Why Are Collectors Frothing at the Mouth for Adrian Ghenie? We Analyzed the Auction Data to Find Out


Adrian Ghenie’s Francis Bacon-esque compositions that draw from historical reference points initially caught the focus of collectors in 2011, just after an exhibition at François Pinault’s Palazzo Grassi in Venice. Interest in the Romanian painter exploded from there, and the froth for his function at auction drove price ranges up to an all-time auction higher of $9 million in 2016.

A handful of relatively lean auction yrs followed that peak, but in 2021 selling prices after once again started to strategy his past heights. Previous 7 days, Christie’s declared it would offer a do the job by the current market darling in Hong Kong that could crack Ghenie’s document. Pie Battle Inside 12 (2014) will be available at the house’s 20th and 21st century artwork evening sale on May well 26 with an estimate of HK$68 million–HK$98 million ($8.8 million–$13 million).

Motivated by the 1941 slapstick comedy film In the Sweet Pie and Pie, the do the job depicts a female clawing pie from her confront in entrance of a desolate landscape, and is 1 of the premier operates by the artist to come to auction. The sale will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center to coincide with Artwork Basel Hong Kong.

Adequate of a prompt for us to dig into Artnet’s value database to try and determine out what’s driving interest in the market place phenom.

The Context

Auction File: $9 million, achieved at Christie’s London in Oct 2016

Ghenie’s Overall performance in 2021

Loads marketed: 25

Bought in: 2

Market-via rate: 92.6 percent

Average sale value: $1.6 million

Signify estimate: $1.4 million

Total income: $39.6 million

Best portray price tag: $8.5 million

Cheapest portray rate: $27,699

Lowest over-all rate: $3,451 for a printed paper collage and acrylic study for the installation “Rudolfs Flight” from 2011

© 2022 Artnet Worldwide Corporation.

© 2022 Artnet All over the world Company.

The Appraisal

  1. Early Function. Ghenie’s early work is his most sought after. In 2016, Christie’s London broke the artist’s globe auction document with the $9 million sale of Nickelodeon (2008). In 2021, Ghenie’s Collector I (2008) sold for $8.5 million, his second-highest result, approaching the history established in 2016.
  2. Supply crunch. Ghenie operates gradually, manufacturing only a dozen or so works a 12 months, and the minimal output drives up the level of competition and price ranges for the function. That claimed, there’s no dearth of choices to buy as the froth usually means that quite a few owners merely can’t resist the allure of the flip: Ghenie’s do the job has occur to auction 213 moments considering that it very first appeared on the block in 2011.
  3. Pandemic proof. Ghenie’s complete product sales dipped just after 2016, tumbling down 71.4 per cent more than two decades to $9.1 million in 2018. Counterintuitively, they bounced back again throughout the pandemic, to $21.7 million in 2020.
  4. Banner 12 months. In 2021, Adrian Ghenie took up 4 of the top 10 very best-advertising is effective in the ultra-up to date group, encompassing artists born following 1974. Gross sales totaled $39.6 million, earning it his most effective calendar year to day.
  5. A collector’s artist. While Ghenie has still to notch a big solo museum show in the U.S. or U.K., he has a strong accumulating adhering to from early investors, like set up collectors like François Pinault. Just lately, he has grow to be particularly preferred with a crop of wealthy young millennial potential buyers in Asia, who bid actively at auction. Some 1,559 customers searched Artnet’s rate databases for Ghenie in the past 12 months.

Base Line

Following an astonishing auction increase, charges for Ghenie arrived down for a few several years, but now the artist’s market place is experiencing a little bit of a comeback. 

The $8.5 million sale of Collector I last year signifies that prices are all set when once again to method the 2016 record, so it’s fully doable that Christie’s will make fantastic on its promise of a new document for the artist. Pushed by extreme desire for the is effective in Asia, notably amid collectors who really feel they skipped out on the early options to purchase his work, it also would make sense that the residence is offering the get the job done in Hong Kong.

That said, subsequent the top selling price there continues to be the danger of a marketplace shakeout—if way too several proprietors set their works up for sale in response to the great news, there is a danger of more than-giving the current market and driving prices back again down. 

Ghenie to start with established his “Pie Fight” works in 2008 and 2009, and the series starred in his debut U.S. museum show in Denver. Though his early perform is his most coveted, this illustration is from after he arrived back to the sequence in 2012. The subject issue is the exact same, but this one is a very little various as it depicts a lady rather than a man, and is considerably more substantial that the before portrait-sized works, amid the fervor for everything Ghenie it is unclear if these differences will matter to buyers. What ever transpires, the Christie’s occasion will be interesting sale to observe, and may well foretell what is in the tea leaves for the artist’s sector.

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