Looking to buy a Lichtenstein print? Read our dedicated Roy Lichtenstein Buyers Guide.
Roy Lichtenstein’s prolific prints output are a testament to his talent and dedication, as well as a reflection of the rise of Pop Art and its fascination with mechanical reproduction. Like many Pop artists, Lichtenstein was drawn to the machine-made and print was the perfect medium to mimic this industrial process to produce fine art.
“In the beginning, I wanted my prints to be very simple and mechanical… The paintings, in spite of me, have a very handmade look, but in the prints, you can achieve that sense of perfection,” Lichtenstein has said.
An original painting by Lichtenstein can be valued in the tens of millions, while his prints and multiples can sell for up to seven-figure sums. A print with a small edition number, or an artist’s proof, will usually sell for higher than a print from a large edition, but rarity, condition, provenance and the artist being in the news can all affect a print’s value.
Prints made during Lichtenstein’s lifetime are generally the more valued, but don’t wholly discount posthumous prints issued by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation. These can be in excellent quality and, if they are desirable and rare, have good potential to sell well on the secondary market.
Trends come and go but Lichtenstein’s comic book girls are consistently among the most popular – Nude with Blue Hair, one the most expensive Lichtenstein prints at auction, sold for $769,000 (£543,082) with fees in May 2021. Prints from Lichtenstein’s later career are also making something of a comeback, their popularity can be attributed to Lichtenstein’s refined craft at this point in his career, the smaller edition sizes, and the regularity of the signatures.
Since his first print series in 1967, Ten Landscapes, Lichtenstein has created portfolios of multiple prints throughout his career. Today, some prints are sold as individual sheets, while others are sold together as full portfolios. A full set of Ten Landscapes, for example, sold for €38,000 (£34,604) with fees in July 2020, while a single sheet of Landscape 5 sold for £16,250 with fees in September 2020.
Rarer is not always more desirable. In terms of collecting the coveted Pop Art series, Lichtenstein collectors tend to invest in screenprints with larger edition numbers (for example, editions of 300). It is often a good idea to hang on for a pending exhibition, film or book about the artist to reignite collector interest and engagement. Don’t sell if the market is saturated. Keep the investment until it is coveted.
If you’re interested in knowing the current value of your Lichtenstein print, get a valuation from MyArtBroker.
As with any print, the important place to start is by looking for a Lichtenstein signature, which is the simplest way to authenticate the work. The most coveted Lichtenstein prints are signed, but some genuine Lichtenstein prints are not – if yours is unsigned, you will need additional evidence to prove its authenticity.
Secondly, look at the edition number in the print’s margins. Not every Lichtenstein print has an edition number – some of his most famous works do not – but if the edition is wrongly numbered, the print is certainly a fake.
Provenance is essential. Paperwork about the history of your Lichtenstein print – where it was previously sold, where it has been exhibited, what conservation treatments it has received – are all evidence that specialists have looked at your print and confirmed it is genuine. The Lichtenstein Foundation has the largest collection of his works and is a great resource. Alternatively, contact MyArtBroker and we can advise on provenance and authenticity.
All works on paper can be drastically devalued if damaged by light, moisture, careless handling or crowded storage. If you want to display your Lichtenstein print before you sell it, keep it in a frame under UV-protective glass and hang it away from direct sunlight; otherwise, store it flat in a dark room, not rolled up in a tube, to protect it from harm.
Never trim a print to make it fit a frame, as this will instantly reduce its value.
Look out for any aging of the paper; a lot of Lichtenstein’s work has darkened due to age. If your print suffers from tears, stains, discolouration or other signs of damage, consider contacting a restorer to help bring your print back to its original state before you sell. MyArtBroker can advise, contact us to discuss more.
Knowing where to sell your artwork is important; this will depend on your own level of confidence and expertise in the art market. Online marketplaces like eBay are convenient and have lower sale fees, but without experience you risk undervaluing your print or falling foul of a scammer.
Auction houses will appraise your work for free and help you set a reserve price. On the day, you might be lucky – or not at all. The market may be saturated and you could be up against similar lots, weakening the appeal of your print. Auction houses also take a substantial fee from the seller.
Selling a Lichtenstein print privately through MyArtBroker is a safer option for both first-time sellers and the experience: you’ll gain access to a network of clients and the brokers involved will know their tastes and how much you can realistically sell the piece for. We can advise on the market and when is the best time to sell. We will also discretely market the piece too, helping your chance of selling at the right price.
Our fixed 0% seller’s fee, with no hidden costs, means it’s completely free to offer your work to market.
Request a valuation of your Roy Lichtenstein print.