Joe Syer, Head of Urban & Contemporary Art
Interested in buying or selling
Though the iconic singer-songwriter Bob Dylan has been producing art since the 1960s, his auction success has been a relatively recent accomplishment. While Dylan works across painting, printing, drawing and sculpture, it is his print series which have received the most attention at auction.
Here, we look to Dylan's top 10 record prices at auction to date.
When Dylan's Abstract Nude appeared at Julien's Auctions in November 2022, the work fetched an impressive $100,000 (£84,736). The piece was sold at the auction house's Icons & Idols: Rock n' Roll sale, which brought together artworks and memorabilia by the biggest names in rock history. It is hardly surprising, then, that Dylan's most expensive work should be sold here, as the auction united art collectors and music fanatics alike.
Dylan's second-most expensive artwork was sold earlier this year at Rosebery's in London. 8 May 1976, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, an early example of Dylan's fascination with American train tracks, was received with excitement at auction in July. The giclée print flogged for £32,000, achieving £10,000 more than its top estimate.
The majority of Dylan's best-selling works originate from his series Drawn Blank - The Artist's Eye. The series was produced during Dylan's tour of America, Europe and Asia between 1989-1992. Dylan himself said of the series: "I was just drawing whatever I felt like drawing, whenever I felt like doing it. The idea was always to do it without affectation or self-reference, to provide some kind of panoramic view of the world as I was seeing it at the time."
This particular selection of prints from the series was sold at Tate Ward's Urban & Contemporary Art auction on 7 December 2021. The portfolio included 10 hand signed prints from the series: Sidewalk Cafe/Sunday Afternoon/Woman On A Bed/Vista From Balcony/Lakeside Cabin/Cassandra/Statue Of Liberty/Dad's Restaurant/Two Sisters/Bragg Apartment, New York City. Alotgether, the set fetched £15,000.
This selection from Dylan's Drawn Blank series was sold at Tennants' Modern & Contemporary Art auction on 19 June 2021. The portfolio included 8 prints from the series: Train tracks/Sunflowers/Slide/Sunday afternoon/Woman in Red Lion Pub/Cityscape/Bicycle/Bragg Apartment, New York City. The selection achieved £2,000 more than the work's top estimate of £10,000, fetching £12,000.
A selected portfolio of 18 prints from Dylan's Drawn Blank series appeared Chiswick Auctions' Decorative Art and Design auction on 3 November 2022. Together, the prints fetched £11,875, well over the £8,000 high estimate.
An example of Bob Dylan's artist's proofs selling for a high price at auction, this set of four giclee prints, is one of only 15 AP portfolios. The Beaten Path (2019) achieved a final sale value of £10,000 with the auction house Tate Ward, in partnership with Artsy.
At McTear's Scottish Contemporary Art Auction, a selected portfolio of 8 prints from Dylan's Drawn Blank series were sold for £9,000. The sale is testament to the popularity of this particular series in Dylan's oeuvre, and the desire of Dylan fanatics to collect works from this extensive body of work.
Also at a McTear's auction, on 5 December 2021, four of Dylan's Train Tracks were sold as a mini portfolio from the Drawn Blank series. The four prints, all executed in different colours, achieved £8,000.
Also from the Drawn Blank series, Dylan's Two Sisters was received particularly well when it appeared at Rogers Jones & Co on 6 November 2021. The singular print fetched £8,000, double its high estimate of £4,000.
On 9 October 2021, another mini portfolio consisting of four of Dylan's Rail Tracks works appeared at Tennants' Modern & Contemporary Art auction. The selection fetched £7,000.