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Robert Longo (American, b.1953)


Birth Place: New York, NY USA


Who is painter and sculptor Robert Longo?

Robert Longo is a painter and sculptor best known for his “Men in the Cities” paintings from the 1980s. His work often uses photorealistic techniques to explore the relationships between mankind and nature. His portraits are often striking, creating a three-dimensional effect thanks to his distinctive chiseled lines. Longo has been adored by the art community since his early career largely because his technique and vision combine in surprising and arresting ways. He is the rare breed of artist who is both visually stunning and challenging in his work. 


Since his breakout in the 1980s, Longo seems to be increasingly comfortable in the public eye and has even directed several music videos for artists as diverse as New Order, Megadeth, and REM, as well as an episode of the horror anthology series, Tales from the Crypt.  He has been exhibited internationally at some of the most renowned galleries in the world including LACMA, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the Musee D’Art Moderne Et D’Art Contemporain de Nice. 

What kind of art does Robert Longo make?

Robert Longo is best known for his photo-realistic portrait paintings but has also worked in music, film, and photography. His “Men in the Cities” series may have brought him widespread acclaim in the art community, but his work in music videos and television has brought him to an even wider audience. Besides the aforementioned, Tales From the Crypt Episode, Longo is perhaps best known for directing famed 1990s cyberpunk movie, Johnny Mnemonic. 

He has done some commercial work, including a series of photographs for the high fashion brand, Bottega Veneta in 2010. He is the lead guitarist of Robert Longo’s Menthol Wars, a punk and experimental music group that was infamous in the New York punk scene of the 1970s. No matter the medium, Longo’s work is always the perfect mix of commercial and critical success, a true cross-sectional artist. 

How did painter Robert Longo get started?

Robert Longo was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1953. From an early age, he was consumed with a desire to ingest all forms of mass media, from books to movies, to television and magazines. He lists his love of comic books as an early influence on the art he creates today. Longo went to college at the University of North Texas but left before receiving a degree. Later, in the 1970s, Longo was the recipient of a grant which allowed him to study at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. This was an extremely influential time on the young artist, and he would receive a BFA in art from Buffalo State College in 1975 when he returned to the United States. He was a staple in the 1970s art and punk scene in New York where he met many famed New York City artists and gallery owners. 

How much are Robert Longo paintings worth?

On the high end, a Robert Longo piece can fetch more than a million dollars. Many of his other works have sold for several hundred thousand dollars at auction. The most ever paid for a Longo piece was for Untitled (Tiger Head, No. 8) (2012) which sold for 1,222,040 at auction in 2016. The piece is typical of the Longo style, photo realistic to the point of almost seeming three dimensional. It sold for significantly higher than its high estimate would suggest. 

Where to buy Robert Longo paintings for sale?

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How to value Robert Longo 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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