September 25, 2023

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Out of Nowhere | Reagan Upshaw Fine Art

3 min read
Out of Nowhere | Reagan Upshaw Fine Art

Ever listened to of Lynne Drexler?  Up to a few of years ago, you may possibly be excused for not knowing of her.  Born in Newport News, Virginia, in 1928, Drexler moved to New York in the 1950’s and analyzed with mentioned modernists Hans Hofmann and Robert Motherwell.  She was a next-technology participant in the Abstract Expressionist motion and experienced a solo exhibit in 1961 at Tanager Gallery, a very well-regarded artists’ cooperative gallery which was component of the downtown scene.

Lynne Drexler, 1960

But that was fairly much it.  She married one more artist, taught at a variety of faculties close to the state, and moved again to New York in 1967, getting just yet another of the myriad artists doing the job in the city without the need of representation by a highly regarded professional gallery.

Drexler and her spouse purchased a summer position on Monhegan Island off the coastline of Maine in 1971, and by 1983 she was divided from him and residing on the island whole time.  She died there in 1999, leaving powering a studio comprehensive of paintings.  Her auction results in the 15 several years adhering to her loss of life have been incredibly modest, a couple of hundred to a handful of thousand dollars, offering typically at New England auction properties.  Since 2019, however, her market has exploded. 

What is heading on?  I was conversing with a mate, an essential collector and a revenue manager who delivers the very same finger-to-the-pulse awareness to the artwork market place that he brings to the stock current market.  He has the bravery of his convictions: he bought his Drexler painting privately in the lower 6 figures a minimal around a 12 months ago, spending above two times what the auction file for the artist was at the time.  Considering that my mate acquired his function, Drexler’s paintings have started selling frequently at major New York auction properties for prices well into six and even 7 figures.  The Live performance, an oil on canvas measuring about four-by-four toes, sold for $1,043,380 which includes top quality at Sotheby’s Hong Kong earlier this month.

Lynne Drexler, The Live performance, 1959.  Photo courtesy Sotheby’s.

Drexler’s do the job is the topic of not one particular but two demonstrates at crucial New York galleries at the minute, Berry Campbell Gallery downtown, and Mnuchin Gallery on the Upper East Aspect.  There was lately a extensive short article on her and her do the job in the New York Moments.

How has a relatively unknown artist gotten so warm so speedy?  Some of it may well be spelled out by savvy management by Berry Campbell, which handles the estate and experienced a substantial team of paintings to work with.  Some of it is because of to the reality that performs by ladies artists are exceptionally hot suitable now (as are all those by artists of color), as museums attempt to make up for a historical past of neglect.  Some of it could just be the result of publicity bought by deep-pocketed dealers.

But why Drexler, rather of a variety of other women artists of her generation who were being gifted painters and who struggled towards the exact male-dominated establishment?  Any sizzling marketplace raises doubt: is this a bubble which will burst, a industry remaining manipulated by shadowy forces?  Or will Drexler be placed firmly in the canon, as Joan Mitchell and Helen Frankenthaler have been, with her paintings continuing to offer for 7 figures as theirs do?  Time, as they say, will convey to.

Back in the days of the growth, a late pal of mine who had a seat on the New York Inventory Trade reported to me, “Reagan, I really don’t comprehend the valuations of most of these online corporations.  I’m hesitant to set a great deal of income into them.  But when a coach is barreling down the observe straight at you, it does not do to place your hand up and say, ‘Stop! You’re not meant to be on this track’.”  He gambled a minimal in the new market, built a few bucks, and pulled out as the current market began to tank.

Of training course, with Drexler, no make any difference what you paid out, you’ll have a wonderful painting to cling on the wall.  No subject what her current market does, if you adore the do the job, you are going to earn.  But your earn may well not be a earn measurable in bucks and cents.

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