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.

Gideon of the Trials, the last of the SDCC planeswalker original paintings by Terese Nielsen sold for $22,988 late Sunday night, just a few dollars more than Liliana, Untouched by Death just a month earlier.

From The Art of Terese Nielsen Facebook Page

The Facts

Gideon of the Trials follows the suit of its collection counterparts as a traditional painting with an image size of 14.75” x 20” on 17” x 22” Arches Oil Paper. In each auction Terese has described her materials used, and the ones denoted for Gideon, acrylic, oil, colored pencil, pastel, Kremer gold, is the most descriptive and elaborate of the five. This is the only painting of the five featuring a male figure as the planeswalker and a female subject (Serra) in the stained glass.

From The Art of Terese Nielsen Facebook Page

The Hammer

Let’s recap for a moment. The following are the prices realized for the SDCC Planeswalkers:

Liliana, Untouched by Death: $22,950

Nissa, Vital Force: $25.600

Chandra, Torch of Defiance: $35,000

Jace, Cunning Castaway: $28,100

Gideon of the Trails: $22.988

A grand total of $134.638 was achieved over the last five weeks for these five exceptional works, and my heartfelt congratulations go to Terese Nielsen on an absolute triumph.

Based on the eBay bidder information we can see in the results, the same bidder purchased every planeswalker but Nissa, and I mentioned in a previous article I would not be surprised if the other buyer (of now four out of five) was pursuing the painting they missed at the final price plus a healthy premium.

I’m not sure whether or not Nissa found its way to the other buyer, but the perennial underbidder that purchased Nissa was absent entirely from this auction. The fact that they were the runner up in each of the other auctions, and then didn’t bid here at all, leads me to believe that their interest in collecting these paintings has changed for whatever reason. Otherwise why continue to try and buy each preceding work and bow out entirely on the last piece? Perhaps the eventual collector will reveal themselves in the future, or even better these paintings be lent to another edition of the Magic Art Show for the public to see.

These pieces have placed themselves among the top 20 in terms of prices realized for original Magic paintings, and as a collection they are simply incredible.

The Art

From The Art of Terese Nielsen Facebook Page

It has been great to be able to see inside the art brief on these pieces, as Terese has made sure to share the mood and direction for each of these paintings. The one for Gideon is quite extensive:

Relationship: Gideon strives to live his life according to ideals like those of the peaceful, graceful Serra. At the same time, he will always be a fighter, and he wonders if Serra did enough to directly face evil.

SERRA: Serra is a slender blonde woman in a white dress. She is shown with angel wings and a halo, and is associated with flowers and the rising sun. She is serene, peaceful, gentle, kind, and nurturing.

GIDEON: He is turned away from Serra, creating a sense of separation between them.

Mood: A weary but determined soldier stands in the shadow of a peaceful, nurturing goddess. (From the eBay auction description)

The final work is so very representative of her initial goals. She has separated the two figures in both posture and palette, and the look of pure and complete exhaustion we see in Gideon’s face is distinct. Though he is worn he is not defeated, and even being turned away from Serra he seems to be fueled by her radiance.

From the eBay auction

I talked about the influence of Alphonse Mucha during my first article on Liliana, and we see that inspiration here once again. Look at this poster depicting “Mother Russia” from 1922, after the fall of the Russian provincial government and the rise of the Soviet Union. Entitled Russia Must Recover, we can see the same exhaustion, the same slumping figure, and the same weary present sense of tenacity in this Mother as we see in Gideon.

Russia Restituenda [Russia Must Recover] by Alphonse Mucha, color lithograph poster, 1922.


From The Art of Terese Nielsen Facebook Page

That’s a wrap, folks! Or is it?

All five of the original paintings for the SDCC planeswalkers have sold and found new collections to be a part of, but Terese told me via email the sketches are also to be sold, and in the same order as the final paintings. The first hasn’t come online yet, but stay tuned to my Twitter to check it out once they hit the auction block.

It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to write about these fantastic pieces of art. Stays tuned to Hipsters of the Coast for more Art Market Minutes and let’s follow this blooming MTG art market together.

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!

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