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John Baldessari dies at the age of 88

A curious thing happened. This morning i received in my mailbox an article by “Mutual Art”.  I could really understnad why it is important for some to know the development “money wise” of an artist, but it would have been so much more graceful to have remembered Baldessari for the excellent conceptual artist he was:

In Numbers: John Baldessari

The art world lost one of its most beloved characters last week, when John Baldessari passed away on January 2nd at the age of 88. Baldessari can be described in a great many ways— versatile, funny, iconoclastic, influential, pioneering— and his artistic career, which stretched over some six decades, saw some unforgettable moments, such as his Cremation Project (1970), in which he burnt all the paintings he made between 1953 and 1966, subsequently baking the ashes into cookies.

But beneath his humorous surface— he himself said that humor was not his aim— lay great depth and strength of character. It is doubtful whether conceptual art and photography would enjoy their same status as modes of art today without Baldessari. He endured much criticism in the beginning of his career, when abstract art still reigned supreme, but he embraced that criticism to push Conceptualism even further. Time and progress were on his side, however, and questions he posed about meaning and authorship ring as true today, as they did in the ’60s. His death is greatly mourned by the entirety of the art world. 

Change in Total Sales, # of Lots Offered and Sold: John Baldessari

Taking a look at Baldessari’s auction performance, it is likely that his career in the secondary market is only in its beginnings. To date, 2014 was his outstanding year, during which his personal record lot Commissioned Painting: A Painting By Edgar Transue, 1969 sold for 2,517,000 USD at Sotheby’s New York. A drop in offered lots in subsequent years (except 2019 when he sold 72 lots, 7 more than in 2014) didn’t see him approach the 2014 total high of 9,106,891 USD again. Many of his highest grossing works sold in what is now the decade before the last (the 2000s).

Comparison of Artwork Prices Across Price Points: John Baldessari

The lion’s share of his lots appearing at auction, 58.12%, belong to the bottom tier of below $10K, while most of the value which make up his total sales value stems from works valued between $100K – $500K, 69.31%.  Whether we will see some of Baldessari’s works appear at auction to outdo his performance to date or not is irrelevant, however, as his contribution to art will remain much more valuable than can be expressed in monetary terms.

Change in Total Sales, # of Lots Offered and Sold: John Baldessari

Taking a look at Baldessari’s auction performance, it is likely that his career in the secondary market is only in its beginnings. To date, 2014 was his outstanding year, during which his personal record lot Commissioned Painting: A Painting By Edgar Transue, 1969 sold for 2,517,000 USD at Sotheby’s New York. A drop in offered lots in subsequent years (except 2019 when he sold 72 lots, 7 more than in 2014) didn’t see him approach the 2014 total high of 9,106,891 USD again. Many of his highest grossing works sold in what is now the decade before the last (the 2000s).

Comparison of Artwork Prices Across Price Points: John Baldessari

The lion’s share of his lots appearing at auction, 58.12%, belong to the bottom tier of below $10K, while most of the value which make up his total sales value stems from works valued between $100K – $500K, 69.31%.  Whether we will see some of Baldessari’s works appear at auction to outdo his performance to date or not is irrelevant, however, as his contribution to art will remain much more valuable than can be expressed in monetary terms.

 

instead, read the article which was

published a few days ago in the New York Times, much better and certainly more graceful to remember this great artist.

www.ftn-books.com has some very importnat Baldessari publications available