Rising Star of 2022: Anna Weyant

Uncanny everyday life

From 12,000 to 1.5 million US dollars in two years: The painting Summertime (2020) catapulted Anna Weyant into the top league of the art world. She is the youngest artist in the Gagosian Gallery, and the waiting list for her works includes several hundred names. She is the Rising Star of the year.

by Marius Damrow, December 28, 2022

Anna Weyant

Summertime

Found at Christies, New York
21st Century Evening Sale, Lot 1 B
10. May - 10. May 2022
Estimate: 200.000 - 300.000 USD
Price realised: 1.500.000 USD
Details

10 May 2022: The painting Summertime (2020) opens the 21st Century Evening Sale at Christie's New York. It shows a young woman with her head resting on a tabletop. Her shiny, perfectly combed hair spreads out like a fan on the wood of the table, her eyes are half-closed. The woman seems lost in thought, melancholic. Next to her, a simple flower arrangement in a dark vase. The flowers are already brown, there is no summery atmosphere. The painting is kept in brown tones overall, the background black. It looks like a work of the early modern period, art critics emphasise the technical skill of the author. She deals intensively with human emotions, uncanny thoughts and situations as well as modern absurdities. The public's approval is remarkable.

The painter Anna Weyant cannot watch the auction, she is too nervous. After eight minutes her friends come forward, Summertime sells for 1.5 million US dollars. That is five times higher than the estimated price, which was already well above the 12,000 US dollars for which Weyant sold it shortly after it was painted. Only a few days later, Falling Woman (2020) fetched 1.6 million US dollars at Sotheby's. Since then, the young artist has been the star in New York.

Discovered on Instagram

Weyant comes from Calgary, Canada's fourth largest city, where she was born in 1995. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in painting in 2017 from the Rhode Island School of Design, she studied painting at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. The sepia-toned landscape surrounding the city of 12 million still informs her colour choices today, her impasto brushstrokes smoothed over time. After seven months in China, she moved to New York. There she worked as a studio assistant for artist Cynthia Talmadge while creating her own work. »Being new, confused and homesick in a new country, I was just scared. I remember thinking that if I could transfer my fears to the woman I was painting, at least I had another person in the conversation with me,« she told The Wall Street Journal in an interview.

On Instagram, she posted pictures of her paintings, which caught the eye of art critic Jerry Saltz. His reposts led to Weyant's notoriety and, in 2019, her first solo exhibition at Gallery 56 Henry. The works shown in Welcome to the Dollhouse sold for between $2,000 and $12,000 each.

Anna Weyant

Falling Woman

Found at Sothebys, New York
The Now Evening Auction, Lot 1
9. May - 19. May 2022
Estimate: 150.000 - 200.000 USD
Price realised: 1.623.000 USD
Details

Women and still lifes in sepia tones

»It’ll usually start with just an idea, something in my head. I will sketch it out in my head, and then sketch it out a few different ways on paper, and then I’ll either set it up to photograph, or set it up to paint as a still life«, Weyant explains her working method. A muted colour palette defines her works: Shades of green, brown and dark pink often appear against dense black. The mostly young, female figures are part of tragicomic or ironic stories, sometimes with dream-like elements. They represent femininity in contemporary American society, but do not fade into symbols. The figures captivate with sensitive depictions of emotions that make them individual and also mysterious.

The Canadian artist blends personal experiences from the 21st century with painterly traditions, primarily from the 16th and 17th centuries. She cites, for example, the Dutch painters Frans Hals (1582-1666) and Judith Leyster (1609-1660) as inspiration. It is therefore not surprising that her oeuvre includes a number of still lifes with irritating or ironic nuances.

In Buffet (2020), for example, a slice of bread standing upright by itself with a knife, a basket with eggs and two fish − probably piranhas − are lined up on a silver tray on a table in front of a black background. The table is covered with a white cloth. The buffet seems uninviting and sparse, not like its centuries-old models, the splendid still lifes from the Dutch Golden Age.

Anna Weyant

Buffet

Found at Sothebys, London
Modern & Contemporary Evening Auction, Lot 103
22. Jun - 29. Jun 2022
Estimate: 100.000 - 150.000 GBP
Price realised: 466.200 GBP
Details

The implied violence − the crushed bread into which the knife appears to have been rammed, the piled eggs and the dead piranhas, mainly scavengers and made to look more dangerous than they are by narrative − creates an uncanny atmosphere. Food is abundant in the 21st century, but with 800 million hungry people, the global system is truly not a buffet for all, distribution is not working. One may well assume that Weyant, whose references to historical painting are obvious, is not depicting the three foods known for their Christian symbolism by chance. The painting can be read as a commentary on the waning power of Christianity, possibly as a call for reflection on the values of this religion?

Gagosian's youngest artist

In 2021, the Blum & Poe Gallery in Los Angeles represented Weyant first. Collectors paid up to 50,000 US dollars for her paintings at the time. Shortly before the sensational auctions in May 2022, she switched to the Gagosian Gallery, one of the most important art galleries in the world. In total, Weyant has earned over 2 million US-Dollars from her paintings so far. »People kept congratulating me. All I felt was pressure«, she comments on her rapid rise.

In fact, she would be far from the first artist to be called a one-hit wonder. Jerry Saltz also expressed concerns about her success story. From her dealer Larry Gagosian, Weyant promises expertise and assistance. With a waiting list of several hundred, a wise consideration. She is the youngest artist Gagosian has represented. The two have been in the headlines lately because of rumours of a relationship. Gagosian commented that he treats the painter the same as all his other clients.

Recent auction results of Anna Weyant

Anna Weyant - Riverside Drive
Auction
Post-War to Present
March 2024
Christies, New York
Est.: 150.000 - 200.000 USD
Realised: 378.000 USD
Details
Anna Weyant - Untitled
Auction
Post-War & Contemporary Art
November 2023
Bonhams, New York
Est.: 50.000 - 70.000 USD
Realised: 64.000 USD
Details
Anna Weyant - Cloud Hill
Auction
20th Century to Now
June 2023
Phillips, London Auction
Est.: 250.000 - 350.000 GBP
Realised: 285.750 GBP
Details
Anna Weyant - Robes
Auction
Editions & Works on Paper
June 2023
Phillips, New York Auction
Est.: 2.000 - 3.000 USD
Realised: 2.540 USD
Details
Anna Weyant - Unconditional Love
Auction
20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale
May 2023
Phillips, New York Auction
Est.: 400.000 - 600.000 USD
Realised: 609.600 USD
Details
Anna Weyant - Untitled
Auction
New Now
March 2023
Phillips, New York Auction
Est.: 25.000 - 35.000 USD
Realised: 48.260 USD
Details
Anna Weyant - Albert
Auction
20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale
March 2023
Phillips, Hong Kong Auction
Est.: 600.000 - 800.000 HKD
Realised: 1.079.500 HKD
Details
Anna Weyant - Untitled
Auction
Post-War to Present
March 2023
Christies, New York
Est.: 200.000 - 300.000 USD
Realised: 403.200 USD
Details
Anna Weyant - Two Tight Buns
Auction
Post-War & Contemporary Art Day Sale
November 2022
Christies, New York
Est.: 50.000 - 70.000 USD
Realised: 189.000 USD
Details
Anna Weyant - Bum
Auction
20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale
November 2022
Phillips, New York Auction
Est.: 200.000 - 300.000 USD
Realised: 390.600 USD
Details

New York is impatiently awaiting the artist's first Gagosian exhibition. Baby, It Ain't Over Till It's Over opened on 3 November 2022 to mixed reviews. Weyant stayed true to her previous line, which some criticised as a lack of artistic innovation. On the other hand, the somewhat low-key exhibition stands as a sign of the beginning of a slowly evolving career that is not chasing the next big windfall.

On the auction market, meanwhile, her works have settled at a price range between 300,000 and 500,000 US dollars − still up to 100,000 US dollars above the estimated prices. On 17 November, an image reached the 1.5 million mark again with Loose Screw (2020). It remains exciting to see how the art star of 2022 will develop in the coming period. An early participation in the Venice Biennale has already been predicted by art world experts.Art.Salon

Anna Weyant

Loose Screw

Found at Christies, New York
21st Century Evening Sale, Lot 105
17. Nov - 17. Nov 2022
Estimate: 300.000 - 500.000 USD
Price realised: 1.500.000 USD
Details
Deep dive:

Dive deeper into the art world

New York »wunderkind« − Ten years after his flight of fancy

Montauk, a village in the USA with 4,000 inhabitants nicknamed »The End«. This is the home of the artist Lucien Smith, who ten years ago shook up the New York art scene as a »wunderkind«. But it is not yet the end for him. In rural surroundings, Smith finds new creativity: »For the first time, I feel like a real artist.«

by Marius Damrow, November 22, 2022
Opening of the 60th Venice Biennale

The latest edition of the Venice Biennale opens on April 20: for the 60th time, the most important international art exhibition is attracting visitors from all over the world to the famous Italian city. The event, entitled Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere, is curated by Brazilian Adriano Pedrosa.

April 20, 2024