“What’s wonderful about Nina’s work is that she tackles such contemporary and salient themes in a style that is very much her own and that appeals to large swaths of people,” said her gallerist, Jack Shainman
. Abney held her second solo show with Shainman late last year, focusing on scenes of Black leisure and joy
. She signed with the gallery in 2016; the following year, she received her first solo museum exhibition, a 10-year survey organized by the Nasher Museum of Art
at North Carolina’s Duke University.
That exhibition, which ultimately traveled to museums in three more cities across the U.S., also set the stage for Abney’s entrée into the secondary market. In 2018, her 2012 canvas Country Ken appeared at a Christie’s sale with a high estimate of $7,000; the work ended up selling for a jaw-dropping $47,500.
Following the tremendous success of her auction debut, works by Abney have continued to hit the ball out of the park. To date, Sotheby’s holds the auction record for a work by Abney with Paradise Found (2009), a surreal and unsettling canvas featuring bathers in a hot tub. Estimated at £70,000 ($88,800), the painting sold for over triple that amount, for £225,000 ($285,400), in 2019. “From the very first time we put her work into one of our sales, we saw that collectors were excited about her,” said Ruiz Colomer.