NEW YORK—The paintings of Norwegian artist Odd Nerdrum (b. 1943), which often feature centuries-old subject matter, appeal to both “buyers of contemporary art and to buyers of figurative art,” Robert Fishko, director of Forum Gallery, New York and Los Angeles, told ARTnewsletter.
The gallery has represented the artist since 1995. Buyers are widely dispersed, Fishko says, and come mainly from England, France, Germany, Holland and the U.S. (Forum arranges shows at galleries abroad.)
Four paintings found buyers, all private collectors, at the gallery’s most recent exhibit, held last summer at its Los Angeles branch. Of the 12 works in that show, several were not for sale but borrowed from collectors for the event. The price range for Nerdrum’s work is $85,000/350,000, depending upon size and the complexity of the subject matter. That is a jump, Fishko points out, from the $45,000/200,000 the artist’s works fetched ten years ago.
The dealer reports little secondary market activity; yet the few paintings that have come through the gallery have “done very well, selling at prices comparable to contemporary works, although they were bought at historic prices.”
There are no “periods” in Nerdrum’s career, Fishko adds, that are more sought-after than others. Nerdrum, he maintains, “has been stylistically consistent; he reached a personal zenith in the mid-1980s,” and the small, thematic changes in his work over the years, from often mythological to more humanistic, probably have not been evident to many collectors.
Some paintings have appeared for sale at auction. The top auction price for Nerdrum is $130,624 for the 39-by-42-inch, oil-on-canvas Male Twins, 1992, which came in just under the low estimate ($142,938/171,526) at Copenhagen’s Bruun Rasmussen auction house in 2003. Other top prices for Nerdrum’s work include $69,600 (estimate: $30,000/40,000) for the 1994 oil-on-linen Man with a Woman’s Head at Sotheby’s in 2004; and $61,068 (estimate: $81,132/95,884) for the 1986-93 Bevæpnet Kurer at the Danish auction house Blomqvist in 2004.