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Elizabeth Peyton (American, b.1965)

Paintings

Birth Place: Danbury (Fairfield county, Connecticut, United States)

Biography:

Who is painter Elizabeth Peyton?

Elizabeth Peyton is an American watercolor painter best known for her portraits of artists, musicians, actors, and writers. Peyton’s work is minimalist-adjacent, while not the prototypical example of a minimalist painter, her work often portrays emotion with economical precision. Peyton herself has described her work as part of a natural evolution from the works of Balzac, Delacroix, and even Georgia O’Keefe. Peyton often portrays other art in her pieces, like her famous paintings of the sculptures of Camille Claudel. These pieces are highly sought after for their ability to change meaning based on context and perspective -- something that Peyton highly values.

Peyton’s work has been used in a variety of high art and commercial art settings. She was commissioned to create lithographs for Parkett magazine. Her first exhibition was at the famed Hotel Chelsea in 1993, where potential patrons were made to ask the reception for a key to room 828. This was the show that burst her onto the national scene. She has exhibited at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Walker Art Center, and the Whitechapel Gallery of London. More recently, she created a portrait painting of then-First Lady Michelle Obama with her daughter in 2008 as part of a traveling exhibition studying American institutions.

What kind of art does Elizabeth Peyton make?

Elizabeth Peyton is primarily a watercolor portrait artist but has also experimented with lithography, woodcutting, and still-life paintings. Peyton is a technician and loves to experiment in several styles. She creates her own bespoke handmade papers and often pairs these with interesting monochromatic inks. Since 2007, her still-life paintings have explored the boundaries of what this medium can express. She often uses complex compositions with flowers, cropping them to reorient the viewer to a new context for these subjects. Perhaps her most famous of these is Berlin, Hyacinth, and Black Teapot (2014). Peyton’s work is always revelatory and her ability to convey complex and intense emotions while staying true to the economical nature of her art proves that she is truly a modern-day master of the form.

How did painter Elizabeth Peyton get started?

Elizabeth Peyton was born in Danbury, Connecticut in 1965 to a middle-class family. She showed a proclivity for painting at an early age, later studying at the School of Visual Arts in New York City from 1984 - 1987. It was during the early 1990s when Peyton began to experiment with her portraits. She was influenced by Flaubert and Giorgione to create pieces that could express great emotion without tipping over into melodrama or sentimentality. Her big break came in 1998 when Parkett magazine commissioned her to create lithographs for their periodical. It led Peyton to experiment not only with lithographs, but printmaking, monotypes, and woodcuts.

How much are Elizabeth Peyton’s paintings worth?

Elizabeth Peyton’s pieces can be valued at around $10,000 on the low end to well over $1,500,000 on the high end. Peyton is a vibrant and important American artist whose work almost always commands large numbers when it becomes available. The most ever paid for an Elizabeth Peyton Painting at auction is $1,745,000 for the piece Ben (Villa D’Este) (2002) which sold on May 15th, 2014. This was over $500,000 more than its high estimate. While this is by far Peyton’s highest-selling work, she has had several pieces sell for $800,000 or more in the last decade.

Where to buy Elizabeth Petyon paintings for sale?

See works for sale below. Why buy from Heritage? Art buyers feel confident because our experts know the market and put careful valuations on artwork for sale. We make the bidding process easier to help you expand your art collection.

How to value Elizabeth Peyton paintings?

The best way to value art is to compare past auction prices for similar works. View past sale prices below. When you’re ready to sell, contact Heritage Auctions to request an auction estimate of the likely selling price at auction. If you need a formal written appraisal for estate planning or insurance, please contact our Appraisal Services department.


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