The Street To The Auction Hammer : Jim Prigoff Gets His Artcurial Catalogue

Fine art by urban artists continues to gain interest by collectors worldwide and auctions dedicated to it are becoming more common. Artcurial has a selection of just under 200 works by mainly European and American artists who have practiced at one time (or currently) in the street, whether they have called themselves Street Artists or graffiti writers or another variant. Long time documenter, celebrated author, and public speaker on the aerosol art and the related scenes since the 1980s (at least), James Prigoff received his ARTCURIAL catalogue in the mail this week and offers us his personal observations today on BSA

by Jim Prigoff

During the past few years we have seen an increase in interest in Graffiti based canvases, particularly from the early NYC writers. ARTCURIAL, in Paris, has had a number of auctions in recent years supported by printed catalogues.

Despite that, I wasn’t quite prepared for the very hefty 220 page catalogue that arrived today. I believe it is the first auction that I have seen entitled “Urban Art”. Not only are there many canvases by the early train writers solidly based in the Graff culture (1981-1983), but then offshoots from that and finally what today is labeled “Urban Art”. (Mostly 2010 to the present – Graff based and other).

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Urban Art. The new Artcurial catalogue with KAWS on the front. February 04. 2015. Paris, France. (photo of catalogue © Jaime Rojo)

The early eighties saw the train writers go to canvas as some major dealers like Tony Shafrazi took on writers like Futura, but the flame quickly burned out. In Europe, however, there was more interest and a collector named Henk Pijnenburg amassed a huge collection of the NYC output, particularly from BLADE. Yaki Kornblit in Amsterdam was one of the first to have sold out shows. When I visited with him, he was opening a show for Ramellzee. Before it even opened, every canvas was tagged SOLD. A few European Museums also bought in.

By 1991 nothing had happened to increase the canvas’s value and Henk organized the “Coming from the Subway” show at the Groninger Museum in Holland. The catalogue was huge and most of the writers attended. I went there. He hoped to ignite interest and promote his collection, but really outside of Basqiuat and Haring not much happened until the last five or so years.

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Dondi. Urban Art. Artcurial. February 04. 2015. Paris, France. (photo of catalogue © Jaime Rojo)

Two years ago, Henk sold his entire collection to a Paris collector of the art form since 2009. Many of the canvases originally purchased by Henk were offered in this auction. His Dondi “Dark Continent”, an iconic piece, listed for $25/35 thousand Euros. ($1.13 dollars to $1 Euro).

Listed from other sources were Crash for $15/20 and $20/30. A Chaz for $18/25. Seen $12/15 and $25/30 and a 2007 for $30/40. Zephyr, Futura, Toxic all in the $15/30 range. (000)

Jon One 156, who left NYC years ago to live in Paris with three modern canvases from$12/15, $15/20 and $30/40. A large Conor Harrington (Irish) for $25/30. A J.R. photo on aluminum for $25/30 !!!!! Os/Gemeos for $25/30. Shepard Fairey anywhere from $25 to $50. Retna for $15/20 and hold onto your hat, a KAWS piece (the catalogue cover) 4.5 x 6 ‘ for $120/150. (000)

(Prices are ARTCURIAL’s estimate of what the art would go for in the auction).

Going back to my early photography when there were mostly just T-Kid 170 type tags on the streets, who could have imagined what could happen to “Vandalism” now heralded as “URBAN ART”.

Jim Prigoff is the co-author of Spraycan Art (Thames and Hudson, 1987)

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CRASH. Artcurial. February 04. 2015. Paris, France. (photo of catalogue © Jaime Rojo)

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JonOne. Artcurial. February 04. 2015. Paris, France. (photo of catalogue © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura. Artcurial. February 04. 2015. Paris, France. (photo of catalogue © Jaime Rojo)

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Blek le Rat. Artcurial. February 04. 2015. Paris, France. (photo of catalogue © Jaime Rojo)

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Jef Aerosol. Artcurial. February 04. 2015. Paris, France. (photo of catalogue © Jaime Rojo)

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Shepard Fairey. Artcurial. February 04. 2015. Paris, France. (photo of catalogue © Jaime Rojo)Brooklyn-Street-Art-740-detail-RERO-Artcurial-auction-Screen-Shot-2015-02-03-at-7.13

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Nick Walker. Artcurial. February 04. 2015. Paris, France. (photo of catalogue © Jaime Rojo)

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ZEVS. Artcurial. February 04. 2015. Paris, France. (photo of catalogue © Jaime Rojo)

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Conor Harrington. Artcurial. February 04. 2015. Paris, France. (photo of catalogue © Jaime Rojo)

 

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