Which of the Polish artists is considered the most expensive? What is the most expensive Polish painting?
- Tamara Lempitskaya (de Lempicka) “Portrait of Marjorie Ferry”, 1932. Sold at Christie’s auction in London on February 5, 2020 for £ 16,280,000 ($ 21,150,000).
- Henryk Semiradsky “Dance among the swords” (1887). Sold at Sotheby’s in New York on April 12, 2011 for $ 1,800,000.The cases of Semiradsky and Lempitskaya are somewhat similar: he is known primarily as a Russian artist, and this is how he is represented at auctions (Genrikh Ippolitovich Semiradsky). The artist was born in eastern Ukraine near Kharkov in a very patriotic Polish family. Educated in St. Petersburg, but spent most of his life in his beloved Rome. In addition to “Dance”, four more paintings by Semiradsky were sold for more than $ 1,000,000, in particular, “Shipwrecked” (1878) (see the Polish list below) and “Woman or Vase” (1887).
- Roman Opalka, “1-∞ part-4875812-4894230”. Sold at Christie’s auction in London on October 14, 2010 for $ 1,078,412. Opalka, often called the “artist of infinity”, became famous thanks to the project of his whole life: on black canvases, the artist painted tiny white numbers, starting the number line from 0 and intending to write all existing natural numbers. Over time, Opalka changed the color of the canvas to gray, and the numbers on it became barely distinguishable. Opalka worked on the project from 1965 until his death in 2011.
- Peter Uklansky (Uklyansky) “The Nazis” (1998). Sold at the Phillips de Pury auction in London on October 14, 2006 for $ 929,700. Uklanski is one of the most famous and most provocative Polish contemporary artists. “Nazis” is a huge photo collage created from photographs of world cinema stars who played the role of the Nazis. The exhibition in the Warsaw gallery “Zachęta” in 2000 ended in scandal when the Polish actor Daniel Olbrychsky came to the gallery with a saber and chopped down several works in protest against the artist’s use of his photograph. The “Nazis” remain the most expensive work of Polish art created by a living artist.
- Alina Shaposhnikov “Lampe Bouche” (c. 1969). Sold at the Pierre Berge & Associes auction in Brussels on December 4, 2011 for $ 643,152. Alina Shaposhnikov (1926-1973), after many years of undeserved oblivion, was in the center of attention of the art world thanks to the Sculpture Undone series of exhibitions, which ended in MOMA in 2012.
- Wilhelm Sasnal, “Smoking Girls” (2001). Sold at the Phillips de Pury auction in London on June 29, 2008 for $ 457,676. A series of three portraits of smoking women, the most famous of which is a portrait of the wife of the artist Anka. The series was sold in London in 2008. A year earlier, Sasnal’s other Aircraft (1999) was sold for $ 396,000.
- Magdalena Abakanovich “The Crowd” (1986-87). Sold May 11, 2006 at Sotheby’s in New York for $ 380,000. For several decades, Abakanovich has been known as the most recognized Polish artist in the world. Many art lovers will instantly recognize its anthropomorphic figures made of painted sisal fiber and called “Abakans” by the artist’s name. Nevertheless, even the most expensive Polish works of art sold at foreign auctions hopelessly lag behind the most expensive painting on the world art market (as of February 2020) – “Savior of the World” by Leonardo da Vinci: in November 2017, the painting was sold for $ 450 300,000.