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Status, price and estimate of the artist Richard PRINCE
Average estimate for a photograph: 300 – 500,000€.
Price of a signed painting: 40,000 – 6,000,000€.
Estimate for a drawing or watercolour by the artist at auction: €4,000 – 200,000
Selling price of a lithograph: 400 – 10,000€.
Who is Richard Prince?
Richard Prince, born in 1949, is an American painter and photographer belonging to the appropriation art movement. He lives and works in New York State.
His first influence was the art of Jackson Pollock, when Prince was still a teenager: Pollock’s atypical personality and his new conception of art made the young Prince want to be an artist. After a long trip to Europe and art studies in Maine, he went to New York, where he had his first exhibition at the CEPA Gallery in 1980. This was followed by numerous exhibitions, notably in New York and Los Angeles. Finally, in 2007, he was honoured with a retrospective exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. His works, still subject to controversy, are now exhibited in all the major museums of modern art.
As early as 1975, Richard Prince began to use re-photography as part of the art movement of appropriation, which is the subject of much debate in the art world. Appropriation is a form of conceptual art that has often been compared to détournement and consists of deliberately copying an artist’s work in whole or in part through the reuse of certain aesthetic means.
This approach, which can be carried out in a critical manner or as a tribute, was initiated in the 1970s by artists such as Douglas Crimp or Cindy Sherman, who were attempting to deconstruct the notions of appropriation of art or artistic originality. Richard Prince, for his part, photographs works by other artists and exhibits them as such or in the form of collages. In 2008, this practice led to a lawsuit by photographer Patrick Cariou for copyright infringement; Prince had used photographs from Carriou’s book Yes Rasta, which he had presented in the form of collages during the Canal Zone exhibition. The courts initially ruled in favour of Carriou, but the American Court of Appeal decided otherwise, relying on the law of Fair Use, and authorised Prince to exhibit and sell his works.
Despite the strong polemics sometimes associated with the appropriation art movement, collectors and enthusiasts support Prince’s art, and contribute to its extremely high price. Two of his photographs, Spritual America, 1981 and Untitled (Cowboy), 2000 are among the ten most expensive photographs in the world. Untitled (Cowboy) was the first photograph to sell for more than one million dollars at auction at Christie’s in New York in 2006. Without reaching the prices mentioned above, Prince’s works are very successful on the French art market and regularly sell for tens of thousands of euros, such as Untitled (Cowboys and girlfriends), 1992, sold at Artcurial for over 20,000 euros in June 2019.
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