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British gallery White Cube now represents the archive of late American Abstract Expressionist painter Lynne Drexler outside the US, after market demand for the artist’s work erupted last year, leading to seven-figure auction results.

Drexler was born in 1928 in Virginia and in the mid-1950s moved to New York, where she was a student of Hans Hofmann and later Robert Motherwell. She married John Hultberg, who was a much more established painter. Drexler moved to Monhegan, a remote island off the coast of Maine in 1983 and continued to work as an artist painting sea scenes and taking part in shows at local galleries. Drexler died in 1999, and stacks of paintings and works on paper were found at her home.

Lynne Drexler, Flowered Hundred (1962)

Long overlooked by the art market establishment in favour of her male contemporaries, two of Drexler’s colourful, mosaic-like paintings far exceeded their estimates at high-profile auctions last year. Flowered Hundred (1962) sold for $1.19m with fees against a $40,000 to $60,000 estimate at Christie’s New York in March 2022. Two months later, the artist’s auction record was reset when Herbert’s Garden (1960) fetched $1.5m with fees against a $70,000 to $100,000 estimate after some 20 bidders pushed up the price, also at Christie’s New York. Also in 2022, Drexler’s work was the subject of a joint gallery show at Berry Campbell, which will continue to represent the Drexler estate in the US, and Mnuchin Gallery in New York. Drexler’s work has remained in demand since then, though her market has largely been centred in the US.

“It is very exciting for White Cube to have the opportunity to promote the legacy of Lynne Drexler on the international stage,” Sukanya Rajaratnam, White Cube’s global director of strategic market initiatives, said in a statement. “The artist’s early paintings from the 1960s have already garnered much attention, however there are many subsequent bodies of work that are equally as innovative and have yet to be presented to global audiences in a thoughtful and rigorous way.”

Starting in November 2024, White Cube will present solo exhibitions of Drexler’s paintings at the gallery’s spaces in London and Hong Kong. One of Drexler’s rare large canvases, Maui Melody (1968), will be displayed at White Cube’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach next week.

Maui Melody (1968)

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