A Seller’s Guide To Ai Weiwei

A grid comprising small portraits and drawings of urban scenesImage © Sotheby’s / Haircut © Ai Weiwei 2019
Jasper Tordoff

Jasper Tordoff, Specialist[email protected]

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As one of the most prominent contemporary artists in the world, Ai Weiwei's work has captured the attention of collectors and investors alike. His unique and thought-provoking pieces have been featured in galleries and museums all over the world, and his prints and editions are highly sought after.

If you're looking to sell Ai Weiwei prints, it's important to have a comprehensive understanding of the artist's market. This guide will provide you with key insights into Ai Weiwei's artwork, market trends, and authentication processes. We'll also explore the benefits of selling with MyArtBroker, the pioneering print and edition marketplace. Whether you're a seasoned collector or just starting out, this guide will help you navigate the world of Ai Weiwei prints and editions and make informed decisions to sell with confidence.

“Ai Weiwei is a master of transforming everyday materials into powerful statements about politics, culture, and society.”
Karen Smith, Art Historian and Ai Weiwei Specialist
Two cats sketched in white on a deep pink background.Image © Roseberys London / Cats PINK © Ai Weiwei 2022

How Much Do Ai Weiwei Prints Sell For?

Ai Weiwei prints and editions are in demand. As with any artwork, the value of the artist’s prints and editions can vary based on a variety of factors, including rarity, size, edition number, and condition. Market demand and trends can also impact the price of Ai’s artwork.

However, some of his more rare and coveted pieces can fetch much higher prices at auction. For example, one tonne of Ai’s hand-painted sunflower seeds from his 2010 Tate exhibition sold for $782,000 at Sotheby’s in 2012.

While Ai's prints and editions can be incredibly valuable investments, it's essential to work with reputable dealers and auction houses to ensure authenticity and avoid fraudulent activity. MyArtBroker's expert team has years of experience in the print and edition market, and our powerful data-driven tools can help you rapidly determine the true value of your Ai Weiwei artwork.

Nine circles arranged in a 3x3 grid with monochrome details, set on a white backgroundImage © Phillps / Serpentine Gallery Pavillion © Ai Weiwei 2012

How Do You Authenticate an Ai Weiwei Print?

As with any art investment, authentication is critical. The art market is unfortunately rife with counterfeit and forged pieces, so it's essential to ensure that any Ai Weiwei artwork you're interested in is genuine.

The first step in authenticating an Ai print or edition is to examine its provenance. Provenance refers to the history of ownership of a piece of artwork and can provide valuable information about its authenticity. A clear and detailed provenance can increase the value of a print.

Each print or edition by Ai Weiwei should be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity that clearly states the edition number, and is signed by the artist or their authorised representative. In the case of Ai Weiwei, prints tend to be signed by the artist. Prints without a signature and certificate may not be genuine.

It's also important to consider the condition of the artwork. Ai prints and editions are typically produced in limited quantities, and damage or wear can significantly reduce their value.

Working with a reputable dealer or auction house is crucial when it comes to authenticating Ai prints and editions. Ensure you are working with an expert on the artist who has access to relevant data for assessing authenticity.

Seven rows of sketches in black and green, depicting war scenes and refugees seeking shelterImage © Printed Editions / The Odyssey © Ai Weiwei 2021

When Is the Best Time to Sell My Ai Weiwei Print?

If you’re thinking of selling, timing is a crucial factor in getting the most out of your investment. Understanding market trends and demand can help you determine the optimal time to name your starting price.

Although Ai WeiWei is considered a controversial artist, largely related to his outspoken criticism of the Chinese government, his work is highly relevant, politically charged and demonstrates his unwavering commitment to social justice and activism. Although his mixed media works attract high prices, his overall prints and multiples market comes out on top per volume and performs with competitive prices attesting to his broad artistic oeuvre. There are, however, specific periods when the Ai market experiences a spike in demand, resulting in higher prices for his prints and editions.

One of the best times to sell Ai prints and editions is during major exhibitions. These exhibitions generate a significant amount of press and public interest, leading to increased demand for Ai’s artwork. Additionally, notable art fairs and auctions can present good opportunities to sell Ai prints and editions given the high level of expertise surrounding such events.

Understanding the value, authentication process, and market trends of Ai prints and editions is crucial for anyone looking to sell this artwork. Working with an experienced and knowledgeable art dealer, ideally one with access to real-time and historical auction data like MyArtBroker, can help you get the best possible sale price for your Ai artwork.

Fine sketches of arms and hands holding up a middle finger, printed on a red backgroundImage © Avant Arte / Middle Finger in Red © Ai Weiwei 2023

Where Can I Sell My Ai Weiwei Print?

Selling an Ai Weiwei print or edition can be lucrative, but it's important to know where to sell it to get the best value sale. There are various options available when it comes to selling Ai artwork, including auction houses, brokers, and online marketplaces.

Selling an Ai Weiwei via an Auction House

Auction houses are an excellent option for selling Ai Weiwei prints and editions. Major auction houses such as Phillips and Sotheby’s have hosted auctions of his works, with his works featuring in numerous modern and contemporary art sales. With a vast audience of potential buyers, their marketing campaigns can also generate significant interest in your artwork. Plus, auctions often create a sense of urgency among buyers, fostering competitive bidding and potentially higher sale prices.

Three consecutive photographs of artist Ai Weiwei dropping an urn onto the floorImage © Phillips / Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn © Ai Weiwei 1995

Selling your Ai artwork through an auction house can come with fees, including the seller's commission and other charges. Additionally, auctions typically have strict guidelines regarding the authenticity and condition of the artwork, and your piece may not be accepted if it doesn't meet these criteria. You’ll therefore need to factor in getting your piece properly authenticated before taking it to market at an auction house.

Selling an Ai Weiwei via a Broker

Working with a broker will give you a personalised and slower-paced experience of selling. Your broker should have access to a vast network of potential buyers and industry expertise, meaning you can guarantee a fair price. Selling with MyArtBroker’s team of art professionals can help you navigate the complexities of the art market. With 45 years of experience in facilitating the buying and selling of art, we can provide you with tailored advice on pricing and marketing your Ai artwork. Starting with a free, zero-obligation valuation, we offer a secure and transparent sales process that protects both buyers and sellers throughout the transaction.

Several bombs of various sizes in black and white printImage © Phillps / BOMB © Ai Weiwei 2020

Selling an Ai Weiwei via Online Marketplace

Online art marketplaces also provide a platform for selling Ai Weiwei prints and editions to a global audience of art collectors and investors. With online marketplaces, you can list your artwork for sale, and potential buyers can make offers or purchase directly through the platform. Additionally, online marketplaces typically offer lower fees than auction houses and can provide you with more control over the sales process. MyArtBroker’s online marketplace offers 0% seller fees and no unsold fees as standard. We exist to provide sellers access, transparency and control every step of the way, instantly connecting you to our private network of collectors who are ready to buy.

For sellers of Ai’s prestigious pieces, there are various options available in the form of auction houses, brokers, and online marketplaces. Each option has its benefits and drawbacks, and it's essential to consider your needs and goals carefully. Above all, ensure you’re working with a reputable broker or marketplace that has your best interests at heart.

A portrait of artist Ai Weiwei from a side profile, made out of legoImage © Phillips / Self-Portrait in Lego © Ai Weiwei 2017

Why Sell Your Ai Weiwei with MyArtBroker?

If you're considering selling your Ai Weiwei print or edition, working with a reputable art marketplace like MyArtBroker can provide you with numerous benefits. As well as being the most accessible option for sellers with no fees and free valuation, we also give you access to the most specialised and precise print market data of any online marketplace.

A Dedicated Broker

When you sell your Ai artwork with MyArtBroker, you'll have access to a dedicated broker with in-depth knowledge of the artist’s market. They'll take the time to discuss your price expectations and the sales process, ensuring that you have a clear understanding of what to expect at every stage. You’ll deal with one knowledgeable professional, and they will keep you in the loop with regular updates on the progress of your sale.

Our Private Network of Collectors

At MyArtBroker, we have a private network of collectors accessible via our Trading Floor. This platform allows you to access live demand and supply data, giving you real-time insights into the current state of the Ai market. Additionally, our network of buyers and sellers provides you with access to a vast pool of potential buyers, ensuring that your artwork receives maximum exposure in the art market.

Ai Weiwei Collection Management with MyPortfolio

MyPortfolio is a useful tool for collectors of Ai Weiwei artwork. It allows you to track prices in live time and gives you market insights based on data from 350 international auction houses and over 30 years of results data.

MyPortfolio also gives you access to our market value index, which uses a Repeat-Sales Regression (RSR) approach to estimate the fluctuations in the value of an average representative print over a unique period of time. This allows sellers to accurately see what their print is worth via real-time data-driven insights, ensuring that you get the best possible return on your investment.

Selling your Ai artwork with MyArtBroker provides you with access to an enviable suite of tools and expertise, as well as an established network of blue-chip collectors to help you and your broker hit the ground running. As print and edition specialists, it is our mission to get collectors the best possible deal and the best service, preserving the accessibility of a vibrant and welcoming market.