Ever heard of Lynne Drexler?  Up to a pair of decades ago, you may well be excused for not understanding of her.  Born in Newport News, Virginia, in 1928, Drexler moved to New York in the 1950’s and studied with mentioned modernists Hans Hofmann and Robert Motherwell.  She was a 2nd-technology participant in the Abstract Expressionist movement and had a solo exhibit in 1961 at Tanager Gallery, a very well-regarded artists’ cooperative gallery which was part of the downtown scene.

Lynne Drexler, 1960

But that was fairly significantly it.  She married a further artist, taught at many schools all-around the state, and moved again to New York in 1967, becoming just another of the myriad artists functioning in the metropolis devoid of representation by a revered commercial gallery.

Drexler and her husband acquired a summer season put on Monhegan Island off the coastline of Maine in 1971, and by 1983 she was divided from him and residing on the island total time.  She died there in 1999, leaving guiding a studio entire of paintings.  Her auction final results in the 15 a long time pursuing her demise have been extremely modest, a handful of hundred to a few thousand dollars, offering largely at New England auction houses.  Since 2019, nevertheless, her industry has exploded. 

What’s going on?  I was conversing with a pal, an vital collector and a revenue supervisor who brings the same finger-to-the-pulse consciousness to the art market place that he provides to the stock sector.  He has the braveness of his convictions: he purchased his Drexler painting privately in the minimal 6 figures a tiny above a 12 months ago, paying in excess of 2 times what the auction record for the artist was at the time.  Since my buddy bought his operate, Drexler’s paintings have started offering routinely at major New York auction homes for price ranges perfectly into 6 and even 7 figures.  The Live performance, an oil on canvas measuring about 4-by-4 ft, sold for $1,043,380 such as quality at Sotheby’s Hong Kong previously this thirty day period.

Lynne Drexler, The Concert, 1959.  Picture courtesy Sotheby’s.

Drexler’s do the job is the subject of not just one but two reveals at significant New York galleries at the minute, Berry Campbell Gallery downtown, and Mnuchin Gallery on the Upper East Facet.  There was not too long ago a extensive write-up on her and her get the job done in the New York Periods.

How has a comparatively not known artist gotten so very hot so quick?  Some of it might be defined by savvy management by Berry Campbell, which handles the estate and had a substantial team of paintings to function with.  Some of it is owing to the fact that works by women artists are really incredibly hot right now (as are those people by artists of color), as museums try to make up for a record of neglect.  Some of it may only be the final result of publicity purchased by deep-pocketed sellers.

But why Drexler, as an alternative of a selection of other girls artists of her era who ended up talented painters and who struggled in opposition to the similar male-dominated institution?  Any sizzling industry raises question: is this a bubble which will burst, a industry becoming manipulated by shadowy forces?  Or will Drexler be put firmly in the canon, as Joan Mitchell and Helen Frankenthaler have been, with her paintings continuing to market for seven figures as theirs do?  Time, as they say, will inform.

Back in the days of the Dot.com increase, a late buddy of mine who experienced a seat on the New York Inventory Exchange reported to me, “Reagan, I really don’t understand the valuations of most of these online businesses.  I’m hesitant to set a lot of dollars into them.  But when a prepare is barreling down the monitor straight at you, it doesn’t do to put your hand up and say, ‘Stop! You are not intended to be on this track’.”  He gambled a minimal in the new industry, created a several bucks, and pulled out as the dot.com market commenced to tank.

Of class, with Drexler, no make any difference what you paid, you will have a attractive portray to hold on the wall.  No subject what her market place does, if you adore the function, you’ll win.  But your acquire may possibly not be a get measurable in dollars and cents.