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Fine Art/Chagall lithographs


They are both framed, appear in very good condition, neither are signed or numbered.  I had already googled both pieces and found most asking prices to be almost half or less than half of the $2000+ asking price for each of these.  This is our first experience in pursuing lithographs but I feel comfortable with the authenticity - just not quite as comfortable with the pricing.  Your thoughts would be welcomed.
The text above is a follow-up to ...

Thanks - The 2 lithographs are Le clown fleuri and Le jeu des acrobates.  If they are original lithographs, what is a fair price range (with letters of authenticity and provenances)

Followup To

Question -
I am considering purchasing 2 Chagall lithographs from a reputable gallery with museum quality works of art.  Based on my own research on the pieces, they are from the same series (Lithographe Tome II).  How can I find out how many lithographs of this series were produced and please tell me what should be included in the certificates of authenticity.

Answer -

I hope this finds you well in health and in spirit. Thank you for your question.

A reputable gallery should be able to tell you the edition of the prints without you having to do the research yourself. Before buying, ask your consultant:

• Who is the publisher of this edition?
• How many different editions and number of prints in each edition were made of this print?
• What is the release limit of this particular edition? This should include how many prints were released in AP; H.C.; and limited numbered. In essence; how many authorized and original are there of these prints are out there?
• Is the print hand signed by the artist or is it plate signed?
• Do you provide a "money back" guarantee of authenticity?
• Do you provide a letter of authenticity stating the full information on the print?

Remember however; that a letter of authenticity is only as good as the person or companies’ ability to testify as to its authenticity. Insurance companies will usually accept the invoice price of your art from a reputable gallery or dealer.

I recently worked with a collector whose letter of authenticity for thousands of dollars in a Picasso print ended up to be worth nothing. He purchased a Picasso from a company he believed to be reputable. The “gallery” owner is now in jail without bail for art fraud. Do not do business with anyone or any gallery who is not willing to guarantee their authenticity and who has the reputation to back it up. This is my best advice.

I wish you well.

Best regards,

There is a large price varience between numbered and hand signed editions and limited unsigned prints.

You did not mention the details and condition of the prints. The price can change from a retail range of $1-2000 to $12,000-20,000 depending on the details.

Try googling the prints and find examples of prints from the same edition. There are many examples on the net. Remember that hand signing makes a big difference. Le clown fleuri signed and part of the limited edition numbered series of 40 can go for $20,000 plus.

Best regards,

Dear Carolee,

When comparing prices, do not discount the value of quality framing with archival materials in adding to the price of art. Generally you should consider the framing worth $150-300 each.

There is also value in a guaranteed COA of a Chagall from a reputable gallery or art dealer. Many of the lithographs sold online, (particularly EBay), may be original but without a solid COA they have a much lower resell value due to the large number of fake Chagall’s on the market. You may want to call your insurance company and ask them if they will accept the value from that gallery for insurance coverage. There is also value in working with a local gallery that will (should), consider you a valued collector client and provide better pricing on future acquisitions.

The price of $2000 each is in line with the pricing we had at the gallery for similar framed works in San Francisco. If you are considering both pieces; offer them $3400 for the pair and see if they accept or counter your offer. The margin of profit is usually lower on Modern Master prints; but they may have room to negotiate. If you get a lower price, make sure the invoice has the original (replacement) price with the “gallery discount or collectors consideration” listed separately. This invoice can be used for insurance purposes and you want the replacement value as the insured price.

I hope this is helpful. Best of luck and enjoyment in your collecting.

Best regards,

Fine Art

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Dolly D Headley


I can assist with identification, acquisition, sell representation, and care of fine art prints and original paintings. Some of my artist specialties include Henri Toulouse Lautrec, California Artists, and the Modern Masters. I can also assist with information on getting professional appraisals and authentication.


Dolly D. Headley, owner of Headley Fine Art, LLC, has provided consultative art services to retail gallery clients in Sausalito, CA, and at since 1998. With over 14 years experience as a Senior Art Consultant, Gallery Director, and an extensive art research library; Ms. Headley has provided hundreds of people with her high quality personalized consultation services and solid guarantee of satisfaction. Dolly is a volunteer at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

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Bachelor of Science; Self taught with thousands of hours research and retail gallery consulting. Personalized mentorship from various experts in the industry.

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