Louis Icart - Price
If you like Icart’s work, but do not want to pay much money, buy a modern reproduction. These reproductions are readily available from dealers or on internet auction sites. You can even buy the images on disks and have them printed or images reproduced on canvas/paper using the Giclee process. This approach may fulfill your need to have something hanging on the wall, but it’s not quite the same as having the real thing.
Alternatively, if you are want to take the next step, and purchase a work by Icart, you are in luck because these are also readily available from art dealers, internet auction sites, antique dealers, established auction houses, and even traveling auctions advertising confiscated police goods, or high wealth items. Just remember – you usually get what you pay for, and make sure you know what and why you are buying.
The why part should be fairly easy. The answer to that question is because you like Icart’s work. The answer should not be because you want to invest in art for a near term price rise, or think you are getting a good deal on-line or at a flee market and can buy now, enjoy, and resell later at a profit. The pricing for works by Icart is subject to the laws of supply and demand. With somewhere near 750,000 works printed, there are enough works available to soften the upside potential for major price appreciation.
Icart’s etchings originally sold for between $6 and $40. You can find dealerÕs catalogues from the 1920’s and 1930’s that give the prices and provide the retailer with some promotional information. The etchings were sold in the US at major department stores as nice wall decoration, but not as fine works of art. And because of their modest price, the etchings were treated as such. The paper was trimmed to fit the frames of the time, the etchings were glued to cardboard or wood to flatten them, and the paper was pressed against the glass such that condensation caused staining. Eventually, they were relegated to the attic or basement where the paper could be eaten by bugs, and humidity could damage the paper.
There was a rediscovery of Icart’s work in the US in the 1970’s and 1980’s and in Japan in the early 1990’s and the prices increased about a factor of 100 with the good condition, high end pieces fairing best. However, with the advent of online auctions and the decline in the Japanese economy during the 1990’s, prices overall have declined from their highs. Should you expect another increase by a factor of 100? Unlikely. Should you expect the inflation adjusted prices to remain constant to somewhat increasing over your lifetime? Probably. Thus, buy the art because you like it and expect that if your tastes change you should be able to get a good percentage of your money back.
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