Ebay has released a map of the most popular searches for artists in the US. This State by State guide is a milestone for defining the popularity of artists, some household names, some not at all recognisable to the international art community. The US is the worlds largest art market. It even exceeded China this year after loosing ground in 2012.
This is perhaps the most accurate barometer of US taste and proves once and for all that artists like Andy Warhol, who only wins Pennsylvania (his birthplace and home to his foundation) is not the market leader, despite selling hundreds of millions of dollars worth of art at auction this year. Warhol always said that he wished he could be as big as his hero Leroy Neiman, a popular artist in the 60’s and 70’s. His exhibitions were sell outs with clients queuing up to purchase paintings drawings and lithographs, of his sports subjects. His prints sold between £100 -£500 prompting Andy Warhol to state. “I want to be successful like LeRoy Neiman”.
Top of the American heap, taking four midwestern states is Terry Redlin who paints in a style similar to Christmas cards from the 1950’s. Born in 1937 Redlin is Known for his paintings of outdoor themes and wildlife, often pictured at twilight. He is widely collected, especially his prints. For eight consecutive years, 1991 through 1998, Redlin was named America’s Most Popular Artist in an annual gallery survey conducted by U.S. magazine.
Coming in for a close tie, also with four states, is the ever popular Thomas Kinkade who recently died of alcohol related illnesses. Kinkade creates fantasy paintings of country cottages which look like sentimental magazine illustrations from the 1960’s. His work is so dreadful that it could only compare to those 3D painted, plaster wall reliefs that Woolworths used to sell.
Of course America also proves to have some taste outside of Metroland and the great Photographer Ansel Adams also comes in with four States. Picasso takes three,Chagall two but real surprises are photographer Peter Likthe (two) and Faith Ringgold who takes a wapping four States. Her folksy quilt story paintings depict everything from race riots to social gatherings. The paintings are similar in style to Grayson Perry’s work and are equally revered by the masses.
Off to see Big Eyes now and quite surprised that Margaret Keane isn’t on the 2014 list. Perhaps next year!