Multiple Choice: Picks for Prints This April

Lot 205, "Brisk Day Series" by Alex Katz, set of three prints: woodcut, aquatint andamp; screenprint in colors, 1990, numbered 1/150, Phillips (April 25)

Prints sales offer a wonderful opportunity for collectors – new and established alike – to scoop up works by blue-chip artists at affordable price points. Covering Old Masters through contemporary works, this April brings a myriad of opportunities to collect prints and multiples from a variety of editions. From accessibly priced, larger series to sought-after, scarcer examples by key artists, our editors have rounded up some of the terrific works headed to auction this month.

Lot 354, “Mary Cassatt at the Louvre” by Edgar Degas, aquatint and etching on cream wove paper,
1879-80, seventh state (of 7), after cancellation, edition of approximately 150,
Swann Auction Galleries (April 28)

The 40-year friendship between peer Impressionists Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt has been well studied; it was even the subject of a 2014 exhibition at the National Gallery of Art. Edgar Degas’s “Mary Cassatt at the Louvre” perfectly demonstrates the artistic collaboration between two respected artists.

Lot 122, “Halbfigur Einer Frau Mit Verschrankten Armen (Klipstein 85; Knesbeck 91)” by Käthe
Kollwitz, color lithograph, c. 1905, Knesebeck’s third state of three, Doyle New York (April 25)

Käthe Kollwitz, pioneer of German Expressionism, was a prolific printmaker whose work illustrated the plight of the working class. Several prints by the artist are available this month via Swann Auction Galleries and Doyle New York, including the present work, “Halbfigur Einer Frau Mit Verschrankten Armen (Klipstein 85; Knesbeck 91),” circa 1905.

Lot 26, “Reverie (Corlett 38)” by Roy Lichtenstein, screenprint in colors, 1965,
numbered 25/200, Sotheby’s (April 20)

Roy Lichtenstein’s graphic, melodramatic compositions of women are some of his most iconic and sought-after works on the market. Lichtenstein’s “Reverie (Corlett 38)” is a quintessential example of the artist’s exploration of the subject matter, which is inspired by romance novels and newspaper clippings.

Lot 40, “Double Gray Scramble (Axiom 93)” by Frank Stella, screenprint in colors, 1973,
numbered 11/100, Sotheby’s (April 20)

The recent Frank Stella retrospective jointly organized by the Whitney Museum and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth has us yearning for more of his mesmerizing geometric compositions. “Double Gray Scramble (Axsom 93)” is just one of the key Frank Stella prints headed to auction this month.

Lot 165, “Cyclamen II from Suite of Plant Lithographs,” lithograph on Rives BFK paper, 1964-5,
numbered 51/75, Phillips (April 25)

With the passing of Ellsworth Kelly in December 2015 at age 92, the artist’s works continue to leave a lasting imprint on the hearts of collectors. Available at Phillips this spring is a wide array of Kelly’s prints, including the present example, “Cyclamen II from Suite of Plant Lithographs.” The artist’s plant studies were a long-time focus, and are often credited with Kelly’s shift from figurative works toward abstraction.

Lot 35, “Self-Portrait” by Chuck Close, etching & aquatint on wove paper, 1988, trial proof, Freeman’s (May 1)

The self-portrait is among Chuck Close’s most widely studied subject matter. The present work, a trial proof aside from the regular edition of 50, plus 6 artist’s proofs, is just one example of the artist’s intense examination of the human countenance.

Lot 315, “Oprah, from When Ends Meet” by Mickalene Thomas, screenprint in colors with
hand-applied rhinestones, 2007, ‘Project Proofs 3/3’ (edition 20), Phillips (April 25)

An artist with a deep understanding of art history, Mickalene Thomas explores new approaches to traditional portraiture. Thomas’s market has seen recent strength, bolstered by two solo exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston and Brooklyn Museum.