See prints from some of the world's most famous artists
Dubai is an evolving hub for contemporary artists in the region, but with little in the way of museums in our city, viewing famous historical artworks has been pretty much impossible. Until now, that is. Prints have changed the way that we view and buy art, making famous artworks more accessible and affordable. An exhibition running until November 30 at Jumeirah’s Pro Art Gallery, entitled ‘Editions: Prints and Multiples’, offers art lovers the chance to view, or, if purse strings permit, take home prints from some of the greatest legends of classical, pop, Chinese and street art. Here are the key players to watch – prices available on request.
Andy Warhol, lithographic print As pop art’s pioneer, Andy Warhol helped to commercialise the industry, as well as introduce colour, humour and satire. The highest price ever paid for one of his paintings was Dhs367 millon in 1963, for a canvas entitled ‘Eight Elvises’. We particularly like this print of Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger.
Blek Le Rat, screen print on paper Many art experts, including Banksy, have argued that this French artist was the first to adorn the streets with his sociopolitical expressions. This one is entitled ‘Running Man’.
Roy Lichtenstein, lithograph in colour Warhol’s pop-art partner in crime made a name for himself during the ’60s for his comic-strip-style parodies.
Yue Minjun, lithograph in colour This contemporary Chinese artist is best known for his sinister self portraits, showing him frozen in laughter. In 2007, his piece entitled ‘Execution’ (relating to events in Tianamen Square) was sold at auction in London for Dhs16.5 billion – the highest-selling work by a Chinese contemporary artist.
Mr Brainwash, silk screen on paper Frenchman Thierry Guetta could be the world’s first ‘pseudo’ artist. His story is documented in Banksy film Exit Through the Gift Shop and his artistic process consists of scanning and Photoshopping existing artworks, for which he usually employs a team of graphic designers.
Salvador Dali, lithograph This imaginative Spanish surrealist painter and sculptor found fame in the ’30s with his masterpiece ‘The Persistence of Memory’, featuring iconic melting clocks. This print, entitled ‘Les Songes Drolatiques de Pantagruel’, depicts scenes from a satirical story about two giants.
The inside view François Epaud, manager of Pro Art Gallery, gives us the lowdown on the exhibition
Where did the gallery source these prints? The prints and multiples are limited editions. We have a very eclectic choice of art here that includes artists from very different countries.
Tell us about the street art prints. In terms of street art, I think the most interesting artist is a Frenchman known as Blek Le Rat. Banksy himself has said that each time he creates something, he later finds out that Blek Le Rat has done it before him.
Why would you encourage people to buy a print of a famous artist? Buying a canvas by Picasso, for example, is so expensive that it’s really only for a small margin of people around the world. The lithograph is a way to buy famous art without spending a lot of money. Paintings by some of the Chinese artists we have on show are now selling in auction for up to Dhs29 million. Our lithographs cost Dhs36,000 to Dhs74,000.
Can anyone make a print? No. The artist controls the process – they sign and number all the artworks. That’s why they’re called the ‘artist proof’. The sheet of steel used to print the artworks is destroyed, so afterwards you cannot reprint.
What’s the difference between a print and a multiple? A print is on paper and a multiple is a sculpture. It basically means it’s not a unique piece.
What role do prints play in today’s art market? Prints are a democratised art. They have paved the way for people to have famous art in their homes. It’s more accessible.
What is your favourite piece in the collection? The Chinese artists are very important. I like Zhang Xiaogang.
Why do you think it’s important to bring a concept such as prints to Dubai? It gives people interested in art the possibility to buy something. We have prints by street artists on sale for Dhs2,000, which is an investment, but it’s not a big investment.
Do you think these pieces will increase in value? Yes, of course. When you buy a lithograph of Picasso or Dali or Banksy, you know it’s going to increase in value.
What are some of the more affordable prints? The street artists, and some of the unlimited editions, because they’re more accessible. I’m sure that we have the largest choice of street art here.