FAMILY EXPERIENCES inspire much of Hurvin Anderson‘s work. A mix of figuration and abstraction his paintings draw on memory and often depict specific places and singular moments. Anderson’s sister emigrated to Canada from the UK. “Beaver Lake” (1998) portrays her and her child at the Alberta lake.

Made early in the artist’s career, “Beaver Lake” nearly topped Phillips 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale in London reaching nearly $2.7 million. The auction was Oct. 2. Ranked No. 2, the painting sold for £2,175,000 ($2,676,120) fees included.* The price is the artist’s second-highest at auction. Anderson’s record was established two years ago when “Country Club: Chicken Wire” (2008) sold for £2,648,750 ($3,461,916) at Christie’s London.


Lot 11: HURVIN ANDERSON, “Beaver Lake,” 1998 (oil on canvas, 256 x 189 cm / 100 3/4 x 74 3/8 inches). | Estimate £1,500,000-2,000,000. Sold for £2,175,000 ($2,676,120, including fees). No. 2 Lot


Based on reality, Anderson’s interpretations are imaginative and incredibly captivating. The figures in “Beaver Lake” are rendered with a fair amount of detail that contrasts with the artist’s use of planed color throughout the scene—a blue-green skyline; the cloudy gray of the frozen lake; a rusty brown that defines the horizon line, the child’s face, his sister’s pants and aspects of her coat; and, inexplicably, canary yellow for her head and scarf. The latter choice makes the painting.

A British artist whose family hails from Jamaica, Anderson was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2017. He presented “Beaver Lake” at his graduate show at the Royal College of Art in London (June 4-14, 1998). The painting came from “an important private collection” and the consigner acquired it directly from the artist.

A HANDFUL OF AFRICAN AMERICAN ARTISTS were represented in the sale and yielded significant results. Works by Anderson and Mark Bradford were among the top three lots. New records were set by Derek Fordjour and Simone Leigh, whose work opened the sale.

The top lot in the sale was “Blue Umbrella I” (1972) by Alex Katz. The painting is a portrait of the New York-based artist’s wife and muse, Ada. Bids soared past the high estimate, tripling expectations. Reaching £3,375,000 ($4,152,600), the painting establishing a new world record for Katz.

Following Anderson at No. 2, Los Angeles-based Bradford’s “Value 35” (2010) ranked No. 3. Made with billboard paper, paper collage, acrylic gel medium, carbon paper, nylon string and mixed media on canvas, the “painting” sold for £1,935,000 ($2,380,824).

Currently on view, “Cerberus” is Bradford’s first exhibition at Hauser & Wirth London and “Mark Bradford: Los Angeles,” at the Long Museum, West Bund in Shanghai, is the artist’s largest-ever exhibition in China.


Lot 9: MARK BRADFORD, “Value 35,” 2010 (billboard paper, paper collage, acrylic gel medium, carbon paper, nylon string and mixed media on canvas, 122 x 152.6 cm / 48 x 60 1/8 inches). | Estimate £1,500,000-2,000,000. Sold for £1,935,000 ($2,380,824, fees included). No. 3 Lot


A RECORD-SETTER, Leigh’s“Shower Cap” (2013) was Lot 1. The Brooklyn-based artist’s practice centers black female subjectivity. The porcelain work exemplifies her output from several years ago, featuring a field of mostly blue rosebuds on the head of a female figure. Standing 36 inches high, the sculpture sold for £175,000 ($215,320).

The new benchmark is more than twice her previous record set in April, when an untitled ceramic vessel with distinct references to the female body sold for $93,750 at Swann Auction Galleries.

Leigh’s recognition has skyrocketed over the past year. Her profile has been particularly high in New York. After winning the 2018 Hugo Boss Prize, “Loophole of Retreat,” her related exhibition is currently on view at the Guggenheim Museum. She also participated in the Whitney Biennial 2019 and “Brick House,” her inaugural High Line plinth installation, is a commanding presence overlooking Tenth Avenue at 30th Street.


Lot 1: SIMONE LEIGH, “Shower Cap,” 2013 (stoneware, porcelain, cobalt, epoxy and plastic, 91.4 x 35.6 x 30.5 cm /36 x 14 x 12 inches). | Estimate £40,000- 60,000. Sold for £175,000 ($215,320, fees included). RECORD


Fordjour also posted a new auction record at the sale, his second in a couple of weeks. “Green Horn” (2017) sold for £137,500 ($169,180), besting a benchmark just established on Sept. 24 when “Agency and Regulation (study)” (2016) brought $137,500 at the Phillips New Now auction in New York.

Fordjour’s work is being showcased in London. Josh Lilley is dedicating a major solo show the Harlem-based artist (“The House Always Wins”) and the gallery is also featuring his work in a group display at Frieze London this week.

Works by Tschabalala Self and Nathaniel Mary Quinn were also offered in the auction. “Over Yonder” (2015) marked Quinn’s debut on the secondary market. The Brooklyn-based artist joined Gagosian in April has a show up currently (“Hollow and Cut”) at the gallery’s Beverly Hills location.

Self’s auction debut also occurred at Phillips. In March, “Lilith” (2015) was the opening lot in the contemporary evening sale in London. Four works by Self have been sold at Phillips this year, including “Florida” (2015), which was offered in last night’s sale. The same day, Self’s exhibition opened at Pilar Corrias.

The Oct. 2 auction yielded £25.8 Million ($31,782,770). Phillips reported the total represented a 28 percent increase over the previous year. Forty-two lots were offered in the London sale and 40 sold. CT


Lot 3: DEREK FORDJOUR, “Green Horn,” 2017 (oil pastel, charcoal, acrylic, cardboard and newspaper mounted on canvas, 152.4 x 107 cm / 60 x 42 1/8 inches). | Estimate £30,000-50,000. Sold for £137,500 ($169,180, fees included). RECORD


* Fees included in all auction results


READ MORE about Why American artists should benefit from the resale of their works


“Hurvin Anderson: Reporting Back” was published on the occasion of his survey exhibition at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham UK. “Hurvin Anderson (Contemporary Painters Series)” is forthcoming in July 2020. Recent volumes exploring Mark Bradford’s work include “Mark Bradford (Phaidon Contemporary Artist Series)” and the exhibition catalogs “Mark Bradford: Tomorrow Is Another Day,” which documents his Venice Biennale exhibition and “Mark Bradford: Pickett’s Charge,” coinciding with his Hirshhorn installation.


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