Robert Longo Value: Top Prices Paid At Auction

Untitled V by Robert Longo - MyArtBroker Untitled V © Robert Longo 1990
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Robert Longo

Robert Longo

31 works

Robert Longo achieved the majority of his record-breaking sales in the 2000s, underscoring his enduring influence on the contemporary art scene. Beyond his artistic prowess, Longo was also an advocate for environmental causes, highlighting his dedication to critical socio-political issues. Originally from Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, Longo's artistic journey took him from the University of North Texas to studying art in Florence, Italy, and ultimately earning a Fine Arts degree at Buffalo State College. Throughout his career, Longo skilfully captured the raw power of colossal, atomic explosions and organic movement. His artworks continue to gain traction, with robust growth seen in both his paintings and prints market since 2020.

£1.0M for Untitled (Leo)

($1,575,000 USD)

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

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.

£520,847 for Final Life II

($790,000 USD)

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

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.

£ 482,464 for Sans titre (Crown of Thorns)

(€554,400 EUR)

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

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.

£446,789 for Men In the Cities: Final Life

($674,500 USD)

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

This triptych, titled Men In Cities (Final Life) (1981), stands as one of Longo's top-selling works, underscoring its popularity among collectors and its esteemed status in the secondary market. Featuring diverse male and female subjects in dynamic poses against the backdrop of a New York skyscraper in the central relief, this artwork achieved £446,789 at Sotheby's in March 2013. This same work returned to the market in 2024, commanding the same value at Christie's May New York sales as its initial sale.

£422,500 for Untitled (Phoenix)

Untitled (Phoenix) by Robert Longo - Christie's Image © Christie's / Untitled (Pheonix) © Robert Longo 2005

Part of Longo's esteemed Monster Series from the early 2000s, these artworks draw inspiration from surf magazine photos, driving Longo's stunning photorealistic technique, a defining feature of his portfolio. Longo reveres drawing above all, imbuing it with unparalleled technical finesse. His works exhibit such realism that they're often mistaken for photos, yet they're meticulous charcoal drawings. This realisation shifts viewers' perceptions, recognising the skill in transforming ordinary images into captivating visual wonders. Untitled (Phoenix) (2005) captures a fleeting moment–a wave about to crash, balancing elegance and strength. As a precursor to later nature-themed series, this work is one of Longo's top sellers, fetching £422,500 at Christie's in October 2013.

£420,262 for Untitled

($555,000 USD)

Untitled by Robert Longo - Sotheby's Image © Sotheby's / Untitled © Robert Longo 1982

The 1980s marked a transformative era defined by wealth and business culture, fostering a vibrant art market despite the 1987 crash. This cultural milieu profoundly influenced Longo's entire artistic vision, notably seen in his Men in Cities series. Using photography to capture fleeting moments, Longo seized upon the epoch's significance, translating it onto expansive canvases that garnered attention, particularly in New York. Alongside triptychs, Longo incorporated varying-scale vertical panels, photographing friends atop skyscrapers, evoking dramatic dodges of hurled objects. His meticulous charcoal renditions, discernible in detailed hair texture, capture Wall Street's ethos, freezing its essence into timeless, iconic images. This Untitled (1980) work achieved a notable price of £420,262 (with fees) at Sotheby's in November 2017, setting a record for a single panel in this series.

£369,000 for Untitled (Backdoor-Pipeline, Hawaii-spring ‘99)

Untitled (Backdoor-Pipeline, Hawaii-spring '99) by Robert Longo - Phillips Image © Phillips / Untitled (Backdoor-Pipeline, Hawaii-spring '99) © Robert Longo 2000

Untitled (Backdoor-Pipeline, Hawaii-spring ‘99) is an early example of Longo's pipeline series, created in 2000. These artworks showcase Longo's meticulous attention to detail, capturing the dynamic and powerful force of nature evident in each wave's crest and trough. Drawing inspiration from torn photographs in surfing magazines, these artworks subtly reference art history's notion of the sublime while also offering captivating glimpses into contemporary culture. Sold for £369,000 at Phillips in June 2018, this piece stands as one of Longo's most highly valued works, reflecting its esteemed status in the art market.

£362,500 for Untitled (Cleavage)

Untitled (Cleavage) by Robert Longo - Christie's Image © Christie's / Untitled (Cleavage) © Robert Longo 2009

Untitled (Cleavage) (2009) is part of Longo's Balcony series, which focuses on woman's cleavage. This specific artwork, subtitled Cleavage, maintains an air of mystery as the sitter's identity remains undisclosed. In Longo's characteristic style, chiaroscuro techniques create precise rendering, blurring the distinction between clothing and shadow. The deep black surrounding the figure subtly fades toward the shoulders, enhancing the obscure effect. Longo's work captures contemporary cultural nuances, resonating with themes of power and feminism. Executed in 2009, a year that coincided with a powerful wave of feminism in 2014, the piece sold for £362,500, underscoring its cultural relevance and artistic intrigue.

£ 302,400 for Untitled (Black Blood)

($466,200 USD)

Untitled (Black Blood) by Robert Longo - Christie's Image © Christie's / Untitled (Black Blood) © Robert Longo 2008

Untitled (Black Blood) (2008), part of Longo's Monster series, entered the secondary market in May 2022 from the esteemed collection of Thomas and Doris Ammann. This artwork, previously auctioned in 2014 and 2016, established a new benchmark for its value, achieving £381,024 (with fees) at Christie's. This sale underscores the enduring popularity and value appreciation of Longo's pipeline works within this series.

£288,832 for Untitled (Shark 7)

(CHF 340,000)

Untitled (Shark 7) by Robert Longo - Galerie Kornfeld Auktionen AGImage © Galerie Kornfeld Auktionen AG / Untitled (Shark 7) © Robert Longo 2008

As part of the esteemed Perfect Gods series, Longo presents a compelling collection of shark drawings that preceded his renowned Monsters series, known for its iconic wave drawings. Through this body of work, Longo reveals a profound fascination not only with the ocean but also with the natural world and its inhabitants, highlighting qualities of strength and survival. The Perfect Gods series includes several works that rank among Longo's top-performing pieces, underscoring the appeal of Longo's varied series. Untitled (Shark 7) (2008) achieved a notable price of £288,832 (with fees) at the Swiss auction house Galerie Kornfeld in September 2020.

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