A Seller's Guide to Pablo Picasso Prints

L’Arlequin Et Sa Compagne by Pablo PicassoL’Arlequin Et Sa Compagne © Pablo Picasso, 1960
Rebecca Marsham

Rebecca Marsham, Sales Director[email protected]

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If you are in the market to sell a Pablo Picasso print, here are a few pieces of advice from our experts before you take the next step.

Spanish artist Pablo Picasso is one of the most famous artists in art history and among the top-five selling artists in the West. Demand for Picasso's artworks has proven to be consistent through the peaks and troughs of the art market.

When is comes to selling works of art, there is a multitude of factors to consider. Toni Clayton, MyArtBroker’s modern art specialist, reveals her insights into the world of the Picasso market and tips on how to go about selling a print.

How much do Pablo Picasso prints sell for? 

“Picasso prints can vary greatly in price, ranging from £8,000 to several million,” says Toni Clayton, MyArtBroker’s Modern Art specialist. “A fair market price depends upon the condition, provenance, and subject matter. Ultimately, it is these factors that determine higher prices in the market for fine art.”

“Picasso produced thousands of prints across his lifetime, beginning when he was a teenager right up until the 1990s. Prints produced in certain periods like the ’40s or ’50s, when Picasso was at his most experimental, are some of the most commercially desirable.”

Generally, the rarer the print the more it sells for. A print from the Saltimbanque Suite – a set of prints made as part of Picasso’s early experiments in the 1900s – sold recently at Christies for £6million, breaking records at the time for the most expensive print sold at auction. This print was particularly desirable as it was a rare, initial proof from the period before the plates were steel coated by art dealer Ambroise Vollard in 1910.

The market for Picasso prints has proven to be a stable one, dipping only twice in the last decade and ultimately improving after the recovery period both times.

Where to sell your Picasso print 

“When selling a Picasso print, the key is to buy from a platform or art expert that understands authenticity, condition, and provenance. Trustworthiness and reliability are essential,” advises Toni.

“They should value your work according to the market and provide you with a full condition report, then advise you accordingly.”

MyArtBroker connects you with a personal broker, who markets your artwork to our network of buyers and ensures any potential interest is genuine. Alongside this, they issue a full condition report and arrange restoration if necessary. Normally you keep hold of your print until a sale is agreed and, once this happens, we organise and cover the cost of shipping. What is more, we offer all of this whilst charging a 0% fee to the seller to create the ultimate hassle free selling process.

Get in touch with MyArtBroker to find out more.

Why sell your Picasso print online? 

“The real benefit of selling work online is that you have access to a much wider audience and, in turn, one that is much more focused on buying modern masters’ prints,” says Toni.

“With MyArtBroker, the entire process is very swift and streamlined with a personal end-to-end service throughout. Compared to having to wait for an auction house or gallery exhibition, the sale of works moves much more quickly online.”

When should I sell my Picasso print? 

“There generally are not best or worst times to sell a Picasso,” explains Toni. “Each work is unique and the sale tends to be driven by demand from buyers.”

“One of the more favourable times to sell is during the auction season just after summer, but this is more to do with the buzz generated by these auctions as opposed to particularly pre-eminent timing.”

“The Picasso market is a very stable one. With the right guidance and access to a receptive audience you could achieve a good sale at any time.”

MyArtBroker helps you access a more focused market for your print, the right price for your artwork, and advises you on the optimum time to sell based on market trends.

How can you prove your Picasso print is authentic? 

Given the popularity and value of Picasso artworks, it is no surprise that forgeries sometimes appear on the market. However, Toni recommends that you begin by checking any available provenance and working from there.

“Another good starting point is to look at the size of the sheet and print. It is worth comparing the size of platemark to other examples from the same edition, which can be found in any catalogue raisonné of Picasso prints. If the platemark is absent, this usually means it is a forgery or the print has been carelessly restored. Whilst the size of the sheets could differ from print to print, or may have been trimmed retrospectively, it is worth comparing the size of the sheet to other authenticated editions as a notable difference begins to raise suspicions.”

“A second key thing to look out for is a signature. The way Picasso signed his artwork changed as his career progressed.”

Most of the time Picasso signed the plate, so the signature was printed along with the rest of the image. Yet he did also sometimes sign in pencil afterwards. Often prints with a pencil signature are valued more highly, as they are deemed to be closer to the artist’s hand, but are also more easily forged.

“There are other signs that suggest authenticity,” Toni continues. “Picasso did not consistently include edition numbers, so it is worth checking in a catalogue raisonné as to the norm for each series. Other period specific features can help to affirm the authenticity of a print, like the inclusion of a dot at the end of the date in works made in the 40s and 50s.”

One of the best things you can do is to keep all the documents relating to your artwork, where you purchased it, or information from previous owners, as all this can help to prove your print's authenticity.

Has your Picasso artwork been kept in good condition? 

The condition of your Picasso artwork directly affects its value, so it is essential you care for it in the best way possible to ensure it is in the optimum state when you sell it.

“Taking preventative measures to ensure the longevity of your print is always better and more cost effective than having to restore damage,” advises Toni. “This is especially true of prints, as paper is such a fragile medium.”

“Making sure your print is mounted on an acid-free backboard and ideally framed behind museum grade glass will do lots to protect it. Keeping your print away from sunlight is fundamental, as direct light causes prints to irreversibly fade. Keeping prints behind glass also helps to protect them from dust and humidity, which can cause the paper to yellow and degrade.”

Whilst prints are much safer in a frame, if this is not possible they should be stored in a dust-free portfolio case in a non-humid room.

Read our guide to caring for your print to find out more.

“Before you sell your print you should get a detailed condition report from an expert, which will outline any defects, if there are any, and vouch for its quality. A report like this reassures buyers and ultimately helps you to get the best price possible for your artwork.”

MyArtBroker supports sellers throughout this entire process. We partner with a professional conservator to offer a free condition report as standard. If there are signs of damage to your print, we will work with our conservator to repair them – often at no additional cost to you.

Get a free valuation of your Picasso print here.

Read our collector's guide to Picasso prints here.