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Mel Bochner (American, b.1940)

Art

Birth Place: Pittsburgh (Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, United States)

Biography:

Who is painter and photographer Mel Bochner?

Mel Bochner is an American artist whose paintings often explore the artist’s Jewish heritage. Bonchner is considered a Post-Minimalist artist, his paintings often choosing to explore systems of thought rather than overt self-expression. This can take the form of language or mathematic-themed works that adhere to his minimalist aesthetics. In addition to painting, Bochner is also an extremely successful photographer. His experimental work often appears on large-formats which the artist, in turn, cuts and manipulates.

Bochner’s been recognized for his genius almost since the beginning of his art career in the early 1970s. Bochner’s exploration of the post-minimalist genre helped set the tone for gallery art for the rest of that decade. He’s taught at several prestigious institutions including the School of Visual Arts in New York and Yale University, where he first worked as a teacher’s assistant in 1979. Bochner’s work has been exhibited at several fine art institutions, including the Carnegie Mellon Art Gallery, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Whitney, and the National Gallery of Art.

What kind of art does Mel Bochner make?

Mel Bochner is considered a stalwart of the Post-Minimalist Art community. Whether as a photographer or as a painter, Bochner’s work is a perfect example of the dichotomy of his brain -- exploring personal themes in relation to his Jewish heritage with the seemingly bloodless aesthetic of Post-Minimalism. Since the 1980s, Bochner has made extremely intricate mixed media pieces that fall somewhere between collage and sculpture. These non-standard photographic formats often include multi-panel works that the artist cuts and manipulates before installing them at an exhibition. His work using circular forms in the late 1960s is considered a breakthrough for the Post-Minimalist movement.

How did painter and photographer Mel Bochner get started?

Mel Bochner was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 23rd, 1940. The son of a Jewish middle-class couple, Bochner has explored themes of his Jewishness in his work since the beginning. His art career started early, in high school he won a scholarship and writing award which allowed him to study art at Carnegie Mellon University. He graduated in 1962 and abruptly left for Chicago to study philosophy at Northwestern University. Eventually, he moved back to the east coast, getting a job as a security guard at the Jewish Museum. His show, ``Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant To Be Viewed As Art” was a smash hit in 1966 and helped popularize the conceptual art movement to the larger art world. His move to paintings in the 1970s helped pioneer the new Post-Minimalist aesthetics for which he would become known.

How much are Mel Bochner paintings or photographs worth?

Mel Bochner’s pieces have a wide range of value, from just a few thousand dollars on the low end, or up to nearly $200,000 for major works. The most ever paid for a Mel Bochner painting at auction is $187,500 for the piece Blah, Blah, Blah (2010) which sold on July 2nd, 2020. This is part of a popular series that the artist created from 2010 - present, which bodes well for future value on Bochner’s paintings. His pieces manage to straddle the line between humor and the personal, making them extremely attractive to many buyers and collectors in the art community.

Where to buy Mel Bochner paintings and photographs for sale?

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

How to value Mel Bochner paintings and photographs?

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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Mel Bochner Original Art values sold at auction

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