So as promised, this post is all about Limited Edition Prints from museums and public galleries. There is a HUGE amount of absolutely brilliant art available at decent prices. The museums work with artists to host public exhibitions and one of the outcomes is often a limited edition print for the gallery to sell and raise funds. With the reduction in public funding, most museums and galleries have set up commercial arms to drive revenue which enables them to continue running. There’s a silver lining in every situation as it means there is more affordable art available from some really brilliant artists. For an artist to show in one of the public galleries is a big deal. It means they’re considered to be extremely good – and therefore extremely collectable.
When I first started working in the art world some 15 years ago there was a print I absolutely loved at the Whitechapel Gallery in east London, called ‘Ghost’ by the artist Mark Wallinger. There were 500 produced and they were available for a few hundred pounds – I think £350 or thereabouts. At the time we couldn’t afford it and so I admired it from afar. That same print sold in auction a couple of years back for £2,250. I must admit if I’d managed to get my hands on one I’d never sell it, its an absolutely incredible print, details below:
“Based on a scanned reproduction of George Stubbs’ “Whistlejacket,” (an 18th century oil painting in London’s National Gallery, this print by Mark Wallinger presents a unique spin on a familiar image of physical grandeur. Originally conceived as a study for a large oil on canvas, Wallinger found himself drawn to the x-rayed, negative qualities of the print and, adding a unicorn horn with photoshop, here infuses the subject with a sense of haunting mysticism” Christies
So buying from public galleries tends to be a win win – you get great art, that tends to (at least) hold its price, plus you’re supporting the gallery. Some editions sell out pretty quick though – we managed to snap up this Peter Doig print from the Tate exhibition which has also jumped up in value.
We also bought this Chris Ofili glow in the dark print for £70 from the Serpentine back in 1998, now valued at over £2,000. A beautiful print and a great investment!
I’ve said many times that art is personal and its important to develop your own taste. I’ve listed various limited edition works below that I think are fabulous, and, well it is Christmas soon, so they’d make great gifts!
Cornelia Parker ‘A Little Drop of Gin‘ 2016 Edition of 120 £350 Foundling Museum
Quentin Blake ‘Mothers and Babies Underwater‘ Edition of 250 £250 Foundling Museum
From Left to Right:
Pascale Marthine Tayou ‘Lover‘ 2015 Edition of 14 £3,000 Serpentine Gallery
Terry O’Neill ‘David Bowie and Elizabeth Taylor‘ 1974 From £1,440 V&A
Dan Holdsworth ‘Mount St. Helens from Spirit Lake‘ 2012 Edition of 100 £175
Eva Rothschild ‘Handstand‘ Edition of 50 £150 The Baltic
Patrick Caulfield ‘I’ll Take My Life Monotonous‘ Edition 100 £2,100 Royal Academy
Joan Jonas ‘Mountain Owl‘ Edition of 50, £450 Whitechapel Gallery
Nick Walpington ‘Walking Out to the Sun‘ 2007 Edition of 300 £115 Whitechapel Gallery
Peter Saville ‘MULTICOLOUR TM‘ limited edition Edition of 100 £750 Tate Museum
Allen Jones ‘Secretary‘ £150 Royal Academy
My go to museums for great prints are:
- Whitechapel Gallery – probably the best institutional collection there is. New prints are published a few times each year. Can sell out quickly!
- Serpentine Gallery – can be pricey but an amazing range of artists
- Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) – edgy and challenging
- Foundling Museum – small range but brilliant
- Tate – has fine art edition prints as well as posters
- Baltic – good range of retro and modern prints
Bear in mind that if you join the museum’s members scheme, most offer a discount. Membership schemes deliver a range of benefits, from invites to private views, priority bookings, discounts and newsletter/ e-bulletins/ magazines.
If you’d like more help with sourcing and selecting art, visit my art consultancy business Common Room Projects.