Art Market News Flash – Drawing by Artistic Genius to be Sold at Auction

Art Market News Flash – Drawing by Artistic Genius to be Sold at Auction

The term “artistic genius” is typically reserved for artists such as Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Van Gogh etc. whose supreme technical skills and highly advanced ideas created a demand and desire for their work that resulted in their status as the most skilled and highly valued artists in the art market. Due to the conceptual nature of modern art, technical skill is no longer the major determining factor in the popularity and status of an artist within the art market which means that the classical definition of an “artistic genius” is no longer relevant.

Stephen WiltshireThis shift in the art market has resulted in an almost complete disregard for the traits that in the past would have resulted in an artist being identified as a genius which I think is a huge shame. One such artist is the autistic savant Stephen Wiltshire ( whose extraordinary talent for drawing has resulted in an OBE for services to the arts. Unfortunately the art market has not been as responsive to Stephen’s talents as one would hope primarily because his work does not display the characteristics that create demand and desire in the contemporary art market. I was therefore extremely excited when I heard that one of Stephen’s drawings was being sold at auction for the first time and am now determined to promote this auction as much as possible

According to the press release from the Bonhams website, Autistic savant Stephen Wiltshire, the subject of a BBC documentary on his artistic skills, produced an extraordinary pen and ink drawing of Salisbury Cathedral which will be sold by Bonhams on 25th September at Knightsbridge which is probably the first time such an item has ever been auctioned. Alistair Laird, Director of Bonhams 19th Century Paintings, will be selling this extraordinary work for an estimated figure of £400 to £600 which I think is extremely good value considering the rarity of such talent and the future potential of this true artistic genius. I would like to urge everyone to get behind this sale and tell as many people as you can so that Stephen Wiltshire receives the status and profile within the art market that he so obviously deserves. Think the next Michelangelo……

More information on the auction can be found here

Nick**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

9 Responses

  1. The problem is that, with his skills, there’d be no guarantee he couldn’t just knock out a PERFECT copy.

    Only kidding!

    Seriously, I was shocked to hear one of his would be sold for as little as £600. That’s unbelievable, I expect it to move for ten times that.

    Hell, I’d pay ~£1000 for a good one of his.

    • Charity auctions ‘lost’ artworks found in UK warehouse.

      Swindon – Two early pictures by artist Stephen Wiltshire MBE are being auctioned in Cirencester on Friday 22nd May 09 after they were discovered by environmental charity the Green Standards Trust in their warehouse in Swindon.

      Stephen, who was diagnosed with autism at age 3, is best known for his detailed cityscapes drawn from memory, and has appeared in several TV documentaries about his art. The Green Standards Trust exists to re-distribute redundant corporate office furniture and fittings to charities and good causes in the UK and abroad. It’s main ‘Waste to Wonder’ warehouse in Swindon is full of items that could otherwise have ended up in landfill; including artworks. The ‘lost’ watercolour artworks by Stephen, titled “People working at the Pan Am building’ and “Two students working at the print room”, are from the mid 1990’s. They are unusual examples of Stephens work, showing building interiors with people, made using a monoprint technique and are signed by Stephen.

      Green Standards Customer Services Manager, Ellen Winter, discovered the artworks by accident in April 2009, leant with other pictures in a dusty corner of the warehouse. The signatures on the pictures looked familiar, and a quick web search soon revealed the exciting news about the artist. Ellen contacted the Stephen Wiltshire Gallery for more information, and they confirmed that Stephen remembers making the pictures, and they represent an early experimental style that is part of his development as an artist.

      These pictures, and others, will be auctioned by The Cotswold Auction Company at The Bingham Hall, Cirencester on Friday 22nd May 10am to raise money for the Green Standards Trust. For more info phone (0)870 2401445

  2. I totally agree Jim, 600 pounds is a pittance to pay for such an amazing work. Hopefully the publicity the auction is receiving will make a difference

    nicholas forrest

  3. I have no idea who came up with this estimate but his current works go for 10 – 20 times more not mentioning his early works. I’ll be definitely bidding. This is a bargain!

  4. Well I have good news to report, the Stephen Wiltshire work sold for three times its estimate which is still a major bargain but is a good result!!!

    Nicholas Forrest

  5. Have heared of that fellow he can draw
    buildings by glancing at them once. A
    fantastic tallent

  6. Indeed he is an amazing talent that deserves more recognition in the art world

    Nicholas Forrest

  7. I have heared of that fellow he can draw
    buildings by this tools. Thanks for post!

  8. Current News: In Spain, already known, the genius of the twenty-first century art, is called Vicjes Gonród. Genius is a modern, contemporary, current, has nothing to do with the antics of Dalí.

    Genius Web XXI century art:

    Art Geniuses Goya, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and now Vicjes Gonród, Spain is a land of geniuses, no question.

    – Note: Many thanks for this article is very good.

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