Tom Wesselmann, a notable artist associated with the Pop Art Movement of the 1960s, achieved artistic prominence through his influential Great American Nude series in 1961. Evolving his practice from this initial stage, Wesselmann began incorporating vibrant colours to depict abstracted figural forms of female nudes. These works continue to attract buyers and contribute to his overall market success, firmly establishing him within the esteemed group of sought-after Pop Artists.
Download our complete The American Pop Prints Report, which explores the prints and multiples performance of various artists over the past five years leading up to the May Marquee sales of 2023 Quarter 2.
Our value index blends public auction data and private sales data from our collectors network. Our market value index uses artwork & artist data and a Repeat-Sales Regression (RSR) approach. Using the sale price of individual prints to estimate the fluctuations in the value of an average representative print over a unique period of time.
Our algorithm tracks over 48,500 auction histories & our own private sales data across 3,500 artworks spanning 30 years, including signed, unsigned, APs, PPs, TPs and sets of prints & editions.
We use several metrics when comparing artists:
Examining the five-year period, Wesselmann’s print market performance from 2017 to 2021 reveals consistent and healthy results, with total sales turnover and transaction volume nearly matching in alternating years, resulting in minimal yearly ASP changes. However, in 2022, Wesselmann’s market experienced a notable decline of -39% in sales turnover compared to the previous year. This can be attributed, in part, to the lowest transaction volume observed in the past five-year period.
Despite this dip, it is important to note that Wesselmann’s market is far from stagnant. As of the current quarter in 2023, the total print sales turnover stands at 196,000+ (£GBP), representing only a -34% difference from the previous year’s total output. Notably, this level of turnover has driven the ASP of Wesselmann prints to 19,000+ (£GBP), marking the highest ASP observed in the past five-year period. As more works enter the market by volume, the ASP will expectedly stabilise.
Wesselmann’s average selling price CAGR reveals a slight negative trend of -1.64%. While this figure suggests a cautious market environment, it also presents an opportune time to hold onto Wesselmann prints, as the aforementioned positive indicators hint at a corrective trend in his market performance. With an anticipated increase in the availability of his works in 2023, collectors and investors can potentially look forward to a revitalised market for Wesselmann artworks.
MyArtBroker's The American Pop Prints Report presents Wesselmann's top ten-selling prints, where his nude prints notably reign supreme. Topping the esteemed list is the alluring piece Bedroom Collage (1975), which achieved an impressive sale of £33,841 in 2017. The success of this print comes as no surprise, as it exemplifies Wesselmann's mature artistic period, characterised by abstracted collage compositions that capture the essence of the female form through focused, cropped body parts.
Gagosian in Beverly Hills recently hosted the exhibition ”Tom Wesselmann: Intimate Spaces,’’ running until 16 June 2023, which showcases celebrated Wesselmann artworks depicting abstracted female forms and includes his iconic smoker canvases. In the late 1960s, Wesselmann embarked on his Mouth and Smoker works, expanding on his previously seductive and celebrated style. The artist was captivated by the sinuous swirls of smoke enveloping and intertwining with lips. These extraordinary pieces, renowned for their intricate details, demonstrate Wesselmann's ability to create both controversial and utterly captivating compositions.
Furthermore, the 2023 auction sales have seen remarkable success for Wesselmann's flower works. The impressive Delphineaum and Daisies (1989) is particularly noteworthy, which greatly exceeded its estimated value in the Phillips April sale. It appears that the attention garnered by Wesselmann's fellow American Pop cohorts is also positively influencing his market.
Throughout his career, Wesselmann consistently demonstrated ambitious experimentation, using his artworks to evoke a myriad of cultural references that resonate with an era steeped in Hollywood glamour, burgeoning advertisements, and consumerism. As always, we eagerly anticipate observing the trajectory of Wesselmann's market, keeping a close eye on the remainder of 2023.