David Salle


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Status, price and estimate by artist David Salle

Price of a painting: 8,500 – 556,200 €.

Price of a drawing: 610 – 130,000 €.

Estimation of a print: 70 – 520 €.

Price of a photograph: 1,600 – 2,200 €.

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Youth in Kansas

David Salle was born in Oklahoma, but spent his youth in Wichita, Kansas. His parents were working-class people of Russian Jewish descent. Salle was the second generation of his American-born family. As a young boy, he took life drawing classes at a local art organization in Wichita. His interest in drawing and painting persisted throughout his teenage years, and he continued to take classes several days a week as a high school student.

The influence of traditional figuration and an obsession with Pop art

David Salle’s artistic career was incubated in the separate home for post-studio artists under the tutelage of the renowned John Baldessari. At a time when the art world considered painting to have passed its peak, or to be important only within the limits of a new and austere minimalism, Salle and his peers were reviving form in a bold new way. While the painting of the modernist period was rigidly fixed on the idea that the presentation of an image should remain as faithful as possible to the authentic experience of that image, Salle used these same realistic images as components of overall pastiche works that forced the viewer to see them also as form, colour and shape, pushing them on a heroic scale suggesting abstract expressionism. This marriage of traditional figuration and Pop Art’s obsession with disparate images, rejuvenated Postmodernism and Neo-Expressionism created a pictorial space in the genre that was imbued with humour and theatricality. Moreover, Salle’s work in the field of theatre gave the impression that each painting was a stage on which the actors – be they body parts, clowns or furniture advertisements – were all part of an itinerant cast of subliminal characters in the permanent drama of our lives. It is as if the paintings in Salle were snapshots of singular moments in the constant stream of simultaneous superficial thoughts and visuals that perpetually inhabit our minds – non-literal, random bits that listen to the beauty of ambiguity.

The main works of David Salle

Some of the works are major in David Salle’s career, they give both a glimpse of his main creative periods and highlight the artist’s greatest achievements. Brother animal, created in 1983, demonstrates Salle’s desire to present different images that come together to inspire multiple readings. In Sextant in Dogtown, created in 1987, Salle combines an eclectic mix of images found in various sources, painted by his own hand, but still reminiscent of a collage. Although it is constructed inside film-like boxes that suggest an overall performance, there is no clear evidence of a story. As in most of his works, the viewer has to draw his own connections, in no prescribed order, and thus presume meaning. This desire for the viewer to co-construct meaning in his work can also be found in Comedy (1987), Sestina (2002), Sailor (2007).

Appraise and sell a painting by David Salle

If you own a David Salle painting or any other sculpture, ask for a free estimate via our online form.

You will then be contacted by a member of our team of experts and auctioneers to give you an independent view of the market price of your painting. In the event of a sale, our specialists will also advise you on the various options available to sell your work at the best price.