Inside the Market: The Demand for María Berrío’s Intricate, Mixed-Media Canvases

María Berrío’s secondary market remains strong. Every mixed-media collage The Riders II (2012) sold at the end of June for £809,000 ($983,756) at Phillips’s 20th-century and contemporary art evening sale in London, an impressive 362% above the median estimate of £175,000 ($210,550). The Riders II is indicative of the Colombia-born, Brooklyn-based artist’s acclaimed surrealistic style that incorporates torn pieces of patterned Japanese paper, sequins, and other materials to build out her deeply layered mythological worlds. Berrío blends magical realism with biography to compose majestic narrative portraits of women. Berrío’s active secondary market is all the more impressive considering that her auction debut only came last fall. Since then, she has maintained a visible presence at the three major auction houses, exceeding auction estimates at each one.

Berrío’s secondary-market success speaks to her establishment as a leading artist of figurative painting and collage. It also indicates the continued interest in surrealistic styles, especially by women artists, further confirmed by auction sales of work by artists like Issy Wood and Anna Weyant and institutional offerings like the 59th Venice Biennale’s main exhibition, “The Milk of Dreams,” which foregrounds works by Cecilia Vicuña and Belkis Ayón, among others. The confluence of institutional validation and impressive market results is a surefire sign that Berrío is not just an emerging painter, but a leading figure of a growing artistic movement.


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