7 Artists Whose Market Took Off in the Past Year

How to start saving money

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Why it is important to start saving

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How much money should I save?

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What percentege of my income should go to savings?

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Artory’s price database, which contains millions of transaction records from auction houses across the globe, is central to the research conducted in the Art Basel and UBS 2020 Art Market Report. From classic masterpieces to innovative digital artworks, Artory contains a diverse array of data points, provenance records, and price histories that are invaluable to collectors and art historians alike. Start your research on Artory today!

These 7 artists had their best year yet on the public auction market.

1. Betye Saar

“Sojourn,” 1995.

“I’m the kind of person who recycles materials but I also recycle emotions and feelings. And I had a great deal of anger about the segregation and the racism in this country,” said Betye Saar. From late 2019 to 2021, Saar has had solo exhibitions at MoMA, LACMA, and the Morgan Library & Museum. When speaking about the attention coming her way, she said in a New York Times interview, “Because it’s about time! I’ve had to wait till I’m practically 100.”

“Sojourn,” 1995, was sold on April 22, 2021 by Swann Galleries. It fetched the price of $87,500 and set a new auction record for Saar. So far, 4 out of her the top 5 auction records were made since 2020.

2. Amoako Boafo

“Baba Diop,” 2019

In the last few years, Amoako Boafo went “from little-known painter to the art market’s biggest star.” Born in Accra, Ghana, and currently living in Vienna, Austria, Boafo’s work questions contemporary misunderstandings of blackness by contrasting personal and structural perceptions and portrayals of black people.

Boafo’s “The Lemon Bathing Suit” was his first work brought to auction. It was sold on Feb 13, 2020 at Phillips’s “20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale.” His current auction record belongs to “Baba Diop,” 2019, sold by Christie’s Hong Kong in the “20th Century: Hong Kong to New York” sale in Dec 2020 for HKD8,890,000 (USD1,146,845).

3. Robert Nava

“The Tunnel,” 2019

“Drawing realistically for the sake of hyper-realism didn’t hold much meaning for me anymore. And even looking at a Renaissance painting, I would be looking for error, like mistakes were more alive to me. By drawing things ‘incorrectly,’ I found more things to do in that realm,” Robert Nava once said.

Nava’s work was first brought into auction on July 2, 2020 at Phillips’s “20th Century And Contemporary Art Evening Sale,” and it also holds his current auction record. “The Tunnel” was sold for USD162,500, against the estimate USD40,000-60,000.

4. Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe

“My work was really inspired by how people look at me. It’s like a sense of wondering: ‘Who is this person?’ What I realized is that people couldn’t tell where I was from by the way I dress. And when they found out, they’d approach me very differently than an African American already living here,” the Ghanaian artist, Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, once said.

Shades of Black, 2018

“Shade of Black,” 2018, is the first Quaicoe’s work sold at auction, and it also currently holds his auction record. It was sold on July 2, 2020, by Phillips, for USD250,000, against the estimate of USD20,000-30,000.

5. Salman Toor

“The Arrival,” 2019.

Born in Lahore, Pakistan and now living in New York, Salmon Toor is “a painter at home in two worlds.” His paintings are imagined scenes based on his and his friends’ experiences as gay brown men both in South Asia and New York. He works in an aesthetic territory bordered by painting, illustration, and cartooning.

Toor’s work first appeared at auction is Aashiana (Hearth And Home), sold at Phillips’s 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale on October 20, 2020. His current auction record belongs to “The Arrival,” 2019, sold on May 12, 2021 at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction. It reached the price $867,000, against the estimate $60,000-80,000.

This is only 6 months after his previous record, “Rooftop Party with Ghosts 1,” 2015, was made at Christie’s Post-War & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Featuring The Collection Of Morton And Barbara Mandel.

6. Vaughn Spann

In recent years, Vaughn Spann has cemented his place as a star among contemporary artists to watch. His large, explosive paintings address themes ranging from self-care and personal preservation to sociopolitical issues like racial injustice.

Black Rainbow (Deep Dive), 2019

His work was first brought to auction on September 30, 2020 by Phillips, and his current auction record belongs to “Big Black Rainbow (Deep Dive),” 2019. It was sold a little more than 2 months after his auction debut, also by Phillips, and it fetched the price USD239,400, about 400% of its high estimate USD60,000.

7. Eddie Martinez

“I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to think anything… I don’t deny that they feel like there is a narrative and that’s cool, but I just want people to interpret the work how they want,” Eddie Martinez described his work.

“Untitled,” 2015

For Martinez, last year was “his biggest market year yet,” with 4 out of top 5 auction records created in 2020. “Untitled,” 2015, was sold by Ravenel in December 2020 for TWD41,760,000 (USD1,478,324). This is the artist’s second highest auction so far.

Search through Artory’s free price database to see more artworks by these 7 artists and to explore their artwork prices, trends, and records on artory.com.

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