Public sale File: ‘Sugar Shack’ Portray by Ernie Barnes Sells for Whopping $15 Million


ON THURSDAY NIGHT, Christie’s twentieth Century Night Sale in New York featured 42 tons, premium artistic endeavors by a wide range of famed artists comparable to Ruth Asawa, Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, Jackson Pollock, William De Kooning, Joan Mitchell, and Andy Warhol. The alternatives included two work by African American artists. Each set new public sale data. One is making headlines: “The Sugar Shack” (1976) by Ernie Barnes (1938-2009).

The second lot up for public sale within the sale was “Untitled #24 (1978-79), a mixed-media portray composed of quite a few sewn canvas squares by New York artist Howardena Pindell. The portray bought for $1.1 million, greater than twice the estimate. Like most works within the sale, the lot got here and went comparatively shortly, however marked a milestone. For the primary time, Pindell’s work surpassed greater than $1 million at public sale. The end result set a brand new artist file.


Lot 29C: ERNIE BARNES (1938-2009), “The Sugar Shack,” 1976 (acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48 inches / 91.4 x 121.9 cm.). | Estimate $150,000-200,000. SOLD for $15,275,000 charges included. RECORD


A couple of third of the way in which by means of the public sale, “The Sugar Shack” by Barnes got here up on the market. The portray of a energetic, sultry dance corridor scene is the artist’s most well-known work, popularized by the looks of the picture throughout the credit of the Nineteen Seventies TV present “Good Occasions” and on the duvet of Marvin Gaye’s 1976 album “I Need You.”

When the lot was opened, the auctioneer mentioned 22 events have been on the telephones able to bid on “The Sugar Shack.” After that, it was a whirlwind. Bidding began under the estimate at $120,000 and shortly eclipsed the estimate, reaching $500, $600, $700,000, quickly hitting $1 million and persevering with to climb. Gives rose from $1.7 million straight to $2 million and continued to skyrocket, leaping from $6.2 to $7 million, $7.5 to $8.5 million. After $10 million was bid, $10.5 million was instantly supplied.

Ultimately, when bidding reached the seven-figure vary, practically all of the potential consumers dropped out, leaving simply two folks vying for the portray. It got here all the way down to a contest between two males bidding stay in opposition to one another, seated within the room in New York. In the end, after greater than 10 minutes, Invoice Perkins, an power dealer and hedge fund supervisor, prevailed and clapping ensued.

“The Sugar Shack” hammered at $13 million, promoting for a last value of practically $15.3 million, with Purchaser’s Premium charges included. The staggering end result established an enormous new public sale file that exponentially smashed Barnes’s earlier file, which was $550,000 (established final 12 months, when the 1978 portray “Ballroom Soul” bought at Christie’s).

For the primary time, a piece by Barnes has bought for greater than $1 million, after which some, at public sale. Estimated to promote for $150,000-$200,000, “The Sugar Shack” climbed to a whopping 76 instances the excessive estimate.

The staggering $15.3 million end result established an enormous new file that exponentially smashed Ernie Barnes’s earlier public sale file, which was $550,000.

BORN IN DURHAM, N.C., Barnes turned an expert soccer participant earlier than devoting himself full time to his artwork. His figurative work mirror reminiscences of African American life rising up within the segregated South and seize racially numerous athletes, women and men taking part in all method of sports activities.

“The Sugar Shack” is an early work, produced a few decade into Barnes’s follow. The portray is predicated on a childhood reminiscence of a dance the artist noticed when he snuck into the Durham Armory.

Barnes went on to construct a profitable four-decade profession in Los Angeles, establishing a collector base amongst African Individuals, the sports activities world, and the TV, movie, and music industries. The entrepreneurial artist organized his personal touring exhibition over a number of years within the Nineteen Seventies. “Great thing about the Ghetto” traveled to main U.S. cities. He died in 2009 on the age of 70. A dozen years later, Barnes is large public sale information.

The Christie’s public sale was stay streamed and Luz Rodriguez, supervisor of the Barnes property, was among the many many who adopted the sale of “The Sugar Shack” on-line. She and her husband watched the worth soar into the tens of millions whereas on a convention name with mates and the artist’s household. Rodriguez is satisfied Barnes witnessed your entire factor, too.

“It was unbelievable. Unbelievable. I don’t know what anyone else felt, nevertheless it was very surreal,” Rodriguez informed Tradition Sort. “That’s Ernie. He’s doing it his personal manner, in life, out of life, he’s round. I do know he was there tonight. I simply know he was there. You may quote me on that. Ernie Barnes was there.”

“It was unbelievable. Unbelievable. I don’t know what anyone else felt, nevertheless it was very surreal.” — Luz Rodriguez, Ernie Barnes Property

It was an intriguing public sale second. Barnes and a decided Perkins stole the present. The work fared notably properly within the sale total. It was the ninth costliest lot of the night, topping works by large names comparable to Picasso, Monet, Cezanne, and Warhol.

Perkins, who’s African American, based Houston-based Skylar Power. The creator of “Die With Zero: Getting All You Can from Your Cash and Your Life,” he’s additionally an novice poker participant and avid artwork collector. In line with post-auction media reviews, Perkins already owns a number of works by Barnes, in addition to Charles White, John Biggers, Norman Lewis, and Houston artist Dawolu Jabari.

The Christie’s sale was the primary public sale the collector ever attended in individual. As bids for “The Sugar Shack” flew by, the auctioneer remained nimble. The room was rapt as Perkins bested the opposite bidders, sealing a history-making sale, and bringing much-deserved consideration to Barnes.

Rodriguez discovered the low estimate for the portray to be laughable, known as Barnes a “finest stored secret,” and mentioned the timing was proper for the record-setting sale.

“Folks didn’t know what was occurring,” Rodriguez mentioned. “I knew what was occurring. I knew what the response could be. I’ve seen the response over time. Individuals who knew what it was, knew what it was. Now individuals who didn’t know what it was, now know what it’s.”

She continued: “That is the one which has gotten probably the most publicity. However he’s received lots of nice items. He’s finished lots of good work.” CT


FIND MORE about Ernie Barnes on his web site


FIND MORE On April 28, the Artwork Profession Podcast featured Fairchain CEO, Max Kendrick, who mentioned his firm’s plans to assist artists acquire resale royalties

FIND MORE a few new effort in New Zealand set to learn artists whose work is resold at public sale


“From Pads to Palette” (1995) is an autobiographical quantity by Ernie Barnes. Alongside his soccer sketches and work, the artist recounts his childhood in Durham, N.C., soccer experiences together with the segregated AFL and early NFL years, and the beginning of his artwork profession together with his first solo exhibition at Grand Central Artwork Galleries in New York. Two youngsters’s books chronicle the artist’s life, “Between the Traces: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Soccer Subject to the Artwork Gallery” with illustrations by Bryan Collier and “Pigskins to Paintbrushes: The Story of Soccer-Taking part in Artist Ernie Barnes,” written and illustrated by Don Tate. Additionally contemplate, “Die With Zero: Getting All You Can from Your Cash and Your Life” by collector Invoice Perkins, which was printed final 12 months.



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