On a recent visit to Sotheby’s New Bond Street I went to see 2 exhibitions: Works from their Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale and ‘Contemporary Curated’.  Both comprised an impressive collection of artworks from recent times.  There was a polarisation in the prices:

Impressionist and Modern Art Auctions during spring and autumn are arguably the most prestigious in terms of the artworks being sold and the prices realised at auction. This sale included works by Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas, Picasso and Agnes Martin.

In contrast ‘Contemporary Curated’ is an exhibition of works choreographed by Michael Clark; whose previous projects have included collaborations with artists like Sarah Lucus, Alexander McQueen and Peter Doig.  This collection included a variety of works from established artists such as Alighier Boetti and Tom Wesselmann to emerging talents such as Josephine Pryde and Anne Collier.

What interested me in the two shows and was the inspiration behind this blog is the significance of emerging artists and their artwork – in the case of ‘Contemporary Curated’ this included a number of emerging artists whose works were shown alongside those of more experienced ones and within close proximity of works that are arguably the most prestigious and sought after by collectors.  All within Sotheby’s showrooms on Bond Street, Mayfair.  In the case of the Impressionist and Modern collection this was shown in London and New York.

Another interesting feature of the shows was the style of artwork that was available and how they are not too dissimilar to artworks that are available by other artists within the different genres:

An example is a painting by Gerhard Richter ‘Grat’ with an Auction Estimate of $2,000,000 – 3,000.000

This particular work is an abstract painting and is not dissimilar to works by emerging artists such as Wendy Hyde and Barry Andrews:




Barry Andrews ‘Sunday Afternoon’ (Paint on Canvas) £785.00

Sunday Afternoon by Barry Andrews


Barry Andrews ‘Sunday Afternoon’ (Paint on Canvas) £785.00

This artwork was part of a collection of paintings that featured at last year’s Hornshaw Gallery exhibition ‘Looking to the Stars’. It is a large panel that was on display next to the entrance. Literally everyone who entered turned to admire this bold image. It’s only when you see the painting physically that you are aware of the emotions, intensity of feeling and quite possibly turmoil that is evident in the bold and sweeping brushstrokes. This is an incredibly powerful and moving painting. It is difficult to describe in words the drama, movement and powerful emotions imbued in this artwork.

Another notable example is a painting by the celebrated Impressionist Claude Monet ‘Vetheuil’, 1880. The Auction Estimate is USD $4,000.000 – 6,000.000.

The painterly style and composition is not dissimilar to works by Andrew Farmer. A graduate of the Prince of Wales Drawing School, Andrew has been shortlisted on several occasions for prestigious prizes such as the Taylor and Newton Award for Painting. His work is popular with International as well as collectors from the UK. He was recently profiled in a blog article for the Hornshaw Gallery as an artist to watch. His works have increased significantly in value over the years. He recently launched a collection of drawings on the gallery site: they are very affordable and may be seen as an investment considering the sharp increase in prices of his works…..


Marc Chagall is a popular painter with works featuring in the Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Sale as well as the Royal Academy’s homage to art following the Russian Revolution. His work spanned a number of styles.

The 2 works of note that feature in the Sotheby’s sale are:

‘Scène de cirque, circa 1970’Estimate USD 1,800,000 – 2,500,000

And ‘Les Amoureux dans le ciel rouge, circa 1978’Estimate USD 2,000,000 – 3,000,000.

These depict fairy tale like images similar to those of Daisy Clarke


Daisy is an artist of considerable prestige. Her works have been bought by celebrated actor Jeremy Irons and financiers. She is a Royal Academician whose work sells relatively quickly and is in demand. She is definitely an artist to watch out for!

Daisy Clarke ‘The Lake’ (Oil on Canvas) £1,250,00

The Lake by Daisy Clarke


Daisy Clarke ‘The Lake’ (Oil on Canvas) £1,250,00

This image is a beautiful fantasy of a lady by a lake with mountains in the distance. It is a scene that the viewer can gaze at and contemplate: there is a boat on the lake. Who is the rower and his passenger? Interestingly, do they know each other? There is a man seated on a bench, again there is intrigue – who is he? There are also 5 beautiful painted swans in the foreground. Are they just beautiful studies or do they represent something deeper?

‘Crystalline Green’ by Daisy Clarke (Painting in oil on Linen.) £2,000

Crystalline Green by Daisy Clarke


‘Crystalline Green’ by Daisy Clarke (Painting in oil on Linen.) £2,000

Crystalline Green’ by Daisy Clarke (Painting in oil on Linen.) £2,000This is a fantasy landscape set in winter. The viewer gazes into the composition at eye level; the effect is to draw the viewer into the picture. The composition is carefully constructed and can roughly be divided into 3 vertical sections: each is a detailed study of forest and woodland, with tundra in the far distance. The water in the foreground is still and tranquil and this serene tranquillity imbues the entire composition and makes it such an attractive artwork; its quiet and contemplative quality.

Contemporary Curated

This brings us back to the ‘Contemporary Curated’ exhibition. It’s interesting to consider the emerging artists that comprise the selection of artworks in this sale. It’s also interesting to consider the jump from ‘emerging artist’ to one that is established with a reputation in the ascent.

All artists have to start somewhere and the viewer of any art show of emerging art cannot help but wonder or speculate which if any of these will go on to make a name for themselves. Perhaps there may be one that may assume iconic status amongst the greats such as Picasso, Monet, and Richter….

Barry Andrews in an artist that stands out from the crowd.


Barry originally went to Art College at the age of 18, it soon transpired that the course was oversubscribed and Barry was asked to defer his place. Rather than come back the year after Barry left art for the world of work. He returned to his studies some thirty years later. He went on to achieve a First Class Honours in Painting as well as winning the Directors Prize. Since graduating, he has sold his work widely with commissions including government organisations. His artwork is profound: the depth of emotions conveyed in his artwork is moving and makes a huge impression on all who view his work. He is an artist whose work is imbued with a certain something extra…..

Lisa Smith is also worth mentioning,



Anika Manuel ‘The Paradise’ (Acrylic on Circular Canvas) £700.00Similar to Warhol’s celebration of fame. Anika Manuel portrays the actress Milla Kunis. The star appears unkept, yet paradoxically styled. The tropical background explores notions of fragility and the theme of theatre, the floral, leafy background is lush, bold and dramatic; echoing the drama of the portrait.

Anika Manuel ‘The Paradise’ (Acrylic on Circular Canvas) £700.00

 The Paradise by Anika Manuel



The bold images of lips in bright colours remind me of Andy Warhol’s iconic screen prints. The lips also echo to the many images of Marilyn Monroe. Warhol’s images are fashionable and reassuringly expensive. If you browse the glossy magazines that feature celebrities at home, more often than not there will be a Warhol print on display….

Andy Warhol can be viewed as one of the most iconic artists of the twentieth century. His artwork is recognisable to most people whether they are interested in art or not. A recent screen print of Chairman Mao made an auction record when recently sold at auction in Hong Kong. This demonstrated how popular and valuable his work is and shows no signs of diminishing.


Simon Kirk ‘Grudge Match’ and ‘Watchers’ (Collage and Mixed Media) £225.00 each.

Both panels are available exclusively from the Hornshaw Gallery.


'Grudge Match' by Simon Kirk (Collage and Mixed Media) £225.00

Grudge Match by Simon Kirk


'Watchers' by Simon Kirk ( Collage and Mixed Media)  £225.00

Watchers by Simon Kirk


Simon Kirk ‘Grudge Match’ and ‘Watchers’ (Collage and Mixed Media) £225.00 each.

Both are small panels measuring 10 x 15 cm. Simon has sold artworks internationally and exhibited at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibitions. He has also been the subject of solo art shows. These small panels are ideal and have proved popular with buyers living in flats in Central London. They are exquisitely crafted pieces that are practical for modern living. Similar in practicality to portable miniatures of old, in the case of the latter, their sole purpose was to be carried around and admired by their owners. Simon Kirk’s panels suit the compact and neatness of living in a cosmopolitan city.



Erene della Porta ‘Princess Blue and Her Gun’ (Acrylic, Gouache and Ink on Paper) £195.00.

Princess Blue and Her Gun


Erene della Porta ‘Princess Blue and Her Gun’ (Acrylic, Gouache and Ink on Paper) £195.00.

From Erene’s artist statement:‘The female body how it has been depicted in society and through art has always fascinated me and has been a central theme in my work. Via humour, accident and control, I explore love, desire and sexuality in women; who may be archetypal, fictitious or known to and posed by myself.

I paint and draw from memory, imagination and images which I manipulate in an extreme manner in order to over beautify or dramatize female forms and create characters that are dark, strange and sinister. I chose to take my subjects out of the context of a space and use bright, vibrant colours and fluid marks to create fantastical and sensual scenarios.

An element of dark humour is increasingly present in my work. My inspiration stems predominantly from a love of fairy tales and enthusiasm for cinema, influenced by Oscar Wilde, Brothers Grimm and Luis Bunuel. I enjoy storytelling and narratives and like my pieces to be frozen movements of tragic tales.’

Auctions of Artwork

In terms of the primary art market, the key cities are London and New York. Both are affluent and ‘on trend’ with numerous art colleges and an alternative culture that exists and flourishes. In London in particular there are numerous areas that are trendy and individual: East London and Shoreditch, which attracts people from all over London. Hip trendy and very arty, there are numerous galleries there that attract buyers from other parts. There is also Camden with an emphasis on urban cool and West London that encompasses Fulham, Parsons Green and South Kensington. This is also very popular and very trendy with a distinct West London edge. New York has similar parallels: Greenwich Village, Soho to name a few locations……


Sotheby’s showroom, New Bond Street, Mayfair 


The Emergence of Hong Kong as a key Auction Location

There are other cities hot on the heels of London and New York. Paris is popular while Hong Kong is proving a popular location for many fine auctions of paintings and artwork. In the case of Hong Kong, this is because of the emergence of China as a major economic power. Industrialisation has given rise to a class of entrepreneurs that have accumulated great wealth and will spend it on the finer things in life: art work whether contemporary and modern as well as older works. Chinese entrepreneurs are keen to rebuy any treasures that were ‘lost’ and form part of foreign collections. Sales of items from the ‘Forbidden Palace’ will always generate interest from Chinese buyers who are seeking to re-buy and more often than not donate these items to national museums and galleries. There was a recent case of items from the Estate of the late Yves Saint Laurent comprising items of Chinese art. These were donated to a Chinese museum by the Chinese buyer. Recently the French industrialist Francois Pinault made a donation of some Chinese artefacts worth an estimated $40 Million to the National Museum of China. These were bronze objects d’art looted from the Summer Palace just over a century ago. The Chinese are clearly keen to reclaim their lost/ looted heritage as well as embracing art and culture of the present.

The wealth of the individual has also greatly improved. Owing to the large population of China and the economic boom, individuals are able spend on luxury items. This includes affordable artwork; the symptom of this has been the opening of numerous art galleries throughout China in the last few decades. Notable cities are Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.

Paris as a city for Art

Paris is considered an ‘old city’. French art and culture have always been constants in the art world. This is less the case with modern and contemporary art but it is a city with incredible kudos.

Raw’ by Matteo Pugliese

Incised with the artists signature and numbered II/III on the back of the figure’s left shoulder.

Bronze. Auction Estimate: £12,000 - £18,000.

(Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated)

This is an example of a piece of artwork that was on display at the Contemporary Curated exhibition at Sotheby’s London recently. This is an impressive piece; it is literally emerging from the wall.


Untitled by Rudolf Stingel

Untitled at Sothebys

Untitled by Rudolf Stingel

Electroformed Copper, plated nickel and gold in 6 parts.

Auction Estimate: £4,000,000 - £5,600,000(Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated)

This is an untitled artwork. I saw this at the recent exhibition. The artwork comprised 6 large panels and spanned an entire wall. The effect of this large single installation in a gold colour was striking and impressive. The fact that the surface of the panels is not smooth adds to its attractiveness. The uneven surface gives it texture; the viewer can’t help but try and look for shapes and patterns. It could be that the artworks is entitled ‘Untitled’ as the viewer is left to study, contemplate and consider the markings on the panels and are left to draw their own conclusions.


Andy Warhol (1928 – 1987)

Hammer and Sickle (Acrylic and Silkscreen, Ink on Canvas)

Auction Estimate: £4,800,000 - £6,400,000.

This is an incredibly powerful and iconic image. The bold red and Hammer and Sickle, both these features are strongly associated with the USSR. They also make for a bold and dramatic artwork. (It wouldn’t be quite so dramatic if it were in any other colour.)


These two images from Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated exhibitions are examples of artworks by what may be considered established contemporary artists. The auction estimates are indications of their commercial success. They have achieved what all emerging artists are looking and aspire to: to sell at Sotheby’s is in my opinion a sure bet that an artist has ‘made it’.

Artworks such as these will be displayed and publicised. It is their client base of prominent art collectors and investors who are key. They could be described (accurately) as tastemakers: they buy the works thus setting prices and auction records. It could be argued that they set the standards for what is popular; and what sells generates more interest and sales of a particular genre or a particular artist.

This is a time old tradition of artist and patron relations. We see this throughout history from the time of the Renaissance and beyond. The powerful Medici family were a prominent Florentine banking family that sought power and prestige. They achieved this in numerous ways; one of which was to patronise artists such as Michelangelo, Donatello and other leading artists.

By creating such beautiful artworks they increased their prestige: their name will always be associated with the great artworks they commissioned. Some four or five hundred years later we still write, study and discuss the legacy of such families.

The Sistine Chapel is a prime example. Michelangelo was commissioned to paint the Last Judgement and the Sistine Ceiling. In the case of the ceiling commission, this is a masterpiece that was commissioned by Renaissance Pope Julius II. Their names will always be inter-linked and having a prominent benefactor also greatly enhances an artist’s reputation. When a work is sold at Sotheby’s this will become part of its provenance – the sale history of an artwork and who owned it forms part of its heritage and can help enhance the appeal of an artwork. To put it bluntly, if an artwork was once owned by a prominent collector such as Francois Pinault or Charles Saatchi, this can and more often than not will enhance and make an artwork more appealing to a buyer/collector.

Looking to the Starts

We are all lying in the gutter but some of us are looking to the stars’. This is a famous quote by Oscar Wilde. It was also the name of the first Hornshaw Gallery show held at the Brick Lane Gallery in April 2016. I chose the title for the first Hornshaw Gallery exhibition as it best summed up what ‘emerging art’ is and the aspirations of emerging artists and what they aspire to and seek to achieve.

I would like to end this critique of Emerging artists and assessment of the selection of artworks by them that were recently displayed at Sotheby’s with an analysis of the Oscar Wilde quote and how it is relevant to all artists looking for their ‘big break’.

The quote is from Lady Windermere’s Fan, a play Oscar Wilde wrote early in his career. The metaphor reveals the ideals of love and aspirations. Think of the connotations of ‘stars’. Pristine, divine, unattainable, constant and beautiful. (Think of the North Star; a dazzling light in the sky – it is unmoving and unchanging.) The Sothern Cross guides sailors and aviators. The image of someone lying in the gutter but gazing up at the bright stars in heaven is a powerful and aspiring image.

It is a favourite quote. I say it to myself when looking for motivation, a last ditch effort to push forward when my energy and inspiration are flagging. It is also a phrase I think of when I have done well and feel good at what has been done or achieved.

It is an extremely poetic expression, and I think we can all relate to it on some level. Emerging artists and anyone with dreams, goals and aspirations. We have all longed for, hungered, ached or dreamt of something we believe is just beyond our reach but we keep seeking and striving.