Joe Syer, Head of Urban & Contemporary Art
Interested in buying or selling
Since their dramatic rise to fame in the early 2010s, the enigmatic Connor Brothers have been lauded in the art world and market. Since the duo revealed their true identities as Mike Snelle and James Golding, their work has only continued to rise in value, selling for tens of thousands at auction every year.
Here, we look to The Connor Brothers' most expensive works sold at auctions around the world to date:
Old Behaviour, one of The Connor Brothers' most recently executed works, was sold earlier this year and became the duo's record sale. Despite a rather feeble top-end estimate of £8,000, the work achieved a mighty £47,880 when it was flogged at Phillips' 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale. The expressive painting is quite the departure from The Connor Brothers' pulp-fiction inspired oeuvre, and a prime example of the renewed style they developed during national lockdowns.
Loaded with banter and blasphemy, The Bestest And Most Expensivist Painting In The History Of Art is - ironically - The Connor Brothers' second most expensive work. The oil painting far exceeded its top-end estimate of £15,000, fetching £44,100 when it was sold at Sotheby's Contemporary Art Online auction in May 2021.
The work is a wry reimagining of the most expensive painting ever sold, Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi, which achieved a groundbreaking $450.3 million at Christie's New York in 2017. In their facetious appropriation of this original, The Connor Brothers depicted da Vinci's Christ smoking a cigarette and clutching an ash tray. The work is a tongue-in-cheek critique of the art market, albeit a rather ironic one seeing as this work is one of the duo's top sellers.
When The Truth Is Like Poetry/Study For The Truth Is Like Poetry appeared at a Phillips auction on 15 December 2020, it was expected to achieve a low-end estimate of £18,000. When the hammer hit however, the work doubled this estimate and was flogged for £40,320. The punchy work is typical of The Connor Brothers' pulp-fiction inspired style, fused with their tongue-in-cheek approach to typography.
One of The Connor Brothers' most sultry pin-ups, I Can Resist Everything Except Temptation exceeded estimates when it was sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong on 7 October 2019. The rouge painting, loaded with sex appeal, achieved a record price of HKD 350,000 (£36,266) and grew the duo's popularity in China.
Sold At Phillips' 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Maybe It's Not About A Happy Ending exceeded its top-end estimate by £10,000. Sold on 4 October 2018, the work fetched an impressive £30,000, and is testament to The Connor Brothers' growing success after revealing their true identities. The macabre work takes a wiped out clown as its subject, drawing the viewer in like a seedy pulp-fiction book cover.
Every Saint Has A Past And Every Sinner A Future is testament to the strong position of The Connor Brothers' on the prints and multiples market. Though the print was only estimated to achieve £500-700, it fetched a staggering £25,062 when sold at Bonhams' Prints and Multiples auction on 19 Septemper 2019.
Not dissimilar from their most expensive work (Old Behaviour), Next Big Thing pictures a fluidly executed dinosaur set against a vibrant background. The striking painting was sold recently at Phillips on 13 October 2022, and almost tripled its top-end estimate of £8,000, reaching £23,940.
Sold at Bonhams on 29 April 2020, this sale formed part of the action house's BLUE Auction in aid of NHS charities. The giclée print fetched £18,000, which was used to fund NHS charities working during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The work was donated by The Connor Brothers, who attached the statement: "We are grateful to Bonhams for giving us the opportunity to support the extraordinary dedication, tirelessness and bravery of our NHS staff and volunteers in the face of the near unimaginable challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We owe them a collective debt that we will never fully be able to repay. Our deepest thanks to each and every one of you."
Snelle and Golding have struggled with addiction and mental health issues, and use their art to raise awareness and funds for charity helping suffering individuals. On 19 September 2019, Normal Is The Cruelest Of All Insults almost tripled its top-end estimate of £700. The giclée print was produced exclusively for CALM, Campaign Against Living Miserably, and flogged for £20,062
The Art World is another recent painting produced by The Connor Brothers, which reveals the development of their style in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. At the centre of an expressively-executed background is the violent scene of a car crash, above which are the words from which the work takes its title. The work is yet another tongue-in-cheek critique of the art world by The Connor Brothers, though a slightly ironic one as it sold for £18,900 at Sotheby's earlier this year.