Late last month, New York artist Anna Weyant’s “Falling Woman” was sold at a Sotheby’s auction for $ 1.6 million, well beyond its estimated price. The sale came just days after Weyant’s 2020 painting “Summertime” fetched $ 1.5 million from Christie’s and Phillips auctioned off his “Buffet II” for $ 730,000.
Weyant is only 27 years old, the youngest artist to be represented by the prestigious Gagosian art empire, showcasing some of the most influential artists of the 20th and 21st centuries in 16 commercial galleries around the world. The huge sums raised by her works have made her one of the most sought-after young artists on the international circuit.
Meteoric rise to stardom
A year after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Rhode Island School of Design in 2017, Weyant moved to New York and began assisting artist Cynthia Talmadge, who promoted her work on her Instagram account. She also introduced Weyant to art dealer and curator Ellie Rines, owner of the ’56 Henry ‘New York gallery. It was Rines who helped Weyant make her initial sales.
In 2019, Weyant’s paintings and drawings would be sold at the Hamptons Upstairs Art Fair for $ 450 a piece. The same year, she held her first solo show at Rines’ gallery, entitled “Welcome to the Dollhouse”, which made direct reference to Todd Solondz’s 1995 film of the same name. A note on the exhibition said Weyant’s works revolved “around the issues of youth and adolescence – with the evil reality of growing up.”
The show was sold out. In 2020, Weyant’s work appeared on the cover of “New American Painters”, which was judged by critic Jerry Saltz. In 2021, Weyant was represented by the Blum & Poe gallery in Los Angeles and her works are said to have sold for nearly $ 50,000 each.
Around this time, she was noticed by 77-year-old Larry Gagosian, founder of the billion-dollar art empire. This fall, she is planning an exhibition with the Gagosian, New York. Weyant is also dating Larry Gagosian.
In June 2021, in its Phillips auction debut, Weyant’s untitled long-legged design fetched $ 27,720, nearly four times its estimated price.
Formative years as an artist
In an interview with the art market website Artnet, Weyant, born in Calgary, Canada, in 1995, described her childhood as “idyllic in many ways”, but with limited exposure to art. After graduating from college, she spent the summer as an event planner for Lincoln Center in New York City.
Subsequently, she attended a six-month painting class at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou where, influenced by the city’s sepia tones, she began to use a more muted palette.
In her other interviews she mentioned various influences, including seventeenth-century Dutch masters Frans Hals and Judith Leyster, and contemporary American artists Ellen Berkenblit and Jennifer Packer.
Weyant’s dominant work
In her short and dramatic career so far, Weyant has become most famous for depictions of still lifes, women and baby-faced protagonists as they go through a whirlwind of emotions from heartbreak to pilates, introspection, dealing with horrors and just being well.
The 2020 oil “Falling Woman” shows a woman upside down with her breasts partially exposed; in the “Loose Screw” oil, a woman is laughing in a bar, looking a bit lonely.
Often realistic representations are dominated by a muted color palette of black, gray and brown. Explaining his working process in a 2021 interview with ‘Art & Object’ magazine, Weyant said: “I start by making a series of sketches and building a basic set or maquette. I usually use a model and / or a mannequin. Photography can also be an excellent tool ”.
A note on Gagosian’s website says: “Weyant’s finely rendered paintings depict figures involved in tragicomic narratives and still life compositions in which everyday objects take on an eerie and portentous air.”