This artist certainly does not need an official introduction. Even those who know nothing about street art know who Shepard Fairey is. America’s most prolific street artist is constantly producing new works on the streets and in the studio, each time going a little bit further in his artistic endeavors.
Nowadays, the value of Fairey’s works on the art market is rising and collectors are battling to get a hold of his pieces. While we’re talking about the value of Shepard Fairey’s works, perhaps you’ll be interested to know which ones achieved the highest price at the auctions. We did a list of the most expensive ones to satisfy your curiosity.
Editors’ Tip: OBEY: Supply and Demand
Rizzoli is pleased to bring back into print OBEY: Supply and Demand, Shepard Fairey's first book originally published in 2006 and slightly updated in 2009, which showcases the artist's career from his earliest art school years to the creation of his famous Obama HOPE and CHANGE posters and is the perfect pendant to Rizzoli's first Shepard Fairey collaboration Covert to Overt. Shepard Fairey's first comprehensive monograph brought back into print, which chronicles his early art school days, his viral Andre the Giant has a Posse sticker campaign in the 1990s, the creation of his enormously successful OBEY apparel brand, and his longtime role as an activist-street artist.
Featured image: Shepard Fairey - High Time for Peace poster, detail
All Shepard Fairey admirers know well how punk music and culture have influenced the work of this artist. In 2013, one of his exhibitions was dedicated solely to Sid Vicious, Fairey’s personal hero. Vivienne Westwood is among those important figures that have shaped the punk fashion and lifestyle in the seventies and in this portrait Fairey pays tribute to the legendary fashion designer.
The artwork was sold in 2014 for $42,200 at Digard Paris.
A part of the diptych Eye Alert, the work represents Fairey's response to the state of healthcare reform in the United States. The diptych features a divided female face adorned with dollar symbols, skulls, and the word “obey.” The dystopian text and composition reflect Fairey’s disappointment in the system as corporate values are placed above human lives. The artist explained it is "a moral issue and a human rights issue, but it looks like the people who have stood up for it have been outvoted by corporations and their lobbyists."
The work was sold on March 10th, 2017 at Phillips London during their 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale for $45,448.
High Time for Piece Stencil brings recognizable propaganda style poster aesthetics, typical in Fairey’s work. For years now, Shepard Fairey has been exploring the possibilities of poster media, usually bringing attention to questions of war, peace, politics and environment. The pocket watch with inevitable Obey Giant motif in the middle joins the line of Fairey’s anti-war posters.
The artwork was sold at Artcurial (Briest, Poulain, F. Tajan) auction house in Paris for $46,100, slightly below the high estimate.
To find out more about the auction results click here!
This particular painting was created in 2010 in collaboration with The City Kids Foundation. This non-profit organization has collaborated with many great artists in the past, starting from Keith Haring, with aims of drawing attention to social injustice, the importance of education, teen violence and racism among other important subjects. Shepard Fairey did a series of panels for City Kids and You Can't Deny Us Our Rights is one of them.
The piece was auctioned at Digard in Paris and it achieved a hammer price of $46,900.
For more details about the artwork and auction results click here!
This work depicts the Oil and Gas Building, one of the architectural landmarks that have been erected as symbols of industrial dominance of the United States. Including multinational and independent oil and gas producers and refiners, natural gas pipeline companies, gasoline service stations and fuel oil dealers, the company behind it has long enjoyed a history of strong influence in Washington. The work addresses the volatility of giving an industry with too much power the ability to manipulate politics in its favor despite the dangers to the environment and climate change. The artist advocates for renewable alternatives for the sake of our future.
The work was sold on October 27th, 2015 at Artcurial (Briest, Poulain, F. Tajan) Paris for $48,600.
More data on the work here.
Another great homage to the seventies superstar found its way to the list of Fairey’s most expensive works. The portrait of Andy Warhol was offered for sale in 2014 at Artcurial (Briest, Poulain, F. Tajan) auction house in Paris, reaching the hammer price of $48,700. Shepard Fairey’s Warhol went 10% below the high estimate, but it is still a good result considering that the low estimate was $40,600.
Chinese Soldiers is an artwork inspired for the most part by the Chinese Proletarian revolution and posters which accompanied one of the biggest political and cultural transformations in the Chinese society. The familiar colors and symbols are left to speak for themselves.
The Chinese Soldiers artwork was sold for $49,300, 8% below the high estimate at Artcurial (Briest, Poulain, F. Tajan) auction house in 2013.
Click here to check out the whole auction report!
Politics and power aren’t the only themes Shepard Fairey loves to tackle. The environmental issues also play an important part in Fairey’s oeuvre. Evolve DeEvolve depicts a windmill and an oil derrick against a blood-red sunset, bringing a powerful message about climate change and the consequences of human actions.
The piece was sold for $50,000 at Bonhams New York in 2013, achieving the exact high estimate.
For details and complete auction report click here!
The Panther Power painting is Shepard Fairey’s tribute to the prominent activist Angela Davis. The leader of the Communist Party with strong connections to the Black Panthers, Angela Davis was among the most important leftist figures in 1960’s and the inspiration for many artists whose art is rooted in activism.
Shepard Fairey created this piece in 2007 and it was sold in 2012 at Bonhams in LA for $60,000, exactly the same number as the low estimate for the piece.
Find out more about Panther Power here!
Although many of Shepard Fairey’s anti-war pieces are reinventions of the old political campaign imagery the creation of the piece goddess figure is completely his own original idea. With a mysterious smile, hypnotizing eyes and owl as the international symbol of wisdom, the woman depicted in the artwork looks threatening in a way, like she sees all the mistakes of the humanity, smiling upon the ignorance of the mortals.
The piece achieved a hammer price of $65,000 at Sotheby’s New York in 2007.
Read more about the Peace Goddess performance at auction here!
This work is among Shepard Fairey’s most expensive artworks. Guns and Roses, a mixed-media painting created in 2006, reinvents the older Chinese revolutionary poster. The Mao Zedong quotes were replaced by the sunburst image in the background and roses were added to the central motif of hands bearing machine guns, taming the aggressive connotations of the original poster.
Guns and Roses was sold at Artcurial (Briest, Poulain, F. Tajan) auction house in Paris for $66,600, going 43% above the high estimate.
War is Over created by Fairey in 2007 and just like many of his works, the central theme is the promotion of peace. The zeppelin flying above the gloomy industrial complex, proclaiming the end of war, is both representative of the artist’s graphic style, his frequently explored themes and pacifist orientation.
The artwork was sold for $71,700 in 2013 at Digard in Paris, surpassing the high estimate by 30% and becoming the most expensive piece by Shepard Fairey sold at auctions to date.
Find out more about War is Over performance here!
Featured image: Shepard Fairey - High Time for Peace poster, detail