Auction record: British artist Hurvin Anderson’s swimming pool painting sells for over $ 10 million in London, living black artist’s fourth most expensive work


A LARGE SCALE POOL PAINTING by Hurvin anderson set a new artist record in London. “Audition” (1998) sold for $ 10,138,261 (£ 7,369,000) at Christie’s 20th / 21st Century Evening Sale on October 15. ).

The record result is nearly three times higher than Anderson’s previous benchmark set in 2017 and stands as one of the most expensive works sold at auction by a living black artist. Only three others got higher prices.


Lot 9: HURVIN ANDERSON (Born in 1965), “Audition”, February 1998 (oil on canvas, 68 1/8 x 100 1 / 8inches / 175.5 x 254.2 cm). | Estimate $ 1,375,798 to $ 2,063,698 / 1,000,000 to 1,500,000 pounds sterling. Sold for (Hammer price: $ 8,529,953 / £ 6,200,000) $ 10,138,261 / £ 7,369,000 including fees. SAVE

“Audition” is an example of Anderson’s early production and longtime talent. The painting was completed in 1998, the same year the British artist received his Masters degree from the Royal College of Art in London. “Audition” was originally acquired in 1999 from the now closed Norwich Gallery in Norwich, Norfolk, UK, and had not been seen publicly since, until it appeared at auction.

It’s a sprawling scene executed with incredible attention to detail, from the wave patterns on the pool’s surface and the spectrum of colors used for the swimsuits worn by dozens of swimmers to the layered exterior landscape and multiple glass panes. floor to ceiling windows.

Anderson paints lush landscapes and places of personal, cultural and community significance, including hair salons, country clubs and swimming pools. Combining abstraction and figuration, he depicts singular moments that speak of identity and belonging. He favors rich, tropical colors and uses decorative patterns and architectural details to reimagine traditional landscapes and explore notions of place.

Born in Great Britain, Anderson is of Jamaican descent. He was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2017. “Hurvin Anderson: Anywhere but Nowhere,” a solo exhibition of his work was recently presented at the Arts Club of Chicago. In London, the Thomas Dane Gallery is currently presenting “Hurvin Anderson: Reverb” until December 4th.

Hurvin Anderson’s “Audition” (1998) sold for $ 10,138,261 (£ 7,369,000) at Christie’s 20th / 21st Century: Evening Sale in London on October 15, 2021. The result set a new record for auction for the British artist and was the second most expensive lot in the sale. | Courtesy of Christie’s

IN A VIDEO STORY by Christie’s, “Audition” was described as: “A vast cinematic panorama seen from a high point of view, it offers a sparkling portrayal of a public swimming pool, its waters animated by human activity. Divers and bathers punctuate the shimmering blue waters, every splash, ripple and conversation choreographed with almost audible precision. Drawing on memories of his childhood and the photographs taken by his brother, Anderson blurs the real and the imaginary. Here we are balanced between inside and outside, simultaneously observing and participating in Anderson’s pictorial theater.

“A vast cinematic panorama seen from an elevated point of view, [‘Audition’] offers a scintillating representation of a public swimming pool, its waters animated by human activity. Divers and bathers punctuate the shimmering blue waters, every splash, ripple and conversation choreographed with almost audible precision. – Christie’s

The record painting surpassed Anderson’s previous record set in October 2017. “Country Club: Chicken Wire” (2008), a green tennis court framed in red is surrounded by trees and covered in a repeated pattern of hexagons , illustrating a chain-fence separating the viewer from the otherwise inviting scene. “Country Club: Chicken Wire” sold for $ 3,456,804 (£ 2,648,750), also at Christie’s London.

Anderson’s current record of $ 10,138,261 (£ 7,369,000) ranks “Audition” among the most expensive paintings by a living black artist sold at auction. Only three paintings by American artists Kerry James Marshall and Mark Bradford performed better:

  • “Times Gone” (1998) by Kerry James Marshall | Sold for $ 21,114,500, Sotheby’s New York, May 16, 2018

  • “Vignette 19” (2014) by Kerry James Marshall | Sold for $ 18,488,000, Sotheby’s New York, November 14, 2019

  • “Helter Skelter I” (2007) by Mark Bradford | Sold for $ 11,979,850, Phillips London, March 8, 2018

Christie’s 20th / 21st Century Evening Sale consisted of 36 lots. The sale total was $ 88,254,887 (£ 64,561,000), with a sale rate of 90% per lot, 92% in value.

The paintings of black artists were the first two lots. Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Because It Hurts the Lungs” (1986) sold for £ 8,227,750 and topped the auction. Anderson’s “Audition” painting sold for the second highest price of the auction. “How You Love It Daddy …” (2004), a painting by Bradford, was also among the lots on display. CT

* All sales results include Buyer’s Premium Charges, unless otherwise stated

BOOKSHELF
“Hurvin Anderson (Contemporary Painters Series)” was recently published and is described as “the first comprehensive overview” of the artist’s career to date. “Hurvin Anderson: Backdrop” documents his exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. “Hurvin Anderson: Reporting Back” was published on the occasion of his investigative exhibition at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, UK.

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