For us, there is no doubting the power and visceral beauty of British painter Jenny Saville's voluptuous and raw early work, which has achieved some very high prices at auction in recent years. Indeed, the highest price ever achieved at auction for a living female artist remains the £9.5m paid for Saville's 1992 work 'Propped' in 2018.
Jenny Saville, Propped, 1992. Oil on canvas, 213 x 183 cm.
Exhibitions of new work by the artist, who produces relatively few paintings in any given year, are much-anticiapted events, and even in this time of the coronavirus pandemic Gagosian Gallery found buyers for every single one of the works in their new Saville exhibition 'Elpis', within just a few days of the opening, each for around $3.5m. This is in spite of the works lacking many of the qualities of the early paintings, at least to our eyes, and we have been involved in the top end of the Saville market for several years now.
Jenny Saville, Rupture, 2020. Acrylic and oil on linen, 200 x 160 cm. Photo Prudence Cuming Associates.
There are so many great works of art coming up at auction in the next month, or available for sale through dealers or private treaty, and at a range of price points. We have included some of our own favourites below. Are these better or worse than the Saville works, by which we mean skilful in idea and execution and important to their given context, and will they prove to be strong investments in the long term (which the Savilles almost certainly will, whatever one might think of them)? To ask is to miss the point.
These are works that, each in their own way, are going to give their buyers pleasure every day they own them, because they are authentic and made with good purpose. We are not saying that the new Saville works are lacking in this regard, but the fact is that many will go from the gallery to the buyers' storage units, not to be looked at again until it is time for them to be profitably sold. The works below can all be bought for much, much less money, can be treasured for years and, because they have the integrity of all good quality works of art, will always have willing markets ready to receive them. For us at Corfield Morris, that makes them more worth buying.
Hurvin Anderson, Country Club: Practice I, 2008. Acrylic on paper, 24 x 35 cm. Estimate: £4,000 - 6,000 (Sale on 26th November)
Bridget Riley, July 19 Revision of July 3 (Bassacs), 1988. Gouache on paper, 66 x 87 cm. Estimate: £120,000 - 180,000 (Sale on 24 November)
Gerald Wilde, Untitled, c. 1950s. 62 x 91 cm, oil pastel on paper. Private treaty sale, asking £3,500
Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys, 1986. Colour screenprint, ed. 90, 81 x 61 cm. Estimate €12,000 - 16,000 (Sale on 5th December)