Art Sales Increasing, Prices Rising
The Mayor's Doorstep. January 2004
There seems to be a small groundswell in favor of formalism lately, artist Darby Bannard writes. I have sold 5 paintings out of the studio in the last few months and recently a very minimal painting of mine from the early '70s went up at some obscure Midwestern auction house and another one at Sotheby Arcade, and each sold for over twice the estimate. I am regularly discovering people who like "real painting" enough to go out and buy it, even on a limited budget, and I am corresponding with and advising several of them. A very ordinary small plaid period Noland sold on Ebay recently for around $8000 and a tiny, very close-value, late '60s Jules pastel in a mislabeled frame for almost $1800, which is still very cheap, but, after all, great early 70s scrape paintings and late 60s "edge" paintings sold at auction for not much more than that just a few years ago. There was a '70s Poons pour pic also very cheap at auction in the '90s - at Art Basel Miami, priced at $30,000, and the few good modern master pix there, of the Hofmann-Diebenkorn-Motherwell ilk, had huge price tags. it appears that the virulence of the opposition is dying down and the strong feeling engendered by the better art is persisting, which I suspect is how all good art goes over eventually. Maybe I am just deluding myself, but it feels like the beginning of something.