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Mary Corse (American, b.1945)



Mary Corse is a California artist and painter whose work plays with the viewer’s perception of light. Her work has been described as both American Abstract Expressionism and American Minimalism. While she first gained fame in the 1960s with the Light and Space art movement, it wasn’t until the 21st century that her work was recognized for the groundbreaking material that it was. 

A typical Mary Corse painting will appear monochrome and white on a shaped canvass made of plywood. Her later work plays with glass microspheres (reflective beads often used to brighten lines on the highway) or fluorescent bulbs. While she has mostly stayed in the white aesthetic, occasionally her work experiments with black or other monochromes. Deceptively simple, a Corse work is highly responsive to its environment and can often change depending on the light in the room -- making these one-of-a-king pieces highly desirable for the modern collector. 

What type of art does Mary Corse Create?

Mary Corse is an artist and painter who is most famous for her involvement in the legendary Light and Space movement of the 1960s. Minimalist in its nature, Corse’s monochrome paintings use simple geometric shapes and columns of plywood painted white to create interesting and complex spatial artwork. She is one of the founding members of the Light Art movement. 

How often do Mary Corse paintings come up for auction?

Mary Corse's paintings have exploded in popularity over the last half-decade. As such, you’d think a number of her paintings were either at auction or about to come to auction at any given time. Supply doesn’t always meet demand (only 42 works have come to auction block), and consequently, the price for a Corse painting is often much higher than initial estimates might indicate. Recent auctions have seen an almost 200% realized price increase above the estimate. 

How much is a Mary Corse painting worth?

A typical Mary Corse painting is usually estimated between the $20,000-$60,000 range. For more iconic work this number can balloon into six figures easily. As we said, the market for a Corse painting is exploding and it shouldn’t be a surprise to any prospective collector that the estimated prices often underestimate what a painting may go for. 

Which Mary Corse painting is the most valuable? 

Currently, the highest ever paid price for a painting by Mary Corse is $312,500. It was for the painting, Untitled (White Light Grid) (1988). It was at Los Angeles Modern Auctions on June 18th, 2018. Her work is experiencing a surge that coincides with a number of exhibitions at the Whitney, LACMA, The Guggenheim, and other prestigious art institutions. 

What are the most famous paintings by Mary Corse? 

Any of her White Light paintings are probably the most famous. Of these, the piece Untitled (White Light, L-Corners, Beveled), (1969) may be the most famous. While she was ignored for decades, a recent resurgence has seen many collectors and critics re-evaluate the catalog of Corse, making her one of the 21st century’s most sought after American artists. 

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