David Hockney (b. 1937), Two Vases in the Louvre, 1974. Etching in colours, on Inveresk mould-made paper, signed and dated in pencil, numbered 68/75. Estimate: £10,000–15,000. This work and those below will be offered in Prints & Multiples: First Impression on 17 September at Christie’s in London
Editions have a timeless appeal, freeing big name artists from museums and galleries, and offering collectors artworks that are ideal for decorating the home. The idea is playfully captured by David Hockney’s Two Vases in the Louvre, which allows the viewer to gaze out of their own personal museum.
Making a statement
Arman (1928–2005), Music stop n°1, 1971. Screenprint in gold, on black canvas, signed in white pencil, from the edition of 25. Estimate: £6,000–8,000.
In the world of contemporary editions, bigger really can be better. It’s an exciting time for printing: techniques are advancing, and it’s great to see artists experimenting with traditional methods like screen-printing to produce works on an industrial scale. At 2 metres tall, Arman’s Music stop n°1 is a good example, and a perfect statement piece.
Timeless Italian style
Afro Basaldella (1912–1976), Presenza Grafica, 1971. Etching, aquatint and screenprint in colours, on Fabriano Rosaspina paper, signed and dated ‘71 in pencil, numbered 26/90. Estimate: £2,000–3,000.
Italian design is characterised by a sense of understated elegance — an approach that’s not been lost on the country’s printmakers. Basaldella’s Presenza Grafica is an excellent example of how boldly arranged colour can be timeless, a bright red form set within a graphic landscape.
Poliakoff’s tonal triumph
Serge Poliakoff (1900–1969), Composition in Black, Blue, and Mauve, 1964. Etching, aquatint, and drypoint in colours, on watermarked Arches paper, signed in pencil, numbered 45/75. Estimate: £4,000–6,000.
There’s sometimes an assumption that all editions are the same — a myth easily debunked by the extraordinary diversity of colour in Serge Poliakoff’s etchings and aquatints. The artist’s work beautifully illustrates the subtlety of tone that can be achieved by printing — even displaying variations within the same edition. No two prints will be identical. They are works that lend themselves beautifully to any interior; Composition in Black, Blue, and Mauve is a tonal triumph.
Jesús Rafael Soto (1923–2005), Untitled. 3D perspex multiple with screenprint in colours, unsigned, an artist’s proof aside from the standard edition. Estimate: £1,500–2,000.
Editions aren’t limited to flat art: often, artists produce three-dimensional multiples, such as these complex screen-printed Perspex boxes by celebrated kineticist Jesús Rafael Soto. These stylish works capture and gently diffuse light; whether atop the coffee table or in your own personal cabinet of curiosities, they are quietly mesmerising, Untitled places pinstripe white alongside a refracted pinstripe black.
A design icon
Robert Indiana (b. 1928), Summer Love, 2006. New Zealand wool rug, signed in black felt-tip pen on a fabric label separate from the rug, numbered 9/125. Estimate: £3,000–5,000.
Icons of design lend themselves perfectly to editions. Robert Indiana’s simple message: ‘Love’, is available in a variety of colours and suits any interior space. Summer Love will be sure to bring a smile whatever the weather.
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