I recently was at a dinner party and noticed a work of art on the wall that I was familiar with. The host had a wonderful collection of artwork but this one image stood out to me because it was by a world renown photographer that I had met in the past year. I knew that the image had been made in 1987 and this was a signed print! When I mentioned the artwork to my host he stated that he didn’t know anything about the image. I went online and pulled up the artist website and showed him that limited edition prints of this photograph sell for $6000. At the size this print was made I was guessing it was worth at least $3000 if it was a documented original artwork. Unfortunately there wasn’t any paperwork with the image and the only label on it was from the gallery that had framed it for him many years ago. What was puzzling to me was that I was unsure whether or not this was an original print because the dimension of this print wasn’t the same as the sizes available for purchase from the artist. On top of this I noticed a hint of a magenta cast to the print which I did not think matched the quality of work I am accustomed to by this artist. In the end my host contacted the artist and found out that he only had a signed poster which was only worth about $200!
The reason I am sharing this with you is because it demonstrates how important documentation of provenance of an artwork and its materials is an incredibly important aspect of demonstrating the value of a piece. For this reason I go to great lengths to document every aspect of my work and give you complete documentation for your records and maintain a database that allows collectors to find out how many prints are circulated worldwide at any time.
I often get emails from potential collectors who ask for a price quote on one of my images that they have seen on the internet. Quite often they are surprised at the price because it is much higher than a simple photograph printed at Costco. The reason for this has to do with the cost of materials necessary to make something museum quality and archival. The reason a poster print isn’t valuable in the long term is because it is made using dye based inks and a CMYK dot pattern on a printing press as compared to a photochemical print that has been exposed optically and processed for archival permanence. Even digitally printed photographs need to be made on museum materials and hand coated with an expoxy gel finish to insure archival protection. These materials and the added labor drive up the cost of a photograph exponentially.
Every photograph I sell has been hand crafted to achieve the highest quality possible. I work with my clients to choose the appropriate materials and framing options for the space they would like to display it. For the image “Good Fortune” (2017) I have sold prints that are 40″x22″ museum quality canvas and I have made smaller prints like this 22″x11″ archival print on German etching paper that is hand coated with a brushed on epoxy gel finish. I worked with the client to determine what they wanted in terms of matting and framing and in this case we settled on a simple metal frame with a mat that had a 4″ border around the print.
Once the artwork is complete I attach a label on the back that explains what materials were used to make this print and I print and sign a certificate of authenticity that you can put into a safe deposit box and provide to your insurance company.
In the end my goal is to do whatever I possibly can to insure the longevity and value of your investment in my art. While the value of any artwork is defined by the marketplace, I have noticed how often an obscure work of art takes on significant value over time if the artwork’s provenance is known. I love watching the antiques road show when they have artwork to evaluate. So often the difference between a high valuation and a low one is determined by how much is known about the artist and their artwork. I hope the extra effort I am putting into documenting your art purchase will add value you to you in the long term! Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to come visit my studio.