Mastering the Art Market: Consigning Blue Chip Prints and Editions

Vibrant Andy Warhol butterfly screenprint on magenta background from the endangered species series.San Francisco Silverspot Butterfly (F. & S. II 298) © Andy Warhol 1983
Louis Denizet

Louis Denizet, Head of Acquisitions[email protected]

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In our latest podcast episode, Charlotte Stewart engages in a fascinating conversation with Louis Denizet, the head of acquisitions at MyArtBroker. Louis's rich background in the art market, including his experience at major auction houses and Artsy, makes him an expert at art valuations and consignments, with a particular focus on American pop artists, including Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein, and Tom Wesselmann.

The art world, an alluring and enchanting realm of boundless creativity, captivating exhibitions, and ever-evolving trends, is sustained by the circulation of artwork sales. However, navigating this world as a collector or investor comes with challenges, especially regarding valuations for prints and multiples obtained from various selling platforms, including galleries, auctions and online. Louis and Charlotte break these challenges down, emphasising that although unique trends and personal tastes notoriously shape the art world, there is some science to the figures. In a market driven by passion and creativity, their keen insights illuminate prints with remarkable valuations, offering a clear understanding of the dynamic art market.

Listen to the complete podcast here:

Preparing for Artwork Valuations

When asked about valuing artwork, Louis sheds light on the considerable variability in valuations, which can emanate from diverse sources such as galleries, brokers, and insurance companies. This variability often leads to perplexity among collectors who seek precise and reliable figures for their prized pieces. To navigate this intricate landscape, Louis emphasises the utmost significance of comprehending the perspectives and motivations of those offering valuations. Collaborating with reputable and correct sources is a crucial step in ensuring a well-informed and accurate assessment.

Moreover, Louis astutely underscores that the art market is a free market meaning that one can list their artwork for whatever price they want. However, possessing a valuation for an artwork does not automatically guarantee a successful sale. The art market operates within a dynamic framework, where fluctuating tastes and demand are pivotal in the selling process. As a result, collectors must be cognizant of these ever-changing trends while striving for the most favourable valuation outcome.

To prepare effectively for a comprehensive valuation, Louis offers pragmatic advice, suggesting specific steps collectors can take to ensure a high valuation.

Gathering Paperwork

Central to this preparation is being organised. Start with capturing high-quality and detailed photographs of the artwork. These photographs must artfully portray the nuances of the medium while also providing visual documentation of crucial details, such as the artwork's signature, stamps, and any labels adorning its back. Additionally, gathering essential paperwork, including certificates of authenticity (COA), proof of purchase, and invoice receipts, serves as a vital component in establishing the artwork's legitimacy and provenance.

Interestingly, Louis acknowledges that artworks can find their way into collections through varied paths, including gifting and inheritance. In such cases, he advocates for exploring old photographs, emphasising that even seemingly mundane images of the artwork hanging on a wall in its previous setting hold profound historical significance. These photographs serve as tangible testaments to the artwork's journey through time, evoking a vivid connection to the past and its provenance, noting that “every little piece counts’’.

Valuing Artwork without Paperwork

In the vast realm of art collecting, one may stumble upon a trove of inherited or gifted artworks, only to find themselves lacking the proper paperwork and documentation. While this absence of paperwork might initially seem daunting, as highlighted by Louis, it does not render the artwork “devoid of any value.’’ Instead, it may present some challenges in the selling process. However, fear not, for there are steps one can take to overcome this hurdle.

Talk to Experts

In this digital age, information is readily available at our fingertips, but nothing can replace the value of personal expertise. Specialists like Louis and Charlotte possess a wealth of knowledge derived not merely from textbooks but from their real-world experiences. Conversations with collectors and art experts on a daily basis have granted them access to valuable resources. They can enlighten you on past purchase history, previous sale prices, and comparable artworks in the secondary market. Moreover, they can guide you on the significance of documentation in enhancing the valuation of your artwork.

When speaking with Charlotte, Louis expertly illustrates the value of consulting experts by using the example of a Keith Haring print. If you own one but lack a COA, reaching out to the Keith Haring Foundation can be a wise move. However, navigating the authentication process for deceased artists' works can be intricate and time-consuming. In such situations, turning to experts like MyArtBroker can offer transparent advice, unlike auction houses, and help you navigate through the intricacies of the art world.

As Louis mentions, the significance of paperwork itself cannot be understated. It serves as a vital record, indicating who legally owns the artwork. So, while it might seem like a daunting task, understanding the importance of proper documentation is crucial in unlocking the true value of your artwork.

Browse Keith Haring prints on the Trading Floor and find out more about Haring's print market growth in the American Pop Print Report.

LOOKING TO SELL YOUR KEITH HARING PRINTS?

Request a free and zero obligation valuation with our team without hesitation. Track your Haring prints & editions with MyPortfolio.

Determining Value: Pristine Condition with Authentic Provenance

When it comes to determining the value of exquisitely preserved artworks during the consignment process, Louis sheds light on the importance of monitoring auction results. Demonstrating his expertise in art and market trends, he cites Andy Warhol's iconic Mick Jagger prints as an example. These artworks have been circulating within the art market, fetching competitive prices in the past two years. Louis paints a vivid picture, explaining that if a Mick Jagger print achieves an auction record, it becomes a window of opportunity for those holding a Warhol Jagger print, as the value of that artwork may have appreciated significantly from that record sale.

To comprehend art market trends, Louis acknowledges that for those outside the art world, defining these trends can be perplexing. The art market, like a bubble, exists within a small and competitive sphere driven by brands, contemporary culture, and the pursuit of luxury—an enigmatic realm that enthusiasts yearn to understand. In such instances, trust reputable sources! MyArtBroker's team is exceptionally curated with the best in the industry. Experts like Louis and Charlotte have a wealth of experience in public and private art sales and want to help you achieve the best possible price for your work.

Browse Andy Warhol prints on the Trading Floor and find out more about Warhol's print market growth in the American Pop Print Report.

LOOKING TO SELL YOUR ANDY WARHOL PRINTS?

Request a free and zero obligation valuation with our team without hesitation. Track your Warhol prints & editions with MyPortfolio.

Value at Auction

If you are monitoring auctions to determine the value of your artwork, Louis offers valuable advice: Do not be swayed or confused by premium (public) prices. He and Charlotte expose the lack of transparency within the art world, a challenge that MyArtBroker seeks to address. Auction houses release prices inclusive of fees, but what truly determines the artwork's value is the hammer price, which is not always publicly accessible. Thus, consulting an expert becomes paramount.

Value at Galleries

Tracking hammer prices and subsequently seeking a gallery's valuation can lead to disparities in valuation. Galleries may quote prices based on their collector network, potentially exceeding market value and the observed hammer prices.

Value Online

Lastly, don’t rely on the internet to determine value! Louis humorously likens this to googling medical symptoms when feeling unwell, urging listeners not to rely solely on the internet but to consult true experts. The ever-fluctuating art market and changing preferences play a significant role. Experts like Louis and Charlotte can pinpoint where your artwork's value currently stands, revealing whether it is an opportune time to sell or not. Keeping a finger on the pulse of market trends is vital, and expert guidance ensures a well-informed decision-making process.

How Important is Condition?

Louis emphasises the critical role of the artwork's condition when determining value, asserting that it surpasses the importance of paperwork. This aspect becomes particularly significant in the prints and multiples industry. Louis highlights that owning a single print, out of an edition of 250 for example, holds diminished value if the condition of the work is “subpar’’, as there are potentially 249 other prints in excellent condition. Collectors and investors naturally gravitate towards artworks in a pristine state which will drive the work's valuation, making the condition a decisive factor in their choices.

Drawing a parallel to the real estate industry, Louis underlines that the concept of the condition being key is not new or unusual; much like location in real estate, condition holds sway. Various types of damage can compromise the quality of prints, including water damage, foxing, and issues arising from humidity that may lead to mould and undulation. When faced with such damage, attempting self-repairs is strongly discouraged, as improper handling can also significantly diminish the artwork's valuation. Seeking assistance from experts is the wisest course of action to preserve the artwork's value.

Charlotte also raises the crucial point that as a consignor, one cannot predict if another perfect print of the same edition will emerge in the market simultaneously with their own. Given collectors' preference for high-quality prints, consigning a damaged print to auction presents a risky proposition inherent in the selling process at auctions. Online platforms like MyArtBroker step in to assist consignors, offering advice on conditions and matching them with the right buyer, thereby mitigating potential risks and ensuring a smoother consignment experience.

Market Trends: What are collectors consigning?

Louis emphasises the unwavering spirit of American Pop Art and its favourability on the market. Notably, consignors are finding success with artworks by these iconic artists, including Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, even amidst economic uncertainties.

Complete Sets

The is a notable demand for complete sets. Louis points out that complete sets with matching edition numbers are particularly sought after, almost as much as original artworks noting, “That’s really what collectors want to get their hands on’’.

Sets with political undertones are currently trending. For instance, Andy Warhol's Endangered Species series holds particular relevance and desirability.

“I think that Warhol’s Endangered Species is appealing to a lot of people because its tackles issues of climate change, a current issue that is at the forefront of our mind.’’
Louis Denizet

Charlotte sheds light on other trending Warhol complete sets, such as the Ladies and Gentlemen series, now reexamined through the lens of gender issues, making it highly pertinent in contemporary times. Charlotte also notes that Warhol’s Hero series, his timeless iterations of Marilynn and Ads works, also remain iconic within the art world, especially for their political and cultural significance.

What is the value of collecting prints and multiples?

Through their wealth of knowledge, Charlotte and Louis both poignantly touch upon and grasp the significance and value of collecting prints and multiples. In the past, during the production years of various artists' prints, a fascinating tradition emerged where these works were commonly gifted at parties to companions, either by the artist themselves or previous owners. Now, these once-gifted artworks have transformed into highly sought-after gems of historical significance, adding to their allure and value.

The remarkable surge in the value of certain print works, particularly in American pop and urban street art genres, is a testament to their enduring appeal. Artists like Banksy and Warhol are prime examples of this phenomenon, with their prints experiencing exponential growth in value since their initial appearances in the market. Louis shares intriguing insights from his experience with Banksy consigners, noting their hesitation to disclose the low prices they originally paid for the works. Banksy prints, which were once obtainable for £100 GBP, now command prices in the hundreds of thousands.

In good humour, Louis advises against withholding information about your artwork, as candidly sharing these details with trusted professionals like MyArtBroker ensures a precise and accurate valuation. With the evolving art market, the expertise of specialists becomes invaluable in gauging the true worth of these artworks.

How does Consiging with MyArtBroker work?

Consigning your artwork with MyArtBroker is a seamless and rewarding experience where you have the advantage of working with experts such as Louis and Charlotte. Louis explains that it begins with sharing photos of your piece and any provenance information. Our expert team then conducts thorough research, considering recent auction results, market trends, and demand for your artwork. Based on this analysis, we provide you with a precise sales valuation.

Unlike auctions, we offer a fixed price, ensuring no surprises or hidden fees. Once you agree to consign, we send a seller's agreement, granting us the legal right to sell your artwork for an agreed-upon price within a specified timeframe.

After completing the necessary checks, an art handler collects your piece and delivers it to our conservators for inspection. We maintain utmost care and professionalism throughout the process, providing a full condition report and recommending treatments if needed.

With your approval, we start marketing your artwork to our network of collectors. When a sale occurs, the agreed-upon amount is transferred directly to your bank account. No reserve prices, commissions, or additional fees—just a straightforward transaction that maximises your earnings. As Louis says, he is delighted to look at your artwork and offer his professional opinion, so don’t be shy!

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