How Expensive are Retna Art Pieces at Auctions?

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July 4, 2019

Marquis Lewis, better known in the community of art lovers as Retna, recently provoked quite a scandal at the renowned Soze Gallery in LA. His aggressive behavior, the destruction of artworks on display and altercations with the gallery visitors triggered the unending conversations on social networks. As it turns out, there is an army of Retna haters in the world, and the latest events focusing on the artist’s personality completely overshadowed his work as an artist.

With more than fifteen years of prolific works behind him, we cannot overlook the fact that Retna is one of the most praised calligraphers of today and among the wealthiest street artists of our time. Whether you love him, hate him, or love to hate him, his mastery of the intricate calligraphic painting cannot be denied and this list of Retna’s most expensive pieces is here to support the fact that there are those who highly value and appreciate his work.

Here at Widewalls we have an ongoing project where we try to bring to you the history of art auctions and comprehensive data on the past sales by all leading contemporary artists and within the frame of our project, we also assembled the data regarding Retna’s auction sales. Today, we are looking closely at five of his most expensive works, finishing our list with the one that achieved the highest hammer price.

Scroll down and check out Retna’s five most expensive pieces...

Shadows of Light, 2012

The first on our list is the work titled Shadows of Light that Retna created in 2012. The piece was done in enamel and acrylic on canvas technique, featuring Retna’s famous calligraphic script against a blue background. Digard Paris put the piece on sale and it was sold for $29,700, topping the highest estimate for 23%.

You can find more data on Shadows of Light here!

Sad To See, 2012

Retna’s painting Sad to See from 2012, featuring his signature black and white script was estimated between $20,000 and $30,000 by Sotheby’s auction house and it achieved the high estimate of $30,000.

You can check out more details about this particular piece and auction report at the artwork page.

Untitled, 2011

A monumental piece, Untitled from 2011 features the artist's long and geometric script, which he developed while looking towards Egyptian and Native American traditional symbols. In this piece, the artist combines red, blue and white.

The work was sold on December 9th, 2015 at Phillips London during their New Now auction for $30,240.

More data on the work here.

Study of Lexicon, 2012

Another piece Retna created in 2012 did particularly well at auction. The painting titled Study of Lexicon executed in acrylic, crystalline and enamel on canvas was offered for sale by Phillips De Pury & Luxembourg, New York and it went 7% above the high estimate fetching the significant sum of $32,000.

Check out the complete auction analysis here.

Quiero Mis Amigos De Regresso, 2013

Enamel, acrylic and crystalline on canvas, Quiero Mis Amigos De Regresso is executed in muted colors of gray and black. It features Retna's unique calligraphy which draws from multiple cultures.

The work was sold on November 17th, 2016 at Phillips New York during their 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale for $35,000.

More data on the work here.

Soldiers is Another Frame of Mind, 2013

This expensive Retna piece is Soldiers is Another Frame of Mind. It was created in acrylic on canvas painting technique. It looks like the people from Artcurial (Briest, Poulain, F. Tajan) auction house in Paris underestimated this piece. The estimate was between $17,100 and $22,800, but the painting was sold for $36,400, 60% above the high estimate. Certainly a good day for the artist.

Read more about Soldiers is Another Frame of Mind auction results.

That Was One of the Best Pieces of Ass

That Was One of the Best Pieces of Ass went for $47,010 in 2016, becoming now the third most expensive Retna art piece sold in auction. The work is of a curious title, although when looking at the painting itself, it cannot be connected to its content.

More data on the work here.

La Pierra de mi Gente Escondo

La Pierra de mi Gente Escondo is another piece executed in muted colors of grey and black; however, this one is more detailed than Quiero Mis Amigos De Regresso. It was sold on October 27th, 2015 at Artcurial (Briest, Poulain, F. Tajan) Paris for $38,600.

More data on the work here.

Untitled, 2011

At the end of our list, we have Retna’s most expensive painting. Untitled from 2011 was put on sale by Phillips, De Pury & Luxembourg auction house in New York. The painting estimate was between $30,000 and $40,000 and it went over the high estimate fetching the price of $48,000. It is so far Retna’s most expensive work sold at auction, but we’ll see in the future if any other will top this result.

To read complete auction analysis for Untitled check out the artwork page and to stay informed about the latest auction results make sure you visit our auctions page.

Featured image: Retna - Artwork, 2011. Photo via

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