Joe Syer, Head of Urban & Contemporary Art
Interested in buying or selling
Mr. Brainwash’s artworks regularly go under the hammer and can achieve tens of thousands at auction. One of Contemporary art’s most controversial figures, Mr. Brainwash is well known in the international art market, and so it is no surprise that his prints and originals regularly go for record prices.
Here we discuss Mr. Brainwash’s most expensive record prices at auction, from prints to paintings, sold across the world.
Charlie Chaplin Pink became the most expensive work by Mr Brainwash when it sold at Phillips in New York on 14 May 2010. Almost doubling the upper end of it’s pre-sale estimate, the painting sold for US$122,500 (£83,080) at the auction house. It is a prime example of the artist’s ‘graffiti hybrid’ style, co-opting the image of Charlie Chaplin and Madonna, juxtaposing it against a spray-painted, street-art inspired backdrop.
Famous historical figures and recognisable characters feature often in Mr. Brainwash’s graffiti collages, generally depicted in black and white stencilled form against a colourful background. This work is no different, featuring an image of Einstein holding a sign advocating for love, and it sold at Sotheby’s New York in 2017 for a record price of US$97,500 (£79,471).
Unlike many other street artists, Mr Brainwash’s artwork is outright in its enthusiasm, frequently featuring upbeat slogans like ‘life is beautiful’. Chaplin-Life is Beautiful is an example of such works, this particular painting achieving a record price of TW$3,120,000 (£77,156) for the artist at Ravenel International Art Group in Taiwan.
Selling for well above its pre-sale estimate of £15,000-£20,000, Mr. Brainwash’s Einstein achieved the healthy price of £75,650 at Phillip’s in London in October 2010. This painting includes many of the artist’s classic celebrity and historical figure motifs, which is maybe why it achieved its high price at auction.
Mr Brainwash’s Madonna, achieved above its pre-sale estimate, selling for a total of ZAR 1,024,200 at Strauss & Co auction in South Africa in April 2021. Riffing off Warhol’s Marilyn, this work takes the infamous mass media image of Madonna as Marilyn Monroe as its subject and in true Pop Art style, depicts the singer saturated in colour.
Kiss (Life Is Beautiful) is another of Mr Brainwash’s artworks that includes his relentless optimism and positivity in its title. ‘Life is beautiful’ is one of the artist’s most well-used phrases in his work and this particular painting sold for €64,000 (£53,740) at Artcurial in Paris in January 2013.
Selling for US$69,300 (£52,247) at Sotheby’s in December 2021, this version of Life Is Beautiful from 2016 features the artist’s favourite slogan in cursive lettering against a graffiti-inspired backdrop.
This record priced painting by Mr. Brainwash uses the co-opted imagery of Mickey and Mini Mouse embracing in the centre of the artwork. Selling for €57,500 (£51,151) at Cornette de saint CYR in June 2011, this work by the artist is an attempt to epitomise American popular culture of the late 20th century.
Much like his street art friend and inspiration Banksy, Mr. Brainwash is known for his paintings and prints of British icon Kate Moss. This particular work depicting the star sold for £42,050 at Phillips London in October 2010.
Mr. Brainwash's Juxtapose, sold at Artcurial, Paris on 25 October 2016 for a total of €46,200 (£41,145), a record price for the painting.