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Rising Star Anna Weyant Has Joined Gagosian, Adding Momentum to Market Drama Playing Out Behind the Scenes
The millennial artist and the megadealer have been in a relationship for about a year.
Emerging artist Anna Weyant is joining Gagosian gallery, which will represent her globally and stage a solo exhibition of her work this fall, the company announced Friday. The news caps weeks of speculation about what the rising star is going to do next—and fuels drama playing out behind the scenes.
At 27, Weyant is one of the hottest names out there, known for deft, sometimes naughty figurative paintings of young, female subjects that put a contemporary twist on the Dutch Golden Age. Think of her as a feminist, millennial answer to John Currin.
Less than three years after her first solo show, Weyant’s paintings have sold for as much as $1 million in private transactions, sources say. And now, her auction market is starting to explode.
Last week, Weyant’s painting of a flower bouquet, Josephine (2020), fetched $513,840 at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, almost 10 times the high estimate. This month, Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips will all include her paintings as the first lot in their prestigious evening sales—a testament to their confidence in the crushing demand for her work.
Against the backdrop of these major developments in Weyant’s career, a narrative worthy of palace intrigue is unfolding. For the past year, the painter has been dating none other than Larry Gagosian, the 77-year-old megadealer, whose 19 galleries spanning the globe will be now at her disposal. And while their personal relationship seems to be enjoying smooth sailing, Weyant’s professional breakup with her former gallery, Blum & Poe, is making some waves.
Even without considering their private ties, Weyant’s arrival to Gagosian isn’t entirely unexpected. For those adept at reading the tea leaves of the art market, there were clues.
At Art Basel Miami Beach last year, the only Weyant painting at the fair was not with Blum & Poe, but rather at the Gagosian booth amid heavyweight canvases by Andy Warhol, Christopher Wool, and Mary Weatherford. In February, her painting in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s buzzy exhibition “Artists Inspired By Music: Interscope Reimagined” also came courtesy of Gagosian.
Weyant, who made her solo debut at New York’s 56 Henry gallery in 2019, had two solo exhibitions with Blum & Poe: one in Los Angeles a year ago, another in Tokyo in January. The following month, barely a year after beginning to work together, the artist and the gallery parted ways.
So who’s selling all these Weyants at auction? Three of four paintings that have or will hit the auction block passed through Blum & Poe, although the identity of their consignors is unclear. In the case of one work, some fingers are pointing directly at the artist’s former dealers as the source—and some tongues are whispering “revenge consignment” as the reason for the resale.
Falling Woman (2020) will be offered at Sotheby’s on May 19. It was a highlight of the artist’s show “Loose Screw” at Blum & Poe in Los Angeles a year ago (and is considered the best of the three Weyants on offer this season). The work depicts a young woman, painted upside down as she falls down the stairs, mouth agape, bosom (almost) falling out.
Tim Blum, co-owner of the gallery, declined to comment.
Bill Powers, a tastemaker who brought Weyant into Blum & Poe’s orbit (and also procured her first work for Larry Gagosian) said, “Tim Blum has an art patois unique and necessary to our contemporary world. Whatever moves he’s making I am sure are warranted and justified.”
Falling Woman is estimated at $150,000 to $200,000. At the artist’s show at Blum & Poe in Los Angeles last year, prices didn’t surpass $50,000.
Weyant’s Summertime (2020) will be the first lot at Christie’s on May 10, estimated at $200,000 to $300,000. It was acquired from 56 Henry gallery and is being flipped for the second time since its completion two years ago. The painting depicts the bust of a nude woman, her long hair draped over the edge of a wooden table like a piece of fabric.
Phillips has a still life, Buffet II (2021), estimated at $100,000 to $150,000 on May 18. The work was acquired by the present owner from Blum & Poe, according to the auction catalogue.
Curiously, Gagosian’s announcement of Weyant’s representation makes no mention of any of her solo shows with either Blum & Poe or 56 Henry. It only highlights her group exhibitions, including those at Singapore’s Recharge Foundation, Glenn Fuhrman’s FLAG Art Foundation in New York, and one on view through May 15 at the Green Family Art Foundation in Dallas, Texas. Call it a fresh start.
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