Printworld Directory, 11th Edition

Posted June 22, 2007:

I've heard people refer to the Printworld Directory of Contemporary Prints and Prices for years, so I finally decide to snag myself a copy, see what the deal is, and review it. You'll be pleased to know that I like what I found, and that if you buy, sell, collect, or appraise contemporary prints, Printworld Directory is one reference you'll want to have around. It's got a significant amount of information I can't find elsewhere, or let me put it this way-- information that's not easy to find elsewhere (and I'm someone who knows how to find hard-to-find information).

The current 2006 edition contains biographical and print price information for approximately 2000 artists of all time periods and nationalities, but the overwhelming majority are contemporary, and a large majority of those tend to be identified with the so-called commercial sector of the art trade. A typical artist listing includes birth date (and death date when relevant), birth place, collections, biographical information when available, collections that own the artist's work, publishers, publisher locations, and personal contact information when available. Publishers are particularly helpful to know, as is biographical and contact information for a number of the commercial sector artists who tend not to appear in other art reference books with any regularity.

Prints are categorized into "current editions" and "sold-out editions" (also categorized in the directory as "rare"), and are generally listed by date, although not necessarily-- which gets inconvenient at times, especially with very prolific artists like Picasso or Warhol. Each individual listing includes, as applicable and available, the print's title, publisher, printer, publishing date, medium, paper size, paper type, edition size, number of colors printed, opening retail price (or issue price), and current retail price. The current retail prices, by the way, may not be current and/or accurate-- especially for the more famous artists and especially in an active art market like we have now-- so be careful here and corroborate the information with additional sources. The book also includes an index of artists and an index of publishers (including contact information).

Overall, the book is a recommended reference especially for "commercial sector" artists. It provides in-depth information about publishers and editions that's not easy to locate, but is essential for anyone serious about any aspect of the business. For example, the difference between "issue price" and "current price" gives you an idea of how collectible or in-demand an artist is. And knowing the medium of a print saves you the trouble of having to identify it yourself-- something that's not always easy to do. Always remember, art people-- you're only as good as your reference library.

Printworld Directory, Contemporary Prints and Prices, Eleventh Edition, 2006, Printworld International Inc., West Chester PA, 2006, hardbound, 1244 pages, 8 7/8 by 11 1/4 inches, $244.

Available from Printworld International Inc., PO Box 1957, West Chester, PA 19380 or call 1.800.788.9101 or visit the Printworld Directory website and order online.

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