On Saturday, November 28, 2020, the original acrylic on canvas painting for Seb McKinnon’s Damnation was sold on the MTG Art Market for $30,000. It is perhaps the marquee work in the newly announced Artist Series: Seb McKinnon Secret Lair drop that features four new artworks by McKinnon and the first of four original pieces to be sold.

Damnation by Seb McKinnon, acrylic on canvas, 16” x 20”

Damnation by Seb McKinnon is a work of acrylic on canvas measuring 16 inches by 20 inches. It was commissioned for Magic: the Gathering’s first Artist Series Secret Lair drop, which features four new illustrations by Seb McKinnon, each for cards of the artist’s choosing. The published card art was completed digitally from this detailed acrylic painting, and varies slightly from the original work.

The four chosen cards are illustrated to tell a story, which is also told through the flavor text on the cards that was written by McKinnon’s brother, Liam. He chronicles the tale on a phenomenal Twitter thread and it’s something I’ll be exploring more in in a future article.

The original work was showcased on the MTG Art Market shortly after the cards were announced and McKinnon opened the option for offers before an auction began. The next day, with only a $5,000 opening bid ask, the sale for Damnation was underway. As a part of the auction, McKinnon also announced a fantastic gesture; that 10% of the proceeds would be donated to the Pure Art Foundation, a Canadian charity “committed to poverty alleviation and empowerment in marginalized communities.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bids began to flow in slowly from a number of interested collectors, all made publicly, sometimes raising by $100, sometimes by $500. By the end of the first day the high bid stood at $11,000.

The pace would then quicken, as considerable action began to take place as the auction neared its end. Multi-thousand dollar advances, most from private bidders pushed the work to $20,000, where it would remain until near the end.

With less than a minute remaining, a collector bidding in the comments who has become increasingly active, known only as “Wk Wk,” placed a $20,500 advance. This incited a twenty minute bidding battle that pushed the piece another $10,000; when the final hammer fell, a private collector was victorious at $30,000, and this work was sold.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It comes as no surprise really; that a traditional painting of an important card by one of Magic’s very best would end with one of the highest prices realized of 2020. It’s hauntingly beautiful, deeply inspired by Hieronymus Bosch and yet still very contemporary and extremely legible at card size. It’s one of the most exciting Magic artworks to come out this year.

As mentioned earlier, this is but one of four original components that accompanies these four cards, and only the first to be sold. As of the writing of this article, the other three have not been sold to private offer and may well come to auction in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to the Art Market Minute on Hipsters of the Coast to watch the story unfold.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.