The Top 10 painters from USD 5,000–15,000



Fridays are the Best! Every other Friday, Artprice offers you a themed auction ranking. Beyond record hammer prices, the leader of information on the Art Market reveals the list of the ten most sold artists in the USD 5,000-15,000 price range. This week, the Top 10 is focused on painting, before exploring sculpture and photography.

This price range is evidence of a European market clearly more dynamic and affordable than in the rest of the world. In fact, the Italian Mario Schifano, the Swedish Bengt Lindstrom and the three Frenchmen Jean Gabriel Domergue, Maximilien Luce, and Bernard Aubertin sold more than 200 paintings ranging from USD 5,000-15,000 in 2014, without taking into consideration the works sold for less than USD 5,000. If the European market remains a breeding ground for affordable works from well-known top names, such a ranking reveals another more discreet market, that of Australia, home to two artists out in front.

The Top 10 painters from USD 5,000–15,000
Rank Artist Number of paintings sold in 2014
1 Pro HART 98
2 Sidney Robert NOLAN 60
3 Arie SMIT 59
4 Jean Gabriel DOMERGUE 47
5 Bernard AUBERTIN 44
6 TING Walasse 42
7 Constantin RAZOUMOV 42
8 Bengt LINDSTRÖM 41
9 Mario SCHIFANO 38
10 Maximilien LUCE 38
copyright © 2015


Australia in the lead with Pro Hart and Sidney Nolan

Pro Hart is an artist who dedicated the majority of his work to the semi-arid Australian backcountry, the legendary Outback, an immense territory where the soil is often red. Pro Hart had a strong influence on numerous painters, notably in Broken Hill, an isolated village in the Outback that was his hometown. Emblematic of Australia, which makes up 98% of his market, the work of Pro Hart has travelled to England and the United States, but remains confidential. He is, however, the best-selling artist in the world in the USD 5,000–15,000 price range. A hundred works changed hands last year (2014), primarily in the Sydney and Melbourne markets.
The work of one of the most renowned modern Australian painters, Sidney Robert Nolan, is frequently sold for less than USD 15,000. 60 canvases also changed ownership last year. However, it is difficult to find his works outside Australia, which accounts for 96% of his market even if the artist can obtain substantial prices. His record is USD 4.1m for a canvas sold in 2010 in Kensington (First-Class Marksman, 1946, sold at Menzies Art Brands), an auction record in Australia for a national artist. We note that Sidney Noland’s notoriety is not exclusively confined to Australia, as the artist spent part of his career in London.


Frenchmen Jean Gabriel Domergue, Maximilien Luce and Bernard Aubertin

The French painter Jean Gabriel Domergue is said to be the inventor of the Pin-up. Known for his numerous works depicting coy Parisian beauties, nonchalant and scantily clad, Jean Gabriel Domergue was also curator of Musée Jacquemart-André (1955–1962), where he organized Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec and Goya exhibits. He was also a Knight of the Order of the Legion of Honour and member of the Institute at l’Académie des Beaux-Arts (National School of Fine Arts). This socialite painter, who disseminated a certain vision of the Parisian woman, sells works in the United States and Japan, although 64% of his market remains French.
Two other Frenchmen are found in these ranks, including Maximilien Luce, huge post-Impressionist artist whose best work sells for more than a million dollars and whose small oil paintings sometimes sell for less than USD 5,000. He personifies the affordable modern French artist, contrary to the ideas about the wild prices obtained by the works of this period. The final Frenchman in this category is a more contemporary avant-garde artist in the wake of Nouveaux Réalistes (New Realists): Bernard Aubertin was close to Yves Klein and a member of the Zero Group. His prices have been climbing for the past three years in France and Italy but the majority of his works remain very affordable.


Greater Asia is represented at last with work from top names Arie Smit and Walasse Ting, the first of which is exhibiting in a more local market than the second.
German by birth and Indonesian by adoption, Arie Smit developed a style of painting the Bali landscapes and villages in vivid colours. His career began in Indonesia in the 50s and his style reflects significant local influence. Decorated by the Bali government, Arie Smit also has his own pavilion at the Neka museum, among noteworthy Balinese artists. His works are rare in Europe but the auction houses in Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and especially Singapore (half of his market) are well-supplied.
The American painter of Chinese origin Walasse Ting is showing an upward trend in the United States and in China. Nearly 40% of his market is now in Hong Kong and his record bid climbed to USD 440,000 for a sale made in Beijing last December. While Walasse Ting, who often expresses himself in small formats, remains affordable, his prices are climbing significantly. In April 2015 in Amsterdam, a canvas estimated at less than USD 10,000 tripled the upper estimate (untitled canvas dated 1979, selling at auction for the equivalent of USD 30,500 at Christie’s Amsterdam).


Among these top names frequently sold for less than USD 15,000, certain ones such as Sidney Robert Nolan and Walasse Ting could become increasingly rare in this price range, due to globalized demand.