Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice
There are currently no items available for purchase in this Department. Search our Auction Archives below to find item values.

David Bates (American, b.b. 1952)


Birth Place: Dallas, TX USA


David Bates is a modern-day painter whose work often features realistic figures and narratives. Never beholden to current trends or topics in the art world, Bates stands apart for his paintings which often owe as much to the masters of previous centuries (Van Gogh or Hartley) as they do to current day artists. A native Texan, Bates was trained at Southern Methodist University before taking a year of independent study at the Whitney. While there, he did mostly figurative work -- in stark contrast to many of the other students who chose abstractionism as their preferred aesthetic. 

Bates continued to develop this style. A self-described, “compulsive painter” he completes around fifteen paintings every single year. His work has been featured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The San Francisco Museum of Art, and numerous other galleries and collections across the world. 

What type of art does David Bates create?

David Bates is a narrative painter and sculptor whose large paintings are infused with a sense of story -- all the more impressive since it flies in the face of many artistic conventions of the 20th century. His use of simple forms, dark outlines, and thick swaths of paint make his work magnetic and beautiful while also being extremely accessible.

How often do David Bates paintings come up for auction?

Bates is a fairly prolific and popular artist, and as such has a good number of paintings that have come up for auction. As of 2019, that number hovered at 64. That said, Bates is a youngish artist (born in 1952) and is still in his working prime as a painter and sculptor. Many of his pieces may become available in the coming years.

How much is a David Bates painting worth?

Bates has become extremely popular in the 21st century, and his paintings have reflected that rise in popularity. Some of his paintings have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and even minor works can sell for tens of thousands. It helps that his work is large, dramatic, and works well in almost any collection thanks to its blend of populist subject matter and critically acclaimed aesthetics. 

Which David Bates painting is the most valuable? 

The most valuable David Bates painting is Texas Queen (1982) which sold for $221,000 in 2015 for Heritage Auctions house. The piece is quintessential Bates, with those same dark colors, impastos, and narrative elements all taking form. The towering canvas features a man with a large hammerhead shark, freshly caught, its simple design and execution belying a complex emotional resonance that is the true hallmark of any great Bates piece.

What are the most famous paintings by David Bates?

Texas Queen is by far Bates’ best-known work. In addition to this work, Pine Branch (1990) is also quite famous in the art world (it was sold by Heritage Auction on 5/18/2019). Those are Bates’ two best-selling pieces to date. His work Baton Rouge, Portrait of 1990 (unknown) sold for $120,000 at the end of 2019 as well. 

Read More

Filters (4)
Save "David Bates" to My Wantlist Free Appraisal

How do you know what's valuable?

Our Art Value Guide provides free information about how to value your David Bates Artwork.

Get Notified of New Matches Create a Wantlist for David Bates Artwork
Create Wantlist
Have David Bates Artwork to sell? Ask about cash advances.
Free Appraisal

David Bates Original Art values sold at auction

Results per page: 24 48 72
Get Notified of New Matches Create a Wantlist for David Bates Artwork
Create Wantlist
Have David Bates Artwork to sell? Ask about cash advances.
Free Appraisal