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Artschwager Drawings Draw Eager Buyers

Richard Artschwager's charcoal on paper, Weave, 1989

NEW YORK—A recent exhibition of works by Richard Artschwager, including 23 works on paper (drawings and watercolors), three paintings and one sculpture, at New York’s David Nolan Gallery, resulted in 16 sales, according to gallery director Katherine Chan. The bulk of those sales were drawings, a particular focus of the gallery’s work with Artschwager.

David Nolan was the first gallery to show Artschwager’s drawings, starting in the mid-1990s. “Richard thought of his paintings and sculpture as his real work,” but Nolan was enthusiastic about the drawings and convinced the artist to show them, says Chan.

Further, the drawings are offered at more affordable prices, as compared to his paintings. Prices range from $25,000/40,000 for more recent drawings (post 2005), and from $30,000/50,000 for older drawings. The paintings that were on display at Nolan gallery, most of which were executed recently, were priced at $175,000, while a one-of-a-kind sculpture was priced at $160,000.

Most of the works in the David Nolan exhibition were landscapes or abstracted landscapes, while the show’s one sculpture was a 7½-foot-tall, painted wood Arch, 2007.

Artschwager paints on canvas, wood or celotex board, and his sculptural pieces utilize hardwoods, softwoods or even formica and may be free-standing, wall-mounted or on pedestals. The Brooke Alexander Gallery, New York, sells a variety of the artist’s works, but focuses mainly on editioned sculptures made in groups of 25 to 30. They range in price from $15,000/30,000. “The multiples are a significant area of interest for collectors and museums,” said owner Brooke Alexander, who is the publisher of many of these editions, “because they are made in the same manner as his originals, in his studio with his assistants.”

Artschwager is represented by the Gagosian Gallery in New York, but it is not an exclusive relationship.

In Europe, the artist shows at Sprüth Magers, Berlin, and Xavier Hufkens, Brussels. Owner Xavier Hufkens, who has exhibited and sold work by Artschwager since the mid-1990s, noted that the artist’s market “is very, very wide, and we’ve always done well with his paintings and sculpture.”

Although the gallery handles work by the artist on the secondary market, most of its sales are of recent paintings, ranging in price from $200,000/300,000, and sculptures that range in price from $150,000/250,000.

Artschwager’s work, in various media and dimensions, comes up at public sale with some regularity, achieving its highest price of $1.27 million, compared with an estimate of $400,000/600,000, for the 1974 acrylic on celotex Interior with Sideboard I, sold at Christie’s in 2007.

Other top auction prices include $1.1 million, compared with a $300,000/400,000 estimate, for the acrylic on celotex Shelter at Edge of Forest III, 1974, at Christie’s in 2007 and $993,000, compared with a $600,000/800,000 estimate, for the acrylic on celotex Woman on Swing, 1969, also at Christie’s in 2007.