Artists who would have been 100 years old in 2023: Part 2


After our last article dedicated to Sam Francis, Ellsworth Kelly, Larry Rivers, Artmarket by Artprice continues its exploration of major artists who would have been 100 years old in 2023 with a focus on Richard Artschwager, Jean-Paul Riopelle and Roy Lichtenstein, all born in 1923.

Roy Lichtenstein
A meticulous painter with a discreet temperament, Lichtenstein’s work is highly representative of a particular era. He was recognized during his lifetime as the inventor of a new artistic movement and therefore has a prominent place in Art History. His immediately recognizable style, with bold colors and a typographic raster, strongly contrasted with the techniques of “Great art”. But it took him some fifteen years to develop.

From a wealthy New York family, like all young Americans of his age, Roy devoured comics in his childhood. As a young teenager, he was already thinking of becoming a painter and admired the world’s most famous artist at the time, Pablo Picasso. He joined an art school and produced his first paintings highly inspired by Modern French art. Mobilized in the American army, he found himself in liberated Paris, but didn’t dare to knock on Picasso’s door.
Back in the United States, Roy LICHTENSTEIN was unable to market his works based on subjects from American history and folklore. He had not yet found the artistic vocabulary for which he later became known and remained under the influence of the European avant-garde. But he did not give up, pursuing his research tirelessly and even going so far as to briefly explore Action painting, which was becoming a part of the American scene at the time. It was only as he approached his forties that he found his own graphic universe and his own path, via comics.

When he showed his first Pop paintings to gallery owner Leo Castelli in 1962, the latter was immediately won over and launched his career with a first exhibition that had spectacular commercial success (everything sold on day one) and whose impact was immense. Lichtenstein subsequently stopped teaching and devoted himself fully to painting. His bold style ironically mocked American culture and he deliberately intended to make his work seem as industrial as possible, thereby masking intervention by the hand of an artist.

At the end of the 1980s some of his works had already fetched over a million dollars at auctions, and his prices continued to rise, particularly during the 2000s. In 2002 he crossed the $5 million threshold; in 2005 he reached $10 million and in 2013 he was already at $50 million for a painting revisiting his early master: Picasso (Woman with Flowered Hat, 1963)… Indeed, it wasn’t long before his works were selling at prices on a par with paintings by Picasso and Monet. In volume terms, his works have been sold at auction a total of nearly 13,000 times, mostly in the “Print” category.

Auction record
In 2015 Lichtenstein’s auction record reached $85.3 million at Christie’s for his Nurse (1964).

Prices of his paintings in 2022
While his early works can be acquired for less than $100,000, those from his fully-fledged Pop period will cost at least $200,000, and up to tens of millions depending on their size.

Global ranking
In 2022, Roy Lichtenstein ranked 54th in the world by annual auction turnover, but appears to be losing momentum. Last year’s total of $38 million compares with nearly $186 million in 2015, his ‘record’ year. The primary reason for this is simply that his best works are becoming increasingly rare.


Distribution by price segment since 2000 (in thousands). Copyright


Richard Artschwager
At a time when Abstract Expressionism reigned supreme, Richard ARTSCHWAGER was studying classical art, painting nudes and small abstract paintings inspired by landscapes. In 1961, he took a snapshot of a trash can, divided it into squares (quadrillage) and transposed it onto canvas by enlarging it. He subsequently discovered the insulation material celotex, and produced his first combination of painted celotex and sculpture in 1962. Three years later, Leo Castelli devoted a first solo show to his work and towards the end of the 1960s he began to deploy his famous BLPs (“blips”) which he conceptualized as oversized punctuation marks and which reflected his taste for linguistic references. In 1968, the BLPs were the sole subject of his first solo exhibition in Europe (at the Konrad Fischer gallery in Düsseldorf).     

The singular creations of the American artist are represented by the Gagosian gallery, which hosted an exhibition of his work in Basel during the autumn of 2022. His work was also the subject of a retrospective at Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum in 2020, celebrating work directed towards “the fusion of figuration and abstraction, design and artistic innovation in a combination full of irony between the functional and the useless.”

Auction Record
$1.27 million hammered in 2007 for a large painting entitled Interior with Interior with Sideboard I (1974), at Christie’s NY.

Painting prices in 2022
Only four of his paintings sold at auction last year worldwide, in a price range from $16,000 to $50,000.

Global ranking
Although Richard Artschwager has ranked among the world’s 1000 most successful artists at auction on several occasions, and despite being supported by the powerful dealer Larry Gagosian, Richard Artschwager’s market is not looking good. He currently ranks 2,039th based on a 2022 auction turnover total of $391,000.


Richard Artschwager: distribution by category (turnover 2000-2023). Copyright

Jean Paul Riopelle                       
Born in Montreal in 1923, Jean-Paul Riopelle began drawing in early childhood and more seriously at the age of 13. In his twenties he demonstrated a strong temperament and a free and spontaneous style which he expressed in his first ‘automatic’ paintings. His artistic adventure already promised to be a rich field of continual experimentation. In Paris at the end of the 1940s, he met André Breton, the “guru” of Surrealism, and signed the Surrealist manifesto “Rupture inaugurale”. He settled in France in 1948. Admiring his spontaneous technique, Breton described him as a “superior trapper” in his preface to the catalog of Riopelle’s first solo show in Paris in 1949. For the Parisian surrealists, Riopelle’s approach had an initiatory nature. His work was perceived in the same way by the American avant-garde at his first exhibition at the Galerie Pierre Matisse in New York in 1959. At the time, his link with New York was not only professional and artistic, it had also acquired a sentimental nature since Jean-Paul RIOPELLE was in a relationship with the great American abstract artist Joan Mitchell. This 25-year relationship turned out to be equally passionate and explosive on the personal level as it was on an artistic level. Their respective oeuvres fed into each other, even after their breakup in 1979. Just after their separation, Riopelle turned to representations in black and white, where white was symbolic of ‘the end’ in direct connection with his sentimental anguish. Then, in 1992, the year Joan Mitchell died, he produced a Tribute to Rosa Luxembourg in her memory, a kind of artistic testament comprising 30 paintings in a triptych measuring over 40 meters in length.
The style of Riopelle’s strongly colored mosaics, immediately recognizable, stands out from his abstract productions of the time. On his canvases, Riopelle applied color directly from the tube and worked the material thickly with a spatula.
Prices for Canada’s Greatest Painter were revised upwards in 2017, with two works selling for over $5 million each, one in Toronto in May and a second in Paris in December of that year.

Auction record
Nearly $5.7 million obtained in 2017 for a large canvas from 1953, sold at Christie’s in Paris (Untitled).

Painting prices in 2022
Riopelle’s market is dense: around forty paintings changed hands at auction last year, for prices ranging from $50,000 for the smallest to more than $2 million for the largest.

Global ranking
An active and well-supplied market place gave Riopelle 111th place in our global ranking of artists by annual auction turnover, with a total of $15.8 million in 2022.


Riopelle: Turnover at auction in millions of dollars (copyright