Kehinde Wiley Value: Top Prices Paid At Auction

Charles I and Henrietta Maria by Kehinde Wiley - Sotheby's Image © Sotheby's / Charles I and Henrietta Maria © Kehinde Wiley 2006
Leah Mentzis

Leah Mentzis, Partnerships Manager[email protected]

Interested in buying or selling
Kehinde Wiley?

Browse artworks
Kehinde Wiley

Kehinde Wiley

8 works

Kehinde Wiley, celebrated for his distinctive style, has solidified his status as a leading contemporary black artist, notably recognised by former President Barack Obama for his presidential portrait. Raised in South Central Los Angeles and inspired by street mugshots, his art elevates marginalised black men, offering them representation. Initially entering the secondary market in 2005 with a painting fetching £19,279, his works now command hundreds of thousands, testament to his commitment to amplifying black voices across paintings, prints, and sculptures.

£660,400 for Christian Martyr Tarcisius

Christian Martyr Tarcisius by Kehinde Wiley - PhillipsImage © Phillips / Christian Martyr Tarcisius © Kehinde Wiley 2008

In March 2024, Christian Martyr Tarcisius (2008) made its auction debut as Wiley's largest canvas painting to date on the secondary market. Wiley's signature style, blending Western portraiture with religious themes, magnifies the presence of black individuals, monumentalising their youth and vibrancy in art history. Phillips highlights that this artwork takes inspiration from Alexandre Falguière’s 1868 sculpture Tarcisius, martyr chrétien. In Wiley's rendition, the sitter adopts a posture with clasped hands and a contemplative gaze, set against a vibrant backdrop of blue and pink florals, creating a visually dynamic three-dimensional effect.This masterpiece exemplifies Wiley's mastery, achieving an exceptional sale of £660,400 (including fees), far exceeding its £300,000 estimate and setting a new auction record, affirming the enduring demand and robust market for his work.

482,482 for The Virgin Martyr St. Cecilia

($649,200 (USD))

The Virgin Martyr St. Cecilia by Kehinde Wiley - Sotheby's Image © Sotheby's / The Virgin Martyr St. Cecilia © Kehinde Wiley

Inspired by Stefano Maderno’s portrayal of St. Cecilia’s martyrdom, Wiley reinterprets the scene with black individuals posed against intricate floral patterns. This artwork intriguingly juxtaposes historical mystery surrounding St. Cecilia with Wiley’s street-cast models, highlighting their anonymity and enigmatic presence. Despite the limited historical knowledge of St. Cecilia, her steadfast devotion and martyrdom have endured through legends. Similarly, Wiley elevates the identities of his subjects, preserving their legacies through his art. The auction of this piece achieved £482,482 (with fees) at Sotheby’s in November 2021, massively surpassing the high estimate of £111,000 and affirming Wiley’s impactful exploration of identity and representation.

£289,800 for Ferdinand-Philippe-Louis-Henri, Duc d'Orléans

Ferdinand-Philippe-Louis-Henri, Duc d'Orléans by Kehinde Wiley - Phillips Image © Phillips / Ferdinand-Philippe-Louis-Henri, Duc d'Orléans © Kehinde Wiley 2014

Wiley’s method of streetcasting involves establishing a personal bond between himself and his subjects, forged through mutual exploration of art history. Collaborating subjects, initially hesitant, engage in this joint journey through historical imagery, bridging past and present. An example is Ferdinand-Philippe-Louis-Henri, Duc d'Orléans (2014), where a contemporary figure poses akin to Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres’ original portrait of Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans. Wiley’s reinterpretation infuses the canvas with modern significance, as the subject, adorned in athletic attire, reclaims a space historically occupied by symbols of privilege. This poignant work achieved acclaim, selling for £289,800 (with fees) at Phillips London in April 2022.

£289,656 for Rumors Of war

($403,200 (USD))

Rumors of War by Kehinde Wiley - Phillips Image © Phillips / Rumors of War © Kehinde Wiley 2019

In 2016, Wiley’s encounter with Confederate monuments in Richmond, Virginia, deeply influenced him. The ongoing debate over these statues gained renewed urgency during the George Floyd protests in 2020, resonating globally in similar discussions, such as the removal of apartheid-era statues in South Africa. Wiley’s response to this charged subject was Rumors of War (2019), unveiled in Times Square and later installed at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art. This monumental sculpture, Wiley’s first in public space, extends his exploration of representation, race, and power, echoing themes seen in his equestrian portraits. Edition 3 of Rumors of War achieved £289,656 (fees included), ranking among Wiley’s top works.

£282,874 for Portrait of Mickalene Thomas, the Coyote

($378,000 (USD))

Portrait of Mickalene Thomas, the Coyote by Kehinde Wiley - Phillips Image © Phillips / Portrait of Mickalene Thomas, the Coyote © Kehinde Wiley 2017

As a significant component of Wiley's Trickster exhibition at Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, in 2017, the Trickster portraits represent a departure from his earlier style. Wiley portrays his contemporaries, distinguished artists in their own right, in a mythological and ethereal manner, imbuing them with joy and intellectual depth. Among these captivating works is Portrait of Mickalene Thomas, the Coyote (2017). Thomas, celebrated for her diverse portraits that often incorporate rhinestones, is renowned for her powerful portrayals of African women, exploring themes of beauty, sexuality, and feminism. In Wiley's depiction, Thomas embodies the coyote, evoking cunning and intellect, enriching her portrayal with layers of mystery. This artwork achieved significant acclaim, fetching £282,874 (fees included) at Phillips in December 2020.

$350,000 (USD)282,645 for Le Roi À La Chasse II

($350,000 (USD))

 Le Roi À La Chasse II by Kehinde Wiley - Sotheby's Image © Sotheby's / Le Roi À La Chasse II © Kehinde Wiley 2007

Le Roi À La Chasse II (2007) radiates splendor through its photorealistic portrayal of three young black men elegantly clad in streetwear set against a pink-tinged sky. Set in a serene field, one man holds a walking stick while another leans on a compliant brown horse, framed in ornate gold adorned with intricate foliage. Inspired by Anthony Van Dyck's Le Roi à la Chasse (Charles I at the Hunt), Wiley reinterprets this to challenge norms of representation, disrupt historical narratives, and prompt reflection on identity, power, and perception. This early masterpiece fetched £282,645 at Sotheby's in June 2020, including fees.

£251,350 for Charles I and Henrietta Maria

($352,800 (USD))

Charles I and Henrietta Maria by Kehinde Wiley - Sotheby's Image © Sotheby's / Charles I and Henrietta Maria © Kehinde Wiley 2006

Part of the Scenic series, this artwork draws inspiration from Old Masters, particularly the German Renaissance painter Hans Holbein the Younger (c. 1497-1543). Originating from a portrait of King Charles I of England and Queen Henrietta Maria, Wiley reimagines their exchange of an olive branch, altering their postures to imbue the scene with contemporary significance. King Charles I, now facing the viewer, shifts the original dynamic where he gazed at his wife. Wiley's rendition symbolically invites viewers into the narrative, fostering a collective engagement in promoting peace. Enhanced by an opulent floral backdrop reminiscent of Queen Henrietta Maria's taste, this reinterpretation resonates deeply, evident in its significant secondary market sales at Sotheby's, with the most recent realising £251,350 (fees included) in 2021, marking it among Wiley's top-selling works.

£234,175 for Akilah Walker

($277,200 (USD))

Akilah Walker by Kehinde Wiley - Sotheby's Image © Sotheby's / Akilah Walker © Kehinde Wiley 2016

Akilah Walker, a versatile artist encompassing roles as a writer, actress, and director, served as both muse and model for Wiley's striking 150-centimetre sculpture, aptly named in her honour. Created in 2016, this sculpture is part of a limited edition of 5, each featuring a distinct hairstyle inspired by African traditions, imbuing the artwork with rich cultural significance.

Featured in the Chrome Hearts exhibition at Sean Kelly Gallery in Miami's design district, this sculpture underscores the bond between Walker and Wiley. Akilah Walker fetched an impressive £234,175 (fees included) at Sotheby's in November 2022, highlighting its cultural resonance and market appeal.

£ 221,808 for Charles I

($300,000 (USD))

Charles I by Kehinde Wiley - Sotheby's Image © Sotheby's / Charles I © Kehinde Wiley 2018

In his distinctive approach to streetcasting, Wiley discovered the model depicted in the artwork above, drawn to their unique style and individuality. The subject’s backward cap, vibrant red Lacoste t-shirt with the iconic crocodile logo, and visible wrist tattoos caught Wiley’s discerning eye as markers of exceptional personal expression. Inspired by Old Master portrayals of Charles I, the model strikes a commanding pose against a backdrop of ornate blue flowers, seamlessly blending classical references with contemporary aesthetics. This artwork has been prominently featured in group exhibitions and Wiley’s inaugural solo show at the Studio Museum in Harlem, The World Stage: Africa, Lagos ~ Dakar. Celebrated for his ability to elevate street encounters to the realm of historical eminence, this piece achieved a significant sale of £221,808 (fees included).

£195,078 for Untitled (from Passing...)

($275,000 (USD))

Untitled (from Passing...) by Kehinde Wiley - Christie's Image © Christie's / Untitled (from Passing...) © Kehinde Wiley 2004

Untitled (from Passing...) (2004) by Wiley stands out within his early Passing/Posing series, portraying a streetcast model adorned in a white Browns jersey and a San Diego baseball cap against a backdrop of French Rococo foliage. Wiley's deliberate choice of all-white attire for the subject creates a striking visual contrast and highlights his fusion of hip-hop street culture with classical art references. These portraits, including Untitled (from Passing...), played a crucial role in Wiley's inaugural museum exhibition at the prestigious Brooklyn Museum in October 2008, marking a significant milestone in his burgeoning career. The artwork's sale at Christie's in May 2021 for £195,078 (fees included) underscored its enduring appeal and cultural significance.