Sunday, October 5, 2008

Don't Make Compromises When Buying Art in This Economy

Picasso reproduction print, pencil signed by the artist, is offered at 31 Club Gallery.

I’ve recently been bombarded with people wanting to sell me some of the best works of art and glass I’ve seen in many years. Salinas, Wood, Joiner and Sawyier are just a few of those that have come across my desk. I haven’t been able to purchase all the great works of art I’m seeing, because the asking prices are simply too high. But that’s okay. We are in the business of dealing in the rare and unusual, because that’s where we can make the most money today. We have that opportunity now and can be selective during this turbulent economic time. It’s important to be disciplined and use control now in your spending.

Along with some of these fine pieces of art, there’s been a great increase in the number of prints such lithographs, serigraphs and other printing techniques that are being offered to me. At this time, I have very little interest in prints. One of the rare exceptions are wood block prints, because I consider these almost the same as originals. I share this with you because when markets are first elevated, people look for substitutes for originals. These are more readily affordable. At the peak of a market, prints of leading artists can command high prices, but as the market stabilizes and cash is more readily available once again, prints quickly drop in price. In fact, I would state today that most prints will only command decorator prices, and you should give them very little value as a piece of art. Even the most sought after pieces will decline in value if this economy continues to decline.

Having said that, my advise to you is to buy prints only if you can obtain them for less than it could cost to frame them. Today, having a print framed will usually exceed $200 if the piece is matted properly and the frame isn’t from a big box store. I’d be hard pressed to buy a print for over $100 unless it was signed and numbered by a leading artist. Picasso would be an example of where I’d bend my rule.

With the real thing in art, it is almost impossible for the piece to lose its entire value, regardless of the economy, and at times it even makes sense to restore a damaged piece. Not so with prints. They can lose their value quite rapidly, and if you damage a print, it can send its value to nothing. You see, paper items tend to be more likely to get damaged by too much sunlight, and water is often a villain in a print's demise. Prints damaged by water or sunlight often have very little value. Watch for the real thing during this economic turn down, and buy it if you can.

Spend money wisely, and the results will speak for themselves.

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