Drawings by artists under 35

[13 Apr 2012]


Every alternate Friday ARTPRICE posts a new or updated ranking in its Alternate-Friday Top Series. Today’s TOP focuses on the top 10 auction results in 2011 for drawings by artists under 35.

A medium increasingly sought after by collectors, drawings are considered affordable (in 2011, 57% of drawings sold for less than $5,000). Nevertheless, the medium has an accelerating price momentum and is increasingly celebrated by international events. In 2011, sales of Contemporary drawings represented 19% of the number of drawings sold at auction worldwide.
In this dynamic context, which young artists are likely to occupy the medium’s centre stage over the coming years?
In 2011, the 10 best drawing results from the under 35 category were generated by 7 different artists, and once again, the ranking is topped by an Asian. Despite a very scant presence on the secondary market, the Chinese artist XU Zhen takes 1st place, while the Indonesian artist Ariadhitya Pramuhendra takes the second, the fifth, the sixth and the seventh places.

Top 10 : the top 10 auction results in 2011 for drawings by artists under 35.

Rank Artist Hammer Price Artwork Sale
1 XU Zhen $55160 Characters entering the city (2009) 11/17/2011 (Beijing Hanhai Art Auction Co.Ltd.)
2 Ariadhitya PRAMUHENDRA $51440 H. 87 (2009) 05/30/2011 (Christie’s HONG KONG)
3 Alexandru BUNESCU $50561 Princess / 32 panels 04/13/2011 (Artmark SRL BUCHAREST)
4 Tauba AUERBACH $48000 How to Spell the Alphabet (2005) 11/08/2011 (Phillips de Pury & Co NY)
5 Ariadhitya PRAMUHENDRA $41120 The Absent (2009) 05/28/2011 (United Asian Auctioneers HONG KONG)
6 Ariadhitya PRAMUHENDRA $38580 Lost in Tiananmen 05/17/2011 (Sotheby’s AMSTERDAM)
7 Ariadhitya PRAMUHENDRA $26818 Lost in NY 04/04/2011 (Sotheby’s HONG KONG)
8 Erinç SEYMEN $24474 Babisko (Daddy) (2011) 04/07/2011 (Sotheby’s LONDON)
9 Dan COLEN $22517 The Awesome Power of Nature 02/16/2011 (Sotheby’s LONDON)
10 Dash SNOW $22000 She Stole my Baby (2006/07) 03/08/2011 (Phillips de Pury & Co NY)

The ascension of Ariadhitya PRAMUHENDRA has been altogether dazzling: born in 1984, he graduated from the Bandung Institute of Technology in 2007 while three of his works went to auction the following year. In 2008, the charcoal on canvas And Conslude this to memorize me more than doubled its high estimate and fetched his first annual record at $4,300 (Sidharta Auctioneers, Singapore). Early in 2003 he was selected to participate in group exhibitions highlighting the emerging scene in Indonesia. Then, in 2006, he won the drawing prize at the 12th International Printing and Drawing Biennial in Taiwan. His notoriety was quickly forged around his dramatic charcoal-drawn self-portraits. The artist’s popularity coupled with his perfect technical mastery of drawing on large canvases quickly attracted the attention of the major international auction houses and, in 2009, Sotheby’s Hong Kong set a new record for the artist when his Lost in New York found a buyer at $16,800. Currently, his prices are still rising with, for example, the same work Lost in New York fetching $26,800 in 2011(+ $10,000 vs. 2009). Only present on the Asian art market, his presence is nonetheless dense with 12 lots offered in 2011. Although 5 of these remained unsold, the remaining 7 all sold for more than $9,000 and 4 of them (the 4 in this Top 10) fetched above $ 20,000. The monumental H.87 (190 by 430 cm) sold at Christie’s Hong Kong in May 2011 for $51,000, his best result of the year.

With five results already under his belt, the young Roumanian Alexandru BUNESCU (born 1988) entered the secondary market in 2010 with a large pastel that fetched $1,000 (at Artmark, Bucharest). Given his first results in 2010, fluctuating between $580 and $2,000, you would have been hard-pressed to predict his presence in this Top 10. However, he takes third place in this ranking for a work that is no less than 20 metres long! Princess is composed of 32 panels and is possibly the largest artwork ever auctioned … Artmark, the auction house that supports the artist, clearly gambled on the “record” appeal of the work by placing it center-stage in a Contemporary Art sale with a very optimistic estimate of $70,000 – $85,000. But, the giant pastel drawing – representing a life-size train – sold well below its reserve price for $50,000!

The Turkish artist Erinç SEYMEN (born 1980) made an excellent auction debut with an ink on paper entitled Babisko (Daddy) that fetched $24,500 at Sotheby’s in London. Erinç Seymen’s tormented childhood is a regular feature of his works and Babisko (Daddy) seems to say much about relations between the artist and his father … Generally, his work is overtly political, focusing particularly on the notion of national identity and the status of homosexuals. His work has been exhibited since 2002 and has already toured Europe. If he continues to push the boundaries, he could well become a regular in our Top rankings.

The next three artists in our ranking are Americans, two of whom, Tauba AUERBACH (born 1981) and Dan COLEN (born 1979), have excellent potential.
At just 32, Tauba Auerbach already has a superb artistic CV. Her graphical talents have already toured the world and her works in galleries and museums have confirmed them. With a first solo show in 2005, the following year she joined the famous New York gallery of Jeffrey Deitch (now Director of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art). With over 70 exhibitions to her credit and most of the art world’s biggest names on her CV, she has an upcoming solo show at the New York MOMA (6 May – 27 August 2012). The 4th place in this ranking goes to a highly “conceptualist” work on letters and symbols: How to Spell the Alphabe questions the arbitrary use of letters and symbols in language. Simple and effective, her phonetic alphabet fetched $48,000 at Phillips de Pury & Company in New York, her record price for a drawing.
Best known for his abstract paintings based on chewing gum, Dan Colen – a young protégé of the Gagosian Gallery – takes 9th place in this Top with the re-sale of his The Awesome Power of Nature. The work is in fact an appropriated painting he bought at a flea market and then framed backside front to expose the chassis and a note by the painting’s previous owner. In so doing, the artist highlights a range of issues including ownership, authenticity and creative potential. Already sold in 2009 for $15,000 at Phillips de Pury & Company in New York, it fetched $7,500 more at Sotheby’s in London with a hammer price of $22,500. That was an excellent result for a type of work that Dan Colen fans are generally less excited about, and it highlights the dynamism of his secondary market in general.

Rebel from a good family, at odds with his own since he was 13, Dash SNOW unfortunately did not survive his downtown lifestyle. A friend of Dan Colen and Ryan McGinley, with whom he founded the Iraq Crew (“I rack” literally meaning “I take dope”’), Dan COLEN died of an overdose in 2009. Popular with collectors and hosted by the Whitney Biennial in 2006, Snow has become a New York icon and, since his works appeared on the secondary market, his prices have been rising steadily. He takes 10th place in this week’s ranking of drawings by artists under 35 with She Stole My Baby, a collage on paper that fetched $22,000 at Phillips de Pury & Company. This collage is also to date the artist’s auction record for a drawing.

In addition to having well-established international careers, Tauba Auerbach, Ariadhitya Pramuhendra, Erinç Seymen, Dan Colen and Dash Snow have also been present in our Top rankings of young artists since 2010, and we expect to see much more of them in the coming years.