UPDATE: Wizards of the Coast ended its relationship with Terese Nielsen in June 2020 after controversy over Nielsen’s Twitter follows and likes of conspiracy-driven and trans-exclusionary accounts and tweets, as well as a donation of artwork she made to a racist, QAnon, and conspiracy-focused YouTube channel.

Late on Sunday night, Jace, Cunning Castaway sold for $28,100 on eBay with no further advances in the final minutes. It was the fourth SDCC planeswalker original painting by Terese Nielsen that has sold in the last month.

From The Art of Terese Nielsen Facebook Page

The Facts

Jace, Cunning Castaway is identical in size and medium to the other three that have sold, being is a traditional painting created with acrylic, oil, and colored pencils with an image size of 14.75” x 20” on 17” x 22” Arches Oil Paper. Her size, palette, and materials have been consistent, and this has helped ensure the cohesiveness of the entire set and is but one factor to their overall beauty. This is the only painting of the five featuring a male figure as both the planeswalker and the subject of the stained glass.

Jace, Cunning Castaway sketch in process. From The Art of Terese Nielsen Facebook Page

The Hammer

The preceding pieces have been nothing short of a bidding war between what appears to be two buyers. Several other players are involved until approximately the $15,000 mark, and from there two top buyers have traded bids until one is victorious. So far, the same bidder has purchased Liliana, Chandra, and now Jace, and the runner-up to these auctions is the original purchaser of Nissa.

It is strange that Jace arrived at his final selling price almost a full day before he sold, with zero action at the end from the penultimate bidder. In each of the pervious auctions, the paintings receive plenty of bidding in the first few days and then had significantly increased in the final minutes, as many auctions do.

The lack of late bidding could be due to several factors. The underbidder could have been largely unavailable, traveling or otherwise occupied, and auctions wait for no one. They could also just have been less interested in this piece, whether it’s the subject of Jace and Urza or just not a work they valued over $28,000. I also mentioned in an earlier Art Market Minute I would not be surprised if the winner was pursuing the painting for Nissa, Vital Force to try and keep the set together: perhaps a deal was struck and the underbidder is now “out” for all intents and purposes. The next auction, for Gideon of the Trials, should reveal some of this, though as of the writing of this article, neither of these top two bidders has bid yet.

The Art

From The Art of Terese Nielsen Facebook Page

We are once again privy to the direction for this piece as a part of the auction, and it really sets the tone of this painting

Relationship: Jace doesn’t know much about Urza, but he knows that Urza saved the world—by manipulating thousands and sacrificing millions. To Jace, Urza is a cautionary tale, the monster you become when you think you’re smarter than everyone else. Jace doesn’t want to become like Urza, but he will if that’s the cost of serving the greater good.

Mood: An enigmatic hero sizes himself up against a morally ambiguous savior.

(From the eBay auction description)

Look at their eyes. Terese has again matched the eyes of these two legends, and this really ties them together. Urza’s glowing eyes and drawn down mouth show his confidence in his decisions, and indifference to what he has done. Jace shares these eyes, but the uncertainty behind them is clear.

From the eBay auction

He does not know what the future holds, only that if he must, he will. The weight of events to come is apparent on his mind. He leans against the table from the weight of his world, and draws his hood as if to retreat into his own mind for a solution.

From The Art of Terese Nielsen Facebook Page

In Other News

The SDCC Planeswalker Set hit the Hasbro Toy Shop at 12pm on Monday, lasting less than a half hour, and only that long due to an incredible website lag. They remain sold out as of the writing of this article, but could have a limited restock as we saw last year.

There is one final painting to go before the sketch auctions begin: Gideon of the Trials, featuring Serra in the stained glass, and it is live right now. Will we see the bidding war between the two top bidders continue? Or will the repeat underbidder concede to the winner of the rest of the set and not bid as strong? As always, only time will tell, so stay tuned for the exciting final sale for the SDCC Promo Planeswalkers this coming weekend!

Donny Caltrider has been playing Magic since 2002 and collecting original Magic art since 2017. He has an M.A. in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University and enjoys telling stories about art, objects, and the intersection of fantasy with real-life. You can find him on Twitter talking about #mtgart, museums, and other #vorthos related goodness. Follow along and continue the conversation!

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.