One of the latest hot young artists from America to grace these shores is Katherine Bernhardt, whose new paintings have virtually sold out at Carl Freedman’s Shoreditch gallery.
The large canvases of common-or-garden things like batteries, laptops, burgers or trainers, painted in pseudo slapdash style in jarring opposites of colour are priced from $8,000 to $50,000, and have been bought by collectors from Switzerland, Germany, Brussels and London, mostly visiting London for the Frieze Art Fair.
The buying wave comes on the back of a boom in America after collector Adam Lindemann showed Bernhardt’s work in his Venus Over Manhattan galleries in Los Angeles and New York, and they were singled out for praise – not for the first time – by art critic Jerry Saltz. Lindemann sold out, and Americans, apart from those living in Europe, were discouraged from buying at the London show, which is still running.
Auction prices have not quite caught up yet, though. Learning of Bernhardt’s impending success in America, Charles Saatchi offloaded the four paintings he owned from a different series between June and September this year. These were expressionist paintings of models from fashion photo shoots and magazine advertisements that she made in 2006. All sold for up to £12,500 each, which was more than estimated, but still a step or two off the pace for the new work.