With the rapidly increasing scarcity of Picassos – prints as well as paintings – objects such as the etching plates Picasso produced are beginning to enter the market in a serious way. There is even an indication that they are forming their own sub-market. There are objects that, unlike the prints themselves, are unique, fabricated (rather than just signed) by Picasso’s hand. Especially when accompanied with impressions make from them, the plates are authentic artworks and at the same time are valuable documents, records of a process that is fascinating to connoisseurs and the general public alike. Even cancelled, the plates are also attractive as artworks.
Given the aura attached to masters such as Picasso, the sub-market in original plates is already heating up, and it can be argued that, in exhibition and selling these objects, Galerie Michael is out ahead of the curve. It should be noted that not all such objects are viable as integral artworks; lithographic stones, for instance, are unwieldy things in and of themselves, and many stones and plates and other sources of impression bear only incomplete versions of the final images, having been used in combination with other sources to produce those impressions.