See Richard Serra’s 10 Most Expensive Artworks at Auction
Even his drawings have received high sums.
Iconoclastic American artist Richard Serra launched an exhibition of his latest steel behemoths at Gagosian Gallery in New York this past Saturday, featuring four new works: Above Below Betwixt Between, Every Which Way, Silence (for John Cage), and Through. It’s the thirtieth big show at the gallery for the artist, who splits his time between New York and Nova Scotia.
Suffice it to say, the artist, who had his first gallery show in Rome in 1966, is a big proponent of “bigger-is-better,” and is not afraid of taking on nature in the process. As he said in a 1996 interview with Gerard Hovagimyan: “I am interested in work where the artist is a maker of ‘anti-environment’ which takes its own place or makes its own situation, or divides or declares its own area.”
As one of the most influential working artists, artnet News took a look back at ten of Serra’s most expensive works at auction to date below.
1. LA Cone (1986): $4,267,750
Towering at nearly 15 feet, Serra’s sheet of weather-resistant corten steel sold for a premium at a Christie’s New York evening sale in 2013. Initial estimates for the sculpture ran from $1.5 million – $2 million.
2. Schulhof’s Curve (1984): $2,882,500
Serra’s work, which was characterized by collector Rudolf Schulhof as “a real experience,” inspired the arts patron and his wife, Hannelore Buck, to commission the 1984 piece Schulhof’s Curve. According to artnet’s Price Database, the sweeping, 37-foot-wide sheet sold at a 2012 Christie’s New York sale for over $300,000 more than the low estimate.
3. Palms in 2 parts (1985): $2,322,500
Palms in 2 parts currently dwells in a private collection in Japan. Prior to its sale at a 2011 Phillips auction, the work belonged to Akira Ikeda Gallery in Tokyo.
4. Corner Prop (1976): $1,986,500
As the most expensive object in the artist’s prop sculpture series, Corner Prop sold at a Sotheby’s New York evening sale in 2010.
5. On the Level (1991): $1,925,000
Commissioned by the existing owner back in 1991, the sculpture sold at a Sotheby’s sale in 2013. Per the artist’s exacting wishes, “the work may only be displayed on a site that has a 29 inch fall over 40 feet.”
6. 12-4-8 (1983): $1,650,500
In 2010, Serra’s 12-4-8 was widely known as the most expensive work in his auction market. The object did fetch $1.65 million in 2008. According to artnet’s Price Database, the piece, made of three sheets of steel, was collected by its present owner from Ace Gallery.
7. Even Level (1987): $1,497,000
In 2007, Serra’s prop sculpture Even Level exceeded expectations at a Sotheby’s contemporary art evening sale. The work, which sold for just under $1.5 million, was estimated to fetch between $800,000 and $1,200,000.
8. CELAN (2010): $1,390,000
CELAN currently stands as the most expensive non-sculptural work in Serra’s oeuvre. The piece, which was executed with paint stick on handmade paper, blew initial estimates out of the water: at $1.39 million, it nearly doubled the $750,000 high estimate.
9. Untitled (1984): $1,215,750
Untitled (1984) is one of the artist’s earliest pieces to hit the million-dollar-mark. In 2001, the work sold at Sotheby’s New York for $1,215,750.
10. Untitled (1974): $1,157,000
This charcoal drawing on paper is the artist’s most recent work to sell at auction for high sums. The piece sold in 2014 at Christie’s New York post-war and contemporary art morning sale.
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