Modern & Contemporary Artists to Watch: Prints and Multiples Auction Highlights - March 2023

Mick Jagger by Andy Warhol - MyArtBrokerMick Jagger © Andy Warhol 1975
Louis Denizet

Louis Denizet, Specialist[email protected]

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Market Reports

As prints and multiple artworks continue to prove popular amongst both art collectors and investors alike, offering a key, unique opportunity to invest in the art market, they have also been performing well at auction. This week, with Modern and Contemporary sales taking place globally in the major auction houses, we continue to keep an eye on the prints and multiples market, providing insight into the trends, prices, and artists driving this dynamic segment.

The week saw an array of auctions take place in different cities: from Sotheby’s “Contemporary Curated” in Paris, to Bonhams’ offerings “British Cool” in London and their main Prints and Multiples sale in LA, and Phillips’ “20th Century & Contemporary Online”.

Here are our highlights from the auctions:

Roy Lichtenstein

Pop Art legend Roy Lichtenstein's artwork has been a hot commodity in recent auction results, cementing his reputation as one of the founding figures of the movement. As the Pop Art market continues to soar, the value of Lichtenstein's artwork has followed suit, with the average value of his prints seeing a 12% growth over the past 5 years. Bonhams Prints and Multiples auction this week saw three prints by Roy Lichtenstein go under the hammer, with the most expensive–a complete set of Bull Profile Series (1973)–selling for US$151,575 (including fees).

The first of the three Roy Lichtenstein prints for sale at Bonhams was Explosion (1967), a screenprint from an edition of proofs that typifies Lichtestein’s comic book style. The lot exceeded its high estimate of $20,000, selling for $21,675 on the 28th March.

Up next was a print from Lichtenstein’s ever-popular Mirror Series: Mirror #9 (1972). The screenprint from the main edition not only massively exceeded its high estimate of $12,000, achieving a final price of $21,675 (including fees), it also set a new record for this artwork, surpassing the record of $ 20,160 only recently set at Christie’s during the 2023 20th/21st Century Week Auctions.

Finally, Bonhams wisely rounded out their bout of Roy Lichtenstein lots with the exciting offering of a complete portfolio: the set of six lithographs, screenprints and linocuts comprising Lichtenstein’s Bull Profile Series (1973). Inspired by the seminal abstractions of another 20th Century master, Pablo Picasso, the series was assigned a high estimate of $150,000, which it beat, selling for $151,575. While this six-figure sum was not a new record for the Lichtenstein portfolio, it comfortably increased the value realised at its last sale. Last offered as a full set from the main edition at Christie’s in April 2021, at that time the Bull Profile Series realised $125,000.

Browse Roy Lichtenstein prints and find out more about Lichtenstein's print market growth in the Ultimate Print Market Report.

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David Hockney

Among the biggest winners in recent auctions has been David Hockney, emerging as one of the most sought-after artists in the market. Indeed, our 2023 Report reveals that Hockney's market has risen to become the second-largest after the legendary "King of Pop Art" Andy Warhol. The average value of David Hockney's artwork has experienced a 15% compound annual growth rate over the last 5 years. The recent surge in demand for Hockney's art is a testament to his immense talent and the unique vision he brings to his work. All three of the David Hockney prints offered at the Bonhams Prints & Multiples Sale exceeded their high pre-sale estimates, confirming his consistent popularity among collectors.

A Hockney Henry With Tulips (AP) (1976) etching print, from his series Friends, was offered by Bonhams with a $4,000 - 6,000 pre-sale estimate. The artist's proof more than doubled its high estimate, selling for $12,750. While impressive, the sale did not quite top the standing auction record; the artist proof of Henry With Tulips sold for £13,000 at its last auction appearance at Forum Auctions London in December 2021.

David Hockney's fascination with swimming pools as a subject matter in his prints and paintings is a significant aspect of his artistic expression; Hockney’s Lithographic Water Made Of Lines And Crayons (1978-80) proved its classic status yet again this week, surpassing its upper pre-sale estimate by $25,275 and selling for $145,275 at Bonhams Prints & Multiples Sale on the 28th March.

Lastly, representative of Hockney’s DIY resourcefulness, David Hockney’s Growing (1986), a homemade print executed on an office copy machine, exceeded its high pre-sale estimate of $9,000, achieving a final price of $12,750 at Bonhams on the 28th March.

Browse David Hockney prints and find out more about Hockney's print market growth in the Ultimate Print Market Report.

Looking to sell your David Hockney prints?

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Andy Warhol

The most anticipated and marketed work of Bonhams, British.Cool sale, on the 29th of March, was a screenprint from Andy Warhol’s highly coveted Mick Jagger portfolio created in 1975. Offered during the second half of the sale and drawing excitement, this work cemented its position as the top-performing lot of the sale, hammering at £120,000 and impressive 50% above its high estimate of £80,000. With fees, the work realised £151,500, the third-highest sale this print has reached, trailing Christie’s and Sotheby’s, yet hammering 40% higher than another print from this same series recently offered at Rosebery’s.

Works from Warhol’s Jagger series have made several appearances within the 2023 Q1 art market sales and are producing impressive results reaching a combined total of nearly £600,000 (price realised). This series of 10 screenprints embodies the natural sexuality and charisma that the legendary Rolling Stones frontman effortlessly exudes. Warhol purposefully spills a red hue over Jagger’s parted mouth and smears thick swathes of seafoam green over his eyelids, accentuating the rock star’s innate vitality and iconic status.

Warhol’s Jagger prints are a unique investment as the actual print demonstrates Warhol’s later experimentation of screenprinting with overlaid colour blocks. This particular print is an impressive demonstration of Warhol’s ingenuity as an artist as he achieves balance and harmony with colour and form.

Read more about Warhol’s Q1 2023 performance and Jagger series in our recent Q1 Andy Warhol report.

Sotheby’s Paris Contemporary Curated Online Sale ran for ten consecutive days and closed it’s bidding on Thursday, 30th of March. Of the Lots offered, one of Andy Warhol’s, Marilyn F. & S. II.26 (1967) made an appearance. The work was estimated at a conservative 45,000 - 55,000 (EUR) and climbed to an impressive 107,950 (price realised) , nearly 2-times its high estimate.

The same editioned print was last sold at Sotheby’s London in September of 2022 £88,200, approximately 100,150 (EUR). This Sotheby’s Paris sale marks a slight increase from that previous amount and shows that there is still a demand for Warhol’s acclaimed celebrity portraits.

Browse Andy Warhol prints and find out more about Warhol's print market growth in the Ultimate Print Market Report.

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Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst, never an artist to stray from news headlines, also saw several strong performances in Bonhams British.Cool sale. Hirst’s prints and multiples market peaked in 2022, and his works already demonstrate solid performances in Q1 2023.

Bonhams offered two prints from Hirst’s series, The Virtues, ‘H9-7 Loyalty’ and ‘H9–8 Control” (2021). HENI Levithan first released this series in 2021 as eight large-scale prints. Each is signed and editioned, completed in a pointillist aesthetic. The works were an immediate success and inspired by the cherry blossom trees in Japan, paradoxically representing the transience of beauty bound by the evolutionary cycle of life and death.

‘H9-7 Loyalty’ sold for £17,850 (price realised), nearly 50% over its high estimate and marks the second-highest sale of this specific work. ‘H9-8 Control’ reached £14,025 (price realised), trumping its estimate by 17%. Together, these two works brought in a combined total of nearly £32,000.

Other works by Hirst that performed well were three produced in 2010, from Hirst’s series The Souls.

This extensive series comprises eighty foil block prints, each featuring one central butterfly in vibrant hues. Butterflies are a recurring motif in Hirst’s productions and similar to the underlying themes presented within The Virtues, to Hirst, the butterfly symbolises life and natural change occurrences. Part of this series’ success, and Hirst’s as an artist, is his work’s ability to represent life and vitality as an admired universal symbol that is also a metaphor for the inevitable cycle of life and death.

All three works from this series sold rather consistently. The Souls I (oriental gold, silver gloss, leaf green) and The Souls I (prairie copper, leaf green, cool gold) both sold for £8,287.50 each (price realised), while The Souls III (gunmetal/prairie copper) climbed slightly above this figure selling for £8,925 (price realised). Together, these works reached a combined total of £25,500 which is an impressive 70% above the combined average mid-estimate of the pieces.

These five works from The Virtues and The Souls series brought a collective turnover of £57,375 (price realised). MyArtBroker has exclusive access to the prints offered in both series mentioned above. Get in touch for information on acquiring work and personal consultation.

Browse Damien Hirst prints and find out more about Hirst's print market growth in the Ultimate Print Market Report.

Looking to sell your Damien Hirst prints?

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Yayoi Kusama

As the highest-selling living female artist, when Yayoi Kusama’s prints, sculptures and paintings go under the hammer, they frequently break auction records; this week was no exception. Both screenprints by Yayoi Kusama that were offered at Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated Sale in Paris on the 30th March doubled their high estimates and set new auction records for their respective prints.

Infinity Nets, a 1986 Yayoi Kusama screenprint was offered with a pre-sale estimate of €4,000 - 6,000. The work sold for an impressive €15,240 (£13,422), having last sold for £10,325 (JPY 1,650,000 ) at Shinwa Auction in Tokyo, as recently as 5 days earlier. Immediately following this lot, Sotheby’s put Kusama’s Dots Infinity (1986) under the hammer, where it realised €16,510 (£14,540) against a high pre-sale estimate of €6,000. This work, too, was last sold only the week before at Shinwa Auction, Tokyo, where it did not achieve so much.

Browse Yayoi Kusama prints and find out more about Kusama's print market growth in the Ultimate Print Market Report.

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