A twenty-three year old sketch drawn by Donald Trump was auctioned off Thursday afternoon, selling for $16,000 to an anonymous buyer.
Los Angeles’ Julien’s Auctions sold Trump’s drawing of the Empire State Building during their Street, Contemporary and Celebrity Art auction. The auction was held at galleries as well as online and over the phone. The drawing was only estimated to fetch $8,000 to $12,000.
Trump’s drawing was signed “Donald J. Trump” and features a blocky sketch of the iconic New York City skyscraper.
He doodled the 12 by 9 inch piece at his Mar-a-Lago for a charity auction in 1995, earning less than $100. Trump’s doodles might not be of the most artistic importance, but his rise to the presidency and buyer interest in controversial political figures has ensured that his sketches will sell.
This summer, another Trump doodle sold for nearly $30,000.
— Juliens Auctions (@JuliensAuctions) October 21, 2017
The auction described Trump’s drawing as “Hand drawn in black marker on paper and signed Donald J. Trump, his sketch of the Empire State Building symbolized Trump’s ascent as a real estate mogul as he brokered the sale of New York’s most iconic symbol,” the auction house noted in a statement.
According to at least one art critic, Trump’s drawing is of little value artistically speaking. David Coleman says “Trump’s fans will buy anything he shovels.”
As for the merit of the art, Newsweek reached out to the International Association of Art Critics-United States, based in New York City, for a critic’s assessment. “What’s most interesting is that Trump’s general speaking style of big gestures and no details extends to his drawing skill,” David Coleman, a freelance writer and critic who has appeared in The New York Times, Artforum, The Wall Street Journal and Vanity Fair, tells Newsweek in an email. “Verisimilitude isn’t really his strong suit,” he adds. “As always, reality is irrelevant. Also, it’s more proof that Trump’s fans will buy anything he shovels.”
Trump likely had little intention of making an artistic statement when he scratched out the drawing for charity twenty years ago.
His businessman-turned-President status and the connection between his legacy and the subject of the drawing certainly says more for the piece than “verisimilitude.” Verisimilitude is an approach to realism through detail.
I’m no art critic, but I have some practical, layman’s advice for realists like Coleman: Don’t argue with results.
The New York Times reports:
According to Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles, where the sale took place, Mr. Trump created the 12-by-9-inch drawing at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida for a charity auction that took place in 1995. At the time, the signed sketch sold for less than $100.
It’s not the first work of art by Mr. Trump to fall into the eager hands of collectors in the wake of his presidency. In July, a similarly sized drawing of a more comprehensive Manhattan skyline sold for $29,000 at Nate D. Sanders Auctions.
Mr. Trump’s history with the Empire State Building fills a dramatic chapter in the annals of hallowed Manhattan real estate. In 1994, Mr. Trump announced that he’d acquired 50 percent of the title to the 102-story Fifth Avenue icon, which he claimed had fallen from its “rightful position as a world-class real-estate asset.”
Nate D. Sanders Auctions auctioned a Trump drawing of the New York City skyline in July, with Trump Tower at the center and signed in gold inks. It sold for $29,184, including the premium.
Nate Sanders, the auction house founder, said “Trump has that ‘wow’ factor.”
According to The Washington Times, some of the proceeds will benefit WHDD radio in Sharon, Connecticut.