santa Cruz, California. The vibrant blue hue proves Francis’s ability to capture color without line or drawing.
Did Keith Haring really sell his Pop Shop prints at his own pop-up?
“Keith Haring opened his famous Pop Shop in 1986 in Soho. The shop sold mostly watches, T-shirts, and other merchandise, but also these prints, which are a great piece of history in any art collection,” said Conner Williams, head of the prints and multiples department.
Haring opened his Pop Shop in 1986 to serve as an extension of his work, and a way to make his practice more accessible to the public, beyond his murals and subway graffiti. “The use of commercial projects has enabled me to reach millions of people whom I would not have reached by remaining an unknown artist,” he once said. Pop Shop II, which is one of two works from the series available in “Premier Prints and Multiples,” is a prime example of Haring’s iconic moving, outlined figures.
How has the print market evolved in the last decade?
“Banksy, Hirst, Haring, KAWS. These are all artists that appeal to a more tech-savvy collector,” said specialist Jannah Greenblatt. “These are also artists whose markets have risen in the last decade as the prints market has transitioned online.”
Damien Hirst is a prime example of the print market going hand-in-hand with technological advancement. Earlier this year, Hirst jumped on the digital bandwagon when he started accepting cryptocurrency as payment for a series of eight cherry blossom giclée prints created with Heni Leviathan. Each print is named for one of the eight of Bushidō: justice, courage, mercy, politeness, honesty, honor, loyalty, and control. Justice H9-1 and Honesty H9-5 (from The Virtues), are editions from this innovative series.
What is your favorite work in the sale?
“One of my favorite works in this sale, and one that is rare to auction, is Barbara Kruger’s Untitled (Use It or Lose It),” said specialist Lauren Whitton. “The artist often creates works that are either unique or from very small editions, and this work is from an edition of only 10. It has only come to auction once.”
Kruger is a conceptual artist best known for her layered photographs and text-based works exploring issues of commercial culture, feminism, and identity politics. Untitled (Use It or Lose It), a rare example of a Kruger multiple, was created on the occasion of the 2014 Triple Canopy magazine benefit honoring novelist, short-story writer, and critic Lynne Tillman. Tillman provided Kruger a list of sentences, and Kruger selected the present phrase, a remark on society’s wastefulness and commerce and mass media.
Be sure to follow Artnet’s Instagram account, where we’ll occasionally open the floor to Auctions-related questions through our stories—we look forward to hearing from you!
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