Lithographs and prints solely for the wealthy!

Do you think that lithographs constitute art for the poor?
In the Israeli art market (yes there really is such a market, exactly like the Mahane Yehuda fruit and vegetable market), I sometimes hear statements such as:
“Lithographs? Why on earth would I buy a lithograph?”
“Who would think of buying a ‘litho’,they are valueless”
“And how would I know that its genuine?  And not just a poster?”
“I only buy original paintings, and preferably oil on canvas.”
I personally, always prefer a good quality reproduction with a subject, colors, concept and conceptualization that are meaningful for me, to an original that lacks these qualities.

So I would like to share some rather surprising data for those who object to reproductions:
On 20th April this year a regular auction was held in the eminent Doyle auction house in New York, one of the oldest and largest auction houses in the USA (for the sake of comparison, the largest auction houses in Israel hold 10-20 times less than the 40 significant auctions held by Doyle each year). In this auction prices far above those anticipated were attained for most of the graphic work (lithographs, etchings, engravings, monoprints etc.).  Here are some examples:
1. A colored lithograph by Charles Sorlier – “The Magic Flute”, a work inspired by a painting of Marc Chagall (yet not even an original litho of Marc Chagall himself!!) fetched a crazy price of $43,750.  It is interesting to note that this is the 125th copy in a series of 200! (It is actually unimportant from the pricing aspect, which number in a series is given to the print, rather the size of the series.  Usually, if the series is larger the price for each print is lower, but 200 prints is not a small number!).

2. A self-portrait of Henri Matisse, a small lithograph 10.8/24.4 cm,, in imperfect physical condition, mono-colored, sold for $13,750!!
3. An engraving and etching by Rembrandt from 1656, “The Binding of Isaac”, a small work – 13/16 cm. in a less than optimal condition to say the least, was sold for a sum of $40,625!

And here are some data concerning the sale of works of less renowned artists:
1. A colored lithograph dated 1982 by Robert Motherwell, sold for a sum of $10,625.
2. A mono-colored lithograph by Chuck Close dated 1981 fetched $8, 125.
3. A colored lithograph by Joan Mitchell dated 1987 was sold for $5,938.

And this is only a small selection of hundreds of prints sold at the above-mentioned auction. You are invited to see these and other apparently unbelievable details at the Doyle auction Internet site:
So what is the conclusion? Do yourselves a favour and purchase what you like/ OR Treat yourselves to what you like and try sometimes to ignore the advice of the various types of ‘Ahitophel’ consultants; especially if the goal of your purchase is for your personal pleasure and use and not for commercial purposes.


© All rights reserved to Michael Karov Karo, Karo Arts

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