We present our experts' comments on the most interesting sales, records, and price increases in selected segments of the art market. 



Post-War and Contemporary Art


"The year 2021 was extraordinary for contemporary art, due to, among others, an outstanding work by one of the most famous Polish post-war painters, Andrzej Wróblewski. ‘Two Married Women', as this is the painting in question, is a classic example of a masterpiece. The work dates from 1949 and is part of the ‘Social Contrasts' series, in which the author contrasted good and evil, in line with the Stalinist propaganda. ‘Two Married Women' is commonly regarded as a masterpiece mainly because it combines two rarely coexisting features - on the one hand, it is a widely recognized work, and on the other - extremely rare. The history of the art market knows few examples of such works by Andrzej Wróblewski, which would be also available for sale. That is why the painting aroused great excitement among collectors and became the most expensive painting sold at an auction in Poland,"


-  Anna Szynkarczuk, head of the Contemporary Art Department.


Polish Contemporary Art


"The auctions of Polish Contemporary Art, organized cyclically since 2013, are one of the most dynamically developing auction projects of DESA Unicum. We present the works by artists who have already appeared in the art world during various exhibitions and winning many awards. Their works are in numerous private, museum, and gallery collections. The generation that made its debut in the 1990's includes Polish female artists with an established position: Agata Bogacka, Agata Kus, Martyna Czech, as well as Ewa Juszkiewicz, who is becoming increasingly successful worldwide. Record sales result from a well-thought strategy of our curators, who select the works offered at our auctions. The year 2021 belonged to Ewa Juszkiewicz. For several years, the painter's works have been more and more frequently recognized by critics and collectors as worthy of great notice. A breakthrough moment for Juszkiewicz's international career was her solo exhibition at the prestigious American Gagosian Gallery in 2020. Previously, the artist was distinguished as one of the most promising young painters in the world in Kurt Beers' book ‘100 Painters of Tomorrow'. Both the New York Times and the American Galerie Magazine wrote about Juszkiewicz, and her works appeared in the offer of the most famous auction houses in the world. The record for Juszkiewicz's work was also broken at the ‘Polish Contemporary Art' auction, which was held on November 25, 2021. The painting "Girls up for Grabs" from 2010 was sold for PLN 1.26 million,"


- Katarzyna Żebrowska, Senior Specialist, Contemporary Art Department.



Works on Paper. Post-War and Contemporary Art


"DESA Unicum is the first auction house in Poland to organize an auction dedicated to this artistic medium, being the undeniable leader in this field. This is evidenced by the results achieved in 2021, both in terms of records and the turnover. The success of this project is related to the fact that one may purchase the works of the best artists, whose paintings sell for millions of PLN, for several or tens of thousands PLN. It frequent that the records broken for works on paper are not lower than those at the painting auctions. This is proven by record sales of works by such artists as Andrzej Wróblewski, Tomasz Tatarczyk, Wojciech Fangor, Henryk Stażewski, Maria Jarema, and Władysław Strzemiński. The most expensive work sold at the works on paper auction was Andy Warhol's ‘Dollar' from 1982. The biggest change observed in 2021 is the substantial increase in the number of bidders participating in the auction, as well as the high salability of the entire offer at all price levels.


At the previous auctions, we witnessed the most fierce and exciting bidding, which ended with sales much higher than estimated. It is worth emphasizing that high prices are not only paid for the works of artists whose paper was the main artistic medium, but also of those whose works on paper complement their whole artistic output. Last year, we saw a significant increase in the prices of works by artists such as Aleksander Jachtoma, Jan Dobkowski, and Edward Dwurnik,"


- Agata Matusielańska, Specialist, Contemporary Art Department.


Modern and Contemporary Sculpture


"The October edition of the ‘Modern and Contemporary Sculpture' auction was undoubtedly one of the most exciting events of the past season. It was during this auction that another spectacular record was broken. The installation composed of fifty figures titled "Crowd III" from 1989 by Magdalena Abakanowicz was auctioned for a record amount for the Polish art market at that time, and the auction itself achieved the highest turnover in the history of the Polish art market in this sector.

The subsequent successes of Magdalena Abakanowicz's works at auctions prove the growing interest of collectors and investors in sculpture, making it one of the most dynamically developing segments of art not only in Poland but also in the world. Unprecedented price levels are reached by the works of the classics of post-war sculpture, such as Magdalena Abakanowicz, Alina Szapocznikow, Igor Mitoraj, but also by modern artists such as Mirosław Bałka, Xawery Wolski, or Tomasz Górnicki, who enjoys increasing interest from the collectors,"


- Alicja Sznajder, Specialist, Contemporary Art Department.


Magical Art. Surrealism & Magic Realism


"The works by the artists associated with Magical Art are becoming more and more popular among the audience. This artistic movement, taking us to the world of imagination, magic, and dreams, stimulates our emotions like no other. 2021 was an exceptionally good year for this market segment - new records were broken, and the December auction brought a historic PLN 5,000,000 turnover. The auction offer regularly features works by artists such as Wojciech Siudmak, Rafał Olbiński, Zdzisław Beksiński, Tomasz Sętowski, Maksymilian Novak-Zempliński, Jarosław Jaśnikowski.

Nonetheless, the past season definitely belonged to the art of Zdzisław Beksiński, rediscovered by the next generation of art lovers. The works of the leading painter of the 20th century, an icon of surrealism worldwide, are today one of the most sought-after objects on the collector's market. The painting ‘Figure', sold in October, topped its highest estimate by three times - just after thousands of visitors could see it during the largest exhibition of Beksiński's works to date at the Koneser Center in Warsaw,"


 - Samanta Belling, Specialist, Contemporary Art Department.


Graphic Art, Prints and Multiple 

"We may also find exceptional examples of contemporary graphic art among the numerous works offered by DESA Unicum. Although in the case of these works it is definitely difficult to talk about uniqueness, a few examples certainly deserve to be called so. In 2021 our team found a fantastic collection of several thousand graphic works, which included, among others, Jerzy Panek's unique woodcut titled ‘Old Beijing in Winter', which was very rare on the art market. The woodblock it was made during the artist's trip to China in October 1956. The print we acquired was originally given from the artist to Ewa Garztecka, the founder of the Krzywe Koło Club, and over the years it passed from hand to hand as a gift. Another spectacular discovery was the collection of an art historian and expert in the field of contemporary graphic art, Danuta Wróblewska, who collected several hundred unique prints, most often receiving them from artists as a gift.

The graphic works by the artists who achieve the greatest successes at the auction are also remarkably exceptional, including increasingly popular prints by Wojciech Fangor. His inconspicuous, measuring from several to several dozen centimeters in height and width, etchings and aquatintes amount to around fifty thousand PLN,"


- Wiktor Komorowski, Auction Coordinator, Contemporary Art Department


Photography Classics


"Photography is one of the most universal artistic media. Many artists deal with photography in addition to their main artistic specialization, gaining fame and publicity. Photographs are purchased and appreciated by collectors all over the world. The ‘Photography Classics' auction is the only cyclical photography auction taking place on the Polish art market. The two editions, spring and autumn, present you with an offer including the best Polish and foreign photographs. The catalogs ‘Photography Classics and Avantgarde' feature historic works by the greatest masters of Polish photography, iconic avant-garde photographs, as well as contemporary works by the youngest artists. For several years, photographs by foreign authors have appeared more and more often in the auction catalog. The second catalog for the auction usually includes a thematic offer presenting photos of celebrities, actors, musicians, or figures from the world of fashion,"


- Katarzyna Żebrowska, Senior Specialist, Contemporary Art Department.