Jasper Tordoff, Acquisition Coordinator
Interested in buying or selling
If you are in the market to buy a Christopher Wool print, here are a few pieces of advice before you start your search, to make sure you find the right piece at the right price.
Christopher Wool has produced prints in three distinct groups throughout his artistic career: black and white text artworks, coloured text, and abstract works. Each type relates to a series of original artworks by the artist.
The most sought after – both as original artworks and limited-edition prints – are the black and white text artworks. In 1989, Wool produced a series of prints titled Black Book. Each book was produced in an edition of 350, along with 8 artist proofs, and each contained 17 lithographs spelling out 17 single words in black on white. A complete portfolio of Black Book has achieved up to £37,500 at auction, while a single page of Prankster has sold for as much as $5,760.
Another popular monochrome text print by Wool is Run Dog Run, which exists as both a single print and a set of three. A single print has sold for up to $13,750 (£10,725), while complete sets have sold for as much as £80,500.
Wool’s series of coloured text artworks include My House, which exists both as original artwork and as limited-edition prints, My House I, My House II, and My House III. These have performed well at auction, proving a sound investment for a prospective buyer. A single sheet of My House II sold for $40,000 (£26,783) in April 2015, and the full set can achieve as much as £60,000.
A world away from his text artworks are Wool’s abstract paintings and prints. Perhaps the most recognisable of these is Untitled (Sonic Youth), produced in 2012. The artwork shows a bold, black splattered paint shape on a white background, a detail was featured on a 2006 album cover for band Sonic Youth. Artists’ collaborations and cultural associations often open an artist’s work to a wider audience, and a more diverse pool of collectors, which in turn increases the work’s value – a print of Untitled (Sonic Youth) can sell for as much as $27,000.
But, most importantly, when considering investing in any artwork is thinking about what that artwork means to you, and whether you like it and will enjoy owning it.
The majority of Wool’s editioned prints are either signed in pencil or embossed with the artist’s name. They are also often dated and detailed with an edition number.
Wool’s Black Book prints series are not individually signed but the folio as a whole is. When looking to authenticate individual prints, it is advisable to seek advice from an expert. This advice applies to authenticating all artworks, whether clearly marked by the artist or not.
Another very good way of proving authenticity is through provenance. Each time an artwork passes through either a reputable dealership or auction house, the authenticity will be reconfirmed by an expert, who will check both the artwork and the journey it made to get to them. A detailed paper trail will not only make it easier to sell and purchase prints, but could also inform its value. It is essential to check an artwork’s provenance before considering a purchase.
The condition of an artwork will speak for its sale value, and it is always advisable to purchase an editioned print in its best possible condition.
As a prospective buyer, always ask to view a print unframed where possible, this way you can see the full artwork front and back, without any part being concealed by a mount or frame.
It is also recommended to seek the advice of an expert who will be able to view the artwork under special lighting conditions in order to fully check the condition. They will look for distortions, stains, tears, uneven paper tone, creases, cracks or scratches, and will be able to create a full condition report. For more information please check our Guide To Restoring And Caring For Modern And Contemporary Prints, or contact one of our experts who will be able to advise.
Artwork prices on the secondary market can fluctuate depending on any number of factors, so it is worth keeping an eye on market trends and understanding what other collectors are looking for and when they are buying. Prices for Wool’s artworks peaked in 2015 but have demonstrated consistently high resale prices in the years since.
Press or media coverage surrounding an artist can drive the value of their artwork up – there is no such thing as bad press! Current exhibitions featuring an artist’s paintings can have a similar effect on other mediums, including prints and editions. As a buyer, this is also something you should be aware of.
Conversely, if there are several editions of the same print available simultaneously on the secondary market, buyers can hope to make a purchase at a better price. Our team of experts will be able to advise on market fluctuation, artwork availability and the best time to invest in a particular artist or artwork.
Whether you are a seasoned collector, or this is your first major print investment, purchasing from a reputable seller is essential.
A trustworthy artwork broker can offer expert guidance on the value, condition and provenance of an artwork – this could take the form of an auction house, a bricks-and-mortar gallery, or a reputable online sales platform like MyArtBroker. It is worth noting that auction houses often charge a premium of up to 30% of the artwork value to the buyer.
As a prospective buyer, you should be aware that purchasing from eBay or other non-specialist internet platforms can see buyers fall victim to authenticity or condition issues. The same goes for any other non-trusted source.
If you choose to source your artwork through MyArtBroker, we can offer expert advice, complete transparency and the convenience of purchasing online from our broad network of collectors. For more information please get in touch.
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