Cecily Brown’s Market Is on Fire. Will This Scandal-Ridden Painting Generate Even More Heat on the Auction Block—or Get Burned?

by AryanArtnews
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Anyone watching Sotheby’s “The Now” auction in London on Wednesday night may take a double take if: Fairy Feller (2019), the orange picture by Cecily Brown hits the block. picture Already notorious..

this Michael Xufu Huang, the founder of the X Museum in Beijing, ignited the biggest art industry scandal to date after he went out to turn over his work in breach of a resale contract with Paula Cooper Gallery. Unknown to the gallery, fans bought a $ 700,000 painting at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2019 on behalf of his friend Federico Castro de Bernardi in exchange for a 10% commission.

Debernardi turned around and resold the work, eventually giving way to another collector. Collectors are currently selling at Sotheby’s. The shipper In the catalog “”An important American collection. ”

Work is estimated to be fetched in between £ 2.2 million and £ 2.8 million ($ 3 million to $ 3.8 million). This is a 442 percent increase from the price Huang paid more than two years ago.

All this means that the Cecily Brown market is on fire right now.In fact, the artist’s work will appear in all three sales of the main house in London this week... So how did you get here? The following Artnet pricing database tracks the artist’s 20-year auction history.


Auction record: $ 6.8 million achieved in Sotheby’s New York in May 2018

2021 Cecily Brown Performance

Sold a lot: 31
purchase: 9
Sell-through rate: 77.5%
Average selling price: $ 1.1 million
Average estimate: $ 595,700
Total sales: $ 35.5 million
Best paint price: $6.6 million
Minimum painting price: $ 400,000
Overall lowest price: $ 425, Engraved Fine Bone China Plate, Part of 175 Editions Created by Coalition for the Homeless

© 2022 Artnet Worldwide Corporation.

© 2022 Artnet Worldwide Corporation.


  1. Soaring. In 2014 and 2015, Cecily Brown’s secondary sales slowed, while the wider art market ignited, especially for young abstract painters.But when she made a notch, they came back with revenge in 2017 Total sales were $ 14.9 million, about one-third higher than the previous peak just before the 2007 financial crisis.
  2. Record year. Brown’s auction sales reached a record high of $ 35.5 million in 2021. Last year, four of her 10 most expensive works were sold, including 2nd and 3rd place paintings.She In 2021, he ranked 71st on the list of top-selling artists, beating Frida Kahlo and KAWS.
  3. 7-digit sales. Brown’s work first crossed the $ 1 million threshold in 2007. Since then, her paintings have been publicly traded 47 times in seven numbers (including the flashy $ 5.5 million secondary market sale published by Gagosian in 2020). All of her top 10 prices at auction are from her early work, but there is one outlier. There is a blue bird (2019), Christie’s recorded $ 4.8 million in October 2021. Donated by the artist and her gallery Thomas Dane For charity. )
  4. Paper for paper. There is also a strong demand for her prints, as she mainly makes unique monotypes. 17 people were sold at auction for over $ 10,000 each. A six-part monotype sold for a record $ 250,000 in 2017.
  5. Steady interest. Total 3,462 users searched for artists in the Artnet Price Database in 2021, down slightly from 4,231 users who searched for her name in 2020. Still, the number of people interested in her market is Sigmar Polke, Ellsworth Kelly, and Robert Indiana.
  6. Great heritage. Estimate Fairy Feller It’s largely in line with expectations for another more recent job at Philips. So, Brown’s 2016 painting, When time runs outThere are estimates of £ 2m to £ 3m. Christie’s, on the other hand, offers the more demanding 1998 paintings. The girl who had everything, £ 3.5 million to £ 5.5 million. It was last sold at Sotheby’s in 2017 for £ 1.9 million.


Despite the rather horrifying market history, there are good opportunities Fairy Feller You’ll find a house during the Sotheby’s auction tomorrow afternoon (at the time of writing this article, the house says the job isn’t guaranteed).

For one thing, the player involved in the embarrassment may be interested in ensuring that the work has not been publicly burned. Second, as the story with Huang shows, Brown’s art is difficult to access in the primary markets...

Collectors can be fascinated by the vibrant palette of works and the pulsating brushstrokes. This shows a clear blend of artist abstraction and sculpture.There are references to both Richard Dadd’s 19th century masterpieces Masterstroke of the fairy spear And, as it appears in the catalog, the 1974 Queen song of the same name. In addition, as Sotheby’s Emma Baker As Artnet News pointed out, this piece may be especially desirable for collectors who prefer to own a less noticeable canvas. Many of Brown’s other works refer to scenes of the female body and lust.

The artist’s excellent performance at the 2021 auction is only a precursor to her trajectory, coupled with the market’s desire to correct the historical underestimation of her work by women. For this particular piece, it’s everyone’s guess. But those who enjoy dinner table gossip may not think that the pesky history of work is off.

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