What’s the recipe for rising prices in an artist’s market? A long, successful career, strong museum interest, a compelling story, a big museum retrospective—and new work.
That’s all happening with Vija Celmins, the New York Times explains, even as she works at a deliberate pace:
If you’re a fan, waiting out that wrestling match can be excruciating. She works with all the haste of a medieval illuminator. But after a hiatus of almost seven years since her last exhibition, she is returning with a new body of work, at Matthew Marks (522 West 22nd Street in Chelsea), her first show there, opening on Friday. In a sense, it serves as a warm-up for a far bigger one, the first full retrospective of her work in more than 20 years, organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where it will open at the end of 2018 before traveling to the Met Breuer, the show’s co-organizer, in 2019. […]
Gary Garrels, the senior curator of painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, said that during his more than 30 years as a curator, at several museums, he has tried at every opportunity to increase public holdings of Ms. Celmins’s work.“It was tough, because dealers would tell you, ‘There’s just nothing available!’ And that was before her prices increased. Now you really have to get yourself into a position to acquire if the opportunity comes.” (Last year a Celmins ocean drawing, from 1969, sold for $2.9 million at auction, believed to be a record for a drawing by a woman.)
The Artist Vija Celmins Conjures Sea and Sky With a Brush (The New York Times)