Art Market

Gagosian sold a Cecily Brown painting for $5.5 million through its online viewing platform.

Justin Kamp
May 11, 2020 4:58PM, via Gagosian

Cecily Brown Figures in a Landscape 1 , 2001. In Gagosian'’s Frieze New York 2020 Online Viewing Room. Artwork © Cecily Brown. Courtesy Gagosian.

On Sunday, Gagosian sold Cecily Brown’s painting Figures in a Landscape 1 (2001) for $5.5 million through its online viewing platform, making it the second-highest price ever paid publicly for one of Brown’s works. The British painter’s auction record was set at a Sotheby’s auction in May 2018, when Suddenly Last Summer (1999) more than doubled its high estimate to sell for $6.7 million.

Gagosian has sold more than 40 works through its online viewing platform since closing its galleries on March 13th due to COVID-19, with the sale of Brown’s painting bringing total sales to nearly $14 million. Other notable sales include Georg Baselitz’s 2019 gold-on-black painting Die andere Seite vom Ölfleck (The other side of the oil stain), which sold for €1.2 million ($1.3 million); Mary Weatherford’s massive mixed-media work Splendor in the Grass (2019), which sold for $750,000; and Stanley Whitney’s colorful grid painting Kind of Blue (2020), which sold for $350,000.

The gallery has also seen success with its Artist Spotlight initiative, which offers a single work by a different artist each week, specifically focusing on artists whose shows have been curtailed, postponed, or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the gallery, every work that has been offered through the initiative (including the Whitney painting) has sold.

As the art world continues to weather the effects of social distancing, online sales have gathered momentum, in part thanks to the appearance of high-ticket items increasing exponentially. Last month, Sotheby’s notched its largest online sale ever, bringing in £5 million ($6.4 million), led by a George Condo work that sold for £1 million ($1.3 million). Heritage Auctions saw its sales over the course of a single week last month bring in a total of $41 million.

Further Reading: Galleries Test Fresh New Sales Tactics to Reach Collectors Online

Further Reading: Will Online Viewing Rooms Increase Price Transparency at Galleries?

Cecily Brown in her studio, New York, 2001. Photo: Dave Howells. Courtesy Gagosian.

Justin Kamp