– In our fortnightly series of art market rankings designed to highlight some of its key trends, this week, artprice take a look at the new generation of artists emerging on the secondary market. One conclusion stands out above the rest: you don’t have to be over forty to fetch over a million dollars!
thierry Ehrmann: “There are six artists in our ranking of the Top 10 results of the year 2018 for artists aged less than forty. Among them, two have attracted 7 digit results: the young Chinese HAO Liang and the American artist of Nigerian origin Njideka Akunyili CROSBY. They both generated two results above the million-dollar threshold and they are both 35 years old. However, their domination of this ranking comes as no major surprise…”
Rank; Artist; Hammer Price ($); Artwork; Sale:
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Auction turnover CROSBY vs. HAO
Two young ‘millionaires’
Njideka Crosby has been headline news since 2014 when she was awarded the James Dicke Contemporary Artist Prize by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. On the secondary market, her works have been subject to massive demand since 2016 when her works first appeared… (also the year of her first 7-digit result).
Today, with seven 7-digit results under her belt over two years, she is the clear spearhead of a new generation of African-American artists shaking the auction market.
Her record currently stands at over $3 million for a painting of her sister (The Beautiful Ones) sold in 2017 at Christie’s in London by Peggy Cooper Cafritz, an equal rights activist and a major collector of African-American and African art who died last year. Initially American, demand for Crosby’s work quickly spread to Asia (with the successful sale of Tea Time In New Haven, Enugu for over $900,000 at Christie’s in Hong Kong on 27 May 2017).
Supply is clearly well below current demand: her works are still rare at auction and none has ever failed to sell. The artist, who already had the support of a major gallery through Victoria Miro in London, is now also supported, since last November, by the powerful David Zwirner Gallery in Asia and the United States.
The Chinese art market produced the second ‘millionaire’ young artist of 2018 in the person of Hao Liang who first caught people’s attention in 2014 with a superb auction debut: a silk scroll over 13 meters long titled The Tale of the Clouds that fetched $912,000 at Christie’s in Shanghai.
The year 2018 saw a double auction consecration for this young artist acclaimed by the Asian market, with two new million-plus results, including a $1.8 million record on 30 September in Hong Kong versus a pre-sale estimate of between $400,000 and $600,000. While the market for this prodigy has not yet spread beyond Greater China, his notoriety has already spread across the globe.
Supported by the powerful Gagosian Gallery (which gave him a New York exhibition last spring), the artist is already in the collections of major museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Pompidou Center in Paris and the Kadist in San Francisco.
Straw fire or new meteor?
Chinese collectors always support their artists, even when those artists don’t yet have an international reputation.
For proof… our Top 10 ranking also contains an artist about whom almost nothing is known except that he is called Jia Chang, was born in 1981, and that one of his drawings elicited vigorous bidding at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beijing at a sale organized by Poly Auction.
The drawing entitled Elephant (355 x 190 cm) multiplied its pre-sale estimate by five with a final bid of $679,000 on 17 June 2018. A spectacular result that could be a straw fire… or may translate into solid medium-term support.
In a different register, the ranking also highlights the American artist Avery Singer, aged 31, who already has a strong CV after exhibitions at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo (Turin), the Kunsthalle in Zurich, the New Museum in New York and the Hammer Museum In L.A..
Courted by museums and the media, the young artist is seeing her auction prices rocket after a first discreet appearance at Sotheby’s in London in October 2017 and despite two unsold pieces in New York last year. Singer produces surprising large fictional compositions, mainly in black and white, integrating 3D modeling.
Considering the support she is receiving, we can expect further surprises. In 2013, her canvas Fellow Travelers, Flaming Creatures was acquired from New York’s Greene Naftali Gallery for $20,000. In May 2018 the same work fetched $735,000 at Sotheby’s New York.
The buyer was none other than Larry Gagosian.
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