Sometimes an artist’s market gets a big bump from dumb luck. Take Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, the now sought-after painter, whose market got a big boost last month when collector Jerome Stern’s estate contained three works that all performed well enough at auction to promote the artist into a new league.
James Tarmy charts some of that evolution, starting with her collector base, “former NBA player Elliot Perry and his wife Kimberly, the German hair-care heir Thomas Olbricht, the Belgian collecting couple Wilfried and Yannicke Cooreman, the Japanese industrialist Hiroshi Taguchi, and the American philanthropist and collector Pamela Joyner,” and the growing demand for her work that Stern’s three canvases were sold into:
“Only five or six years ago you could still buy one of these canvases for less than 10,000 pounds [$13,476], says Hannah O’Leary, the head of Sotheby’s modern and contemporary African Art department, a division that was created last year. “Certainly, in the last 12 to 24 months, we’ve had a surge of people desperate to acquire her pieces.”
“She’s a great artist, first of all,” says O’Leary. […]“But the fact that she is a woman, she is black, she is of the African diaspora—these are all things that the [art] market is turning toward.”