Will Richard Prince's Naughty Nurse Paintings Nosedive?
While the market for some blue-chip contemporary art stars has rebounded from the recession, for others it remains a rocky ride. Take Richard Prince, the master of appropriation who gained widespread fame outside the art world for a collaboration with Louis Vuitton in 2007. His naughty nurse series - basically pulp fiction book covers he scanned and painted over - were a flop when they first debuted in 2002, but soon became hot commodities in the boom years before the economy went belly up. In 2008, Sotheby's in London set a record with the sale of Prince's 2002 Overseas Nurse for an eye-popping $8.5 million.
At Christie's' upcoming Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction in London on Feb. 16, however, another 2002 work, The Taming of Nurse Conway, is only expected to fetch $1.4 million to $1.9 million. It would appear the auction house's experts aren't confident of achieving a result comparable to that of Phillips de Pury, who knocked down 2004's Nurse in Hollywood #4 for an impressive $6.5 milllion back in May – which might have been a one-off considering his 2002 Millionaire Nurse (above) only brought in $2.8 million at Sotheby's in London in June. Of course that was before the Euro really went down the tubes. No doubt Prince's prices will recover when the currency of so many collectors does.