Being a screenprinter, I was particularly interested in the prints on show at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition when we went to see it recently.
I may get a chance to discuss the exhibition itself later but I was just wondering about editions. Work 232 was Servant of the Moon, a small woodcut by Liam Ryan. It is an edition of 500 at £15 each. I’ve never known any work as cheap as this. However 500 times £15 is still £7,500. OK, 30% goes to the RA as commission and there may be VAT to pay but that’s still a fair amount to the artist and there were quite a few red spots next to it on the second day of viewing.
Compare this with, for example, Work 502 which was an etching called Unfolding 2 – An Understanding Of Drawing As Described By Matisse by Fianne Stanford. This was an edition of 20 at £500, giving a total of £10,000 which is comparable to Liam Ryan’s.
While it’s interesting to compare the pile-it-high-sell-it-cheap approach with the more exclusive approach, the “thought” referred to in the title is only loosely linked with this.
Has anyone produced a work of art which is sold in different amounts at different prices? What I have in mind might be a large tree branch. The saw, safety glasses and thick gloves would obviously be part of the work. The amount cut off by the purchaser would be weighed and priced accordingly. Someone just wanting to be able to say they have a piece of a work by the artist would cut off a small piece and only pay a small price. A collector wanting a significant piece to display would cut off a larger piece and pay more.
Alternatively, a large painting could be cut up and sold according to the area. In printing, a varied edition is one where the process used is such that it is not possible to get exactly the same result each time. However, each print would be the same size and cost the same amount to buy. What I’m suggesting is an edition which varies by the amount of the original work bought. My question is simply whether anyone has done this. Have they?