The Observer has a long piece on Peter Halley, the former head of Yale’s painting department, whose fame as an artist has waxed and waned. On the market, Halley has had solid six-figure sales in May and March of this year and last during the mid-season and day sales—all at Sotheby’s.
Not a bad comeback for an artist whose peak price was achieved at Christie’s in May 2008 when Dream Game (left) was offered for $90-120k but sold for $457,000.
Sotheby’s Scott Nussbaum, who has been making the market in Halley since, opines on the lasting appeal of Halley’s highly structured imagery:
“The prison is always going to be a relevant image, as is the cell, particularly in our digital age. And the concept that we are connected electronically is now even more true than it was in ’80s, when the imagery first emerged. These types of images reverberate continuously and powerfully to anybody who is paying attention to world events, whether it’s the stock market or riots in London.”
Says the photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, a longtime friend who was also a contributor to Mr. Halley’s art magazine Index (published from 1996 to 2005, and loosely modeled on Warhol’s Interview) “Peter was way ahead of his time. I think he was way ahead of the digital age. Today we take it so for granted that we have a cell phone. Everything is digital—everything is bits—and Peter was aware of that in the ’80s, when we were still getting used to fax machines.”
Peter Halley’s New Gallery in Germany (Observer)