The art market is full of highs and lows, but what factors can trigger an artist’s work to experience a rise in market value? This can arguably be analysed and scrutinised without any finite formula determined, but here are four examples we’ve seen demonstrated at auction in more recent years:
Clarice Beckett has experienced more than one significant moment that directly increased the value of her works. In the 1960s, Rosalind Hollinrake salvaged her works from a shed in disrepair and began to exhibit and profile her pieces. Suddenly, an unknown ‘C. Beckett’ became one of the most accomplished tonalist artists of the 20th Century. Fast forward to early 2021 and the Art Gallery of South Australia’s landmark exhibition “The Present Moment” showcasing 130 paintings by Beckett, instigating her strongest market year to date. In fact, the auction market witnessed an 800% increase in annual turnover for her works in 2021 versus 2020 with her 9 highest prices all being achieved after the opening of the exhibition.
Cressida Campbell’s career has strengthened over 40 years, with several notable factors influencing her rising market value. Whilst already a successful artist, a 2017 exhibition in Germany opened her work to the international market and Art Basel Hong Kong soon after saw a then record price for the sale of her work at $125,000. Since then, the market has seen a steady rise for Cressida Campbell. Her output of work has increasingly become smaller as the demand has become stronger, with her latest exhibition at Philip Bacon Galleries in Brisbane selling out weeks before opening with a waiting list 300 people long. Currently, her original woodblocks are selling in excess of $400,000 both on the primary and secondary markets. For Cressida, a small output has kept collectors desperately waiting to secure one and willing to pay increasingly more to do so.
Mirka Mora has been written about and spoken of long before her passing in 2018, but her art practice was not always the hot topic. Leonard Joel was honoured to be entrusted with selling The Magical Studio of Mirka Mora here in early 2019 containing artworks and personal effects that opened the art world’s eyes to one of Australia’s most memorable artists.
The frenzy that this exhibition and auction generated culminated in a soft sculpture doll, Good Morning Angel, selling for $76,136 IBP. The market demand has steadily maintained since then, including a record price for a Mirka Mora work at auction again with Leonard Joel in Important Works from the NAB Art Collection where a unique tapestry by Mirka sold for $200,000 IBP.
One of the swiftest rises in market value recently has been seen for Australian artist, Jordy Kerwick. Beginning painting in 2016, Kerwick has quickly become one of the most collectable contemporary artists around the globe. With sellout shows overseas, his primary market profile has grown from an original modest asking price of $1,500 AUD to some paintings now claiming in excess of $200,000 USD. At auction, his works have been doubling and tripling their estimates, with collectors scrambling to get a piece of the action. In June 2022, Leonard Joel was the first Australian auction house to present a work by the artist; the work achieved nearly quadruple its lower estimate.
OLIVIA FULLER / Head of Fine Art
Banner Image: JORDY KERWICK (born 1982) Still Life 2018, oil, synthetic polymer paint and collage on canvas, 75.5 x 60.5cm | $30,000-40,000