Colin Gleadell uses Helen Frankenthaler as an example of artists the market is actively trying to re-discover and promote as alternatives to the very expensive names that are being bought at the very top. This, in part, explains Phillips’s recent collaboration with Ann Freedman to gain access to color field works. This particular work, Saturn Revisited, was sold at Christie’s in the Fall of 2008 just after the first shocks of the Global Credit Crisis for around $660k. It just resold at Sotheby’s for $2.8m. It is possible that not all of that gain is a result of the changing economy and the increased interest in Frankenthaler. There are some suggestions that this particular painting has some concerns related to its condition. If true, that makes the price all the more impressive and the indication of demand for a high quality Frankenthaler in good condition even higher:
A classic example of this trend has been the American colour-field painter Helen Frankenthaler, who died in 2011, aged 83. Frankenthaler was an important artist in the Fifties and Sixties but suffered neglect in her later years, noticeably in the market place. However, after her death her estate was taken over by super-dealer Larry Gagosian, and in 2013 he held her first exhibition in New York for 50 years. Now her work is experiencing a revival. At the New York contemporary art sales this month, all six of her paintings offered were sold, mostly above estimates and for more than the artist’s record prior to these sales, the top price being $2.2 million. The highest price during her lifetime was about one third of that.
Art Sales: the search for undervalued artists (Telegraph)