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Artprice by Art Market: 10 works that should ignite bidding at New York’s prestige sales, 11 – 20 November 2019


Artprice by Art Market: 10 works that should ignite bidding at New York’s prestige sales, 11 – 20 November 2019

Works sold over $10 million at auction in New York (2000 - October 2019)

Works sold over $10 million at auction in New York (2000 – October 2019)


For thierry Ehrmann, founder/CEO of, “This year’s best auction performances have relied less on the Art Market’s top four ultra-prestigious signatures (Monet, Picasso, Warhol and Basquiat) and more on artists who are gaining momentum. The major auction houses are today working on bringing new artists into the very closed circle of ‘$10 million-plus’ artists”.

Rather than waiting for the arrival of a single exceptional work – like the Salvator Mundi or the Women of Algiers – auction houses are concentrating on generating more results above the $10 million threshold. And, as we have seen, when several major collectors are chasing the same piece, prices can fly. This was the case for Past Times (1997) by African-American artist Kerry James Marshall in May 2018, and for La Terrasse (1912) by Pierre Bonnard earlier this year.

Artprice has selected the ten works most likely to elicit strong bidding in New York next week:

Ed Rusha – Hurting the Word Radio #2 (1964): $30 – 40 million

This painting could well exceed the $30.4 million hammered in November 2014 for Smash (1963) and crown an already exceptional year for Ed Ruscha on the secondary market. The first version of Hurting the Word Radio is in Houston’s prestigious Menil Collection.

Gustave Caillebotte – Richard Gallo et son chien Dick (1884): $18 – 25 million

Occasionally, 19th century art – frequently disregarded or overlooked – produces excellent surprises. Somewhat curiously, Gustave Caillebotte is among the artists currently in vogue. His painting at Sotheby’s next week could do even better than the $22 million hammered in February 2019 for his Chemin montant (1881), which was worth $6.7 million in 2003.

Joan Mitchell – Plowed field (1971): $12 – 18 million

This painting – over 5 metres long – was auctioned in November 2003 at Christie’s in New York where it fetched $657,100. Sixteen years later, it could be resold for almost 20 times that amount.

Brice Marden – Number Two (1983/84): $10 – 15 million

After the new auction record for Carl André’s Copper-Steel Alloy Square at $3 million on 4 October 2019 in London, Minimalism is back with a major Brice Marden canvas. Since it was purchased at the Pace Gallery 34 years ago, the work has never been offered for sale. Its sister work, Number One (1983/84), is part of the Whitney Museum’s collection.

Francis Bacon – Pope (c. 1958): $6 – 8 million

This painting – from perhaps the Irish painter’s most iconic series – is being sold by the Brooklyn Museum, which has kept it for nearly forty years. Its sale will take place during the magnificent retrospective “Bacon en toutes lettres” at the Centre Pompidou in Paris (open until 20 January 2020).

Jean-Michel Basquiat – Brown Eggs (1981): $2.5 – 3.5 million

The major absentee on the high-end market so far this year, Basquiat is still only in 11th place in Artprice’s global ranking of artists by auction turnover… This work on paper, which already fetched $254,000 in 2004, then $1.86 million in 2015, will indicate whether the ‘Basquiat frenzy’ has calmed or is continuing to spread. But it won’t be the only indication since his painting The Ring (1981), which sold for $7.6 million in 2012, is also being offered… with an estimate of $12 – 15 million.

Alma Woodsey Thomas – A Fantastic Sunset (1970): $2.2 – 2.8 million

This Afro-American artist, who died in 1978, could finally earn the recognition she deserves on the Art Market. Her research on colour, similar to that of Frank Stella and Morris Louis, has never had the same auction success enjoyed by those two stars of Abstract Expressionism… who have both renewed their personal auction records very recently.

Akseli Gallen-Kallela – Palokärki (1892/94): $1.8 – 2.5 million

Her canvas View over Lake at Sunset (c.1905) exceeded all expectations on 9 July 2019 at Sotheby’s in London. Estimated between $125,000 and $190,000, it was finally purchased for $886,000. This record explains Sotheby’s very bold estimate for Palokärki.

Charles Wilbert White – Banner for Willie J (1976): $1 – 1.5 million

Christie’s has finally got its hands on an exceptional painting by this African-American artist who died in 1979. White’s work has recently enjoyed strong auction demand including for two charcoal drawings that fetched over $400,000 each. His painting Banner for Willie J has all the qualities to set a much more substantial record.

Julie Curtiss – Pas de Trois (2018): $100,000 – 150,000

Curtiss is the new darling of the Anton Kern Gallery, which presented her work for the first time in April 2019 in New York. Since that solo show, five of her paintings have already been auctioned for a total of $453,000. And three others have been announced for sale in November.

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