With Soaring Prices for Blue-Chip Paintings, Fine Art Print Interest Surges Among Curators, Collectors, Designers
When practically every other day another headline or tweet touts another heart-stopping price for art, art lovers who want to live with art-not just look at it on a museum wall-can get a little intimidated, if not downright disheartened. Who, after all, can afford a Francis Bacon for $142 million?
Thanks to the International Fine Print Dealers Association's Print Fair, which opens on November 6-9 at the Park Avenue Armory, there is a rewarding, welcoming and pragmatic gateway to collecting art through fine prints. "There is a tremendous variety in subject matter and price range, with everything from old master prints to hot-off-the-press contemporary prints," enthuses Marilyn Symmes, Curator and Director of the Morse Research Center for Graphic Arts at Rutgers University's Zimmerli Art.
"With Print Fair's accessible price points, the new, just-starting-out collector can easily dip into the art market, and without breaking the bank," confirms Dee Dee Eustace, a principal with Taylor Hannah Architect.
Seasoned collectors are also drawn to the allure of fine prints. "I love prints and multiples and the opportunity to work with and get to know the artists, publishers, galleries, and print curators has been a highlight of my art life," says Jordan D. Schnitzer, the Portland, Oregon-based collector and philanthropist who started collecting prints in 1988. Mr. Schnitzer's Family Foundation contains over 8,000 prints.
Adds Nelson Blitz, Jr., a New York businessman whose Upper East Side residence houses a prized blue-chip print collection consisting of heavy-hitters such as Edvard Munch, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Pablo Picasso, and Jasper Johns: "With these artists, printmaking is integral to their art and not a sideline. Their prints are as captivating to me as their paintings."
The Print Fair showcases the very best of print making from all around the globe, by the most celebrated artists and in every conceivable genre. "The Print Fair underscores diversity," says designer Brian McCarthy, who with Dee Dee Eustace, Sandra Nunnerley and Matthew Patrick Smyth, co-chairs the fair's Designer Committee. "The fair provides a manageable entry into collecting limited-edition prints by some of our most renowned artists, like Thiebaud, Judd and Ruscha."
For nearly a quarter century, the Print Fair's encyclopedic and far-reaching offerings have lured the world's leading curators, designers and collectors. Raves Shelly Langdale, Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, "I have always thought that the most exciting aspect of the fair is being able to see so many dealers, quickly, efficiently, and all in one place."
At the Print Fair, attendees can savor thousands of prints from 90 of the world's finest galleries. Adds another curator, Jane Glaubinger, of the Cleveland Museum of Art:"It's so exciting that the best fine art print specialists in the U.S. and Europe are in one wonderful space and that many of them, especially the old master print dealers, save their very best material for the Fair."
A major virtue of The Print Fair, besides the affordability of the art, is the hospitable atmosphere in which it is displayed for sale. "A collector-young or old or any age in between-has the opportunity to meet and learn from some of the most distinguished art dealers in the world, providing the basis for necessary relationships even if they don't buy something right off the bat," notes Lyle Williams, Curator of Prints and Drawings at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio.
"There is something for everyone at the Print Fair-the range is amazing!" exclaims designer Matthew Patrick Smyth. "It provides a great venue to start building a collection." Adds Sandra Nunnerley, interior designer and author of Interiors: "To me print-making is another medium which allows the artist to expand his or her oeuvre."
The Print Fair opens with a benefit preview for the IFPDA Foundation at the Park Avenue Armory, Park Avenue & 67th Street, on Wednesday, November 5, and runs from November 6 through November 9. Preview tickets are $85. Daily admission is $20. To purchase tickets and
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