Kerry Darlington has captivated a new generation of art collectors in the 15 year development of her widely sought after originals and unique limited editions. Working as the flagship gallery for her most rare of works, Wyecliffe Galleries has developed a position as both authority and key representative of her portfolio, bringing every launch to market with more tailored and personalised buying experiences for collectors. Darlington’s definitive fairy tale collection sits alongside a refined and technically outstanding series of works exploring themes of the pre-raphelite era, underpinned by her awe of all things nature.
Investment is often a word used too freely in the context of the contemporary art world. Collectors should approach with caution in a world of galleries pushing for easy sales without confident and correct data to augment their claims. Few artists reach the heady heights of works exchanging hands on the secondary market for premiums without an exceptional and unique gift. Kerry Darlington is one such talent, whose extraordinary unique editions now sell out in a matter of weeks following the unveiling of each image. 2017 has been an especially momentous year, solidifying an already powerful position in the modern scene.
The year commenced with the launch of a classic and definitive edition born from the early Tree of Life collection and the healing power of trees which has been an accomplished backbone to her network of paintings. A Tree Full of Loveintroduced a growing influence in Darlington’s tonal palette; a backdrop of sumptuous silver provided new silhouette for the artist’s distinctive Klimt inspired motif. Shimmering in soft bronze, the tree reaches its branches to offer charms galore. Plump feathered friends sit aside embracing faeries and English crockery (surely referencing the artist’s beloved scene at the Mad Hatters Tea party from iconic novel Alice in Wonderland). Every single edition unique with the hand carved plywood elements differing widely from piece to piece. One may show the birds in glorious technicolour pink and yellow, others in rich tones of blue and green – everyone a fresh and individual interpretation of the original. Earlier examples from the series including Tree of Life – Gold now worth several hundred pounds in excess of release price, for now collectors still yet to acquire Tree Full of Love may benefit from the original list value.
The Messengersis a delightful wash of pale peaches and cool lavenders; a galaxy of colour swirling behind the mesmerised cast of creatures, all gazing intently at an ancient tree. Speaking of the piece, the artist reveals an insight into her thoughts;
"Sometimes a Messenger appears in your life so forcefully that you cannot ignore them. They may come to you in any disguise and say or do something which makes you question your old ideas of reality. They may carry layers of ancient knowledge and lore that you had long forgotten. Knowledge that radiates from the earth, from nature and from the beings that are truly in tune with it. We often see animals as inferior to ourselves, when in fact they are so connected to the truth and the world around us that they can be our wisest teachers when we let them."
This verse shows the intense authenticity behind Darlington’s philosophy; her belief in the power of the spirit and mental wellbeing is refreshing and inviting. The figurehead edition from a collection of original works which were sold between £8k-£12k, the works have evolved from the much admired Wild and Free series. Rare Artist Proofs of The Messengerscan be acquired at the time of writing; desirable editions which sit outside the main collection are often highly prized. For more information about Artist Proofs please read on here.
Released in early Spring Beauty and the Beast joined three previous works from the evocative classic folklore series. Exploring themes of adolescence and adventure, the work featured a tender simple composition of a young Belle embracing Darlington’s interpretation of the Beast. More commonly shown as a great bear, the artist re-imagined the Beast as a handsome, powerful lion; the king of the jungle and most fearsome of animals. Previous titles span several years from one launch to next, generating much anticipation between each painting. Once unveiled, there was a simultaneous scramble for collectors to secure their chosen edition number to ensure a cohesive matching series; joining Snow White and Rose Red, Little Red Riding Hood and The Snow Queen, the edition is all but sold out within just months of release. Wyecliffe Galleries has a long history of assisting collectors build portfolios of editions to enhance their future worth through offering paired numbers for completeness. The earliest of editions, aforementioned Snow White and Rose Red now regularly achieves above two thousand pounds, in excess of double the original value. With a very limited number of the highly collectable rose charms still available with the final editions for sale, Beauty and the Beast will shortly be joining the long list of Kerry Darlington sell out works prime for future price re-appraisal.
Perhaps the fastest selling edition created by Kerry Darlington to date, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz had been highly anticipated following its predecessor Journey to Emerald Citywhich came to market in 2013. Built upon the tale of one of the most iconic of stories, our heroine Dorothy has advanced towards the Emerald City pointing in delighted relief that the end of her journey is in sight. Companions Toto, Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion guide the little girl towards the rainbow hiding in the distance. Pre-sales of the edition broke every previous precedent seen at Wyecliffe Galleries with two-thirds of the edition already allocated to collectors prior to the image being unveiled in early July. Sold out within the blink of an eye, the edition is perhaps a sign of what is to come. Collectors who missed out upon release are now scouring secondary auction sites finding that editions are already commanding at minimum 50% above launch price.
Forthcoming for Autumn are not one but two new exceptional releases due for official unveiling on Monday 2nd October 2017. The next in the most prized of collections Alice in Wonderland, a new edition re-visiting ideas from one of Darlington’s most iconic early works has already been pre-ordered so many times that half the edition has already been allocated, with many smaller independent galleries already sold out before the full piece has been launched. The first edition which is far more accessible to the growing markets in America and Australia with Wyecliffe Galleries new US online platform now accommodating these collectors directly. Therefore an even greater scarcity of editions is expected than before with every edition being a globally available piece. The earliest of works from this edition Mad Hatters Tea Party and Happy Unbirthday to Youare some of the most enquired about sold out works from all releases. To learn more about the history of Kerry Darlington and Alice in Wonderland, please read on here
A perfect accompaniment to a Tree Full of Love, the released title for the next in the Tree of Life collection, Tree of Light emulates possibility in the fairy world of the enchated forest. With just two small snippets distributed so far Wyecliffe Galleries has just a few Artist Proofs now remaining for pre-order in advance of official launch date on Monday 2nd October.
Art is of course a fluctuating market and prices have the capability of falling as well as increasing. Our first advice is always to buy what you love and any future appreciation in value is then an added bonus. In the case of Kerry Darlington's work it's also prudent to buy when the edition is still at list price especially during a new edition launch, to wait can cost you dearly.
There is a shift in dynamic in the market and speed is certainly of the essence in securing both originals and editions in a competitive environment. It is important when describing the currents within investment trends to highlight the incredible belief and commitment of Darlington’s collectors. The success of both primary and secondary markets has been built on a foundation of genuine adoration for her artworks. They have been purchased by collectors who bought them in the first instance because they love them and want to display them proudly in their homes. Art critic Peter Schjeldahl described the essence of a great artwork; “Art tells you things you don’t need to know until you know them”. Very few collectors will set out to buy a painting of a tree filled with fairy’s or of a famous chapter in Alice in Wonderland, but once seen so many know that this is perfect for their home. They capture a sense of fantasy and imagination which is to be encouraged. Those who are now turning to the re-sell market to buy paintings are doing so not to invest, but to enjoy. This sentiment drives at the very heart of why Darlington’s voice is heard and respected; her paintings are real, she paints for herself first and to sell her art second. Therefore trust Kerry Darlington and buy with your instinct, buy your selected piece to love it and enjoy it, and if currents trends continue yours will be an investment of both the wallet and the heart.