November 2013 A groundbreaking urban contemporary art sale in Paris on Friday broke records for a sale of it’s kind and for some of the leading artists in the movement. The auction resulted in a €1,722,300 (hammer) total.

The highlight of the show was undoubtedly Jean Michel Basquiat’s Monticello which achieved €750,400 – $1 million US – and further cementing the artist’s growing value in the global art market.

Other notable successes in the catalogue were:

Leading the field of living artists was a record breaking Banksy – Sid Vicious. Estimated at €60000-80000, it achieved €128,100 (Inc BP). A work from the same series was auctioned at Sothebys this year for £80,500, realising an increase of approximately £30,000 for the artist and Digard.

Undoubtedly sharing the title with Banksy for greatest living street artist, Shepard Fairey’s War is Over, 2007 was estimated at €30-40,000 and achieved €63,440.

Nick Walker’s piece “Paris: The Morning After”, achieved €21,960 from an estimate of €10-12,000. The work was seen as a key piece in the sale, reflecting both the location – an unforgettable stencil rendering of the City of Light, and the artist’s own growth into an internationally recognised talent.

Eleven of the artists who had worked on Tour 13, the now legendary Paris apartment block condemned for demolition, had provided works directly to Digard and Mary McCarthy for the sale. The majority (seven out of eleven artists) achieved prices above their estimate.

Keith Haring seminal Sneeze (1984) sold for €526,400. Shepard Fairey’s “You Can’t Deny Us Our Rights” sold for €41,480, with a percentage to the New York based charity CityKids.

The sale was the first of a partnership between renowned Paris auction house Digard and the UK’s leading urban contemporary art expert Mary McCarthy.

Mary McCarthy, of MM Contemporary Arts LTD, said “This sale represents a sea change for urban contemporary art. It’s outcome, the astonishing response from buyers and the growing popularity of the art has firmly entrenched the medium as a viable and sustainable art movement in it’s own right. “

Legendary street photographer Martha Cooper was present at the sale, and at the pre-sale live painting event. She told AP on Thursday “I’ve been following graffiti and street art for about 30 years and so this represents another step in slightly different direction…..Having an auction in Paris, in a big auction house, is pretty amazing.”
Martha Cooper’s own photo, “Keith Haring painting the Houston/Bowery Wall”, was in the sale, estimated at €1000-1500 and achieved €3,538, evidence again that buyers are valuing early works and documentation of the early years of the street art movement.

The next Urban Contemporary art sale from Digard Auctions and Mary McCarthy will be in June 2014. The canvasses created during the live painting event prior to last week’s sale by Nick Walker (UK), Logan Hicks and Mear One (USA), Katre, Miss Tic and Cope 2 will be included in the June catalogue.