Since 2017, Bridget Riley's mature market has experienced steady rates of growth in value despite the scarcity of her works available on the secondary market. Particular 'star' works shape the Op-Artist's averages, but the compounded annual growth rate has remained stable, with 6% growth in average selling price.
Download our complete 2023 Print Market Report here, to explore expert opinions on the prints and multiples market over the last five years.
Despite the small size of Riley's market, the Op Art luminary continues to attract collectors with a low barrier to entry. Riley's works have an enduring and timeless appeal, toying with optical phenomena and perception. Through her distinctive approach to two-dimensionality, Riley remains one of the most innovative Post-War & Contemporary artists of our time.
Here are Riley's top 10 most investable prints according to our 2023 Market Report:
From Riley's entire oeuvre, one particular work stands out from the crowd: Elapse. Composed of undulating lines of pink, green, blue and yellow, Riley refutes the two-dimensional flatness of her paper ground. Like her other Waves works, Elapse gives the impression of three-dimensional relief and fluid movement, like iridescent waves of water contained within the borders of the print. Part of an edition of 260, the print has seen the highest growth in value of all Riley's prints in the past five years. Since 2017, the work has experienced value growth of approx. 460%. If Elapse had been purchased at the average price in 2017, it would realise a return of 146% according to 2022 averages, making it Riley's most investable print as we enter 2023.
Another of Riley's Waves works, Untitled Wave is formed of eight lines which appear to oscillate across the composition. Unlike Elapse, which disrupts the viewer's perception face-on, this work presents us with the cross-section of Riley's waves and appears to lift from the surface of the print itself. Since 2017, the work has experienced approx. 330% growth in value, making it Riley's second most investable print.
Emblematic of her fascination with stripes throughout the 1970s and 80s, Print For Chicago 8 is testament to Riley's mastery over perception. Through her use of mixed hues, rather than pure colours, Riley fabricates a sense of movement within the linear lines running vertically along this composition. The dizzying print is part of an edition of 150, and has increased in value by approx. 230% since 2017.
Created in 2000, Carnival forms part of Riley's mature oeuvre and speaks to her increasingly confident use of colour. As the title of the print would suggest, the work is a vibrant funfair of colour and form, as the geometric forms seem to blur into flames and flashes of light. Like Riley's work in its entirety, Carnival serves to ignite a feeling within its viewer, using optical illusion to trigger the imagination. Over the last five years, the work has experienced almost 200% growth in value.
Though Riley works exclusively with two-dimensional media, her prints have a distinctly sculptural appeal. Perhaps no work showcases this fact more than One Small Step, which depicts a curved form quite literally taking a small step beyond the border of her composition. Reminiscent of Italian Futurist sculpture by the likes of Umberto Boccioni, the work champions non-linearity, dynamism and energy. The boundary-breaking print has experienced approx. 185% growth in value since 2017, and is therefore one of Riley's most investable prints.
Going Across is one of the most distinctive works in Riley's Lozenges series, as the print is reduced to only two colours. The work is one of Riley's more extensive forays into abstraction, yet the yellow and blue forms have an organic and floral appeal. Riley herself has confirmed that many of her optical works are inspired by her time in Cornwall as a teenager, and the natural phenomena she witnessed there. The work is part of a small edition of 90, and has increased in value by approx. 175% in the past five years.
Like many works in Riley's kaleidoscopic oeuvre, Passing By has a rhythmic and musical quality. Executed in muted hues of pink, green, blue, and white, the print emulates movement both across and along the composition. Speaking of her own work, Riley often discusses how the ”tempo” of her compositions changes the more you look, and this work particularly captures that visual musicality. Since 2017, the work has experienced approx. 130% growth in value.
Also from Riley's Lozenges series, Fold is an abstract work formed of blues, greens, and yellows. Through colour and the fluid undulation of form, Riley seems to mimic the ever-changing organic forms of the skies and seas. Though the work is one of Riley's smallest prints to date, Fold has increased in value by approx. 120% since 2017.
Contrary to the title of this print, Sideways depicts nine vertical lines in a considered sequence of colours. However, Riley clearly intended for this work to be read horizontally, thus probing the viewer to seek deeper meaning in this seemingly simple print. Part of an edition of 250, the covetable print has experienced approx. 115% growth in value over the past five years.
Once again, this print is part of Riley's acclaimed Lozenges series. In fact, Frieze appears almost like a wider extension of Fold, another of Riley's most investable prints. Like all of Riley's work, Frieze is visually complex and urges the viewer to see beyond the two-dimensional picture plane. Since 2017, the work has realised approx. 80% growth in value.
Find out more about Bridget Riley prints as alternative investment assets in our Ultimate Print Market Report.