Scott Reyburn looks for an explanation for the strong sales of editioned work just before London’s tent-pole sales. So he sought out Stephen Lazarides, who was the big winner at Bonhams:
“I’ve noticed the print market works best when there’s a big disparity between the editioned and unique works of an artist,” Mr. Lazarides said a couple of hours before his Banksy sale. He added: “When the prices of originals rise above a certain point, it drives the sales of prints. The prices of the prints aren’t necessarily higher, but they sell quicker.”
Now that so much original art by so many contemporary artists has become so expensive, “editions” are becoming an increasingly popular way of hanging brand-name art on a wall at a palatable price.
But Phillips did well with editioned works too. And some of the sales suggested the buyers might not have been art world veterans but shoppers lured in by Phillips flashy new headquarters:
Donald Judd’s 1988 ultramarine-blue suite of 10 minimalist woodcuts, “Untitled,” was pushed by four telephones to £182,500, falling to a private European buyer, and Keith Haring’s lurid 1988 carved plywood wall relief, “Totem,” sold for £134,500. Both prices, though broadly in line with upper estimates, were new auction highs for these particular editions.
“These sales pay off because private buyers can see how the works would look in their own homes,” said David Cleaton-Roberts, a director at the London print gallery Alan Cristea.
“Phillips are also clever to have got rid of the word ‘print.’ It sounds old-fashioned and has connotations with reproduction,” added Mr. Cleaton-Roberts, who was amazed by the £9,375 paid, more than three times the low estimate, for the pair of 2007 silhouettes, “Luc and Ludivine Get Married” by the Cristea gallery artist Julian Opie. He said another pair was available in the gallery, priced at £4,800.
Collectors Turn to Prints (NYTimes.com)