With a striking command of scale and a dramatic play of contrasts, Robert Longo's visually compelling works navigate the crossroads of politics, culture, and personal identity. If you’re looking for Robert Longo original prints and editions for sale or would like to sell, request a complimentary valuation and browse our network’s most in-demand works.

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Born in Brooklyn in 1953, Robert Longo's journey into art began with an intense interest in sculpture and drawing. His education at Buffalo State College introduced him to a thriving arts scene, including the now-infamous Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, which he co-founded.

Longo's meteoric rise to prominence in the 1980s was marked by his iconic Men In The Cities series: life-sized charcoal and graphite hyperrealistic drawings of sharply-dressed men and women, contorted in dramatic poses. These pieces not only captured the zeitgeist of the era but also established his style, a blend of cinematic imagery and meticulous attention to detail.

Throughout his career, Longo has been a dedicated observer, using his art to examine the changing socio-political landscape. His works take a closer look at societal structures, exploring authority, power dynamics, and the human experience. The decision to create many of his pieces on a grand scale, emphasised by his choice of a monochromatic palette, is a testament to his intent to fully engage the viewer. These choices ensure the audience doesn't merely observe his art but feels its impact, prompting reflection and conversation.

Branching into film, Longo's direction of Johnny Mnemonic showcases his diverse approach to storytelling. This transition underscores his unwavering commitment to conveying meaningful narratives, regardless of the medium.

Longo's skill isn't limited to solo projects. He flourishes in collaborative settings, evident from his participation in group exhibitions and projects with fellow artists and musicians. Working with the iconic band R.E.M., for example, is more than just a blend of art and music; it highlights Longo's ability to cross traditional artistic boundaries, seamlessly integrating into various cultural forms.

Untitled (Leo) by Robert Longo - Christie's

Image © Christie's / Untitled (Leo) © Robert Longo 2013

1. £1.0M for Robert Longo's Untitled (Leo)

In the early 2000s, Longo explored natural elements and majestic creatures through large-scale artworks, including icebergs, trees, mushroom clouds, waves, sharks, jellyfish, tigers, and eagles. He obtained image rights for appropriation, transforming contemporary events and media into meticulous charcoal drawings. Longo's technique, characterised by photo-realistic precision and chiaroscuro effects, pays homage to classical masters while addressing modern visual culture. His artwork Untitled (Leo) (2013) specifically created for the 11th Hour Auction at Christie's with celebrity and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio, exceeded £1 million with fees, setting establishing a record for Longo's auction sales, and reflecting his ongoing commitment to environmental themes.

Final life II by Robert Longo - Sotheby's

Image © Sotheby's / Final Life II © Robert Longo 1982-1984

2. £520,847 for Robert Longo's Final Life II

In the late 1970s, Douglas Crimp, an American curator, prominently featured Longo's artwork in the influential 'Pictures' exhibition at Artists Space, New York. This pivotal show introduced The Pictures Generation, emphasising image-making and media over Minimalist and Conceptualist art. Longo's participation marked the beginning of his artistic recognition, further solidified by his acclaimed Men in Cities series. The triptychs within this series include a central red sculptural relief depicting various perspectives of New York City skyscrapers, symbolising the era's Wall Street Boom. This particular artwork, displayed at Documenta 7 in 1982 and at the in-vogue Artists Space during the 1980s, fetched £520,847 (with fees) at Sotheby's in November 2015, highlighting its cultural and artistic importance.

Sans titre (Crown of Thorns) by Robert Longo - Christie's

Image © Christie's / Sans titre (Crown of Thorns) © Robert Longo 2012

3. £ 482,464 for Robert Longo's Sans titre (Crown of Thorns)

Inspired by photographs of Pipeline in Oahu, Hawaii, Longo's wave drawings are among his most popular and sought-after works, part of his renowned Monsters series. Longo's ongoing fascination with archeological sites and the raw power of nature imbues these hyperrealistic artworks with profound aesthetic and thematic depth. Known for their commanding presence and meticulous detail, these pieces consistently attract significant attention in the art market. In October 2023, Sans Titre (Crown of Thorns) (2012) underscored Longo's global appeal, achieving approximately £482,464 (with fees) at Christie's Paris, firmly establishing itself among his top-selling works.

Men In the Cities: Final Life by Robert Longo - Sotheby's

Image © Sotheby's / Men In the Cities: Final Life © Robert Longo 1981