NEW YORK – In anticipation of the 2015 International Fine Print Dealers Association Print Fair on 4-8 November, IFPDA’s Executive Director Michele Senecal shares words of wisdom for new and experienced print collectors.


A VIEW OF THE IFPDA PRINT FAIR. © SARI GOODFRIEND PHOTOGRAPHY.

Why are prints a good place to start for new collectors?
New collectors frequently begin with prints because they can collect works created by the major artists of their time. Collectors attracted to earlier periods also have great opportunities to acquire works by significant artists, depending upon their availability on the market. In both instances, the Print Fair offers an unparalleled opportunity to gain a comprehensive overview because it presents dealers featuring contemporary artists alongside dealers in old master and modern artists, as well as Japanese prints. One has the opportunity to really compare and contrast prints over a 500-year spectrum. Often, there are surprising pocket areas of affordability in older works that one can discover when speaking with the dealers, who come from all over the world to exhibit in this Fair.

In addition, by virtue of their multiplicity, a collector and any major museum print collection can each acquire prints from the same edition. This is often a great boost to one’s confidence as a collector to see their choices validated by a major collection. A work from a new edition by a major artist can be very affordable. As these artists’ careers continue to advance, their early works will advance in value as well.


|IFPDA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MICHELE SENECA.

What elements are important to consider when purchasing a print?
As with all works of art, one should be mindful of condition. Members of the IFPDA are all meticulous in their descriptions with regard to condition and conservation. This is, of course, secondary to knowing that you’ve chosen an object because of its underlying appeal for you. At the end of the day, collecting is driven by one’s passion for an object they find arresting in some way and sometimes people will compromise on condition in order to have something they truly covet. Here again, when other impressions exist there is the opportunity for a collector to find a better example. This is a benefit to working with a knowledgeable dealer, they know how to locate rare and important works of art.


INSIDE THE IFPDA PRINT FAIR. © SARI GOODFRIEND PHOTOGRAPHY.

What gives editioned works their value?
A number of factors determine value, first and foremost being the artist. The importance of their work, how prolific they are/were, their relationship to any significant art historical movement, the value of their works in other media, etc. The next factor would be the composition itself and how it relates to the artist’s overall oeuvre. Does it signify a departure from an established mode of expression or a revisiting of an important theme?

Finally, by their nature, an editioned work is one of a finite number so the frequency with which an object appears on the market and its condition will influence value as well.

As a collector, you play an important role in preserving works of art for another generation to enjoy, so learn about how best to care for them – they are meant to outlive you.

What advice would you give to a new collector looking to buy prints at an art fair?
I always encourage people to ask questions, IFPDA dealers have an unwavering commitment to the medium as educators and are keen to share their enthusiasm. The IFPDA Fair is also a very important opportunity to begin to understand value as you’ll find that prices are clearly accessible. Figuring out what is available in your price range is always incredibly illuminating. I also suggest that people look outside their interests as many of today’s artists will tell you they have been deeply influenced by artists of earlier periods. We offer tours of the fair led by artists that help make those connections more apparent.


ED RUSCHA, SOME LOS ANGELES APARTMENTS, SECOND EDITION, 1965. COURTESY OF GRAPHICSTUDIO U.S.F.

Which contemporary artists are trending right now in the print market?
There is certainly strong interest in Frank Stella given the Whitney’s retrospective, and I understand that Shepard Fairey’s recent edition at Pace Prints nearly sold out within hours of its release back in August. Cornelia Parker’s first major print project will be launching at the Fair and with her designation as next year’s commission for roof garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I expect a lot of interest in her work. New projects from Tracey Emin, Marcel Dzama, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari, Kiki Smith, and Michelle Grabner will also be highly sought after at the fair.


A VIEW OF THE IFPDA PRINT FAIR. © SARI GOODFRIEND PHOTOGRAPHY.

What are your tips for building a great collection?
Aim to buy the best you can afford but don’t create too many rules. As a collector, you play an important role in preserving works of art for another generation to enjoy, so learn about how best to care for them – they are meant to outlive you. Understand your tastes may change and that’s okay. Collecting is a fabulous journey that unfolds over time and enriches your life. Let it take you where it leads.

What can we expect from the IFPDA in this upcoming year?
There are new events in development and we are in the midst of expanding our website to include multimedia educational assets. And, we’re really excited about making prints even more accessible to collectors with the launch of a new online partnership that will provide a platform for purchasing prints from our member dealers.


JOHN BALDESSARI, CONCRETE COUPLES, EDITION OF 40, 2015. COURTESY OF MIXOGRAFIA.

If you only pick one thing from this year’s IFPDA fair to keep for yourself, what would it be? 
This is the hardest question. Each year there are so many works of art that I covet from this fair. While I love the idea of being among the first to acquire an artist’s newest project, I am constantly falling in love with works from a time outside my own. I find old master prints incredibly mysterious, and aside from their intrinsic beauty, decoding their symbolism is enriching and stimulating. The same is true of Japanese prints, I find there is so much I can learn and our dealers are so knowledgeable. Suffice to say, I have a long list!