Standout Works to Collect at the IFPDA Fair, from Under $1,000 to Over $20,000
Prints have long been a uniquely democratic medium, with artists from Rembrandt to Amy Sherald making exquisitely detailed editioned works that—especially compared to their paintings—are accessibly priced. Nowhere is that more plainly evident than at major print fairs, like the IFPDA Fair’s fall 2021 edition, taking place on Artsy through October 31st. With upwards of 100 galleries—specializing in everything from fresh-off-the-press prints by contemporary art stars to rare Old Master gems—there’s an incredible range of high-quality works on offer within an equally broad price range. Below are some of the fair’s highlights, at different acquisition budgets.
For collectors looking to acquire affordable works by major artists, there’s plenty to pick from at this month’s IFPDA Fair. Seattle-based Davidson Galleries has one of the richest selections of prints by major modern and contemporary artists on offer for three-digit sums. Among them are Onbu III (2011) by the Korean artist Seoul (Sohee) Kim, in which a figure walks through a void-like space carrying a teetering pile of textiles on her back. This poetic image of seemingly impossible burden-shouldering pairs fine details with a bold patchwork of patterns; the work’s $600 price is not so burdensome. The gallery is also offering a characteristically warm-hued serigraph by Josef Albers from 1972—featuring interlocking geometric forms set off against a golden backdrop—priced at $850.
While Davidson’s presentation spans Italian Old Masters to contemporary art from Korea, other exhibitors have more narrow areas of focus. As is their wont, New York–based Scholten Japanese Art is offering a wide range of woodblock prints made in Japan in the first half of the 20th century, most of them at very reasonable price points. Standouts include Hiromitsu Nakazawa’s woodblock print Maiko on Veranda from Maisugata (Dancing Figure) (ca. 1916), priced at $650, in which the star attraction is not so much the dancing figure as the elaborate patterns of the outfit worn by his spectator.
For collectors shopping with a slightly ampler war chest, there’s a great deal of fantastic work to be found in the low four-figure range. Tamarind Institute, the Albuquerque-based lithography workshop, is offering works made by a slew of world-renowned and emerging artists in collaboration with the institute’s resident printmasters. Some are very recent, such as Ellen Lesperance’s silhouette-like forms made of blocky, gridded shapes (all from 2020 and priced at $3,500 apiece). Meanwhile, others are decades-old gems that will appeal to completists collecting specific artists’ work in depth, as well as those who may have been priced out of the market for paintings by more established artists. These include Deborah Remington’s arresting 1980 print Veii, featuring her characteristic juxtapositions of color gradients and ambiguous forms (priced at $2,500).
Another peerless painter whose trademark aesthetic translates improbably well to printmaking is Stanley Whitney, who has three single-color etchings—one in red, one in yellow, and one in blue—from 2017 on offer with the storied Manhattan printshop Two Palms (for $3,600 each). Bronx-based print publisher SOLO Impression has a similarly strong presentation, including several prints by Louise Bourgeois and Joyce Kozloff, as well as two uncharacteristically figurative Howardena Pindell woodcut and collage prints from 1986, both titled Peters Squares Waterfall Johnson Vermont and priced at $4,500.
Since its founding in 1962, San Francisco’s Crown Point Press has worked with many revered contemporary artists. Its IFPDA Fair presentation is a testament to this legacy, with works on offer by Leonard Drew, Ed Ruscha, Alex Katz, and Chris Burden. One of the most captivating is a bright, three-toned abstract print by Pat Steir, Alphabet: Secondary (2007, priced at $8,000), which evokes the cascading drips and rivulets of her paintings via contrasting areas of purple, orange, and blue.
For fans of figuration, Diane Villani Editions is presenting a number of alluring works by Alison Saar, Shahzia Sikander, Lorna Simpson, and other artists. Among them is Ida Applebroog’s epically (and biblically) titled lithograph “I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight” Isaiah 45:2 (1989, priced at $6,500), from an edition that was commissioned for the Jewish Museum. With its split-screen image—a man and woman embracing on one side and a solitary male figure holding two plants on the other—evoking all kinds of potential scenarios from a before-and-after juxtaposition to a moment of jealousy or even betrayal, the work is not only figurative but narrative.
There may be no better example of an artist whose unique paintings and sculptures are utterly unattainable for all but the most mega of collectors, but whose prints can be had relatively easily and without breaking the bank, than 91-year-old icon Jasper Johns. The exceptionally prolific printmaker is being celebrated with a dual retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and several IFPDA Fair participants have understandably seized on the occasion as a great moment to showcase his prints.
Jim Kempner Fine Art’s all-Johns presentation features works spanning the 1960s to the 1990s. G.W. Einstein Company has two of his prints in its digital booth, including a trompe l’oeil–like lithograph from 1970, Souvenier, which was priced at $14,500 and quickly sold. Dorianne Hutton Fine Art is offering two of Johns’s iconic “Numeral” prints (featuring the numbers seven and three) from 1975. Carolina Nitsch is offering four of the artist’s prints, spanning a half-century, including the lithographs Ale Cans (1975) and Map (2012), both priced at $16,000. And for Johns print lovers of somewhat greater means, Universal Limited Art Editions is offering editions of five prints, spanning 1999 to 2018, and priced between $30,000 and $50,000.
$20,000 and above
It’s not just Jasper Johns whose print prices can stretch well into five figures. Carolina Nitsch’s presentation also includes a recent print by Derrick Adams, Mirroring Idealism (2021), which, as its title suggests, is printed on a mirrored support. That work is priced at $30,000. Among the gallery’s several Louise Bourgeois prints is the unbound book Ode à Ma Mere (1995), which includes nine drypoint prints depicting her most iconic subject and visual metaphor for motherhood, the spider. It is priced at $85,000.
Connecticut-based works-on-paper gallery Charles M. Young Fine Prints & Drawings is also showing some absolute gems, including Surrealist prints by Joan Miró and André Masson, and a characteristically blunt scene of antebellum brutality by Kara Walker. One of the gallery’s most striking works is a print by Willie Cole that combines several techniques (etching, photo etching, silkscreen, woodcut, and embossing) in a triptych juxtaposing a photograph of a man’s face, a rust-hued mystical figure whose outline resembles the underside of an iron, and a third image combining elements of the first two into a masked figure of sorts. Titled Man, Spirit, Mask (1999), the print is priced at $36,000. But one of the most exquisite and arresting works in the gallery’s booth may be An Untitled Print (1981–82) by Lee Bontecou—like Jasper Johns, a nonagenarian and absolute icon. The nearly eight-foot-tall lithograph’s gentle lines of black and green ink belie the severity of the subject, which appears to be an apocalyptic tidal wave. The frightfully timely depiction of environmental disaster is priced at $34,000.