Hollywood superstar Leonardo Di Caprio has bought a work by young Colombian artist Oscar Murillo for $400,000, newspaper Semana reported Wednesday.
The work, called “Untitled (Drawing off the Wall)”, was taken home by Di Caprio last week after an auction of 250 modern artworks at renowned auctioneers Phillips. Initially valued at around $30,000, the price shot up to $400,000.
Murillo, 27, has become one of the most sought-after young artists in Europe, with prices for his works sky-rocketing. By mid-July, only one of his works had been sold at auction, for less than $25,000. But suddenly works estimated to sell for $20,000 were fetching prices as high as $150,000 and $250,000 amid rumors that he was being head-hunted by London’s White Cube Gallery.
The artist, born in the La Paila region of Caldas department, between Bogota and Medellin, but who moved to London when he was 10 years old, “applies studio debris to his rough-hewn canvasses in what can be classed as a performance,” according to British newspaper The Telegraph.
He uses graffiti and dirt mixed with paint, often incorporating abstracted words like “chorizo,” “yoga” and “mango”, which are then given context by the ‘performance’. This might be a cultural clash, like a bourgeois Paris party accompanied by traditional Colombian food, or a yoga meeting. The idea is that the artworks are ‘permament records’ of the performance.
The artist’s first major solo exhibition in the UK began in the South London Gallery on September 20, it will run until December 1.
Di Caprio is not the first collector to take an interest in Murillo, who only graduated from London’s Royal College of Art last year. Charles Saatchi has been bulk-buying his work, and a recent Christie’s auction garnered interest from collectors on four different continents, including South America.
In May the actor was the master of ceremonies at a charity auction in Christie’s New York that raised $38 million for his wildlife preservation foundation.
- El vallecaucano Óscar Murillo seduce a Leonardo DiCaprio (Semana)
- Art market news: Colombian-born artist Oscar Murillo to be represented by the David Zwirner Gallery (Telegraph)
- Phillips Official Website
- A new globalism hits contemporary art market sales (Telegraph)
- Interview with Oscar Murillo: at home with the Rubells (The Art Newspaper)
- Oscar Murillo Exhibition (South London Gallery)
- CHRISTIE’S AND THE LEONARDO DICAPRIO FOUNDATION RAISE $38.8 MILLION FOR WILDLIFE AND THE ENVIRONMENT (Christie’s)