Paula Cooper Gallery to Represent the Estate of ‘Pictures Generation’ Artist Sarah Charlesworth

Maccarone will continue to represent the artist in Los Angeles.

Sarah Charlesworth, Buddha of Immeasurable Light (1987) © The Estate of Sarah Charlesworth. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.
Sarah Charlesworth, Buddha of Immeasurable Light (1987)
© The Estate of Sarah Charlesworth. Courtesy of Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.

Paula Cooper Gallery is now representing the estate of Sarah Charlesworth, the artist best known for her conceptual photography and role in the so-called Pictures Generation, a group which also included Richard Prince and Cindy Sherman.

After Charlesworth’s death in 2013, Maccarone gallery organized two shows of her work in New York. The gallery will continue to work with the estate in Los Angeles, while Campoli Presti will serve as representatives in London and Paris.

Sarah Charlesworth. Courtesy of Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.

Sarah Charlesworth. Courtesy of Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.

“There is a great deal of interest in Sarah’s work here at Paula Cooper and we all felt that it seemed very appropriate for the gallery,” says Jay Gorney, a director at Paula Cooper whose previous galleries represented Charlesworth from 1987 through 2005. “It seems to work well with our program.” Both Cooper and director Steven Henry knew Charlesworth personally.

The first exhibition of the artist’s work at the gallery is slated for 2019.

Charlesworth’s show “Doubleworld” at the New Museum in New York in 2015 was expanded into a second version currently on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (through February 4). Charlesworth also had a solo show in 2015 titled “Stills,” at the Art Institute of Chicago that she worked on with the museum but sadly, did not live to see.

“There is a certain poignancy to the fact that the New Museum show and now the LACMA show have happened since Sarah’s recent death,” says Gorney.

Sarah Charlesworth, Maps (1987)" © The Estate of Sarah Charlesworth. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.

Sarah Charlesworth, Maps (1987). © The Estate of Sarah Charlesworth. Courtesy of Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.

Charlesworth’s work deftly explores the role that photographic images play in contemporary culture. The title of the recent museum show “Doubleworld” is inspired by a photograph of the same name which features two 19th-century stereoscopic viewing devices, each with a stereophotograph of two women standing side by side.

Sarah Charlesworth, Doubleworld (1995) © The Estate of Sarah Charlesworth. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.

Sarah Charlesworth, Doubleworld (1995)
© The Estate of Sarah Charlesworth. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.

Auction prices for Charlesworth are surprisingly modest given her stature. The record for a work by Charlesworth at auction is $25,000 (est: $3,000-$5,000), according to the artnet price database, for the Cibachrome print Trial by Fire (1992-3), set at a Christie’s online sale this past December. The second-highest price, of $22,500, was paid for Red mask (Objects of desire I) (1983-4), a laminated c-print that was estimated at $5,000 to $7,000.

Gorney says these secondary market prices don’t necessarily reflect the degree of interest that museums have shown in Charlesworth’s work, citing acquisitions by MoMA and the Whitney, which acquired her work during her lifetime as well as additional work since her death, as well as by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Perez Art Museum, Miami.

As sometimes happens with an artist whose market is transitioning, there can be a disconnect between auction prices and private prices. Sources familiar with her primary market and private sales told artnet News that works from more recent series sell for between $25,000 and $40,000, while earlier works have fetched prices from $65,000 to $150,000.

Gorney says work from across all periods of the artist’s oeuvre is in demand by collectors and curators. “She was always incredibly painstaking,” he says. “Part of what makes the work so extraordinary is how beautifully printed and carefully and meticulously composed those photographs are.”


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