Prints: Important to all Art Collections

Printmaking is a category that has previously ranked second to painting and sculpture, but the past few years have seen the market for editioned prints experience a dramatic uptick. This may be due to the growing number of artists who have made editions part of their practice, such as Brett Whiteley and Tracey Moffatt, together with a surge of younger collectors whose tastes and budgets align with the medium.

Tracey Moffatt (born 1960) Scarred for Life I 1994, complete suite of photolithographs (9), edition of 50 | Sold for $17,500

Artists have long supplemented their practices by making prints in numbered editions, produced in collaboration with a print studio technician. For collectors intimidated by the price points of the art market, acquiring prints can often be more approachable. A painting from Brett Whiteley’s ‘Lavender Bay’ series may sell for $2million at auction, but his equally impressive prints from the same series can be more attainable at around $10,000.

Whilst some artists position prints as their preferred medium, there are many whose oeuvre is driven towards prints due to high demand. Representing Australia in the 2017 Venice Biennale, Tracey Moffatt remains one of Australia’s most prominent and celebrated contemporary artists, with a distinct and successful international presence. Throughout her career, Moffatt has consistently emphasised her practice as an image-maker and storyteller, rather than a specialist in any one medium. Moffatt’s versatile nature is evident in her experimental approach to various mediums, encompassing everything from 19th century photogravures to manipulated found images and long form cinematic narratives. For someone wanting to expand their contemporary photographic collection, her prints are powerful additions.

Prints are important to any art collection, whether you are an astute collector looking to diversify, or just beginning your art journey. Our Prints and Multiples auctions regularly feature important printmakers, across an array of values, making them available to every art enthusiast.

HANNAH RYAN / Prints & Multiples Specialist

Banner Image (detail): Brett Whiteley (1939-1992) Lavender Bay Wharf 1978, etching, ed. 43/90 | Sold for $11,875

August 2023