Richard Prince Untitled (Cowboy), 1982
Richard Prince was born in 1949 in the Panama Canal Zone but lives and works in Upstate New York. Prince was first interested in the art of the American abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock as he grew up while Pollock's career was at its height, making his work easily accessible and, in 1956, after reading a Time magazine article dubbing Pollock "Jack the Dripper", gave him the push to start pursuing an art career. So, at the age of 18 after finishing high school in 1967, Prince set off for Europe.
He returned home and attended Nasson College in Maine, then from Maine to Braintree, Massachusetts, and for a brief time in Provincetown until, ultimately, he was drawn to New York City.
Prince has often stated that his attraction to New York was instigated by the famous photograph of Franz Kline gazing out the window of his 14th Street studio. Prince described the picture as "a man content to be alone, pursuing the outside world from the sanctum of his studio”.(Source)
In the mid-1970s, Prince started drawings and painting collages that he has since disowned. He is also known for his work photographing other photographers' work in 1977. His image, Untitled (Cowboy), a rephotographing of a photograph by Sam Abell and appropriated from a cigarette advertisement, was the first rephotograph to be sold for more than $1 million at an auction at Christie's New York in 2005. He is regarded as "one of the most revered artists of his generation" according to the New York Times.
© Richard Prince
Mining images from mass media, advertising, and entertainment since the late 1970s, Richard Prince has redefined the concepts of authorship, ownership, and aura. Applying his understanding of the complex transactions of representation to the making of art, he evolved a unique signature filled with echoes of other signatures yet that is unquestionably his own. An avid collector and perceptive chronicler of American subcultures and vernaculars and their role in the construction of American identity, he has probed the depths of racism, sexism, and psychosis in mainstream humor; the mythical status of cowboys, bikers, customized cars, and celebrities; and most recently, the push–pull allure of pulp fiction and soft porn, producing such unlikely icons as the highly coveted Nurse paintings. Mining images from mass media, advertising, and entertainment since the late 1970s, Richard Prince has redefined the concepts of authorship, ownership, and aura. Applying his understanding of the complex transactions of representation to the making of art, he evolved a unique signature filled with echoes of other signatures yet that is unquestionably his own. An avid collector and perceptive chronicler of American subcultures and vernaculars and their role in the construction of American identity, he has probed the depths of racism, sexism, and psychosis in mainstream humor; the mythical status of cowboys, bikers, customized cars, and celebrities; and most recently, the push–pull allure of pulp fiction and soft porn, producing such unlikely icons as the highly covered Nurse paintings.(Source)
© Richard Prince
In recent years, Prince's use of appropriation has been problematic, resulting in multiple lawsuits. According to theartstory.org, shortly after Prince joined the Gagosian galleries in 2008, his "Canal Zone" series sparked a costly lawsuit when the French photographer, Patrick Cariou, sued Prince for the unlawful use of his original photographs. A number of Prince's paintings in this series were based on photographs taken by Cariou. The case has remained influential, weighing artistic freedom and fair use guidelines against copyright protections. The rulings were mixed, initially supporting Cariou's claim and then supporting Prince upon appeal. The case was settled in 2014, a decision that stated 25 of 30 paintings from the "Canal Zone" series did not violate Cariou's copyright, with an out of court agreement compensating the artist for the additional five images. Prince's most recent series, New Portraits (2014), based on Instagram photos, has also resulted in legal action by the original photographers, a matter that remains unresolved at the time of this writing.
Cowboys, February 21–April 6, 2013,Beverly Hills (Source)
Despite the recent controversies, Prince’s work has been the subject of major solo exhibitions during his whole career, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1992); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California (1993); “Fotos, Schilderijen, Objecten”, Museum Boymans–Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (1993); Haus der Kunst / Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich (1996); Museum Haus Lange / Museum Haus Esters, Germany (1997); “4x4”, MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Vienna (2000); “Upstate”, MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Schindler House, Los Angeles (2000); Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel (2001, traveled to Kunsthalle Zurich, Switzerland; and Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany); “American Dream, Collecting Richard Prince for 27 Years”, Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2004); “Canaries in the Coal Mine”, Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo (2006); “The Early Works”, Neuberger Museum of Art, New York (2007); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2007, traveled to Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Serpentine Gallery, London, through 2008); “American Prayer”, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris (2011); “Prince/Picasso”, Picasso Museum, Spain (2012); and “It’s a Free Concert”, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2014). Prince’s works are in the public collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas; Museum of Fine Arts Collection, Boston; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.(Source)
Richard Prince (Source)
In 2008 the painting 'Overseas Nurse' from 2002 fetched a record-breaking $8,452,000 at Sotheby's in London. This record was broken in 2016 by the $9.6m sale of the 'Runaway Nurse' painting at Christie's.
According to Artprice.net price’s turnover as of 2019 is €22,562,892 with the last peak in price dated on the 01/01/2017. Most of his works were sold in the range of $1,000,000-$5,000,000.
The oldest auction result ever registered on the website for an artwork by this artist is a photograph sold in 1991, at Christie's , and the most recent auction result is a sculpture-volume sold in 2020. Artprice.com's price levels for this artist are based on 1,797 auction results. Especially: photography, painting, drawing-watercolor, print-multiple, sculpture-volume, objects, and ceramic.
Distribution by price segment (by Artprice)
From October 23rd to October 30th, Sotheby’s will auction an “Untitled” (human nature, dub version) (2001), a Sculpture-Volume, Sculpture, paper, 23.8 x 17.1 cm by Price with an estimate of $939 - $1,409.