Street Art Frenzy Continues with Nov. 2 Auction of Barry McGee Canvas

A major work by an American street art pioneer Barry McGee will make an appearance at auction.
Barry McGee (American, b. 1966-), monumental artwork on dropcloth canvas, 85.5in high by 105in wide. Estimate: $50,000-$80,000.
Barry McGee (American, b. 1966-), monumental artwork on dropcloth canvas, 85.5in high by 105in wide. Estimate: $50,000-$80,000.
Barry McGee has street cred to spare, and his work is in high demand, but it’s rare for a McGee artwork – especially one of this size – to show up at auction. When his public profile skyrocketed after the 2001 Venice Biennale, much of McGee’s San Francisco Mission District street art was scavenged or stolen. Hence the excitement over a canvas entered in Palm Beach Modern Auctions’ (PBMA) November 2nd sale of modern art and sculptural design.
Barry McGee (American, b. 1966-), monumental artwork on dropcloth canvas, 85.5in high by 105in wide. Estimate: $50,000-$80,000.
Artist Barry McGee
“It’s a quintessential example of an exciting art movement – a sort of neo folk art that resembles the hobo paintings on trains that run between San Francisco and Canada,” said PBMA auctioneer Rico Baca. It has that classic McGee look, with one dominant central figure and trademark drips of paint in the background.”

The McGee canvas is expected to sell for $50,000-$80,000 and has a minimum opening bid of $44,000. Baca predicts multiple bidders will compete at that price point, citing the (approx.) $40,000 price paid at a major international auction house in May for a smaller McGee.

“The McGee artwork in our auction is by a legendary street art pioneer and has great provenance,” said Baca. “It was exhibited in San Francisco in the 1990s and will be auctioned together with a copy of a 2010 photo of the consignor with McGee at Art Basel.”

Baca believes street art is still in its relative infancy as a legitimate art category and that its potential is unlimited. “When you look at its evolution, street art is absolutely unique,” Baca said. “It’s gone from being illegal to being sold for five- and six-figure prices at prestigious galleries. Street art is attracting smart money collectors. They’re already eyeing our November 2nd sale.”

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