Buying Frenzy For Child Prodigy Kieron Williamson
Pandemonium as art collectors scrabble to get hands on work by 9 year-old, in 10-minute sale that makes over £100,000
A collection of paintings by 9 year-old ‘prodigy’ Kieron Williamson sold out in just 10 minutes for an unbelievable £105,000. This was Kieron's fourth sale, and buyers clamoured to pay anything from £1,250 to £15,595, to get their hands on a works by this mini Master. Collectors had queued to be first in line when the sale opened at 9am on Friday, while international buyers from the USA and China submitted bids by phone. In the words of gallery director Adrian Hill, ‘it was pandemonium in here’.
In 2009, Kieron Williamson made the headlines when he sold his first 19 pictures for an incredible £14,000. Three months later a collection of 16 paintings went for £17,000, and in July last year, a sale of 33 paintings made £150,000 in just 30 minutes. In August, he sold two more paintings for £21,000 each.
According to Kieron, ‘these paintings are my best yet’, but does his work really live up to the hype? In yesterday’s Guardian, Jonathan Jones hyperbolically wrote that ‘Williamson is the kind of child prodigy who makes us marvel at the miracle that is human creativity’, describing him as ‘a homegrown example of the kind of gift that made Leonardo’s 16th-century biographer Vasari call him “truly Celestial”’. Similarly (albeit less hysterically), the managing director of the gallery that hosted Friday’s sale, explained that ‘You see this continual maturity and evolution in Kieron’s paintings. His work is constantly improving and the more he paints, the more he understands his medium’.
Whatever the appeal, Williamson’s ‘art’ is bringing him fame and fortune. And the nine-year-old has already parted with £150,000 for a detached property, and helped his family to move from their two-bedroom rented flat next to a petrol station, to a new home in Ludham, on the Norfolk Broads.
His father, however, insists that all this success has not yet gone to Kieron’s head: ‘He is still a normal boy who loves his football ..., [who] goes to school every day in his shorts and comes home covered in mud.’ A normal boy, that is, who, for his competent watercolours, is being hailed as Leonardo Da Vinci, Turner, and Constable, all rolled into one.