artnet Auctions: Why Jonas Wood’s Homage to Jeff Koons Is a Smart Buy for Collectors
Here are a few reasons, backed by data and an artnet specialist, why you should take a look at Wood's 'Floating Orange Ball.'
Having set a new auction record this month when his Black Still Life (2012) sold for $1.1 million at Sotheby’s New York, the artist Jonas Wood is currently experiencing an all-time-high level of demand for his playful paintings of American life.
One reason for the painter’s extraordinary appeal to collectors is the friendly quality of his work, which falls comfortably in the space between Matisse’s interiors and such vernacular idioms as baseball trading cards, iPhone snapshots, magazine illustrations, and frozen moments from watching sports on TV.
Jonas Wood’s Floating Orange Ball (2014)
Auction Ends: May 31 at 12:33 p.m. (EDT)
WHY IT MATTERS
While Wood often depicts moments from sports history in his paintings, this piece—the first from a series of Spalding basketballs to ever appear at auction—is unusual because it simultaneously makes sly reference to one of the most iconic works of contemporary art: Jeff Koons’s One Ball Total Equilibrium (1985), which famously features a basketball floating in a tank of water.
In Floating Orange Ball, Wood also displays all of his technical acumen. Wood chooses to paint the background in acrylic on linen, which gives it a matte coloration without compromising its textured surface. The orange basketball, painted in oil against this matte background, makes the composition really pop in a way that gives it visual bounce, so to speak, on the wall.
WHAT ARTNET’S SPECIALISTS SAY
“This is the largest and most complete of Wood’s basketball studies to come to auction, and it’s also unique in the artist’s allusion to another great work. Having titled the work Floating Orange Ball, he explicitly tells us that he’s thinking of Koons and his sculpture,” says artnet auctions specialist Conner Williams. “Few medium-sized canvases by Wood come to market. Usually, it’s his very large interior scenes that can reach upwards of $1 million dollars now, so I think this is a great mid-market example by the artist.”
WHAT THE DATA SHOWS
artnet’s Price Database indicates that Wood’s market is heating up. Interest in the artist’s work has steadily grown since his paintings first appeared at auction in 2013, and every single painting that has come to auction has sold—and sold above estimate—peaking in 2015 when 19 lots changed hands for a combined total of $4.2 million. That was followed by another strong year in 2016 when 16 lots sold for a cumulative sum of $3.2 million.
“His market is very good—it’s hot,” Williams adds. “The fact that so few of his works come to auction means that the market thinks he’s got legs. Collectors believe he’s worth holding, which makes Floating Orange Ball an exceptionally good opportunity for buyers.”
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