Under The Hammer: Top Prices Paid For Conor Harrington At Auction

Written by - MyArtbroker
Hide And Seek by Conor Harrington Hide And Seek © Conor Harrington 2016
Celine Fraser

Celine Fraser, Acquisition Coordinator

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Irish born Conor Harrington’s artwork has been internationally lauded, and has continued to grow in popularity - particularly in the form of collectibles and prints. So, it is likely that a Conor Harrington print will only increase in value alongside the artist's fame.

Here we look at some of Conor Harrington’s most expensive artwork so far:


£77,500 for Dance With The Devil

Dance with the Devil by Conor HarringtonDance with the Devil © Conor Harrington 2013

January 2015 saw the sale of Irish artist Conor Harrington’s 2013 painting, Dance With The Devil. Put up for auction at Bonhams auction house in London, the work realised £77,500 – a record for the London-based artist, who began his career as a graffiti writer on the streets of his native Cork. Painted using a combination of oil and spray paint, the work depicts a pair of men engaged in a duel. Between the men, both actors specially hired and dressed by Harrington, the flag of the United Nations is draped over a table; to the left of the image, the carcasses of two animals make pointed reference to the visceral work of Irish-born painter, Francis Bacon.

£75,063 for L’Amour Et La Violence

L'Amour et La Violence by Conor HarringtonImage © Bonham's / L'Amour et La Violence © Conor Harrington 2013

In October 2020, L’Amour Et La Violence – a 2013 work by Irish artist Conor Harrington – realised £75,063 at Bonham's. Much like the artist’s most-expensive work to-date, the 2013 painting Dance With The Devil, L’Amour et La Violence depicts two men who are engaged in a duel. Markedly more expressive than its cousin, this painting makes use of gestural painting techniques that recall the abstract paintings of German artist, Gerhard Richter. Counting the likes of actor Jared Leto and world-famous musician Alicia Keys amongst his fans, Harrington has been active since the mid 1990s. This particularly successful auction sale, however, was one of his first ever.

£54,744 for Tardis Of Delight

(€72,480)

Tardis of Delight by Conor HarringtonImage © Artcurial / Tardis of Delignt © Conor Harrington 2012.

In February of 2015, Artcurial auction house in Paris hosted the sale of Irish artist Conor Harrington’s Tardis Of Delight. It realised €72,480 at auction, becoming the 3rd most expensive artwork by Harrington, who began his career as a humble graffiti writer on the streets of Cork.

The third painting in a series that focuses on the male figure, it comprises the expressive depiction of a man in period costume, who carries a dead bird. Recalling the abstract paintings of German painter, Gerhard Richter, it is a strikingly peaceful image when compared with other Harrington works, such as L’Amour Et La Violence.

£51,078 for Holy Smoke Quintet (Part Four)

(€59,800 )

Holy Smoke Quintet (part 4) by Conor HarringtonHoly Smoke Quintet (Part 4) © Conor Harrington 2010

Holy Smoke Quintet (Part Four) is a 2010 painting by Irish artist, Conor Harrington. In March 2021, the work sold for a strong €59,800 at Digard, Paris, exceeding the lower band of its pre-sale estimate by almost €15,000.

The painting was specially produced for the exhibition ‘Hell’s Half Acre’, curated by former Banksy agent Steve Lazarides, and held at London’s Old Vic Tunnels in 2010. It evokes a range of classical and contemporary themes, ranging from the Crusades and Dante’s Divine Comedy all the way through to the United Nations and the so-called ‘War on Terror’.

£42,335 for The Killer Inside Me

(€58,840 )

The Killer Inside Me by Conor HarringtonThe Killer Inside Me © Conor Harrington 2012

Irish artist Conor Harrington’s The Killer Inside Me is his 5th most expensive artwork. In 2015, the 2012 painting realised €58,840 at Artcurial auction house in Paris. Much like the artist’s most expensive work of all time, Dance With The Devil, the piece invokes painter Francis Bacon’s obsessions with death, and the interface between human and animal forms.

Bringing the modern and contemporary into an expressive, almost violent convergence with one another, the work marries period costume with spray paint – a nod to Harrington’s early years spent as a graffiti artist on the streets of his hometown Cork.

£34,118 for I Make Way For The Quiet Superpower

(€39,000)

I Make Way for the Quiet Superpower by Conor Harrington I Make Way for the Quiet Superpower © Conor Harrington 2015

In October 2015, this war-like painting from Irish artist Conor Harrington, entitled I Make Woy For The Quiet Superpower, realised a stunning €39,000 at Digard auction house in Paris.

Marrying the chaotic and expressive sensibilities of street art and the rigid, academic approach of traditional historical paintings, Harrington’s piece depicts the impression of a horse. Ridden into battle by a decorated soldier, the horse’s torso juts out against a series of bold, hard-edged lines, which recall national flags. It is difficult to ignore traces of the German painter Gerhard Richter’s influence on this image, which speaks to the enduring power of past history.

£27,534 for Sans Titre

(€38280)

Sans Titre by Conor HarringtonImage © Digard / Sans Titre © Conor Harrington

Sans Titre is a spray and acrylic painting on canvas made by Conor Harrington. The image portrays an anonymous man dressed in blue, while next to him a blurry and fuzzy image suggests the presence of a second person. The painting, dominated by a colour palette of blues and neutrals, went under the hammer of Digard Auction House on 1 June 2015 and realised €38280 (£27534), reaching closely the price of its high-end estimate set at €40,000.

£27,500 for The Blind Patriots No. 4

The Blind Patriots No. 4 by Conor HarringtonImage © Sotheby's / The Blind Patriots No. 4 © Conor Harrington 2018

On 20 November 2018, Conor Harrington’s The Blind Patriots No. 4 went under the hammer as part of the auction house’s Contemporary Curated sale, and fetched £27.500, more than tripling its high estimate – set at £8,000. The success of the painting, which became Harrington’s seventh-most-expensive work to be presented at auction, attests once again to the growing popular and commercial success of the street-art-meets-Renaissance Irish artist.

In this work, Harrington depicts two anonymous men, their faces intentionally blurred, intent on fighting for possession of what looks like the American flag. Unlike other examples of Harrington’s work, where a bright colour palette meets with a Baroque chiaroscuro, here the artist privileges instead a monochromatic grey palette, which makes the painting similar to a smudged image drawn from a newspaper article.

£26,744 for Dislodge the General

(€31000)

Dislodge the General by Conor HarringtonImage © Artcurial / Dislodge the General © Conor Harrington 2007

An emblematic example of a Conor Harrington artwork, Dislodge the General presents the image of an anonymous soldier, or better, a general as he holds his country’s flag. On top of and surrounding the soldier, Harrington added sprays of colour and expressive gestural brushstrokes that bear witness to his training as a street artist and disrupt the formal clarity of the image. Perhaps because of its bright visual palette, or maybe because it emblematises Harrington’s signature style, the painting achieved €31,000 (£26,744)when it went under the hammer of Artcurial on 28 June 2022, making this the ninth-most-expensive Harrington work on the market.

£22,780 for Exit Strategy

(€28710)

Exit Strategy by Conor HarringtonImage © Digard / Exit Strategy © Conor Harrington 2007

An incredible example of Conor Harrington’s early phase and street art training, Exit Strategy makes use of graffiti techniques to depict an anonymous man who is at once seen and yet defaced by paint and collages. Made in 2006, according to the artist this work represents one of his first explorations of modern masculinity, which have become a defining motif in his works.

The work was presented at Digard Auction House on 14 December 2014, and ended up selling for €28,710 (£22,780) making it the tenth-most-expensive Harrington work to be sold at auction.

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