$9 M. Kerry James Marshall, Jenny Saville from Long Museum Founder’s Collection to be Sold

Paintings by Kerry James Marshall and Jenny Saville that once held the American and British artists’ public auction records will be sold from the collection of Liu Yiqian and Wang Wei, the founders of Shanghai’s Long Museum. The two works will be offered as part of Sotheby’s “Now” evening sale dedicated to contemporary art this November in New York. The paintings are each estimated to fetch prices between $9 million to $12 million, respectively, Sotheby’s confirmed to ARTnews.

News that the auction house has secured Marshall’s Plunge (1992) Saville’s Shift (1996–97) for consignment this fall comes just a few weeks after Yiqian and Wei sold off a tranche of nearly 60 contemporary art works from their holdings in a Sotheby’s Hong Kong sale. The grouping failed to meet expectations, selling for a collective $69.5 million. The sum fell far the house’s pre-sale target of $95.4 million.

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Founded in 2012, the Long Museum has become a high-profile fixture in the Shanghai art scene. It was initially based in the West Bund district of Shanghai, later expanding with a second and third location in the city’s Pudong neighborhood and in Chongqing. Over the last decade, Yiquian and Wei have traversed the international art fair circuit acquiring contemporary art.

In June 2016, the collectors acquired Shift for a then record sum of $9.1 million during a Christie’s sale. That same year, they bought Plunge for $2.1 million, also notching a new record for Marshall. Prior to the sale, Plunge had gained some exposure among critics after being featured in the 2013 exhibition “In the Tower: Kerry James Marshall” at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The exhibition was centered around Marshall’s own questioning of Afrocentricity and its relation to U.S. history.

Both works have been exhibited at the Long Museum since being acquired, though they are being sold from the personal collection of Liu Yiqian and Wang Wei, a Sotheby’s representative said.

In 2018, Marshall’s current auction record was established when Past Times, a narrative painting from 1997 that was included in his 2016 retrospective, fetched $21.1 million at Sotheby’s. The figure more than doubled the pre-sale estimate of $8 million. It also surpassed Marshall’s previous record of $5 million set that same year for the sale of Still Life with Wedding Portrait (2015) at Christie’s in New York.

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