Friday, December 7, 2012

Attic Scene Auctioned

Yesterday Christie's New York auctioned 232 images from National Geographic's art and photo collection, including my oil on canvas "The Attic Scene." It was commissioned by the Geographic for its centennial in 1988. The painting sold for $50,000, twice the high estimate, and more than three times the low estimate. Here's a link to Christie's page.

Washington Post article about the sale (Thanks, Martha)
Previously on GJ: More about the painting and how it was created

17 comments:

Phil Moss said...

Congrats! I hope there's not too much of a difference between that and the price they paid you for the original commission ;)

Great stuff

James Gurney said...

Phil, thanks! I'm afraid there was a very large difference, and we didn't make any money from the sale. But I'm happy that Nat Geo chose to present that painting from the 11.5 million pieces in their collection.

Kurt Ankeny-Beauchamp said...

Maybe this isn't the forum for this discussion, but does it annoy you that there isn't even the token droit de suite that European nations have here in the United States? After all, if a painting is generating value, should the artist share in that?

Susan Sorger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan Sorger said...

That is a well deserved message on how you are valued as an artist.
I think it is just wonderful.
Now you are going have to hold your own auctions!

Anonymous said...

Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!!! Fantastic!!! Love the painting!!! What a GAS!!! Congrats!!! - mp

(Maybe you should have sold only the one time use of it to Nat Geo?)

Anonymous said...

I had no idea artists had such rights. I'm all for bringing this law back everywhere.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Droit_de_suite

The California Resale Royalty Act, (Civil Code section 986),[4] was struck down as unconstitutional on May 17, 2012 because it violated the US Constitution Interstate Commerce clause, ending a 35 year run that entitled artists to a royalty payment upon the resale of their works of art under certain circumstances. The ruling by Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen of U.S. District Court Judge, Central District of California, is pending appeal in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Melle Ferre said...

Congratulations! It certainly reflects well on your work and we all appreciate your efforts both at the easel and in teaching and communicating.

Steve Kohr Fine Art said...

Congrats indeed! Great work!

JulieD said...

Oh drat! I was just looking at this one last night and thinking about how badly I wanted it. One of my favorite works.

shadi said...

Congrats James! You fully deserve it! This gives most of us hope who want to work in traditional media in this age of digital and pop/commercial art craze.

etc, etc said...

Congratulations, James. $50K, a verifiable price at a prestigious auction house like Christie's, is quite an accomplishment for a living realist painter.

Keith Parker said...

It is kind of a shame you couldn't get some money from their good fortune, but at least it is getting you some publicity I suppose. You must be proud regardless.

Anonymous said...

Oh it's a shame alright. Just like Einstien said. “The world is a dangerous place. Not because of the people who are evil; but because of the people who don't do anything about it.”

Those profiteers with no tangible skills comparable to Mr. Gurney's genius are the same who oppose the Droit De Suite. And in turn renamed the Estate Tax the Death Tax so they could again collect without actually doing anything.

Keith Parker said...

Yes well you have to keep in mind that he agreed to the price of the commission at that time. What is interesting is that he was not nearly as well known back then. The high price the piece sold for is a testament of two things: 1. that it was a job well done. 2. that Mr. Gurney's become much more known, and popular as a professional artist since that time.

Sarah Chalek... said...

Wow, I forgot you did this piece and at first glance thought it was a Norman Rockwell. Congrats!

Anonymous said...

The Iron Law of Oligarchy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTNKskplRFA&list=UUY8x1K2FMBw-jm-WCPbcHEg&index=10&feature=plcp

A hundred years ago a German sociologist, Robert Michael's came up with "The Iron Law of Oligarchy", which said that democracy will always devolve into oligarchies and plutocracies ruled by the few and ruled by the rich, unless the process is interrupted by a revolution.

In America we've broken up these oligarchies by periodic revolutions. The revolution of 1776, the Civil War, the New Deal, every one about 80 years apart. And it's been 80 years since the New Deal started.

This is in a very real way oligarchy. IT'S TIME FOR A REVOLUTION.

Abraham Lincoln, December, 1847
"[T]he habits of our whole species fall into three great classes - useful labour, useless labour and idleness. Of these the first only is meritorious; and to it all the products of labour rightfully belong; but the two latter, while they exist, are heavy pensioners upon the first, robbing it of a large portion of its just rights."

He went on the say that government should drive useless labor out of existence. Mitt Romney on the other hand wants to defend the useless labor income of the Paris Hiltons of the world who make their livings sitting around the pool waiting for the dividend check to arrive and then pay a fraction of the income tax that working people must pay.