Shepard Faireys iconic HOPE collage realized a new record Thursday at Heritage Auctions
when one of three original works made for Barack Obamas 2008 presidential campaign sold for $735,000.
Of the innumerable iterations of Faireys once-inescapable posters made to support Obamas first presidential run, there are but three original large-scale, mixed-media stenciled collages made by the artist. One is in a private collection. Another resides in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institutions National Portrait Gallery.
And the third, from the assemblage of a major American Art collector, now has a new home after it set an auction record in Heritages Modern & Contemporary Art Signature® Auction, which realized a total of $2,977,438, surpassing the sales pre-auction estimate.
We were honored to offer this majestic, stunning and important work the image that defined an entire movement and a presidency, says Heritage Auctions Taylor Curry, Director of Modern & Contemporary Art. I cant overstate how important the image is, and bidders responded accordingly. Heritage is absolutely thrilled to have been part of this historic, record-setting sale.
HOPE is the work The New Yorkers Peter Schjeldahl called the most efficacious American political illustration since Uncle Sam Wants You; a work, wrote the critic, that provided a thrill of concerted purpose, guarded against fatuity by coolly candid deliberation.
Fairey, of course, was a graphic-design star and revered activist long before his HOPE spread across the country. As his Obey Giant website notes, he has been manufacturing quality dissent since 1989, when he created the equally iconic Andre the Giant Has a Posse street art while a student at the Rhode Island School of Design. The sticker and graffiti campaign, born out of the skateboarding scene, gave rise to his Obey empire.
Another exciting moment arrived when Hedda Sternes 1982 work Vertical-Horizontal, No. 7, from the G.E. Corporate Art Collection, sold for $275,000, obliterating the paintings high estimate. This continues Sternes recent ascension in popularity among client-collectors at auction.
Hedda Sterne was a prolific female painter who remained at the nexus of the 20th centurys most influential artistic schools, Curry says. We were delighted to bring this much sought-after work to auction.
Other top lots included In Orange with Black (Moderne Enfin), a striking 1978 work by Abstract Expressionist artist Robert Motherwell that realized $100,000; Wayne Thiebauds Meat Counter, 1960, which sold for $87,500; Sam Gilliams Sound of the Guitar, 1993, which also sold for $87,500; and James Ensors Portrait of Claude Bernieres (Quelques couleurs pour Claude Bernières), 1939, which realized $81,250.