A 10 Point Guide to the IFPDA Print Fair

This year’s IFPDA Print fair offers the unique experience of encountering the works of Dürer, Hokusai, Matisse, Jasper Johns and Damien Hirst, all within New York’s historic Park Avenue Armory. Some 6,000 collectors, curators, artists, art historians and art enthusiasts will gather once again, in honor of fine prints to visit the booths of 90 exhibitors from North America and Europe.

1. When? Where? How?

The fair takes place Thursday, November 7th through Sunday, November 10th, at the Park Avenue Armory (643 Park Avenue at 67th Street, New York, NY 10065). Buy tickets in advance online here.

2. What is the IFPDA? The IFPDA Print fair?

The International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA) is a non-profit organization of art dealers with expertise in fine prints, committed to the medium’s standards of quality, ethics, connoisseurship and authenticity. IFPDA hosts the largest international art fair exclusively dedicated to printmaking. It is notable for the extensive historical range of works, representing artists from the 16th century to the present. While the fair is a destination for major museums and collectors, works included also represent an extensive range in prices, from six figures to relatively affordable.

3. What is a fine print?

Fine prints are artworks made by hand using printmaking techniques like etching, engraving, lithography, woodcut, or screen printing. Fine prints should not be confused with mechanical reproductions or copies of drawings or paintings. The printmaking process involves the artist drawing or carving a composition on a hard surface (wood, metal plate, stone), applying ink to that surface and then physically pressing the inked block or plate onto paper (or another material), thereby creating an impression of the composition, a print. Prints are often made in series, with anywhere from a couple to hundreds of editions. (Learn more about printmaking in our In the Studio with Pace Prints.)

4. What kinds of work will be there?

The fair reflects the multifarious nature of printmaking and its many innovations throughout history. At the fair visitors will find early woodcuts, traditional engravings, etchings, lithographs, and contemporary innovations. Visitors encounter the changing means of printmaking, comparing the medium’s use for historical figures like Goltzius into modern day with works by John Cage and Louise Bourgeois. New editions will also be available from leading contemporary artists including Tauba Auerbach, Olafur Eliasson, Shahzia Sikander, and Damien Hirst.

5. Learn from a Curator

On November 9, at 11am John Dorfman, editor-in-chief of Art & Antiques Magazine, talks with David Acton, curator of photography at the Snite Museum of Art, and author of A Spectrum of Innovation: Color in American Printmaking, 1890-1960 and The Stamp of Impulse: Abstract Expressionist Prints. The talk is free and open to the public however, reservations are recommended.

6. Early Access Opportunities

Eager collectors and print lovers can purchase tickets to attend the opening night benefit on Wednesday November 6, which supports the IFPDA Foundation, where they will have early access to the fair and facilitated opportunity to acquire the most sought-after works. Purchase tickets to the opening night preview here. Visitors can also register for a free Collectors & Curators Breakfast the morning of the November 7th for a preview of the fair at 11am before the public opening at noon. Register for this morning preview online when you buy your tickets here.

7. The Richard Hamilton Acquisition Prize

Sponsored by Champion & Partners, the Richard Hamilton Acquisition Prize offers funding of up to $10,000 to a museum to purchase a work at the Fair. Last year’s prize was given to The Philadelphia Museum of Art for their purchase of John Cage’s 1969 Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel, Lithograph A. In addition the prize memorializes Richard Hamilton and his contribution to printmaking. The 2013 recipient will be announced at the Fair’s preview on November 6.

8. Take A Tour

45-minute tours of the fair will take place on Saturday and Sunday at 1pm. Tickets are $10 and reservations are required. Saturday’s tour, “Printmaking Innovators” will be led by Sarah Kirk Hanley, highlighting printmaking luminaries from Old Masters to contemporary artists. Sunday’s tour, “A Master Printer’s Perspective” is led by Phillip Sanders, a master printer from Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, highlighting the extent to which contemporary and modern artists share the same methods as their forebearers.

9. Fine Dining with your Fine Prints?

The fair includes a café for convenient dining or light refreshments. IFPDA has made some recommendations of nearby dining options which can be found here.

10. Take Advantage of Print Week 2013

IFPDA coordinates Print Week, this year November 4-10, highlighting lectures, talks, exhibitions and openings related to printmaking throughout New York. Highlights include Matisse at Pace Prints and group shows at Lower East Side Printshop and Senior & Shopmaker Gallery. Access the full schedule here.

Explore the IFPDA Print Fair on Artsy.

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