Bonhams Announces Ernie Barnes for Early September

Commissioned church scene from 1990s is offered with $500,000 estimate


If you thought the Ernie Barnes wave had run its course, last week gave you a big surprise. During Christie's London sale, Main Street Pool Hall from 1978 made $1.8 million against an estimate under $100,000. That was the third highest price paid for a Barnes painting after the $15 million record Sugar Shack from 1976 and the $2.34 million paid for Storm Dance from 1977. Both of those sales took place in early May.

Christie's hasn't had the market all to itself. Though the auction house has sold the top four works. Bonhams got $882,375 for The Maestro in May of this year. That too was a work from the 1970s

Eager to capitalize on the momentum, Bonhams announced that has another Barnes work for sale in early September. Solid Rock Congregation from 1993 was commissioned by gospel singer Margaret Bell who was married to former NFL player Keith Byars. 

Bonhams has decided not to play the unrealistically low estimate game with this work. Offered with a $500,000 low estimate, a number that was only slightly below Barnes' record price just three months ago, the work will travel to London and Los Angeles this Summer. 

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