“Turning Point 1”, the work by Adrian Ghenie, was sold this week in London at a Christie’s auction for £2,682,000, equivalent to €3.1 million.
The painting, measuring 1.5 x 3 metres, dates from 2009, when the artist began to become internationally known.
The starting price at auction was £1.4 million and the winning bid was £2.2 million, with the remainder up to the final auction sum representing commissions and other legal fees, including the artist’s droit de suite.
Compared very early on to Francis Bacon, Romanian artist Adrian Ghenie is one of the world’s top 100 performers at auction and stands out as one of the most sought-after painters of our time, according to artprice.com.
The 2021 turnover is $32.8 million, according to market indicators for Ghenie at public sales. 89% of the Romanian artist’s signed art sales were in Hong Kong.
Graduated from the University of Art and Design in Cluj-Napoca in 2001, Adrian Ghenie is a figurative painter, preferring the knife to the brush. His favourite subjects are the most important figures of the 19th and 20th centuries. Charles Darwin and Lenin, Vincent Van Gogh and Marcel Duchamp are all portrayed in his works.
The meteoric rise of Adrian Ghenie (1977) began in 2011, when he joined the prestigious Pace Gallery for a group exhibition. Represented by one of the world’s most respected galleries, he is included in auctions the same year at Phillips de Pury & Company in New York. His powerful painting attracts wealthy collectors, with the canvas “Swimming Pool” (50 cm) fetching double the estimate at $22,500.
While Pace Gallery is no stranger to this early success, it’s worth noting that Adrian Ghenie’s name was already circulating in insider circles in 2006, the year of an exhibition at the Haunch of Venison gallery in Zurich. The introduction to the Haunch of Venison programme was crucial because this gallery became a subsidiary of the most powerful auction house, namely Christie’s, in 2007.
In 2011, Haunch of Venison-Christie’s opens its second space in London and dedicates a monographic exhibition to the young “Ghenie”. In the following months, his work can be seen at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, Palazzo Strozzi in Florence and Kunsthalle Mucsarnok in Budapest. The artist is poised to break new price levels in auction rooms.