Market Brief: Flora Yukhnovich’s Lush Abstractions Have Inspired an Astronomical Year at Auction
This past October, Flora Yukhnovich’s lush, Fragonard-like painting of abstracted cherubs and figures, I’ll Have What She’s Having (2020), set a new auction record for the London-based artist, fetching an astounding £2.5 million ($3.1 million) at a Sotheby’s evening sale in London. That result, which obliterated the auction house’s £80,000 ($109,484) high estimate, nearly tripled Yukhnovich’s previous record achieved four months earlier. The record-breaking sale is the latest indicator of the enormous appetite collectors are demonstrating for the rising artist’s large-scale Rococo reinterpretations, which only began appearing at auction earlier this year.
- Yukhnovich’s work made its secondary-market debut this past April, when a 2018 untitled small-scale windowscape achieved £16,500 ($22,951)—over five times its high estimate—in a sale at Bonhams London. This phenomenal result for the oil-on-paper painting came just three months after the artist joined Victoria Miro’s artist roster.
- By June, the demand for Yukhnovich’s paintings breached the $1 million mark at auction. At a Phillips sale in New York, the artist’s luminous seven-foot-tall work Pretty Little Thing (2019) sold for more than 15 times its high estimate to achieve a total of $1.2 million. That unprecedented result also marked the first time one of Yukhnovich’s large-scale paintings on canvas appeared on the secondary market.
- Just 24 hours after Yukhnovich’s astonishing £2.6 million ($3.1 million) result, an untitled work by the artist was offered at a Christie’s day sale in London. The 2021 blue-toned work ultimately sold for £910,500 ($1.2 million)—more than 30 times its high estimate. Though the painting’s result failed to shatter her record from the day prior, the work was only half the size of I’ll Have What She’s Having and did become Yukhnovich’s second-highest auction result to date.
- Yukhnovich’s rapid market ascent is reflected on Artsy, where the collector interest for her playful compositions rife with exuberant brushstrokes exploded in 2020—the year she held three solo exhibitions at Victoria Miro’s locations in Venice and London, and at Blenheim Walk Gallery in Leeds. Thus far in 2021, the number of inquiries on Yukhnovich’s work has already exceeded last year’s peak, making it the artist’s biggest year on the platform overall.
While the benchmark for Yukhnovich’s work on the secondary market has been set high, there’s a chance it could be broken by the end of the year. Another monumental canvas, the verdant It’s Better Down Where It’s Wetter (2018), goes up for auction on November 18th at a Sotheby’s New York evening sale with a $150,000 to $200,000 estimate. Meanwhile, a small-scale painting by the artist, Study (2018), is currently up for auction through Artsy in partnership with Rago/Wright. With a starting bid of $30,000, the painting is a great opportunity for collectors to acquire a more accessible work by the sought-after artist. Yukhnovich’s third solo exhibition with Victoria Miro is scheduled to take place next year.