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These are the Most Expensive Shepard Fairey Art Pieces Sold at Auctions

November 24, 2015
Anika Dačić graduated in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory from the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade and is currently pursuing MA in Literary and Cultural Studies. Her interests lie in social and cultural aspects of contemporary art production and she especially enjoys writing about street and urban art. Likes to knit, play adventure video games and host quiz nights at a local bar.

This artist certainly does not need an official introduction. Even those who know nothing about street art know who Shepard Fairey is. The 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. In the last couple of months, Shepard Fairey created his two largest murals to date, the widest one in Jersey City and the tallest in Detroit. And it could have been one of the best years in the artist’s career if only Detroit officials decided not to press charges and file a lawsuit over a couple of illegal artworks on the streets. Unfortunately, they did, and the artist will have to face trial next January. But we have to wonder if Detroit official were hasty in condemning the work of Shepard Fairey as vandalism. Nowadays, given the value of Fairey’s works on the art market and collectors battling to get a hold of his pieces, the city of Detroit could have found a way to benefit from the artworks easily enough. 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 top ten most expensive ones to satisfy your curiosity.

You can also check out the complete history of Shepard Fairey’s auctioned works here!

Vivienne Westwood, 2005

All Shepard Fairey admirers know well how punk music and culture have influenced the work of this artist. This year, 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, making it the tenth most expensive Shepard Fairey piece.

Click here to check out the details and estimates!

High Time for Peace Stencil, 2006

High Time for Piece Stencil brings recognizable propaganda style poster aesthetics, typical in Fairey’s work. For years know 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!

  • Shepard Fairey - You Can't Deny Us Our Rights - City Kids Foundation, 2010, detail

You Can't Deny Us Our Rights - City Kids Foundation, 2010

This particular painting was created in 2010 in collaboration with 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!

Warhol, 2005

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.

Find details about the Warhol portrait here!

Chinese Soldiers, 2007

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!

Evolve DeEvolve, 2008

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!

Panther Power, 2007

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!

Peace Goddess, 2007

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!

Guns and Roses, 2006

We are approaching the end of our list. Shepard Fairey’s second most expensive artwork is his Guns and Roses, mixed-media painting created in 2006. The piece 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.

Click here for artwork details and auction results.

War is Over, 2007

And the most expensive artwork created by Shepard Fairey is the painting War is Over. The artist created this piece 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 to be sold at auctions to date.

Find out more about War is Over performance here!

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Featured image: Shepard Fairey – High Time for Peace poster, detail