Home Arts & Culture Romanian artist Adrian Ghenie has exceeded $ 10 million in auctions

Romanian artist Adrian Ghenie has exceeded $ 10 million in auctions


Turnover for 2021 is $ 32.8 million, according to market indicators for Ghenie on public sales. 89% of the sales of works of art signed by the Romanian artist were in Hong Kong.

A graduate of the University of Art and Design in Cluj-Napoca in 2001, Adrian Ghenie is a figurative painter, preferring the brush knife. His favorite subjects are the prominent figures of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Thus, Charles Darwin and Lenin, Vincent Van Gogh and Marcel Duchamp are portrayed without concessions in his works.

Adrian Ghenie’s (1977) sudden rise begins in 2011, when he joins the prestigious Pace Gallery in a group exhibition. Represented by one of the most respected galleries in the world, he is included in the same year in auctions, at Phillips de Pury & Company in New York. His powerful painting attracts wealthy collectors, with the “Swimming Pool” canvas (50 cm) reaching double the estimate at $ 22,500.

If Pace Gallery is no stranger to this first success, it is worth noting that Adrian Ghenie’s name has already been circulating in insider circles since 2006, the year of an exhibition at the Haunch of Venison Gallery in Zurich. The introduction to the Haunch of Venison program was crucial because this gallery became a subsidiary of the strongest auction house, Christie’s, in 2007. In 2011, Haunch of Venison-Christie’s opened its second space in London and dedicated an exhibition to it. monograph on the young “Ghenie”. Since then, the exhibitions have followed one another. In the coming months, his works can be seen in turn at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence and the Kunsthalle Mucsarnok in Budapest. The artist is ready to go through new price levels in the auction rooms.

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An extravagant rate, run by large galleries and auction houses

In 2013, Pace Gallery will significantly speed things up by dedicating a first solo exhibition in New York, accompanied by a catalog (Adrian Ghenie: New Paintings, from March 8 to May 4, 2013). At the end of this exhibition, prices rise in theaters, with a revised portrait of Elvis Presley sold for more than $ 330,000 in June 2013 at Sotheby’s in London. Next year, the $ 1 million threshold is crossed for the first time, his first millionaire work is called “The Fake Rothko”. The work was awarded for $ 2.4 million on June 30, 2014 at Sotheb’s London after being estimated at $ 596,000.

Then, two new consecrations mark the year 2015: first with the entrance to the Thaddaeus Ropac gallery, which dedicates a Parisian exhibition to him at the end of October in parallel with the one at FIAC and, especially, with the huge success due to the participation in the Romanian Pavilion. at the Venice Biennale, 56th edition. Ghenie here represents Darwin’s homeland with his room, a dive into painting, history and art history. This highly acclaimed participation in the Biennale propels him onto the contemporary scene and his sales explode in the coming months, to a record $ 4.5 million in February 2016 for an opera honoring Van Gogh (“Self-Portrait As Vincent Van Gogh “).

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Three months later, another Sotheby’s sale with a self-portrait of Ghenie as Vincent Van Gogh was valued at about $ 200,000. This self-portrait, exhibited in 2013 at the Pace Gallery, then at the Venice Biennale in 2015, was purchased for $ 2.59 million, which is ten times the initial estimate.

October 2016: New success with the canvas “Nickelodeon” (2008), which was estimated at at least 2 million dollars and was sold at more than 9 million. At the end of 2016, Ghenie’s auction revenue reached $ 27 million. The artist then suddenly moves from the 550th place to the 60th place of the most successful artists at the auction. A period of slowdown followed, then a comeback in 2021, until this record was set at $ 10.3 million by Christie’s in late May 2022 for the painting “Pie Fight Interior 12” (2014).

This spectacular sale took place in Hong Kong, as part of the “Flesh and Soul: Bacon / Ghenie” exhibition also organized by Christie’s.

The auction house was full of praise for this “genius” of painting, pushing the comparison far beyond Francis Bacon, to “Rembrandt’s prolific painting, to the dramatic canvases of the Renaissance by Tintoretto (…), without omitting” the technique Gerhard Richter and the gestural vigor of Willem de Kooning “.

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