Grayson Perry Value: Top Prices Paid at Auction

Hold Your Beliefs Lightly Embroidery by Grayson PerryHold your Beliefs Lightly Embroidery © Grayson Perry 2011
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Grayson Perry, internationally recognised as an artist, ceramicist, curator, and beloved national figure, is celebrated for his innovative and politically charged artworks, which frequently showcase a distinctive eccentric playfulness.

Perry's art has been featured in public auctions 1,019 times, predominantly within the Objects category. Holding the 730th position in the global top 5000 rankings of best-selling artists at auction for the year 2023, Perry's works are primarily sold within the United Kingdom.

By taking a look at Perry’s 10 highest auction prices to date, the artist’s dynamic and enduring significance in the art world can be understood.

£632,750 for I Want To Be An Artist (1996)

Yellow vase by Grayson Perry, depicting Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat and portrait photo transfers.Image © Christie's / I Want To Be An Artist © Grayson Perry 1996

Establishing his significance in the contemporary art world, Perry’s ceramic vase I Want Be An Artist, sold for £632,750 at Christie's London in October 2017, securing its position as his most expensive artwork.

I Want To Be An Artist, made i 1996, stands as a vibrant and deeply personal piece within Grayson Perry's collection of ceramic vases, paying tribute to Perry's revered American artists, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, who are depicted on the vase's opposing sides. Through a visual homage, Perry skillfully weaves in miniature symbols reflective of each artist's work. Warhol's screenprinting legacy is referenced through embedded photographic portraits in his depicted chest. By contrast, a gilded skeleton beside Basquiat hints at his early demise at 27, enriching the vase's poignant narrative. By aligning this contemporary piece with the tradition of ancient vases, which often bore images of deities, Perry elevates I Want To Be An Artist to a modern-day relic, a tribute to two iconic figures of the twentieth century's art scene.

£443,250 for The Guardians (1998)

Pair of gold vases by Grayson Perry, with one depicting his mother and the other depicting his step-father. Image © Christie's / The Guardians © Grayson Perry 1998

​​Perry's The Guardians (1998) stands as one of his most intimate and autobiographical works, comprising a pair of ornate vases that hold great personal significance. The pair of vases sold for £443,250 at Christie's London in October 2019.

These vases feature representations of Perry's mother and step-father, individuals with whom he had complex relationships. Despite their references to classical chinoiserie and Christian iconography, particularly through the use of gold, these vases essentially serve as self-portraits, offering glimpses into the artist's life.

£226,800 for Expulsion from Number 8 Eden Close (from The Vanity of Small Differences) (2012)

Tapestry by Grayson Perry, depicting a couple departing from an outdoor driveway into a dinner party.Image © Christie's / Expulsion from Number 8 Eden Close (from The Vanity of Small Differences) © Grayson Perry 2012

Perry's artwork Expulsion from Number 8 Eden Close (from The Vanity of Small Differences) (2012) made its auction debut at Christie's in June 2023. This vibrant tapestry portrays two central figures, reminiscent of Adam and Eve departing from Eden, transitioning from an outdoor nighttime scene into an interior space resembling a dinner party. Figures with sinister facial expressions feature in both settings, leaving it ambiguous which scene represents the divine realm.

The piece garnered significant popularity, selling for £226,800, surpassing its modest £120,000 high estimate and securing its position among Perry's top-selling works.

£224,750 for Barbaric Splendour (2003)

Ceramic vase made by Grayson Perry, depicting a young rendering of himself standing in a working class town. Image © Christie's / Barbaric Splendour © Grayson Perry 2003

Created in 2003, Barbaric Splendour featured prominently in Perry's Turner Prize-winning exhibition, marking him as the inaugural ceramic artist to claim the accolade. This piece stands as a poignant utilisation of ceramics to delve into societal critique. Perry revisits Greek and folk art inspirations, transforming traditional vase forms into complex canvases that blend personal history, societal observations, and commentary on contemporary political climates with his distinctive, acerbic wit. Barbaric Splendour juxtaposes the reality of a northern working-class town, complete with dense housing and the aftermath of rain, against fantastical advertisements for unattainable luxuries. The artwork gained prominence since its exhibition, fetching £224,750 at Christie's London in March 2018.

£200,000 for Saint Claire 37 Wanks Across Northern Spain (2003)

Glazed urn by Grayson Perry, depicting a provocative image of the artist's alter-ego, Claire on a gold background.Image © Christie's / Saint Claire 37 Wanks Across Northern Spain © Grayson Perry 2003

Created in 2003, Barbaric Splendour featured prominently in Perry's Turner Prize-winning exhibition, marking him as the inaugural ceramic artist to claim the accolade. This piece stands as a poignant utilisation of ceramics to delve into societal critique. Perry revisits Greek and folk art inspirations, transforming traditional vase forms into complex canvases that blend personal history, societal observations, and commentary on contemporary political climates with his distinctive, acerbic wit. Barbaric Splendour juxtaposes the reality of a northern working-class town, complete with dense housing and the aftermath of rain, against fantastical advertisements for unattainable luxuries. The artwork gained prominence since its exhibition, fetching £224,750 at Christie's London in March 2018.

£187,500 for Emotional Landscape (1999)

Ceramic vase by Grayson Perry, depicting tents pitched in in a protest area in front of a forest. There is a colourful union jack flag and a sign which reads 'no more art'.Image © Christie's / Emotional Landscape © Grayson Perry 1999

Sold for £187,500 at Christie's London in February 2020, Emotional Landscape (1999) made its debut in 2002 at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Perry created this piece as a form of protest against the construction of the M11 Link-Road, an issue that directly affected him as his studio was located in Leytonstone. Notably, this work's depiction of the 'No More Art’ placard foreshadows the actual sign held by Perry's alter-ego, Claire, outside Tate Britain a year later. Once again, the artwork highlights the tension between the vase's decorative function and the overt social criticism embedded in its subject matter. While the vase serves a utilitarian purpose, Perry prioritises its role as a medium for social commentary and protest, diverging from traditional ceramic associations.

£176,400 for The Adoration of the Cage Fighters (from The Vanity of Small Differences) (2012)

A detailed, colorful tapestry by Grayson Perry, depicting a vibrant domestic scene with characters engaged in various activities, including two muscular men in athletic wear. The artwork is set against a backdrop that combines household objects with traditional tapestry motifs.Image © Christie's / The Adoration of the Cage Fighters (from The Vanity of Small Differences) © Grayson Perry 2012

In October 2022, Perry's The Adoration of the Cage Fighters (2012) sold for an impressive £176,400 (including fees) at Christie’s London. The tapestry marks the beginning of his ambitious series, The Vanity of Small Differences, which offers a contemporary examination of social mobility in Britain, echoing William Hogarth's satirical The Rake’s Progress.

Unlike Hogarth's tale of decline, Perry charts the rise of 'Tim Rakewell' from humble beginnings to wealth, with inspiration from real-life discussions on taste and class from his 2012 documentary. Perry plays with Freud's idea of 'the narcissism of small differences' to explore the irony that despite our efforts to differentiate ourselves, we share profound similarities with those closest to us. The Adoration of the Cage Fighters serves as a poignant reflection on Perry's own rise from working-class origins, reminding us of life's inevitable equalisers, culminating in the tragic demise of Tim Rakewell in the final piece of the series.

£175,000 for Oiks, Tarts, Weirdoes And Contemporary Art (1996)

A detailed ceramic vase by Grayson Perry adorned with a rich array of characters (including Lucian Freud), text, and patterns, displaying Perry's distinctive use of traditional pottery to convey contemporary social commentary.Image © Sotheby's / Oiks, Tarts, Weirdoes and Contemporary Art © Grayson Perry 1996

A prime illustration of Perry's talent in blending clever, thought-provoking commentary with the domestic and decorative aspects of pottery, Oiks, Tarts, Weirdoes and Contemporary Art (1996) achieved a £175,000 at Sotheby's London in March 2018. Formerly part of the Saatchi Collection and the Lawrence Delaye gallery, this vase portrays a range of figures ostensibly representing diverse social backgrounds. Similar to Perry's vase I Want to be An Artist from the same year, the central focus is a prominent portrait of artist Lucian Freud. The title hints at a multitude of faces alongside Freud, reflecting the various sources that influence Perry's own artistic inspiration.

£175,000 for Golden Ghosts (2000)

Golden Ghosts by Grayson PerryImage © Christie's / Golden Ghosts © Grayson Perry 2000

Featured in Perry's Turner Prize Exhibition of 2003, Golden Ghosts (2000) is a haunting and delicate creation with autobiographical elements, including the image of Claire, alongside depictions of children from a bygone era. The vase draws inspiration from Greek and folk artistic traditions and aligns with Perry's belief that vases possess humility, as they convey messages subtly rather than loudly. Perry's use of elegant line work and mark making reflects this notion. This artwork was sold at Christie's London in October 2018, achieving £175,000 including fees.

£163,800 for Balloon (2004)

Balloon by Grayson PerryImage © Christie's / Balloon © Grayson Perry 2004

Crafted in 2004, a year following his Turner Prize accolade, Grayson Perry's Balloon stands as a prime illustration of his renowned pottery series. This piece boldly critiques the London art scene, playfully equating galleries with places of worship, museums with grand cathedrals, artists with saints, and the collectors and gallery owners with religious figures. Perry's incisive humour and acute self-awareness shine through in Balloon, highlighting his prowess as a potter while he innovatively explores traditional pottery techniques, including embossing, photographic transfers, and reliefs.

While maintaining a conventional pot shape, Balloon transcends typical pottery aesthetics and functions, serving instead as a sharp commentary on the art world's internal dynamics. Balloon was auctioned at Christie's London in July 2022, fetching £163,800, double its lower estimate.

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