The Houston Rodeo is wrapping up this weekend and auction results are out for this year’s Rodeo School Art Program auction. Last year, we reported that the grand champion artwork sold for $185,000, while the reserve champion painting went for $220,000. Surprisingly, at a time when sales are down in the global art market, this year’s rodeo auction drew a record amount of money—the grand champion painting, created by 18-year-old Andy Wei, fetched $235,000, and the reserve champion work, by Anton Zhou, sold for $221,000.
While the hammer price is high, many attendees at the auction aren’t in it for the artwork itself—instead, they use the auction as a platform to donate money towards the rodeo’s education programs. In this spirit, oftentimes the works don’t have a single buyer; this year’s top two works have no less than seven people pooling their money for each painting. That isn’t to say the students don’t get a hefty check: Wei earned at least $28,000 for his hyperrealistic painting of a cowboy and his dog, and Zhou earned at least $14,000. To see all pieces from the auction, please go here.