It simultaneously amuses and saddens to me to no end how Richard Hambleton can be promoted and his works purportedly sold for astronomical sums by Valmorbida while at the same time fantastic paintings of his have difficulty reaching 5 figures at auctions when Valmorbida isn’t involved. Hambleton is one of the original street artists from the 1970’s, but his story has never really been told since the 1985 book Street Art by Allan Schwartzman. The short version is that Hambleton’s street art in the 70’s and 80’s, particularly his shadowmen, are easily up there with work by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, or Jenny Holzer, but he has never really received due credit.
With the exception of charity events filled with people who just want to outspend the person sitting next to them, Hambleton’s work has consistently sold at auction for significantly lower than what you’d find at art galleries, and now artnet’s latest online auction of work by 1980’s graffiti writers and street artists has a few Hambleton’s up for sale (and yes, artnet is a sponsor of Vandalog this month but this is not a paid post). Of particular note is Standing Lady Shadow #R1-R9. This piece on canvas from 1985 is a great indoor version of his shadowmen series of street pieces.
It’s difficult to say if Standing Lady Shadow #R1-R9 is worth the tens of thousands that a gallery might ask for it, the hundreds of thousands Valmorbida might ask for it, or something else, but I’m pretty confident that anything this solid by Hambleton should go for more than the $6,000 opening bid that artnet has it at right now.
I just hope there’s someone out there with $6,000 and a good home who agrees with me… The auction ends of December 20th just after noon Eastern Standard Time.
Photos courtesy of artnet