Ryan Hewett’s First Solo Exhibition in London Sells Out Three Weeks in Advance

Ryan Hewett in his studioPhoto Courtesy: The Unit
Ryan Hewett in his studio
Photo Courtesy: The Unit

South African painter Ryan Hewett is having a moment. Hewett, described by artnet News contributor Edward Lucie-Smith as “one of South Africa’s most distinguished artists,” will launch his debut exhibition in Europe next Thursday at The Unit gallery in London.

“Untitled” will feature thick impasto portraits of international figures, including Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Nelson Mandela, Adolf Hitler, and Osama Bin Laden.

The choice of subject seems to have chimed in with international collectors, and the whole show was sold out three weeks before the opening, in just a matter of hours, according to Joe Kennedy, director of the gallery.

“In the last 15 years, Ryan has amassed a huge online following of loyal fans and collectors, but we were actually blown away by the amount of enquiries and sales,” Kennedy told artnet News. “The works that will be shown at ‘Untitled’ are the most ambitious body of work that Hewett has done so far. They really represent an evolution in his practice, so we are very pleased with the reception,” he added.

The oil on canvas paintings by the self-taught artist—priced between £1,700 and £14,000—were sold to a range of international collectors, hailing from the US, the Middle East, and the UK.

“Some serious painting collectors, who own works by George Condo and Basquiat for example, have purchased Ryan’s work from us, so we are delighted,” Kennedy told artnet News. “Some of the first works to sell were the portraits of Hitler and Osama Bin Laden. They are buying work for the future,” he said.

Discover more about Ryan Hewett and his studio practice the video below:

Ryan Hewett’s “Untitled” will be on view at The Unit gallery, 9 Earlham Street, London, from April 24-May 24. Private view: April 23 6,30-9,30pm.


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