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Prices for Wall’s Urban Images Rise with Increasing Exposure

All ten of Jeff Wall’s recent photographs in lightboxes, at his exhibition (Feb. 23-March 31, 2007) at the Marian Goodman Gallery, Manhattan, found buyers, representing a mix of private collectors and museums “both here and abroad,” reports gallery director Leslie Nolen. The exhibit was aptly timed, coinciding as it did with a 40-work retrospective at

NEW YORK—All ten of Jeff Wall’s recent photographs in lightboxes, at his exhibition (Feb. 23-March 31, 2007) at the Marian Goodman Gallery, Manhattan, found buyers, representing a mix of private collectors and museums “both here and abroad,” reports gallery director Leslie Nolen. The exhibit was aptly timed, coinciding as it did with a 40-work retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) that continues through May 14. Then it will travel to the Art Institute of Chicago and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

The Marian Goodman Gallery declined to reveal prices, but a source familiar with Wall’s primary market told ARTnewsletter that they tend to range from $100,000/350,000, depending upon size and edition. Smaller works are priced from $50,000/60,000.

Edition sizes may be as few as two or as many as eight, and some works are unique. The larger the work the smaller the edition size. In the two recent Marian Goodman shows, lightbox sizes ranged from 15-by-15 inches to 8-by-11 inches.

The MoMA retrospective follows a survey of Wall’s work titled “Photographs 1978-2004,” which was shown at the Schaulager museum, Basel, and the Tate Modern, London, in 2005. Last fall Marian Goodman’s Paris gallery of the same name displayed eight new lightbox images. All found buyers.

The most recent gallery show was Wall’s tenth solo exhibition for Marian Goodman, who has represented the artist since 1989. “Jeff’s work has always had an appeal to an international audience,” Nolen says. Over the past decade, solo exhibits also have been mounted at the Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo; the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Norwich, England; the Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation, Vienna; the Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Basel.

The artist, who was born in 1946 in Vancouver, B.C., where he currently lives, applies filmmaking techniques to his still images, with the subjects all carefully posed alongside props. Some works are as large as 10 feet high by 14 feet wide.

Generally Wall’s pictures capture aspects of contemporary, stress-filled urban life. Within lightboxes that he constructs, his transparencies are backlit. He works slowly, at times taking months to produce new pieces, for which there is a waiting list.

Wall’s images have fetched high prices in public sales on both sides of the Atlantic. The highest price at auction to date is $351,150, given at Christie’s London in 2005 for the Cibachrome-in-lightbox The Crooked Path, 1991, more than double the high estimate of $175,131.

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