Tag Archives: Andy Warhol

Bob Dylan art: to buy or not to buy?

The launch of three signed limited edition prints from Bob Dylan The Brazil Series will be tempting some readers of ROCK ART EDITIONS to consider becoming owners of Bob Dylan art for the first time.

To buy or not to buy?

If you’re one of those who thinks carefully before parting with £1,000+, here’s a list of questions you might ask yourself before deciding.

Bob Dylan art: Boxing Gym 2015

Boxing Gym, Bob Dylan The Brazil Series © Bob Dylan/Castle Galleries 2015

First, you need to decide why you’d buy a limited edition print by Bob Dylan – are you an art lover, a Dylan fan/collector, or an investor?

Bob Dylan art for lovers of paintings

Would you be buying Bob Dylan art because you love paintings?

If so, you might ask yourself a supplementary question: why buy Bob Dylan art when you could buy a limited edition print by, say, Chagall, Miro or even Picasso for a similar price? Or when you could buy a couple of dozen high quality reproductions of masterpieces of Western art for under £1,000?

Bob Dylan art for fans/collectors

Would you be buying Bob Dylan art because you’re a fan or collector of all things Dylan?

If yes, would you rather buy a limited edition print of a Bob Dylan painting than, say, a rare pressing of the Freewheelin’ LP, or a mint copy from the original print run of one of the famous posters, or a limited edition photograph by, say, Daniel Kramer or Elliott Landy, or a first edition copy of Bob Dylan Writings And Drawings?

If you’d be buying a print simply to obtain Bob Dylan’s autograph, you’d certainly be saving yourself a lot of fruitless effort. Securing Dylan’s autograph by presenting him in person with a pen and piece of paper is well-nigh impossible. Dylan’s security cordon is commendably tight: you’d never get near enough to ask for his autograph.

But Dylan’s autograph is no longer rare – it’s circulating on many thousands of limited edition prints. Is £1,000+ a competitive price for a Dylan signature?

Bob Dylan art

Man On A Bridge, Bob Dylan The Drawn Blank Series © Bob Dylan 2008

Which piece of Bob Dylan art would you buy? Fans/collectors can now choose from a wide selection. Bob Dylan art targeted at Everyman first became available in 2008, with several images in The Drawn Blank Series. Publishers Castle Galleries/Halcyon/Washington Green have added a new range of images from the same series every year since.

And now they’re also offering the first three prints from The Brazil Series – Ranchers, Boxing Gym and Favela Villa Broncos. More images from the Brazil Series will surely come. They’re all very different from the publisher’s Bob Dylan The Drawn Blank series.

Bob Dylan art for investors

You want to buy Bob Dylan art for investment? You read reports that Christie’s, New York just set a new auction record, selling Les Femmes d’Alger by Picasso for a gravity-defying $179m. So investing in art is a no-brainer, right?

Wrong!

If I was considering buying Bob Dylan art for investment, I’d ask myself a number of hard questions, including:

* which pieces of Bob Dylan art, from which of his ten series, should I buy?
* what return would I hope to make? Over what period?
* is there an after-market for limited edition prints by Bob Dylan?
* how, exactly, would I sell a piece or a portfolio of Bob Dylan art?
* how “limited” is a limited edition on offer?
* how likely is it that more versions of an image will be released?
* how much more Bob Dylan art will be offered for sale?
* will new releases dilute the value of my holding?
* rather than buying relatively low value Bob Dylan limited editions, should I buy Bob Dylan originals (at considerably higher prices) instead?
* are other types of Bob Dylan collectable more saleable?
* do other examples of rock art – eg Mick Jagger portraits by canonical artists like Andy Warhol and Richard Hamilton – have a better investment potential?
* would I be better off investing in limited edition prints by more celebrated 20thC artists – Matisse, Leger, Miro et al?
* how many pieces of Bob Dylan art would I need to make up a worthwhile investment portfolio?
* would I be better off investing in other, more conventional asset classes – property, shares, savings account… ?
* would I get more satisfaction from a holiday in California or the French Riviera, or from buying that new carbon fibre road bike I’ve been lusting after… ?

Mick Jagger by And Warhol

Mick Jagger 1975 © Andy Warhol 1975

Bob Dylan art: to buy or not to buy?

These are some of the many questions that a novice buyer of Bob Dylan art might consider. You’ll have other questions – please share them with readers of ROCK ART EDITIONS by posting a comment via the Leave a Reply button at the top of this post.

In the end, of course, it’s a personal choice. Only you can decide whether or not you should buy Bob Dylan art. And whether that art should be a signed limited edition print from the new Bob Dylan The Brazil Series.

Your call. Good luck!

Details of the three new prints from Bob Dylan The Brazil Series: Castle Galleries.

Copyright: images as indicated; text © Gerald Smith, ROCK ART EDITIONS 2015. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Bob Dylan art: worth collecting? A good investment? The Drawn Blank Series 2008-2014

Bob Dylan art

Woman in Red Lion Pub, Man On A Bridge, Train Tracks: stars of Bob Dylan The Drawn Blank Series 2008-2014

Is Bob Dylan art worth collecting?

Yes.  To be precise, some Bob Dylan art is worth collecting.

Is Bob Dylan art also a good investment?  Yes, it can be – but you need to know exactly what you’re buying.

Bob Dylan The Drawn Blank Series 2008-2014

You get a fair idea which Bob Dylan art is worth collecting and/or a good investment at Bob Dylan The Drawn Blank Series 2008-2014, an impressive – and revealing – retrospective exhibition running at Castle Fine Art, 24 Bruton Street, London W1 until 29 November.  It’s well worth a journey – you can spend a couple of enjoyable hours there.

Bob Dylan art

Bob Dylan art, Drawn Blank Series 2008-14, London W1

Bob Dylan art: worth collecting?

Not all Drawn Blank prints were created equal. Bob Dylan paintings first appeared at an exhibition at Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz in 2007-2008. Chemnitz is a small city west of Dresden – a fairly remote place in the former DDR, hence an ideal venue for Bob Dylan to test the waters with his painting.

Bob Dylan art

Bob Dylan The Drawn Blank Series, Chemnitz exhibition catalogue

The 92 sketches in Drawn Blank, Dylan’s 1994 book, were transformed into 322 different gouache and watercolour images, from which the 170 works exhibited at Chemnitz were selected.

A few of these paintings were also used for Washington Green’s first (2008) release of limited edition prints, but most of the publisher’s images appear to be slightly different gouache and water colour tableaux developed from the 1994 drawings.

How many of the 300 or so works in The Drawn Blank Series you’d want to see on your wall is a subjective matter.  There’s a few dozen pieces that I’d be happy to hang alongside those of more critically acclaimed artists featured in ROCK ART EDITIONS, such as Richard Hamilton, Andy Warhol and Peter Blake.

I’d consider buying about another third of the prints. But I struggle to enthuse over the rest of the works in Bob Dylan The Drawn Blank Series.

As I argued in a recent post on ROCK ART EDITIONS, I find The Drawn Blank Series 2014 to be a mixed bag. I love three of the eight images released, including a new colour version of Woman In Red Lion Pub, a familiar favourite. The other five? They don’t do it for me.

Bob Dylan art: a good investment?

In addition to judging Bob Dylan art as a collector, potential investors will also assess the work for its potential future growth in value.

Let’s start by considering three star performers in the current Castle Fine Art exhibition. If, on release in 2008, you’d bought Medium (36″ x 28″) versions of Man On A Bridge, Woman in Red Lion Pub and Train Tracks (photograph above), at £1,995 each (unframed), you would already be looking at a substantial capital gain: they are valued in this exhibition at £12,850, £12,850 and £15,350 respectively – a total of over £41,000, for an outlay of under £6,000.

But remember – that’s the value of these three limited editions from the 2008 release in the Medium size. Other releases and sizes of the same images haven’t performed as well. For example, the Standard (ie smaller, 27.5″ x 22″) Man On A Bridge and Woman in Red Lion Pub from the 2011 release are priced at £3,750, with the 2012 Man release at £2,750.

And remember – these prices are quoted by a gallery allied to the publisher of The Drawn Blank Series, a gallery trying to sell the whole collection. So these exhibition prices should be regarded as indicative, rather than definitive.  Establishing a more accurate open market value for these three prints would require an analysis of pricing and sales data from independent dealers, eBay and, notably, the major auction houses.

This trio of images – Man On A Bridge, Woman in Red Lion Pub and Train Tracks – are, arguably, the pick of the Drawn Blank crop. They are very desirable artefacts to own and hang on your wall, but you need to carefully consider their investment potential.

Bob Dylan art

Bob Dylan Drawn Blank Series: three Portfolios, 2008

The Portfolios – in this case, packages of different versions of the same image – are probably not as good investments as the individual prints.  For example, the Standard sized 2008 Portfolio of four versions of Train Tracks 2008 is now priced at £28,500, while the 2008 Portfolio of four Man On A Bridge prints is on sale here for £13,500, almost the same price as the Medium 2008 individual graphic.

Bob Dylan limited editions – how limited?

How limited is a Bob Dylan limited edition print?

Take the wonderful Man On a Bridge as an example, again. The original 2008 Medium print – the one which has soared in value – was produced in a limited edition of 295 – a very acceptable limit to the edition.

Bob Dylan art

Bob Dylan, Man On A Bridge 2008

But those 295 aren’t the end of the story. The image has also been released in different colours, different sizes, different packages and different media between 2008 and 2014.

Only 295 of Medium size Man On a Bridge prints (the high value one) were released in 2008. But count the copies released in the different versions, add those sold in sets and complete collections, not to mention Artist’s Prints and Printer’s Prints, and you begin to realise that “limited edition” is an elastic concept.

A quick calculation indicates that there are over 3,000 officially released copies of Man On A Bridge in the wild right now. And who knows how many more releases the piece will see?

You could, of course, argue that an aggregate edition of a few thousand is no barrier to purchasing a Bob Dylan artefact as an investment. After all, the recent Bob Dylan The Lyrics Since 1962 was released in a limited edition of 3,000. That seemed to me like an unnecessarily small edition, probably a commercial miscalculation by publishers Simon and Schuster, and I ordered my copy without a second thought.

Despite a relentless programme of annual releases since 2008, only a proportion of the images shown at Chemnitz or, indeed, catalogued by Washington Green in their handsome 2008 monograph, have been released so far. Many owners will be hoping that the weaker prints offered for sale in 2014 might indicate that the well is running dry.

Artist and publisher are, of course, within their rights to keep releasing new Drawn Blank Series artwork for as long as there is unsatisfied demand from collectors and investors.

Bob Dylan art: original Drawn Blank Series paintings

In addition to the limited edition prints, within the reach of most potential buyers, many of the original paintings (from which the limited editions were printed) were put on sale from 2008.

You’d expect them to be mostly sold. Many are reportedly valued in the low hundreds of thousands of pounds. An acrylic Man On A Bridge, wearing a fetching brown-grey coat, on display at the Castle Fine Art exhibition, has a six-figure price tag.

And whether the 300+ originals prepared for Chemnitz have been – or will be – sold is unknown. They could double the number of original, high value Drawn Blank artworks in circulation.

Do your research, get safeguards

If you are tempted to buy a piece of Bob Dylan art from this series, your first step might be to work out exactly why you want to buy it: would you be buying as a fan? A collector? Or an investor?

Whatever your motive, you need to do some homework: information is available to help you reduce risk – in exhibition and sales catalogues, as well as online resources.

Once you’ve decided to buy a piece, you need to check that it’s genuine. You’ll insist on a certificate of authenticity, and reliable information on the artwork’s provenance. You’re obviously safest with an established outlet in the Castle Galleries chain, or one of the independent UK galleries supplied with stock by publishers Washington Green.

But, beyond these outlets, it’s a good bet that there will be fake Dylan prints doing the rounds already: thieves abound on the fringes of the art world and the Dylan Universe. They target mugs who don’t know what they’re buying.

Caveat emptor!

Bob Dylan art: how good is it?

To summarise: some Bob Dylan art from The Drawn Blank Series 2008-2014 is probably a good investment. But do your homework before you buy.

If you’re buying a print from Bob Dylan The Drawn Blank Series purely for pleasure, you’ll have a piece of Bob Dylan hanging on your wall, complete with signature – even if it drops in value.

And make no mistake: the Drawn Blank Series 2008-2014 exhibition underlines Bob Dylan’s credentials as an artist to be taken seriously.  His portraits and cityscapes are particularly engaging.  Like Dylan songs, the paintings are clearly the work of an acute observer.  Many of these pictures reinforce Dylan’s standing as a non-pareil poet of the everyday, one who detects multiple meanings in the mundane.

Bob Dylan The Drawn Blank Series 2008-2014 reveals a body of work with a singular vision, expressed in a unique style.  To my mind, the best work in this collection positions Bob Dylan alongside the German Expressionists.

Am I biased?  Certainly: Bob Dylan and visual art are two of my central life interests. To see them combined, as in the best work in Bob Dylan The Drawn Blank Series 2018-2014, leaves me truly smitten.

Seven years ago, there was very little Bob Dylan art around – the drawings in the 1994 book, earlier sketches in Writings and Drawings and its mid-1980s update, and a modicum of album cover artwork. The world now seems awash with Dylan artwork.

Bob Dylan art

Bob Dylan, Drawn Blank, Random House, 1994

For this, collectors and investors are indebted to Ingrid Mossinger of Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz, who realised that the sketches in Drawn Blank (1994) could be transformed into an impressive, extensive collection of paintings.

And to publishers Washington Green who saw the commercial opportunity presented at the Chemnitz exhibition, and made Bob Dylan art accessible to most citizens of the developed world.

Washington Green have an excellent online catalogue of Bob Dylan The Drawn Blank Series 2008-2014.

All images © Bob Dylan/Washington Green 2014, except Chemnitz catalogue © Prestel 2007, and Drawn Blank © Random House 1994.

Disclaimer: if you are considering buying art from The Drawn Blank Series, please see the disclaimer on the About ROCK ART EDITIONS page.

Mick Jagger portraits: a guide for beginners

Mick Jagger portraits are everywhere.

Visit any major art gallery with a contemporary collection and Mick Jagger will probably be there to greet you. Spend ten minutes in a high street gallery dealing in art for your walls, and you’re likely to come across the Rolling Stones singer.

Mick Jagger portraits vary, both in quality and price. Here are four examples of paintings and mixed media artwork I’d consider if building an ideal rock art collection. You can see the first two pieces in national galleries in London, the other two in selected high street outlets.

Mick Jagger portraits #1: Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol’s Mick Jagger portraits are the pick of the crop.

Why? Because they are intrinsically attractive. And because they have the art world’s official seal of approval – I shot the photograph below in the prestigious National Portrait Gallery, London.

Mick Jagger portrait by Andy Warhol

Mick Jagger portrait, National Portrait Gallery, London © Andy Warhol

Like all artwork by Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger prints are reassuringly expensive – auctioned by leading houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s, they achieve prices of tens of thousands of pounds.

You need to do your homework, though – there are many variant limited edition prints of images from the same Andy Warhol project.

Mick Jagger portraits #2: Richard Hamilton – Swingeing London

Richard Hamilton, the leading English exponent of Pop Art, is the other top artist with Mick Jagger portraits in his portfolio.

Swingeing London, an iconic image based on a press photograph of Mick Jagger in handcuffs, was reproduced in a series of mixed media limited edition prints.

Mick Jagger, poster boy for Richard Hamilton exhibition, Tate Modern, London, 2013

Mick Jagger, from Swingeing London by Richard Hamilton. © Tate Modern, London 2014

I’ve seen variants of Swingeing London in leading London galleries such as Tate Britain, as well as smaller spaces like the Serpentine Gallery, Christie’s Mayfair and Alan Cristea.

My photograph shows the poster for the recent Richard Hamilton blockbuster exhibition at Tate Modern, London.  The inspirational exhibition has since been shown at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid.

Mick Jagger portraits by Andy Warhol and Richard Hamilton are fundamental building blocks of any representative collection of rock art. I’ll be profiling them in more detail here on ROCK | ART | EDITIONS: you can ensure you don’t miss them by subscribing to receive new posts by email (subscription sign-up at top right of this page).

If Andy Warhol and Richard Hamilton prints are beyond your budget, though, you can pick from a wide range of Mick Jagger portraits at more affordable prices. Here are two examples which caught my eye recently.

Mick Jagger portraits #3: Kate Gibb – Electric Mick – Two

Kate Gibb’s Electric Mick – Two is a striking piece. On a leisurely summer outing to Brighton, as I passed Art Republic (13 Bond St, Brighton), it almost sucked me in off the street!

Mick Jagger portrait, Electric Mick 2, by Kate Gibb

Electric Mick -Two © Kate Gibb 2014

The image here is of a signed (by the artist) silkscreen limited edition of 50. It was priced at £1100 in the shop. You can buy it online from Art Republic – directly and via Amazon.

Electric Mick also comes in several other editions, using different colours.  Electric Mick – One is presented in a blue palette, for example.  And in different sizes.

Mick Jagger portraits #4: Louis Sidoli

And Mick Jagger portraits just keep on coming. The most recent example is this giclee on paper limited edition (of 495) by Louis Sidoli (£399), which I saw last week at Castle Galleries, St Christopher Place, London W1.

Mick Jagger portrait by Louis Sidoli, Castle Galleries, London

Mick Jagger © Louis Sidolio

Any collector of Mick Jagger portraits faces an embarrassment of riches. And apart from a host of paintings and mixed media artworks like those featured here, you have to consider photographs.

Mick Jagger has few equals in attracting the camera lens, so there are probably more extant photographs of him than of any other rock musician.

I’ll be profiling the most collectable Mick Jagger photographs here on ROCK | ART | EDITIONS: if you have any suggestions, please email me and I’ll include them.

© ROCK | ART | EDITIONS 2014

Rolling Stones box sets: triumph and disappointment

Rolling Stones box sets provide handy, collectable versions of most of the albums and nearly all the singles. Some of the box sets are beautifully packaged – models of rock art. Some aren’t.

Rolling Stones aficionados disagree about the music of the different releases, as well as their sonic quality. But this post – the first of a trio – isn’t about music or sound quality. It focuses on the packaging, the commercial rock art.

Rolling Stones releases have been generally housed in outstanding album and singles covers, with designs by top artists, notably Andy Warhol, David Bailey and Gered Mankowitz. Judged as rock art, however, Rolling Stones box sets vary.

The post-1971 singles are housed in one of the best packages, while the box set of contemporaneous albums is the most disappointing in the Rolling Stones catalogue.

Rolling Stones Singles 1971-2006 box set

Singles 1971-2006

Rolling Stones Singles 1971-2006 box set, 2011

Rolling Stones Singles 1971-2006 box set is a triumph. Two well-fitting, secure, colourful boxes, individual card sleeves for all 45 CDs – most are replicas of the originals – a helpful booklet, all make for a desirable artefact. It’s appropriate housing for the memorable music it safeguards. The strong, unified design of the box set reinforces the Rolling Stones brand – creativity, fun, vivacity. The shocking pink was a surprise, but it works. The package is visually interesting: you can spend time enjoying and decoding it. True believers buy the Rolling Stones Singles 1971-2006 box set for the packaging alone. (They already own most of the music several times over.)

Rolling Stones Box Set (albums)

Rolling Stones albums, 1970-2005, box set

The Rolling Stones Box Set, 2010

By comparison, The Rolling Stones Box Set, the package of fourteen post-1970 studio albums recorded for Rolling Stones Records/Virgin Records and released in 2010 by Polydor, is unimpressive – judged purely as packaging, of course; it houses some of the high peaks of Rolling Stones music.

The fourteen albums come in plastic jewel cases, housed in a simple, flimsy cardboard slip case. Nothing else. And even the box has minimal design. Dismal. Perfunctory. Niggardly. If someone mistakenly bought me The Rolling Stones Box Set for Christmas, I’d quietly sell it or give it away.

The other Rolling Stones compilation box sets, of the ABKCO/Decca LPs and singles, are also a mixed bag. The de luxe re-releases of individual LPs – Exile on Main St., ‘Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!’, Some Girls, and GRRR! – have the same commercial aim (enrich the musicians) but a different creative purpose. I’ll be reviewing them all in due course.

The bottom line, of course, is that, in addition to housing some of the best rock music ever released, some of the Rolling Stones box sets showcase the finest rock art. As always with the Rolling Stones, art meets commerce. They get on very well, thank you very much.