According to Rebekah Bowling, co-head of day sales at Phillips, the 2018 sale of Whitney’s work Slow Walk No. #2 (2016) marked an important shift in the course of his secondary market. The vivid oil on linen artwork was featured in a 20th-century and contemporary art day sale at Phillips in London, and sold for £87,500 ($121,196). Bowling noted that prior to this sale, Whitney’s works were typically priced at around $40,000 to $60,000, and showed up at some smaller regional auction houses—2018 was the first time the artist’s work had appeared at the auction house.
Since then, the demand for Whitney’s work on the secondary market has skyrocketed. Earlier this year, Whitney’s 2016 work Light a New Wilderness sold for a whopping £525,000 ($726,618) at a Christie’s 20th- and 21st-century evening sale in London, notching a new record for the artist and selling for nearly three times its high estimate of £180,000 ($248,515).
Whitney’s work is typically sought after by American and European collectors, though his base has expanded over the years. “There was a large European contingent from the start,” Bowling said. According to her, there has also been more recent interest from collectors in Asian countries. She has also noticed an uptick in attention from less established collectors. Though newer collectors may be priced out of some of Whitney’s larger and more expensive works, Bowling said she’s noticed young collectors buying his works on paper.