Q: I have very much enjoyed reading your blog and have learned a lot from you. I can understand that you are very particular in your tastes and views about what is great Picasso work. I have even emailed you and appreciate your kindness in that you always even reply back. I consider you one of the leading U.S. art authorities on Picasso.
But I think you do not realize that you are a little intimidating, almost like a Picasso snob. I started by collecting Chagall and then began to branch out in my taste. Your blog helped me to better understand Picasso’s work. But sadly I’m not rich; my wealthier friends would be shocked at what I’ve spent on art. The only art they ever framed and collected were their kids’ elementary school work.
Not one Picasso I’ve collected has made it into your blog; in part because the prices I can afford run under $10,000 for a hand signed lithograph and under $1,200 for a plate or unsigned work.
To my total surprise I have now bought 4 Picassos, all at very affordable prices. Picasso’s multi-color “le picodor” and its 3 brothers I count as one. There are a lot of them available and affordable by people like me. I got lucky and got a break on the Hand signed le vieux roi, when I expected to buy the plate signed, which would cost a little over my budget at $2,000-2,5000. These are affordable because there are enough copies 1,000 plate & 200 hand signed. So too, although I wanted 1 of the 50 Hand signed dj dessins DELUXE ed., it went for $10-12,000 at least. I settled for 1 of the 1,000 books with dj for under $1,000 [Dessins d’un demi-siècle] that are plate signed. I intend to have the double picture framed.
So, why am I telling you all this? Art is expensive and most, even well-to-do people don’t buy it; even though they’ll go to museums here or when they travel abroad.
Of course your clients probably can afford what is in your blog. But for most of us who collect “real” art, the very expensive prices so many galleries charge cater to clients for whom price is clearly irrelevant. They tend to have signed and unsigned pieces at truly ridiculous prices….
If I bought what you thought worthy, my entire budget would be gone after I bought 1 piece! By watching my budget, I hope over time I can afford to collect much of what I want, even if it is unsigned work.
I sincerely hope you realize that there is a good size group of collectors like me. Don’t misunderstand me, I return to reading your blog periodically, especially when I am considering a Picasso. So, please keep writing! Thank you in advance for your understanding.
A: Ha! So now I’m a Picasso snob! That’s funny. Not to worry—I didn’t take offense at all. I’m not about to dispute the charge, though I’m also not quite ready to plead guilty. I’d rather just address the substance of your message, since you make some good points.
As I’m sure you know, there are of course plenty of reasons why things are priced the way they are, which I’ve explored in my collecting guide and its original print ratings. But to the extent that it is useful to have a collecting guide for Picasso’s prints, it follows that it would be useful for someone to compile a schema such as mine that addresses their least expensive stratum. I agree with you that there are likely to be a lot of collectors who hunt within this price range, as you do. Bear in mind, however, that I set out to rate the artistic merits of Picasso’s prints subjectively, as I see them, and without regard to price. So it is no wonder, to the extent that my preferences match the market’s (there’s but a partial overlap here, as you may have also noted), that I, too, would not bother with many of the prints the print market doesn’t favor. I don’t feel inspired at present to rise to that task—maybe later. But thanks anyway for your valuable comments.
I appreciate your preference for acquiring a number of lesser-priced artworks for the cost of a single, more expensive piece. Though one could just as easily argue it the other way around—why not save up one’s marbles for one spectacular work than dole them out for a number of lesser pieces? Apart from the fact that one picture won’t go as far in filling up your walls as would a number of pieces—of similar size—the rest is of course just a matter of personal preference….
By the way, I trust you’re aware that our prices are nothing like the “truly ridiculous prices” that “so many galleries charge”, but still it sounds like they are mostly out of your range. At present at least—remember us once you’ve hit the jackpot!
I’ve enjoyed corresponding with you, and I think I’ll blog this last exchange, as I agree with you that there must be like-minded collectors such as you out there, so thanks again!
Your friendly Picasso snob