Fine Art/Chagall prints
I have 3 questions for you, 2 pertaining to specific prints and one in general.
The first print I have a question about is called " Reverie " that was released in “Derriere le miroir” # 182. I believe we have one of the 150 "edition de luxe" because the only paperwork we have says " CHAGALL 1969 on the top and Maeght Editeur on the bottom. Inside the folder is written: L' edition de tete de ce numero de consacre a Chagell a ete limitte a 150 exemplaries numerates comportant les deux lithographies originales de Chagall tirees sur velin de Rives. And on the bottom of the page is written: Acheve d'imprimer le 19 decembre 1969 sur les presses de Mourlot et d'Arte a Paris. It is signed and numbered, but we are pretty sure that these were forged as we have inquired a little about it and none of these prints with the fold were signed or numbered. Based on this, we have been told that this is worth between $700-$1000. Do you think this value is correct?
The second print is called " The Sacrifice of Abraham". The print we are looking at is rather small, about 17cm x 22cm. It is also signed, and interestingly enough the signature has been authenticated by a reputable authenticator by the name of Herman Darvick ( you can check out his credentials at http://www.psadna.com/experts.chtml
). Again our brief investigation has turned up that this was an etching done in black and white, but ours is in color. Can you explain that mystery and give us any clue on what we really have as it is obviously not an original etching, but with the authentication I would assume the signature is genuine. We would also like to know what the value of something like this would be, if any.
My third question is a lot more complicated. As we have quickly learned there is a vast amount Chagall prints in circulation, most of dubious origin. How does one go about obtaining Chagall prints that are worth somewhere in the realm of the selling price. We are not looking for a bargain, but we are looking to get what we paid for, but it seems as though its pure luck if that happens unless you are an expert.
I look forward to hearing what you have to say. I do love your saying that " if you paid a song, it probably is a song".
Scott--I will give you the short answers on all three questions:
1] You're right on the first piece, and $700-$1,000 sounds right as well.
2] There are no records kept on pieces Chagall might have 'autographed', ie, signed as a favor. Editions are signed & numbered. I am not convinced the signature is real. If it is not an original etching, why would Chagall have signed it. And if it isn't by him, I am not sure it has any value.
3] Go to a reputable gallery or auction house [eg. Sotheby's], only buy pieces that are in Catalog Raisonees of his works and have Cat. #'s. The catalogs also spell out all the info. you need about the piece. It's not that hard. You're just not likely to 'steal' one, but if you love it, and based on Chagall's track record, you will not be overpaying. Good luck. Alan Klevit
check out Alan's latest book, ART COLLECTING 101, at www.booklocker.com.