Selling a piece of pop art
May 13, 2012 3:14 AM   Subscribe

A dead relative left me a James Rosenquist signed print or poster. I would like to sell it. I would not like to deal with selling it. What's the easiest way to get something reasonable for it, as I have no idea of what the market value is. Contact Christie's or Southeby's? Are there agents who will deal with the whole process for a commission?
posted by zachawry to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
There is a lot of his stuff out there, and a signed poster is very much not a limited edition print, and a limited edition print from the 60s or 70s is worth more than one from the 80s or 90s, and edition sizes matter and what kind of print matters and he might not actually be worth enough to sell via Sothebys. There are lots and lots of people who do apprasials but often it's a bit of a racket. If you think it is actually worth a lot, (i.e 60s, small edition size, lithograph etc. et. al) what I would do is talk to his galleriest--these change with the wind, i thot it was Gagosian, which would be a complete pain in the ass, but, at least for works on paper it's Acquavella Galleries:

18 East 79th Street (between Madison and Fifth Avenues)
New York, NY 10075
212-734-6300 Phone
212-794-9394 Fax

they might buy it outright, or might work as a conduit b/w yr work and the dealer who wants to buy it--they will under price it from what you think it's worth, if they buy it outright, and if they work as a conduit, they will take about 20 per cent off the purchase price--which will be lower than you think it should be.

dealers job is to get high quality work into collectors hands for quite low prices--and though they are often ethical, there is all sorts of weirdness, so be really really cautious (google some of the problems of warhol's brillo boxes or the recent lichenstein lawsuits.)

Often Artists have authentication boards (though Warhol's foundation just dismantled theirs) but much of that is post-mortem, and pop is noritiously difficult to get the thumbs up or thumbs down on--this one is really tricky, b/c Rosenquist is in the middle of a Catalog Raisonne, but weirdly that catalog doesn't include limited edition graphics, and it sounds like you have that)

It might actually be worth emailing the studio itself and asking, instead of the gallery: but they are in the middle of working through like 40 or 50 years of work and might be slow and/or annoyed.

It's kind of arrghy.
posted by PinkMoose at 5:05 AM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

PinkMoose, thanks for the incredibly detailed and valuable response!
posted by zachawry at 5:07 AM on May 13, 2012

Here is Rosenquist's site:
posted by PinkMoose at 5:07 AM on May 13, 2012

Also, if you strike out with Acquavella, some of the best poster dealers are Chisholm Larsson. They deal in signed posters from artists of the period pretty regularly (Wesselman, etc.).

But yeah first you're going to have identify what you have. Mega, mega difference in price and what you'll do with it between "signed print" and "poster." If you don't want to ask his dealers--and you can totally call them up and say "Hey, I'm trying to identify what this is, I have no idea"--we can probably help with a really good picture. (You can do a first check against the google image results.)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 7:03 AM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Can you describe it? He's my neighbor in NY and at his place here, he's got a few piles of yet-unsigned posters. He recently lost his main studio in Florida to fire, I would imagine there were several piles of posters down there that are now more limited in edition.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:10 AM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

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