From the Archives
While the demand for Northwest Coast prints has waxed and waned over the decades, it seems it has never been higher than over the past few years. Lattimer Gallery purchases a great number of prints from emerging and contemporary First Nations artists every year, but we have also become known as the premier art gallery in North America for consigning and reselling vintage Indigenous prints from the Pacific Northwest. Our upcoming show is titled From the Archives: Vintage Prints from the Northwest Coast and features over twenty-five rare First Nations serigraphs. Some of the artists represented in this online exhibition include Doug Cranmer, Beau Dick, Freda Diesing, Sharon Hitchcock, Susan Point and Art Thompson. This will be an online show only and will run between March 25-April 8, 2023. All prints will be online and available for purchase starting at 10am PST on March 25th. Prints purchased during the show will remain at the gallery until the show ends on April 8th.
There are several explanations for the popularity of limited edition prints in this art market. Unlike conventional art galleries, there is rarely artist exclusivity within Northwest Coast Indigenous galleries. Often, multiple galleries will want to display the work of a specific artist, and prints are the perfect medium to enable this form of representation, while ensuring that the artist is not spreading themselves too thin. Limited edition prints are fairly easy to create yet remain collectible due to their limited and controlled production.
Another reason behind the ubiquity of giclée and screened prints in this market is connected to the fact that original paintings have never been widely created for public purchase. Many Northwest Coast First Nations artists are excellent painters, but they often paint carvings and sculptures rather than canvases. There are, of course, a few artists such as Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun and Robert Davidson who have focused a good deal of their careers on painting, but most galleries displaying Northwest Coast Indigenous art feature prints and carvings rather than original paintings.
Nowadays, almost every established Northwest Coast artist has created or is currently creating prints for sale. However, most artists producing prints today owe a great deal to the artists included in From the Archives: Vintage Prints from the Northwest Coast for laying aesthetic foundations in this market.