Julie Mehretu Painting Brings Artist Auction Record of $6.5 Million on Artsy

  • June 12, 2021 16:46

  • Email
Julie Mehretu ( Ethiopian-American, b. 1970) Dissident Score, 2019-2021. Ink and acrylic on canvas, 108 × 120 in.

Julie Mehretu’s massive painting Dissident Score (2019–21) brought $6.5 million on Artsy last Thursday, setting a record for the artist at auction.

Ethiopian-born American artist Mehretu, 51, whose two-decades worth of work is currently on view in a major retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, is known for her large-scale, multi-layered abstracted landscapes. 

Six international bidders sought Dissident Score, which carried a pre-sale of $3 million to $4 million, ultimately smashing her previous record set by Black Ground (Deep Light), which fetched HK$44.2 million (US$5.6 million) at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in April 2019.

The record price achieved for Mehretu also represents the highest-value artwork ever sold on the Artsy marketplace platform.

All proceeds from the sale will benefit the Art for Justice Fund, an initiative founded by art collector and philanthropist Agnes Gund, that invests in artists and policy advocates working to end mass incarceration in the United States and the racial bias that drives it.

“Ever since I was a young child, the idea of prison was horrifying. I was devastated to see the criminalization of people through punitive structures and systems,” Mehretu said in a statement. “A work of art can be transformative. I wanted to make something substantial, and something that encapsulated the challenges of our reality.”  

“Julie Mehretu has dedicated her life’s work to boldly exploring social, cultural, and political issues. She encourages us to radically imagine communities where safety is shared and justice is true,” Gund said in a statement. “Her tremendous generosity will help our growing community of artists and advocates accelerate the work to end mass incarceration.”

The Art for Justice Fund has to-date disbursed US$84 million to more than 200 artists, advocates, and organizations.


  • Email

More News Feed Headlines

View of the island of Jersey showing Mont Orgueil, built in the 13th century.

Art Dealer Andy Valmorbida Makes 'Extremely Unusual' Admissions In Alleged Fraud Case, Court Reports

  • The Age / October 25th, 2021

Melbourne-born art dealer Andrew (Andy) Valmorbida, scion of an Italian-imports family dynasty in Australia, ...

Cover, The Films of Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné, 1963–1965

The Whitney Publishes Second Volume of Films of Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné, Transfers Archive to MoMA

  • ArtfixDaily / October 25th, 2021

The Whitney Museum of American Art has announced the publication of the second volume of the catalogue raisonné of ...

Ai-Da Robot at the Pyramids.

First-Ever Art Exhibition Held at Giza Pyramids Features AI Robot Artist

  • ArtfixDaily / October 25th, 2021

Through November 7, Ai-Da Robot, the world’s first ultra-realistic humanoid robot artist, takes part in a major ...

Utagawa Hiroshige, Spring Rain at Tsuchiyama, from the series Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido.

Dual Exhibitions in Vermont Consider Hiroshige and Japanese Printmaking Today

  • ArtfixDaily / October 24th, 2021

Southern Vermont Arts Center presents Japanese Woodblock Prints: Then and Now -- two complimentary Mokuhanga ...

Rappaport Lecture

ARTFIXdaily Artwire