Terry Frost Value: Top Prices Paid at Auction

A colourful triptych artwork. The two outer pieces are composed of repeated vertical lines stacked in five rows, accompanied by colourful semicircles on each side. In the middle canvas, semicircles frame both edges, while various letters spelling out the word "black" are repeated throughout the centre.Image © Sotheby's / Sonnet To Black © Terry Frost 1994
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Terry Frost, British abstract painter, defied challenging beginnings to attain remarkable success in the art world. His market peaked in 2007, solidifying his pivotal role in shaping and defining British abstraction. Frost's artistic journey is characterised by distinct periods in which he explores abstract approaches to capturing the essence of English landscapes, from Cornwall to Yorkshire and within these periods, we witness heightened competition and notable pricing.

London remains a prominent hub for Frost's market, where his most prized works have achieved figures in the upper hundreds of thousands. While his prestigious paintings remain relatively scarce, Frost's diverse body of work includes prints and multiples that regularly appear in the secondary market. Encouragingly, from 2018 to 2020, his overall market performance has shown a slight upward trend.

£313,250 for Red, black and white, leeds

(£ 313,250)

An abstract painting consisting of vertical lines in red, white, and black. The composition is divided by three horizontal sections. The top section features white with thin black lines resembling teeth, while the bottom section is a mix of abstracted vertical and horizontal lines in shades of grey, orange, and red.Image © Sotheby's / Red, black and white, leeds © Terry Frost 1995

Red, Black, and White, Leeds (1955) marks a pivotal phase in Terry Frost's artistic journey, conceived during his time as an educator at Leeds University until 1957. This artwork serves as a visual interpretation of the Yorkshire landscape. During this period, Frost relied on vertical elements to convey the vastness of the landscape. The deliberate choice of a monochromatic palette, punctuated by vibrant red and orange tones, enhances the sense of geometric abstraction, aligning with Frost's later mature artistic style. This seamless fusion of form and colour generates a dynamic and multi-dimensional experience, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the captivating world crafted by the artist.

The groundbreaking sale of this artwork, achieving a price of £313,250 (fees included) at Sotheby's in November 2011, solidifies its position as the most expensive work ever sold by Terry Frost.

£250,000 for Red, Black and White


An abstract painting with horizontal lines of varying thickness spanning the entire composition. Interrupting the lines are abstract geometric shapes positioned in the center of the canvas and near the bottom edge.Image © Sotheby's / Red, Black and White © Terry Frost 1957

Red, Black and White (1957)serves as a product of international influences from Terry Frost's encounters with American painter, Sam Francis and French painter, Pierre Soulages. Drawing inspiration from these encounters, Frost combines elements from their respective styles to create a work of distinct character.

Soulages' influence is evident in the bold presence of thick black brushstrokes, which adds depth, texture and emotional intensity to the. Frost's engagement with Francis is reflected in the meticulously executed dripping techniques observed in the vertical elements of the artwork. These techniques not only add dynamic movement to the piece but also evoke a sense of fluidity and spontaneity.

Despite its smaller size, Red, Black and White captivates viewers with its skilful arrangement of vertical forms extending from the outermost edges. Through this deliberate composition, Frost succeeds in capturing a panoramic vista framed by the underlying structure of the landscape. It is within this abstracted framework that Frost's brilliance shines as he harmoniously merges diverse perceptions of the surroundings into a cohesive visual narrative.

In 2018, this artwork achieved substantial recognition at Sotheby's in June 2019, fetching an impressive £250,000 (fees included).

£239,400 for Red, Black, and White


 An abstract painting with thin vertical lines starting from the left edge of the canvas. Black, red, and blue filled-in spaces create accentuated areas that extend towards the centre of the canvas. The remaining L-shaped section of the canvas features washed white paint and various horizontal lines.Image © Sotheby's / Red, Black, and White © Terry Frost 1958

Terry Frost's Red, Black, and White (1958) stands out as the third highest-selling piece in his portfolio, showcasing the enduring allure of this series and its robust market demand. This artwork realised £239,400 (fees included) at Sotheby's London in June 2021, highlighting its market prominence. The painting retains Frost's signature monochromatic style, enriched by vibrant red and blue accents, creating a captivating abstract composition. Frost's skilful use of thick white crosshatching and vertical strands lends the artwork a remarkable three-dimensional quality, breathing life into its visual elements.

£216,500 for Red, Black and White, Winter


An abstract canvas with slender vertical black lines in the centre, intersected by an abstract pentagonal structure.Image © Sotheby's / Red, Black and White, Winter © Terry Frost 1956

In Red, Black and White, Winter (1956), Terry Frost maintains his trademark color palette, but subtly introduces a hint of an alternate hue, a departure from his usual style. Inspired by the Yorkshire landscape, this deviation is thought to echo nature's varied tones. Intriguingly, a recurring pentagonal motif emerges across multiple paintings in this series, indicating Frost's deliberate artistic choice. It is suggested that Frost's transformative encounter with sunlight and its reflected colors influenced his creative decisions. This artwork achieved a price of £216,500 (fees included) at Sotheby's in December 2007.

£204,000 for Red, Black, and White


 An abstracted canvas featuring vertical lines in repeating shades of beige, red, black, and white. The centre of the canvas is intersected by a geometric zigzag pattern in various colours.Image © Sotheby's / Red, Black and White © Terry Frost 1955-1956

Another piece from Terry Frost's Red, Black, and White series, known for its abstract colour scheme and vertical divisions, Red, Black, and White (1955-1956), was sold at Sotheby's in July 2007 for £204,000 (fees included), highlighting the enduring allure of these works.

£200,000 for Red and Black


An abstracted canvas divided into uneven quarter sections, each further interrupted by various squares emanating from the center. The canvas showcases hues of red, beige, black, and grey.Image © Christie's / Red and Black © Terry Frost 1953

Created in the early 1950s, Red and Black (1953) features a classic abstract style with a central block-based design. Unlike Terry Frost's later works focused on three-dimensional exploration, this piece integrates the central structure with a crescent curve near the upper edge. The artwork fetched £200,000 (fees included) at Christie's in January 2020, indicating its enduring value.

£194,500 for Coastal Figure, St Ives


 A sizeable rectangular abstracted canvas composed of a cool palette featuring shades of blue, green, black, and white. The artwork consists of geometric shapes filled with patterned vertical and horizontal lines, with circles placed at the centre.Image © Sotheby's / Coastal Figure, St Ives © Terry Frost 1952-1953

Coastal Figure, St Ives (1952-1953) captures the fusion of Cornish coastal hues and Terry Frost's evolving abstract style from his University of Leeds period. Acting as a preliminary study, it showcases Frost's shift toward large-scale compositions, marking a significant change in his artistry. Sold for £194,500 (fees included) at Sotheby's in December 2013, the artwork remains unseen in the secondary market since.

£ 173,000 for Sonnet To Black


A colourful triptych artwork. The two outer pieces are composed of repeated vertical lines stacked in five rows, accompanied by colourful semicircles on each side. In the middle canvas, semicircles frame both edges, while various letters spelling out the word "black" are repeated throughout the centre.Image © Sotheby's / Sonnet To Black © Terry Frost 1994

In this triptych, Terry Frost explores unconventional colours, blending reds, yellows, and blues to create a unique black shade. Inspired by the poem “Another Sonnet To Black Itself’’ by Edward, Lord Herbert of Cherbury, lines from the poem adorn the central canvas, emphasising Frost's fascination with the colour. The artwork, titled Sonnet To Black (1994), fetched £173,000 (fees included) at Sotheby’s in March 2015.

£159,200 for Yellow And Black Movement


 A light yellow canvas embellished with slender black lines, creating overlapping geometric shapes adorned with vertical and horizontal patterns. Each discernible shape in the composition is accompanied by a filled-in circle at its centre, showcasing intricate designs.Image © Sotheby's / Yellow And Black Movement © Terry Frost 1952

In the 1950s, Terry Frost created Yellow And Black Movement (1952), showcasing his mastery of pure colours. This vibrant artwork explores different shades of yellow by integrating black pigments. Inspired by the sun's energy, the painting exudes movement and dynamism with its curved, circular form and radiant rays. This piece stands among Frost's top ten highest-priced works, selling for £159,200 (fees included) at Sotheby's in December 2006.

£153,600 for Moon Quay


A tall rectangular canvas exhibiting a pastel palette of delicate shades of green and blue, complemented by subtle touches of grey, and accentuated by vibrant pops of black, pink, and yellow. The composition predominantly consists of squares, with a few incorporating central circles.Image © Christie's / Moon Quay © Terry Frost 1950

Moon Quay (1950) captures the lively ambiance of St Ives' harbour through abstract representation. Terry Frost skilfully blends geometric elements and colour harmonies, crafting a visually captivating composition without relying on literal depictions. Instead of traditional imagery, Frost employs shapes like circles, semi-circles, and rectangles to evoke the essence of docks, waves, and boats along the coastline.

This artwork fetched an impressive price of £153,600 (fees included) at Christie's in November 2006.

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