Wayne Thiebaud’s iconic 1962 still-life painting, “Avocado Salad,” is set to make a splash in the art market, with an estimated price tag of $1.8 million when it goes under the hammer at Hindman in Chicago on September 28.
As one of America’s cherished artistic luminaries, Thiebaud bid farewell on Christmas day in 2021 at the remarkable age of 101. Thiebaud graced the canvas with a delightful touch, bringing delectable indulgences and common objects to life through his distinctive illustrative technique.
The painting, which has been kept privately for over 50 years, comes from the collection of Morton and Estelle Sosland, dedicated art patrons from Kansas City who passed away in 2019 and 2021. The Soslands acquired “Avocado Salad” directly from Allan Stone, Thiebaud’s first New York gallerist in the late 1960s.
The astounding $1.2 million low estimate for “Avocado Salad” at Hindman is a stark contrast to its humble beginnings, as it was valued at just $750 when it was part of the Museum of Modern Art’s art-lending service between 1948 and 1982.
The remarkable artwork represents a departure from Thiebaud’s more well-known confectionery-themed pieces, showcasing his versatility as an artist. While you could once buy an actual avocado for less than a dollar in the late 1950s, the staggering valuation of this piece defies the notion that inflation would only affect grocery store prices.
Wayne Thiebaud’s previous records at auction, including the $19.1 million achieved in 2020 for “Four Pinball Machines,” illustrate the enduring appeal of his work. The sale of “Candy Counter” for $12.5 million in May 2023, well above its estimate, further demonstrates the strong demand for his art.
With “Avocado Salad” poised to join these ranks, it underscores Thiebaud’s enduring legacy and the ever-increasing value of his diverse artistic repertoire.
Featured Image: Wayne Thiebaud, Avocado Salad (1962). Courtesy of Hindman