Auction Sale Of Portrait By Denver Native Jordan Casteel Sets The Artist’s New World Record

Listen Now
10min 05sec
<p>Stephanie Wolf/CPR News</p>
<p>Denver-born portrait artist Jordan Casteel speaks during the Denver Art Museum’s media preview of her first solo museum exhibition on Jan. 31, 2019.</p>

A Denver-born painter making waves in the international art scene set a new world record for herself. 

Jordan Casteel’s “Mom,” a portrait of her mother, Lauren Young Casteel, sold at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale in London earlier this month for £515,250, more than $666,000. That's more than double the amount it was estimated to bring in and outdid her previous auction sale record of nearly $393,000 in 2019

Casteel made the work in 2013. It was displayed in her first major museum exhibition last year at the Denver Art Museum — an exhibition that also traveled to the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University in California. 

Before the DAM opening of "Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze," she told CPR News, "I am literally coming home to an institution that I used to occupy as a child... It’s so abstract as a young person, and even as an older person, to think about how it is that you get your work on the walls of a museum."

"A museum itself seems to be a place of culture keeping, an accolade teller, and the value-giver of what it is that you’re looking at," she said. "It’s just something I never thought I could do nor did I know how to do it."

But she did do it, with paintings inspired by people in her life. The artist has referred to her mother as “the Oprah of Denver.” An activist and community organizer, Lauren Young Casteel was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014. 

Casteel paints towering portraits of friends, family members, neighbors and strangers she meets as she explores the streets of Harlem, which she now calls home. 

"Portraiture and painting is just my way of slowing down and getting to know people at my own pace,” she said. “What’s most important to me is to capture the essence of the people that I’m painting. So my experience of them, the gesture of their pinky sticking out or the clothes that they’re wearing, or the environment that they’re in."

Her new personal record comes before her first solo institutional show in New York. “Jordan Casteel: Within Reach,” featuring 40 of her works, opens this week at the New Museum.

More on Jordan Casteel