Late last month, “Falling Woman” by New York artist Anna Weyant sold at auction at Sotheby’s for $1.6 million, well above the estimated price. The sale came days after Weyant’s 2020 painting “Summertime” fetched $1.5 million at Christie’s, and Phillips sold his “Buffet II” at auction for $730,000.
Weyant is only 27 years old, he is the youngest artist represented by the prestigious Gagosian art empire, which presents some of the most influential artists of the 20th and 21st centuries in 16 commercial galleries around the world. The colossal sums brought in by her works have made her one of the most sought-after young artists on the international circuit.
Meteoric rise to stardom
A year after graduating in fine arts from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2017, Weyant moved to New York and began assisting artist Cynthia Talmadge, who promoted her work on her own Instagram account. She also introduced Weyant to art dealer and curator Ellie Rines, owner of New York gallery ’56 Henry’. It was Rines who helped Weyant make his first sales.
In 2019, Weyant’s paintings and drawings reportedly sold at the Upstairs Art Fair in Hamptons for $450 each. That same year, she had her first solo at the Rines Gallery, titled “Welcome to the Dollhouse”, which directly referenced Todd Solondz’s 1995 film of the same name. A note on the exhibition stated that Weyant’s works revolved “around questions of youth and adolescence – with the perverse reality of growing up”.
The show was sold out. In 2020, Weyant’s work appeared on the cover of “New American Painters”, which was judged by critic Jerry Saltz. As of 2021, Weyant was represented by Blum & Poe Gallery in Los Angeles, and her works were selling for nearly $50,000 each.
Around this time, she was noticed by 77-year-old Larry Gagosian, founder of the billion-dollar art empire. This fall she is to have an exhibition with the Gagosian, New York. Weyant is also currently dating Larry Gagosian.
In June 2021, when it debuted at auction at Phillips, Weyant’s untitled drawing of long bare legs fetched $27,720, nearly four times its estimated price.
Years of training as an artist
In an interview with art market website Artnet, Weyant, who was born in Calgary, Canada, in 1995, described her childhood as “idyllic in many ways” but with limited exposure to the art. After graduating, she spent the summer as an event planner for Lincoln Center in New York.
Subsequently, she took a six-month painting course at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou where, influenced by the sepia tones of the city, she began to use a more subdued palette.
In her other interviews, she mentioned several influences, including 17th-century Dutch masters Frans Hals and Judith Leyster, and contemporary American artists Ellen Berkenblit and Jennifer Packer.
Weiant’s dominant work
In his short and dramatic career so far, Weyant has become known primarily for his depictions of still lifes, women and baby-faced protagonists as they navigate a whirlwind of emotions ranging from grief to pilates, introspection, horrors and just having a good time.
2020’s ‘Falling Woman’ oil shows a woman upside down with partially exposed breasts; in the oil ‘Loose Screw’, a woman laughs in a bar, looking a little lonely.
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The often realistic depictions are dominated by a muted color palette of black, gray and brown. Explaining his working process in a 2021 interview with ‘Art & Object’ magazine, Weyant said, “I start by doing a series of sketches and building a basic set or model. I usually use a model and/or a dummy. Photography can also be a great tool.
A note on Gagosian’s website reads, “Weyant’s accurately rendered paintings depict figures intertwined with tragicomic narratives and still life compositions in which everyday objects take on an eerie and wondrous air.”