20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London / 13 February 2020
20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London / 13 February 2020
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13 February, 7pm
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1. Amoako Boafo
The Lemon Bathing Suit signed, inscribed and dated 'AMOAKO M BOAFO 2019 KING' centre right oil on unstretched canvas 205.7 x 193 cm (80 7/8 x 75 7/8 in.) Painted in 2019.
Provenance Roberts Projects, Los Angeles Jefrey Deitch, Los Angeles Acquired from the above by the present owner
Estimate £30,000-50,000 $39,100-65,200 €35,300-58,800 ‡ plus Buyers Premium and VAT*
‘Most of the characters are people that share the same ideas as me. Others are also people that I fnd strength in-how they celebrate/live their blackness.’ Amoako Boafo
*The amount of Buyer’s Premium, VAT and, if applicable, Artist’s Resale Right payable is dependent on the sale outcome. For full details see Calculating the Purchase Price in the Buyer’s Guide online or in this catalogue. Buyer’s Premium is payable at a maximum of 25%. VAT, where applicable, is payable at 20% on the Buyer’s Premium.
‘Whenever I'm behind a painting I just lose myself and I'm just in it. I mean, I'm kind of aware of the world and what I'm doing but then I also get into a diferent sphere, where it's just me.’ Amoako Boafo
David Hockney, California Copied from 1965 Painting in 1987, acrylic on canvas, Collection Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). © David Hockney. Image: courtesy of the artist’s studio.
Lounging serenely by the pool, an anonymous black female body takes over the rippling surface of The Lemon Bathing Suit, 2019. Dressed with the eponymously-patterned swimming garment, the woman is rendered with characteristically brash brushstrokes, likening her skin to the wavering water surrounding her and frmly contrasting it with the sleek, smooth quality of both the white pool mattress she is lying on, and the wood-hued border circumventing the pool. This painting technique – merging furries of brown, tan and blue, and fuctuating between straight and wrinkly lines – is emblematic of Amoako Boafo’s mode of fguration, and has called comparisons with the jagged aesthetic of Austrian painter Egon Schiele, who similarly undertook a gestural approach to portraiture. Yet Boafo’s work eludes psychological torment; instead, the artist sets friends, acquaintances and celebrities against summery, ethereal backdrops of which the countenance is usually bright and formally polished, departing from the protagonists’ beguilingly roughened silhouettes. ‘Most of the characters are people that share the same ideas as me. Others are also people that I fnd strength in-how they celebrate/live their blackness’ the artist said (Amoako Boafo, quoted in Victoria L. Valentine, ‘Amoako Boafo’s First Exhibition at Roberts Projects in Los Angeles Centers Black Subjectivity’, Culture Type, 15 February 2019, online). In this sense, The Lemon Bathing Suit demonstrates the possibilities enabled by the painterly medium, while at the same time boasting the wealth of black culture. In 2019, Boafo was chosen as the frst artist-in-residence at the new Rubell Museum in Miami, where he worked on new paintings that would be featured at the institution’s inaugural exhibition. Gaining increasing recognition both critically and institutionally, the Ghanaian-born artist recalls his beginnings as a painter in Accra, where he grew up with his mother. ‘Art has really never been a part of my life growing up, because no Ghanaian parents would encourage their children to study art since it will not bring them stable income. [But] for me, drawing was one way to avoid a beating or getting into any trouble. Instead of running around, I will just sit home and draw’ (Amoako Boafo, quoted in Victoria L. Valentine, ‘Amoako Boafo’s First Exhibition at Roberts Projects in Los Angeles Centers Black Subjectivity’, Culture Type, 15 February 2019, online). The artist subsequently enrolled in an art school in his native city, and moved to Vienna upon graduating in 2007. Following his relocation, Boafo co-founded ‘We Dey’ (‘We Are’ in pidgin) in 2013 – an artistic collective that sought to re-introduce black perspectives to the Viennese art scene. From the same idea was born his inaugural Diaspora Series, which portrays ‘individuals from the Diaspora and the continent by highlighting self perception and beauty’ (Amoako Boafo, ‘Artist Statement’, Artist's Website, online). The Lemon Bathing Suit is a result of this stylistic and theoretical trajectory; in many ways, it resembles the culturally motivated art of Toyin Ojih Odutola, whose paintings form an equally lavish and complex portraiture of black identity.
In addition to inviting a refection on blackness, Boafo conjures a number of themes that enthralled artists throughout the history of painting. Most prominently, the subjects of the pool and bather that permeate The Lemon Bathing Suit are iconic symbols that inspired artists such as Paul Cézanne, Pierre Bonnard, and David Hockney in their respective oeuvres. Notably, Hockney’s California Copied From 1965 Painting in 1987 portrays the coolness attributed to the theme of pool: an amalgamation of reverie, nonchalance and leisure for those who fnd themselves in it. With The Lemon Bathing Suit, Boafo infuses the basin with a contemporary twist, adorning the portrayed woman with a swimsuit and sunglasses that both seem to refect contemporary fashion. In doing so, the artist paints a distinctly 21st century picture – further heightened by the painting’s large, billboard-like dimensions.
In a stunning display of painterly efect, The Lemon Bathing Suit demonstrates the quality whereby Boafo’s compositions seem to run forever in motion, notwithstanding their two-dimensional form. ‘Despite their static poses, [Boafo’s characters] seem ever shifing and unfxed’, Sharon Mizota writes (Sharon Mizota, ‘In Amoako Boafo’s portraits, every brushstroke of every black face matters’, The Los Angeles Times, 20 February 2019, online). As such, the protagonist within the present work appears to foat atop the pool she is set against; moving away with the wind.
Property from an Important Collection
2. Julie Curtiss
Four Buns signed, titled and dated ‘Four Buns, 2019 Julie Curtiss’ on the reverse acrylic, vinyl and oil on canvas 122 x 122.3 cm (48 x 48 1/8 in.) Painted in 2019. Estimate £80,000-120,000 $105,000-158,000 €94,800-142,000 ‡ ♠
Provenance Anton Kern Gallery, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner Exhibited New York, Anton Kern Gallery, Julie Curtiss. Wildlife, 25 April - 15 June 2019 Literature ‘Julie Curtiss Unleashes “Wildlife” to Anton Kern Gallery’, JUXTAPOZ, 21 May 2019 (illustrated)
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‘Hair itself is amorphous, but you can shape it; it’s inert and alive at once... it's interesting to observe how some people recoil at the presence of human hair, as if in the presence of a corpse.’ Julie Curtiss
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Presenting four buns of auburn hair spiralling in almost perfect symmetry, Four Buns, 2019, exemplifes Julie Curtiss’ fascination with the body, and her ability to transform real, tangible elements into abstract entities. The artist’s paintings, inspired by ‘a feeling, a gesture, a paradox, a story, a memory’, together compose an ever-intriguing oeuvre that draws from surrealism, flm noir, and Domenico Gnoli’s haptic paintings of hair and clothing, captured from a close angle (Julie Curtiss, quoted in Emily Burns, ‘Q&A with Julie Curtiss’, Maake Magazine, 2019, online). Painted in 2019, the present work is an exquisite example of Curtiss’ hypnotic painterly practice, that is gaining increasing critical momentum worldwide. Growing up in Paris to a Vietnamese father and a French mother, Julie Curtiss commenced her artistic studies at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2004, afer receiving the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy Award. Later, she became acquainted with the art of the Chicago Imagists, who she drew inspiration from and confesses an indebtedness to in her recent work. Bearing a specifc resemblance to the paintings of Christina Ramberg, Curtiss’ work similarly touches on spatial compression and the permeating allegorical allusion to female sensuality, defned most strikingly by her use of hair as a malleable
object of both fetishistic desire and revulsion. In clarifying her acute interest in the latter, Curtiss explained, ‘Hair itself is amorphous, but you can shape it; it’s inert and alive at once. On women’s heads it’s a sexual asset, but on her body, it’s considered “abject”… interesting to observe how some people recoil at the presence of human hair, as if in the presence of a corpse’ (Julie Curtiss, quoted in Evan Pricco, ‘Julie Curtiss: Where the Wild Things Are’, JUXTAPOZ, 2019, online). Profoundly allegorical, Four Buns additionally recalls Charles Baudelaire’s infamous poem La Chevelure, 1859, which twines the French poet’s feelings of lust within his loved one’s locks of hair. ‘O curls, O scents which lovely languidness exhale!’ Baudelaire wrote; similarly, Curtiss’ portrayal of four buns transcends the titular chignons’ indexical appearance. Instead, it signifes femininity and the woman’s frequent invisibility in the face of an appearance-driven society; one that focuses on hair and nails – attributes that can be tamed and groomed – without ever delving into the complexities of the soul. In other words, Curtiss infuses mundane elements with depth; in the present work, she makes it seem as though the anonymous model’s hair contains within it the history of modern painting and the luxurious glory of the female body. As remarked by the artist, ‘My artworks are psychological. […]
I am interested in the various aspects that female identity can take. I like to represent smoking teacups and cigarettes, objects that call to mind a domestic, tamed image of women. On the other side, organic, ambiguous body parts allude to the archetype of a woman fused with nature and her animalistic drive’ (Julie Curtiss, quoted in Emily Burns, ‘Artist Statement’, Maake Magazine, 2019, online).
Domenico Gnoli, Lef Side Partition, 1969, acrylic and sand on canvas, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. © Domenico Gnoli, SIAE / DACS, London 2020. Image: Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Speaking about her creative process, Curtiss furthermore contends that, ‘I use acrylics that have a matte fnish and that are highly pigmented’, to achieve a similar efect to gouache. Of the latter medium, she relishes the simultaneous fatness and vividness, particularly useful for subject matters such as hair (Julie Curtiss, quoted in Emily Burns, ‘Q&A with Julie Curtiss’, Maake Magazine, 2019, online). The present work is thus a result of Curtiss’ refective painterly enterprise, focused on colour and depth. ‘There is a particular pleasure in putting the last touches on a painting’, she continues. ‘It’s like the last straight line for a long distance runner. It seems that nothing bad can happen anymore, and you are painting from a safe place, all the hard work behind you’ (Julie Curtiss, quoted in Evan Pricco, ‘Julie Curtiss: Where the Wild Things Are’, JUXTAPOZ, 2019, online).
3. Tschabalala Self
Princess signed and dated ‘Tschabalala Self Tschabalala Self 2017’ on the overlap fabric, acrylic, fashe, oil and human hair on canvas 213 x 183 cm (83 7/8 x 72 in.) Executed in 2017. Estimate £150,000-250,000 $196,000-327,000 €178,000-297,000
Provenance Pilar Corrias, London Stems Gallery, Brussels Private Collection, Belgium Exhibited Brussels, Stems Gallery, Slip, 4 November 23 December 2017 Sète, Centre Régional d’Art Contemporain Occitanie, Mademoiselle, 21 July 2018 – 6 January 2019, pp. 17, 41 and 50 (illustrated, pp. 22 and 27) Stockholm, Loyal Gallery, A Seed's A Star, 15 June - 17 August 2019
Literature Laird Borrelli-Persson, ‘10 Great Women Artists Who Inspired the Fall 2018 Collections’, Vogue, 21 March 2018, online (illustrated) Alex Estorick, ‘“Mademoiselle”: Spotlighting The Embedded Sexualization Of Women’s Identities’, Frieze, 12 September 2018, online
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‘I feel like everyone’s body signifes something culturally; people’s bodies and appearances are used as symbols and signifers the same way that language or any other symbol can be used.’ Tschabalala Self
*The amount of Buyer’s Premium, VAT and, if applicable, Artist’s Resale Right payable is dependent on the sale outcome. For full details see Calculating the Purchase Price in the Buyer’s Guide online or in this catalogue. Buyer’s Premium is payable at a maximum of 25%. VAT, where applicable, is payable at 20% on the Buyer’s Premium.
‘Everything is a part of the space that it was created in.’ Tschabalala Self
Looking at the viewer fxedly in a squatting pose, the famboyant woman in Tschabalala Self’s Princess, 2017, is a token of the artist’s imaginative mind. Designed from imagination, and endowed with grandiose features including a blue face, a orange neck, cheetahpatterned collarbones and mulberry stilettos, the protagonist exudes a strange but compelling force, dominating the wide expanse of the canvas with unparalleled charisma. She is at once divine and levelled, distant and familiar, embodying the claim that Self’s ‘fgures are not exactly portraits and not precisely characters. Self calls them avatars for her own personality’ (Laura Cumming, ‘Lubaina Himid: Invisible Strategies; Tschabalala Self review – history and mystery’, The Guardian, 22 January 2017, online). Experiencing a spectacular ascension in recent years, Self’s body of paintings has been the subject of numerous solo shows including the recent Bodega Run at The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and Tschabalala Self at the Frye Art Museum, Seattle, coinciding in 2019. Notably, Princess was included in the group exhibition Mademoiselle which took place at the Centre Régional d’Art Contemporain Occitanie in 2018-19, bringing together a generation of artists refecting on the diversity of women’s experiences in the modern world. Born in Harlem in 1990, Self primarily focuses on the subject of the black woman in her fgurative output, addressing the way black bodies defy the narrow spaces in which they are ofen forced to exist. Her fgures are realised in a mixture of painting, discarded canvas scraps and fabrics that, when afxed to a stretched canvas, create ripples and undulations that mimic movement. ‘My mom would sew at home [...] I started sewing afer my mom passed’, the artist elucidated. ‘She would trace patterns on the foor, and I frequently work on the foor as well. I use a lot of the fabric that she collected. She would also reuse things. If my sisters outgrew a pair of pants, she would turn them into skirts. I do that in my practice. Everything is a part of the space that it was created in’ (Tschabalala Self, quoted in ‘An Individual Is Made of Many Parts: Tschabalala Self Interviewed by Sasha Bonét’, BOMB Magazine, 20 November 2018, online).
Formally weaving diferent materials, memories and stylistic inspirations within her compositions, Self has cited Romare Bearden’s ‘huge infuence’ in her work, notably with regards to ‘collage, his interest in black quotidian life’ (Tschabalala Self, quoted in ‘An Individual Is Made of Many Parts: Tschabalala Self Interviewed by Sasha Bonét’, BOMB Magazine, 20 November 2018, online). Yet in the confation of materials and genres, Self’s work simultaneously calls to mind the eclectic oeuvre of the artist and writer Faith Ringgold. Growing up surrounded by the Harlem Renaissance, Ringgold conjured complex portraits and scenes of what she knew in diverse materials and dimensions, spanning oil paint, quilt and sculpture. Similarly, Self’s Princess undergoes a prodigious amalgamation of materiality, producing an instantly absorbing image that colours the viewer’s surroundings with values of its own. With her real human hair, her blue breasts and her supernaturallooking eyes, the Princess within the present work – literally displaying stitched Disney princesses on her chest – summons visions of surreal feminine glory. Her hypersexualised body is assertive rather than enshrouded in false humility; it exemplifes Sasha Bonét’s claim that Self’s characters ‘are not dainty or faint beings. They are heavy and deliberate and delicate at once’ (Sasha Bonét, ‘Tschabalala Self maps the intricacy of the black aesthetic’, Document Journal, 30 May 2019, online). Presenting the viewer with a seminal female fgure – unnamed and universal, yet titularly regal – Self subsequently endows her with a distinct contemporary edge. In this perspective, Princess dithers between genres, taking from fguration, abstraction, self-portraiture, and pure fantasy.
Faith Ringgold, Early Works #25: Self-Portrait, 1965, oil on canvas, Brooklyn Museum; Gif of Elizabeth A. Sackler, 2013.96, New York. © Faith Ringgold/ARS, NY and DACS, London, Courtesy ACA Galleries, New York, 2020. Image: Sarah DeSantis, courtesy Brooklyn Museum.
4. Eddie Martinez
Neanderthal Jeans signed with the artist’s initials and dated ‘EM. 14’ lower right oil, enamel, spray paint and paper collage on canvas 182.9 x 274.3 cm (72 x 108 in.) Executed in 2014.
Provenance Half Gallery, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner Exhibited New York, Half Gallery, Eddie Martinez. Neanderthal Jeans, 5 June - 15 July 2014
Estimate £200,000-300,000 $261,000-392,000 €236,000-353,000 plus Buyers Premium and VAT*
Oscillating between traditional and unconventional modes of creation, Eddie Martinez frequently fuses a variety of materials to produce his visceral paintings and sculptures. Swathes of textures – spanning oil, enamel, spray paint, paper collage and studio detritus – traverse his works with unruly vigour; they conjure energetic humanoids of colour that, despite scrawling in no particular direction, bear an innate sense of orderliness. The resulting aesthetic – chaotic, collage-like, and elegant – bears confounding similarity to the frenzied canvases of Willem de Kooning, Philip Guston and Karel Appel. They fuse the essence of multiple art historical movements and iconographies, including action painting, neo-expressionism, and CoBrA. Neanderthal Jeans, 2014, is the fruit of such stylistic amalgamations. With its vivid passages of blue, yellow and red, the abstract image emerges as an explosive deconstruction of Piet Mondrian’s minimalist grid. It strikes the viewer with an incredible mastery of line and colour, as well as a grandiloquent room presence – spreading over the entirety of a two-metre-
wide wall. In its spontaneous formation of organic shapes, it furthermore recalls the smooth balance that Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró struck in their masterful alliance of colour and form. Yet despite demonstrating masterful balance, the animation within Neanderthal Jeans stems from an impetuous gesture that knows no academic constraints. ‘It’s completely instinctual’, the artist has admitted. ‘I don’t know color theory, and I’m not concerned if I’m doing it right or if I’m doing it wrong. It’s just the way I do it’ (Eddie Martinez, quoted in Ted Loos, ‘Eddie Martinez’s Triumphant Abstractions Land at the Bronx Museum of the Arts’, Cultured Magazine, November 2018, online). It thus appears that, in the hour of painting, Martinez channels an awareness of space and colour that allows him to experience the composition in real time, birthing it in a spontaneous, natural jest. Combining all of Martinez’s most celebrated painterly qualities, Neanderthal Jeans successfully conveys the visual universe that has cemented his oeuvre as one of the foremost of his time.
5. Katharina Grosse
Untitled signed, numbered and dated ‘2018 Katharina Grosse 2018/1028’ on the reverse acrylic on canvas 219.9 x 150.2 cm (86 5/8 x 59 1/8 in.) Executed in 2018.
Provenance Gagosian Gallery, London Acquired from the above by the present owner Exhibited London, Gagosian Gallery, Katharina Grosse: Prototypes of Imagination, 16 May - 27 July 2018
Estimate £80,000-120,000 $104,000-157,000 €94,200-141,000 ‡ ♠ plus Buyers Premium and VAT, ARR applies*
‘Te painting process is a curious coincidence of thinking and acting. It is the continuous fux of visual intelligence constituting reality in every moment. Aggression is the energy that enables you to bear the loss of what has to go. It feeds and sustains that process.’ Katharina Grosse
Punctuating uncompromising colour with patches of white and unmodulated transitional hues, Katharina Grosse’s Untitled, 2018, is at once luxuriously plentiful and enigmatically gestural, mimicking an experience of simultaneous presence and absence. Irreducibly engrossed with the act of painting, the artist indeed asserted that when she paints, she feels like she is at once ‘there and not there’, propelled in a realm devoid of earthly constrictions (Katharina Grosse, in conversation with Emily Wasik, ‘Katharina Grosse Sticks to Her Guns’, Interview Magazine, November 2014, online). With its energetic swathes of electric blue, neon yellow, leafy green and carmine red, as well as its vacant spaces akin to erasures, the present work composes a landscape of winding forms that eludes any kind of realistic scenery, revealing the painterly process with which Grosse evolves. The pictorial elements that constitute the fnal image, heavily informed by Grosse’s proclivity to embrace events and incidents, function like ‘the residue of my thinking’, she says; they are proof that her art is honest and instinctive, unfolding alongside her gestural impulses (Katharina Grosse, in conversation with Emily Wasik, ‘Katharina Grosse Sticks to Her Guns’, Interview Magazine, November 2014, online). Born in Freiburg, Germany, in 1961, Grosse studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where she later became a professor from 2010 to 2018. As a student there, Grosse learned unconventional methods of painting that solicited both her body and new tools of predilection, including the spray gun and the stencil. As a result, her distinctive canvases elicit bodily and psychedelic sensations rather than mere two-dimensional impressions. They are achieved over an
Katharina Grosse's installation, Wunderbild, at the Trade Fair Palace in Prague, Czech Republic in 2019. © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2020. Image: Omar Marques/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.
‘Colour is the most magical surface changer. It doesn’t have the obligation to be in a certain space. Colour can appear anywhere.’ Katharina Grosse
elongated period of time, as the placement of the stencils necessitates extended pauses to let the colour dry. ‘If you’re imagining someone standing, pensively, in front of a blank canvas with a paintbrush and palette at hand—think again’, Caroline Goldstein once wrote. ‘Grosse is just as likely be found elbow-deep in raw pigments and strange three-dimensional materials, or armed with a spray-gun used to apply her fuorescent, otherworldly colors onto large-scale installations and paintings’ (Caroline Goldstein, ‘‘‘There Is No Subject-Object Relations Anymore”: Watch Katharina Grosse Explain Her Dynamic Painting Process’, ArtNews, 5 December 2019, online). Oscillating between vandalism and philosophical painting, free-fowing dynamism and rigorous pattern construction, Untitled attests to the new aesthetic Grosse forged, and encapsulates the exciting verve with which she has built her groundbreaking oeuvre. A household name in her native Germany, Grosse has transcended national borders and reached international recognition. Today, her works are housed in such eminent institutions as the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Kunsthaus Zürich, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, among others. Last July, she was commissioned by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to create a work that would be erected alongside Jackson Pollock’s iconic six-metre Mural, 1943. A large scale and site-specifc installation, Grosse’s immense work vividly responds to its eminent counterpart in a celebration of movement and colour, and will be on view until February 2020. The present work, as a recent iteration of Grosse’s successful formula, similarly feasts upon the possibility of colour.
Property from a Distinguished Private American Collection
6. Yayoi Kusama
INFINITY-NETS (KSUZL) signed, titled and dated ‘YAYOI KUSAMA 2017 INFINITY-NETS KSUZL’ on the reverse acrylic on canvas 161.9 x 130.5 cm (63 3/4 x 51 3/8 in.) Painted in 2017, this work is accompanied by a registration card issued by the Yayoi Kusama Inc. studio.
Provenance OTA Fine Arts, Singapore David Zwirner, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2017
Estimate £600,000-800,000 $784,000-1,040,000 €707,000-942,000 ‡ plus Buyers Premium and VAT*
‘My nets grew beyond myself and beyond the canvases I was covering with them. Tey began to cover the walls, the ceiling, and fnally the whole universe. I was standing at the centre of obsession.’ Yayoi Kusama
‘I am putting every efort toward creating my works from morning till night on every single day.’ Yayoi Kusama
Alma Woodsey Thomas, Snoopy Sees Earth Wrapped in Sunset, 1970, acrylic on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. © Alma Woodsey Thomas, 2020. Image: 2020, Smithsonian American Art Museum/Art Resource/ Scala, Florence.
Painted in 2017, INFINITY-NETS (KSUZL) is a resplendent example from Yayoi Kusama’s eponymous series, begun in the late 1950s and extending to the present day. Born in conjunction with Kusama’s relocation from Tokyo to New York in 1958, where she was introduced to the avant-garde school of Abstract Expressionism and the emerging movement of Minimalism, the artist’s Infnity Net paintings boast her most celebrated symbol – the spot – duplicated ad infnitum. In the present work, a subtly concealed red background glistens underneath an overarching orange web, exploring the lively interaction between the two pigments and the rhythmic lattice structure that unifes them. In INFINITY-NETS (KSUZL), a plethora of polka-dotted nets ritualistically overlap each other in interweaving forms, creating larger, biomorphic shapes that waver from foreground to background. Kusama achieved this complex surface through a meticulous process enacted throughout her practice, whereby each dot is minutely placed
atop a laid ground to create a perfectly attuned image. As a result, the nets seem to move across the surface symbiotically, activating an almost three-dimensional presence through the formation of larger spirals and veils. Trained in traditional Japanese Nihonga painting – a genre characterised by naturalistic realism – Kusama received a formal education in the techniques of perspective and shading to illustrate three-dimensional forms. As such, while entirely abstract, Kusama’s nets also possess a formal quality that recalls the modulation of tones found in monochromatic Nihonga works of the early 1900s. In its all-consuming aesthetic, INFINITY-NETS (KSUZL) furthermore evokes the artistic tendencies that Kusama came into contact with at the time of the series’ conception, from the action painting of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, to the meditative and repetitive qualities found in Donald Judd and Frank Stella’s work. With its bloodorange and fery-red hues, it notably calls to mind the incandescent art of Alma Thomas, and specifcally her Snoopy Sees Earth Wrapped
in Sunset, 1970, which displays countless solar-hued patches loosely applied within a circular design. Yet, the abstract motifs contained in INFINITY-NETS (KSUZL), achieved through a painstaking process that combats the traumas of Kusama’s psychological abyss, were for the artist a way of coping with her lifelong psychosomatic anxiety. In this sense, Kusama’s minimalist compositions are wholly distinguishable from those of artists in Europe and the United States. As Alexandra Munroe remarked, ‘Kusama’s paintings difer from Zero and Nul … in many of the same ways it difered from American Minimalism … Kusama’s repetition was never mechanistic or deductive, but the product of obsessional, compulsive performance’ (Alexandra Munroe, Yayoi Kusama: Between Heaven and Earth, exh. cat., Fuji Television Gallery, Tokyo, 1991, n.p.). Early champions of monochrome Infnity Nets included Donald Judd, who marvelled at the efect of Kusama’s paintings following her frst solo show at the Brata Gallery, New York, in 1959. ‘The efect is both complex and simple’, he exclaimed. ‘There is a remarkable variety of confguration and expression from point to point across the surface; the small curves coalesce into longer arcs, swell or shif slightly, or form amorphous patterns or partial vertical bands…The total quality suggests an analogy to a large, fragile, but vigorously carved grill or to a massive, solid lace’ (Donald Judd, quoted in ‘Reviews and Previews: New Names This Month – Yayoi Kusama’, Art News, October 1959, reproduced online). A year afer her exhibition at the Brata Gallery, Kusama was one of just two artists in the United States, alongside Mark Rothko, to be included in a seminal exhibition of monochrome paintings at the Städtisches Museum in Leverkusen, Germany; and fve years afer that, she would appear alongside the Italian artists Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni in the seminal exhibition Zero: 1965 at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Kusama was one of a select few non-Western artists to achieve international acclaim so quickly in the post-war climate, spearheaded by her monochromatic Infnity Nets paintings, of which the present work is a sublime mature example. Emblematic of Kusama’s Infnity series, INFINITY-NETS (KSUZL) conveys the inextricable relationship between the artist’s signature style and the psychosomatic struggles that pervaded her life. It furthermore encapsulates Kusama’s lifelong pursuit of the notion of endlessness, which she deployed in a variety of diferent series spanning sculpture, installation, painting, drawing, photography, and performance.
A Vision in Red Property from a Private Swiss Collection O
7. El Anatsui
Afrmation signed and dated 'EL 14 EL 2014' lower right aluminium bottle caps and copper wire 310 x 341 cm (122 x 134 1/4 in.) Executed in 2014. Estimate £700,000-900,000 $913,000-1,170,000 €823,000-1,060,000 ‡ plus Buyers Premium and VAT*
Provenance Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Hong Kong Acquired from the above by the present owner Exhibited Hong Kong, Axel Vervoordt Gallery, El Anatsui - Theory of Se, 13 May 12 August 2014 Literature Ming Lin, ‘Material World: Interview with El Anatsui’, Art Asia Pacifc, 6 June 2014, online (illustrated)
ÔWell I donÕt think IÕm recycling, IÕm repurposingbut actually I donÕt even think itÕs repurposing, itÕs just the use of material... We have certain materials we call art materials and some that are not art materials, and if someone uses the latter then we say itÕs Òrecycling.Ó But, I just donÕt like this title because thereÕs something political about it.Õ El Anatsui
Weaving myriad aluminium bottle caps into an immense shimmering curtain, Afrmation, 2014, is a wonderful example of El Anatsui’s wall-mounted installations. The sculpture belongs to an ongoing suite of installations that the artist commenced in 1999, conceptualised afer he had found a bag full of metal seals from African liquor bottles. Since then, Anatsui continually worked on wall assemblages made of bottle caps, crushing the found elements into circles or cutting them into strips, subsequently sewing the parts together to form vast tapestries, ever-evolving in shape. As part of the artist’s Theory of Se series, devised in 2014, Afrmation touches on numerous references pertaining to Anatsui’s cultural background. It namely delves into the notion of ‘Se’, which signifes fate, fortune, or destiny in the Ewe language. ‘Se’ overarches the artistic intention with which Anatsui created the present work and its counterparts; within this theme, the artist explored three states of mind: afrmation, intimation, and revelation. Yet beyond its symbolic meaning, Afrmation furthermore explores the idea of cultural and temporal interweavings through a spectacular formal rendition, bringing together the tradition of handcraf and discarded elements from capitalist activity. Boasting innumerable shiny lids – fattened, crumpled or otherwise manipulated – the present garland-like sculpture glistens, as its title suggests, afrmatively, and invites the viewer into a horizon of haptic abstraction. One of the most prominent African artists working today, El Anatsui has, throughout his oeuvre, been promoting the idea that artmaking knows no borders, and can happen outside of the world’s metropolitan cultural centres. Currently the recipient of signifcant
critical and curatorial attention, the artist was selected to represent the Ghanaian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, 2019, and was recently the subject of an important survey – the most ambitious to date, and the frst-ever in Europe – curated by the late Okwui Enwezor at Haus der Kunst, Munich. The exhibition, tracing Anatsui’s artistic practice from the outset of his career in the 1970s to his more contemporary creations, is currently taking place at the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, and will travel to the Kunstmuseum Bern and the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, in 2020. A voluminous, colourful installation usually hung on the wall, oscillating between fatness and undulation, Afrmation is a resplendent example of Anatsui’s fresh and unique sculptural language. Utterly fexible, it lives in a state of constant reinvention, changing with the specifcities of each new installation. The form’s supple and free-fowing nature is refective of the openness and fuidity envisioned by Anatsui in the conception of his work. The same way the artist’s fnal sculpture becomes a product in fux, the work’s initial creation process was permanently retro-refective, taking into account the myriad stories that defned the countless caps before they were united into a single cohesive entity. ‘I wanted to work with materials that had been used, that people had put their hands on’, Anatsui explained. ‘Afer they have interacted with humans, materials have something else to ofer. When working with materials that have such history, the process has some kind of connective energy: the energy of all the people who have interacted with them’ (El Anatsui, quoted in Ming Lin, ‘Material World: Interview with El Anatsui’, Art Asia Pacifc, 6 January 2014, online).
Wrapper (Kente), Akan or Asante people, Ghana, 20th Century, cotton, rayon and dye, Collection of the Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami. Image: Bridgeman Images.
The artist with the present work at Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Hong Kong, at his exhibition, El Anatsui - Theory of Se in 2014 Â© El Anatsui, 2020. Image: Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Hong Kong.
‘When working with materials that have such history, the process has some kind of connective energy: the energy of all the people who have interacted with them.’ El Anatsui
El Anatsui’s work Ghana Freedom exhibited at the Ghana Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2019. © El Anatsui, 2020. Image: Philip Kennicott/ The Washington Post via Getty Images.
Highly attentive to the materials he uses, as well as the technique with which he binds them together, Anatsui said, ‘My father wove and many of my brothers wove. But eventually what got me into textiles was thinking about “what textiles mean”’ (El Anatsui, quoted in Ming Lin, ‘Material World: Interview with El Anatsui’, Art Asia Pacifc, 6 January 2014, online). It is in reference to the specifc use of bottle caps that the artist elucidated the ‘meaning’ of his preferred material, the bottle cap: ‘When I frst found the bag of bottle tops, I thought of the objects as links between Africa and Europe. European traders introduced the bottle tops, and alcohol was used in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Europeans made rum in the West Indies, took it to Liverpool, and then sent it back to Africa. For me, the bottle caps have a strong reference to the history of Africa’ (El Anatsui, quoted in Erika Gee, El Anatsui: When I Last Wrote to You About Africa, exh. cat., Museum of African Art, New York, 2010, pp. 33-34). With its copious metaphorical associations, Afrmation is a symbolic treasure imparted with spectacular physicality, telling the story of contemporary consumers, and the history of a people simultaneously.
Collecting a wealth of symbolism, the liquor bottle caps atop Afrmation look at the history of Africa’s colonialism whilst simultaneously casting a gaze forward, into a future of intermingling cultures. The notion of ‘sankofa’ – ‘return and get it’ in the Twi language – in this perspective, is of paramount importance when looking at the present work. It reminds the viewer that there is always in the past a link to the future. In transforming his hypercontemporary latticework into a topographic map of sorts, Anatsui incorporates seminal cultural, historical and philosophical elements of his origins, and suggests an organic, fuid formation of contemporary culture, people and souls. In doing so, he creates a language that transcends temporal barriers, able to speak to a global audience. A stunning example of this, Afrmation captures the crux of Anatsui’s unique sculptural practice that engages with complex fows of history, memory and time, and adroitly seizes the way in which these forces shape human society.
8. Jia Aili The Young
Provenance Private Collection, Europe (acquired directly from the artist)
signed with the artist’s initials and dated ‘JAL 2012’ lower right; further signed with the artist’s initials and dated ‘2012 JAL’ on the reverse oil on canvas 200.3 x 180.5 cm (78 7/8 x 71 1/8 in.) Painted in 2012. Estimate £400,000-600,000 $525,000-788,000 €474,000-711,000 ‡ Ж plus Buyers Premium and VAT*
‘Painting is not a reproduction of the objective world, but meticulous care of the spirit - that is, the expression of humanity, a spiritualized language.’ Jia Aili
Portraying the silhouette of a frail young child lured by a skeleton into a barren landscape, The Young, 2012, demonstrates Jia Aili’s virtuosic ability to convey the contemporary formulation of a danse macabre. Eerily ethereal, and punctuated by various temporal and cultural codes, the painting places realism in dialogue with abstraction; it is at once traditional in its clean fgurative strokes, and contemporary in its retrofuturistic feel, mirroring the stylised aesthetics of sci-f graphics and illustrated novels. In proposing an image deprived of spatio-temporal anchors, Jia furthermore departs from a generation of Chinese artists who, for multiple decades, focused on overtly political themes. Instead, he devises a broader narrative, specifcally veered towards the notion of nothingness – a sense of loss in time and space that better corresponds to the existential concerns of the modern man. As Karen Smith writes, ‘Jia’s paintings ask if we are destined, as a species, to destroy ourselves […] The urgent complexity of [this irresolvable issue] feeds the aura of the paintings, colouring the brooding skies that hang heavy overhead as well as the far reaches of plains that stretch to the distant horizons. In search of hope, they continue to reveal a brave new world’ (Karen Smith, ‘Jia Aili’, Palazzo Grassi – Teatrino, 2015, online).
‘I was born at the end of the 20th century, where most ethnic groups in human society began to step out of the world of all-inclusive religious frameworks...with the explosion of information that is now available to us, our perception has become both fat and rich.’ Jia Aili
Interspersed by passages of frosty blues and eerie reds, The Young is drenched in a dystopian palette that encapsulates the sense of anguish and alienation that Jia strives to penetrate in his painterly compositions. The image at its heart is simple yet absorbing. In it, a child stretches to the level of the viewer’s eye, reinforcing the palpability of their action. They walk along an amalgamation of jagged lines, hair fring away and their feet sinking into the ground. Meanwhile, the skeleton leaning on their shoulder stares at their obscured face intently, as if giving instructions to stay afoat in a landscape of utter isolation. In this respect, the skeleton fgure posits as an ambivalent entity: a reminder of the deafening silence that engulfs the child on the one hand, and a much-needed respite from the desolation and strife surrounding them on the other. Teetering between these contradicting possibilities, the viewer is, for this work, presented with disparate visions of night and day, despair and hope. In another words, The Young is like a dream in a frame, threatening at any moment to plunge into the realm of nightmares. Jia frequently alludes to the dichotomy between the individual and the collective in his work. Born in Dandong – the heartland of Northeast Asia, located at the border of China and North Korea – the artist grew alongside the burgeoning post-Mao generation and one-child policy, which transformed, perhaps more than ever before, the country’s political, social and economic landscapes. The importance of the individual – in the past always superseded by that of the collective in Chinese culture – then began to be recognised; a possibility only amplifed by the rise of capitalism. As a result, Jia’s imaginative tableaux boast the ambivalence that pervaded his home country, refecting the fraught notions that capitalism and the Chinese government attempted to impart to the lives of Chinese people in turn. As remarked by Graham W. Bell, ‘Perhaps this lonely entity [in Jia Aili’s work] is a stand-in for the
Evelyn de Morgan, The Angel of Death, 1890, oil on canvas, De Morgan Collection, England. Image: Bridgeman Images.
The artist in his studio. ÂŠ Jia Aili Studio. Image: Zelong Chen
Lef / Right Gustav Klimt, Death and Life, circa 1911, oil on canvas, Private Collection. Image: Bridgeman Images. Harmen van Steenwyck, Still Life: An Allegory of the Vanities of Human Life, circa. 1640, oil on oak panel, National Gallery, London Image: Bridgeman Images.
artist himself, or symbolic of a more generalized idea of the individual in the age of social media and ceaseless communication [...] With his constant references to decay, vague machinery, and fgures lost in a desolate realm, the artist asks us to reconsider the world in light of technological advancement and seems to paint a portentous vision of progress gone awry’ (Graham W. Bell, ‘Jia Aili: Combustion’, The Brooklyn Rail, April 2019, online). Yet there exists in Jia’s hyper-contemporary iconographic universe a form of classicism, feeding from the realms nature and literature. Doubtlessly, Jia’s childhood experience of long, frosty winters in Dandong infuenced his depictions of moody horizons and interminable stretches of land. Karen Smith adds that books by Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy and Balzac – which were present in his household and read by the artist in his youth – only emphasised the theme of ‘tragedy of struggling’ that underpins his oeuvre (Karen Smith, A Walk in the World of Jia Aili, 2007, reproduced online). Though clearly redolent of young comic book protagonists infuenced by benevolent (or dangerous) acolytes,The Young equally recalls ancient parchment illustrations, memento mori from Renaissance paintings, and, most strikingly, the fgure of Hades – the God of Underworld in Greek mythology – who led human souls to the lands of Hell. In this perspective, The Young is an exquisite reinvention of the danse macabre, engulfed in painterly abstraction. Though Jia was attracted to the epic and dramatic qualities so ofen tied to the Soviet socialist realism of the 1950s when he was a student at the Lu Xun Academy, he also took inspiration from a number of
lineages from Eastern and Western art. He was mindful of the methods employed by classical artists particularly, looking at artists like Michelangelo and Caravaggio. As a result, he attempted to similarly accentuate ‘the deep perspective of the picture plane and the chiaroscuro treatment of light, shadow, shape and space, creating his own theatrical approach to painting’ in his art (David Chew, ‘Portrait of a Contemporary Romantic’, Seeker of Hope: Works by Jia Aili, exh. cat., Singapore Art Museum, 2012, p. 10). Jia furthermore confessed an indebtedness to realist painters, musing: ‘When I frst studied painting, I was infuenced by fgurative painters like Freud and Liu Xiaodong. Their kind of painting has actually always inspired me to paint in a relatively realist manner, even today. During my student years, Liu Xiaodong shook me to the core again and again with his exquisite renditions of social reality and social psychology’ (Jia Aili, in conversation with Feng Boyi, ‘Determinate and indeterminate or unsolved mysteries: Conversations between Jia Aili and Feng Boyi’, 2010, n.p.). In the Western art historical canon, Jia collected inspiration from movements both old and new. The Young, as such, recalls a number of canvases birthed by the Surrealist movement, just as it does the Romantics’ allegorical landscapes, which were ofen vast to the point of abstraction. Artists such as René Magritte and Giorgio de Chirico painted scenes designed to trigger subconscious associations; similarly, The Young foats between a dream and a reality, anchored solely by the visual link of historic painterliness. In this perspective, Gustav Klimt’s impossibly metaphorical Death and Life, in which a mosaic-gowned skull looks over an unsuspecting amalgamation of
dormant humans, is brought to mind. Yet in its poetic and indistinct subject matter, the composition is also strongly reminiscent of Vija Celmins’ unfathomably graceful Night Skies, in which the artist captures the ever-fascinating phenomenon of darkness, only so slightly illuminated by scintillating stars. Finally, the fgure of the skeleton summons the enduring tradition of vanitas which pervaded a large stretch of art history, embodied notably by Harmen van Steenwyck’s infamous Still Life: An Allegory of the Vanities of Human Life, c. 1640. Yet moving beyond classical references of the artistic canon, Jia makes the point that the richness of information in the modern world has allowed for people to connect on levels never reached before. As a result, the entire world has more in common today than it ever did in the history of mankind, and images carry more meaning, more emotions, more impressions that can easily be transmitted from one continent to the other. An ingenious fruit crafed to refect this phenomenon, The Young speaks to a global audience rather than a specifc region or culture. It is the meeting of a young child and death – an encounter that all human beings remember, for it constitutes perhaps one of the most formative and levelling stages of life. As summarised by Karen Smith, ‘For Jia, this vision of desolation, which he juxtaposes with the image of innocent childhood that is ever on the verge of being sullied by the horrors of reality always just out of range of the pictorial space, is a subtle means of articulating in a universal tongue the impositions placed upon his generation’ (Karen Smith, ‘Jia Aili’, Palazzo Grassi – Teatrino, 2015, online).
9. Ed Ruscha
God Knows Where signed and dated 'Ed Ruscha 2014' on the reverse acrylic on canvas 121.9 x 121.9 cm (47 7/8 x 47 7/8 in.) Painted in 2014. Estimate £2,500,000-3,500,000 $3,270,000-4,580,000 €2,970,000-4,150,000 ‡
Provenance Gagosian Gallery, Los Angeles Private Collection, Washington, DC Acquired from the above by the present owner Exhibited San Francisco, de Young Museum, Ed Ruscha and the Great American West, 16 July – 9 October 2016, no. 149, pl. 142, pp. 174 and 230 (illustrated, p. 174)
Literature Thessaly La Force, ‘As Los Angeles Changes, Ed Ruscha Stays the Same’, Artsy, 16 July 2016, online (illustrated) John Held Jr., ‘Vacant Spaces and Blank Billboards: Ed Ruscha’s Mild West’, SFAQ, 28 July 2016, online (illustrated)
plus Buyers Premium and VAT*
‘It’s not a celebration of nature. I’m not trying to show beauty. It’s more like I’m painting ideas of ideas of mountains. Te concept came to me as a logical extension of the landscapes that I’ve been painting for a while – horizontal landscapes, fatlands, the landscape I grew up in. Mountains like this were only ever a dream to me; they meant Canada or Colorado.’ Ed Ruscha
A majestic mountain top hails at the background of Ed Ruscha’s God Knows Where, 2014, while the painting’s three eponymous words, ‘God – Knows – Where’, occupy the foreground. Typical of Ruscha’s investigation of the symbiotic relationship between images and words, the present work is an exceptional example of his use of mountainous peaks as visual backdrops, referencing both the naturalistic theme of snow and the Hollywood appropriation of snowscapes, embodied most prominently by Paramount Pictures’ infamous logo. Silhouetted against a matte sky, the large mountain at the heart of the composition appears to be a cut-out, or a backdrop for a movie set. It fattens and mufes the adventurous potential of what lies beyond, accompanied only by the three words of an unknowable punchline. The text applied with a stencil in Ruscha’s emblematic font is, as the artist explains, ‘one of my own inventions, which I call “Boy Scout Utility Modern”. If the telephone company was having a picnic and asked one of their employees to design a poster, this font is what he’d come up with. There are no curves to the letters – they’re all straight lines – and I’ve been using it for years’ (Ed Ruscha, quoted in Kristine McKenna, ‘Ed Ruscha in Conversation with Kristine McKenna’, Ed Ruscha: Fifty Years of Painting, exh. cat., Hayward Gallery, London, 2009, p. 58).
At once precise and elusive, the scene within God Knows Where is identifed by its title as placeless, enlivened and specifed only by the heightened detail with which Ruscha composes the image. The picture balances the sublime majesty of the mountainous motif with its commonplace commercial appropriation. The integrity of the natural wonder is furthermore modifed – defaced and compromised, even, by the neutral presence of the text. Indeed, as the opaque letters obfuscate the alpine view, the landscape dissipates behind the exercise of painting itself. ‘I like the idea of a word becoming a picture, almost leaving its body, then coming back and becoming a word again’, Ruscha explains (Ed Ruscha, quoted in Calvin Tomkins, ‘Ed Ruscha’s L.A.’, The New Yorker, 24 June 2013, online). With God Knows Where, the artist presents an homage to linguistic and iconographic form, fusing their distinct appearances into a single graphic whole. The scenic environment of the painting also happened by chance, Ruscha elucidates. ‘It’s not a celebration of nature. I’m not trying to show beauty. It’s more like I’m painting ideas of ideas of mountains. The concept came to me as a logical extension of the landscapes that I’ve been painting for a while – horizontal landscapes, fatlands, the landscape I grew up in. Mountains like this were only ever a dream to me’ (Ed Ruscha, quoted in Elisabeth Mahoney, ‘Top of the Pops’, The Guardian, 14 August 2001, online).
Ansel Adams, Half Dome, Merced River, Winter, Yosemite Valley, circa. 1938, printed between 1963 - 1971, gelatin silver print, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit. © The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust. Image: Founders Society Purchase, John S. Newberry Fund / Bridgeman Images
The artist with the present work at Ed Ruscha and the Great American West, de Young Museum, San Francisco, 16 July – 9 October 2016. © Ed Ruscha. Image: Margo Moritz.
Art historically, mountainous imagery has always been understood as ‘a shorthand for the sublime, from the pantheist canvases of Caspar David Friedrich and the Catskills of the Hudson River School to Ansel Adams’s photographs of the Rockies’, Martha Schwendener notes. Notably, Katsushika Hokusai’s clear portrayal of Red Fuji within his series of landscape prints devising Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, 183032, stands as an iconic example of how the symbol of the mountain can convey the indisputable grandeur of nature. ‘But Ruscha resists knee-jerk spiritualism (and, one might argue, his own ofen mentioned dormant Catholicism) by emblazoning slogans that render the scenes absurd’, Schwendener continues (Martha Schwendener, ‘Ed Ruscha— Reviews’, Artforum, New York, November, 2002, online). Indeed, the artist expands on the notion of arbitrary absurdity, presenting his own layered reasons of how the dramatic landscape elements came about. ‘The mountains emerged from my connection to landscape, and experiencing it, and especially from driving across country. They’re based on specifc mountains and alterations and photographs, but they’re not really mountains in the sense that a naturalist would paint a picture of a mountain. They’re ideas of mountains, picturing some sort of unobtainable bliss or glory—rock and ways to fall, dangerous and
beautiful’ (Ed Ruscha, quoted in Adam Gopnik, Ed Ruscha Paintings, Toronto, 2002, p. 7). In this sense, God Knows Where is redolent of the Pictures Generation's mission to interrogate the indexical nature of images, notably through the use of advertising imagery. A deserted landscape containing the luminous powers of the sun as its shafs refect upon snowy grounds, God Knows Where perfectly embodies Sterling Ruby’s claim that ‘For me, [Ed Ruscha’s] work represents the perfect balance of the apocalypse and serenity. It’s almost like it’s symbolizing some sort of dichotic meditation on existence’ (Sterling Ruby, ‘Ed Ruscha’, Interview Magazine, 20 August 2016, online). At once deatheningly mute and peacefully composed, God Knows Where indeed conjures the precarious paradox that dawns on the ambivalent notions of stillness and silence. Pairing the duplicate of a cinematic mountain as seen in travel books, posters, postcards and adventure movies, with a conversational expression conveying cluelessness, the painting stands as a superior example of Ruscha’s formulaic artistic programme, known more specifcally under the umbrella of his Word Paintings begun in 1961, and continued to the present day.
‘Tey’re ideas of mountains, picturing some sort of unobtainable bliss or glory-rock and ways to fall, dangerous and beautiful.’ Ed Ruscha
Katsushika Hokusai, Fuji in rust-brown against deep blue sky flled with white clouds, from 36 Views of Mt. Fuji, circa 1823, woodblock print, ink and colours on paper The Newark Museum, Newark. Image Scala Images, Florence.
Property from a Distinguished Private Collection
10. Keith Haring
Untitled signed and dated ‘NOV. 1981 K. Haring ’ on the reverse vinyl paint on vinyl tarpaulin with metal grommets 245 x 244.8 cm (96 1/2 x 96 3/8 in.) Painted in November 1981. Estimate £3,000,000-4,000,000 $3,920,000-5,220,000 €3,530,000-4,710,000 plus Buyers Premium and VAT*
Provenance Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1982 Exhibited New York, Tony Shafrazi Gallery, Keith Haring, Fall 1982, p. 30 (illustrated, p. 47) New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Keith Haring, 25 June - 21 September 1997, p. 292 (illustrated, p. 105) Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon, Keith Haring, 22 February - 29 June 2008, no. 4, p. 144 (illustrated) Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Keith Haring. The Political Line, 19 April - 18 August 2013, no. 58, pp. 144 and 310 (illustrated, p. 145)
‘See, when I paint, it is an experience that, at its best, is transcending reality. When it is working, you completely go into another place, you’re tapping into things that are totally universal, of the total consciousness, completely beyond your ego and your own self. Tat’s what it’s all about.’ Keith Haring
A visceral, larger-than-life masterpiece executed at the dawn of Keith Haring’s oeuvre, residing in the same collection since 1982, Untitled, 1981, portrays two human fgures mid-movement, outlined in black and red on a yellow background. To the lef, a cross-faced man raises his arms far enough to reach the extremity of the vinyl support, as if hanging from the real world and into the painting. Next to him, an anonymous counterpart vindictively shoots into the hole that punctures his body, betraying a possibly violent gesture. These characters perfectly embody the ambivalence that Haring sought to capture in his art, coalescing two apparently contradicting atmospheres within a single image: one replete with gloom and danger, the other brimming with buoyant energy. The work’s grandiloquent dynamism is only emphasised by its all-consuming format, reminiscent of the subway setting from which Haring’s art originated when he began painting in the late 1970s. Executed at the outset of his fame in the city of New York – which would soon take over the entire world – Untitled was included in the artist’s seminal Tony Shafrazi show in the fall of 1982, as well as highlighted in both the artist’s watershed retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, in 1997, and his frst-ever retrospective to focus on the political aspect of his work: Keith Haring: The Political Line at the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, in 2013. As such, it is a paradigmatic example of the artist’s practice, which was tragically shortened by AIDS-related complications less than a decade later.
Recently the subject of a number of major institutional exhibitions, Keith Haring’s work is at the forefront of the public’s attention and has been celebrated to an unprecedented calibre, at a time when the subjects he addressed in his art – the necessity for love, inclusion and protection – seem more relevant than ever. His oeuvre was shown at Tate Liverpool in 2019 – marking his frst major exhibition in the United Kingdom – and is currently at the heart of two simultaneous shows: one at the BOZAR, Brussels, the other at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Signifying the ever-intensifying interest vested in his work, growing with time and bleeding beyond borders, Haring will once again be the subject of a solo exhibition at Museum Folkwang, Essen, from May to September 2020. Like many artists of his generation – including his friend Jean-Michel Basquiat – Haring eluded traditional gallery representation in the early years of his career, taking instead the streets of Manhattan as his exhibition space, and the social context of 1980s New York as his subject matter. With inimitable tonal vigour, the early Untitled boasts visual elements that would later be deemed inextricable from Haring’s oeuvre: the fgure with a hole in its stomach, the black-ochre-red colour combination and the interaction between two visibly animated parties on an otherwise abstract, monochromatic background. It is a pristine example of his vision and intention, which remained intact throughout his career.
Jean Michel Basquiat, Agony of the Feet, 1982, acrylic and oil on canvas, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat / ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2020. Image: Bridgeman Images.
Jackson Pollock, Blue Poles, 1952, oil, enamel, aluminium paint and glass on canvas, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. © The Pollock-Krasner Foundation ARS, NY and DACS, London 2020. Image: Bridgeman Images.
‘Drawing is still basically the same as it has been since prehistoric times. It brings together man and the world. It lives through magic.’ Keith Haring
In a method akin to that of Pablo Picasso, Haring worked on his drawings and paintings in single, uninterrupted lines. In this way, the fgures designed across his surfaces became themselves lively, spontaneous, unobstructed by the constraints of painterly pause. As a result, the two protagonists in the present work are as essential as they are evocative; despite being rendered with thick black lines devoid of angular subtleties, they demonstrate visible actions, recognisable to all. The scene’s ambivalent urgency is made evident by their movement, but also by the heated colours in which they are drenched. The drips of paint tumbling down their outlines impart the image with further urgency – it is as if the fery colours within and around the two fgures had caused them to melt before our eyes. Yet it is not just the visual novelty brought by Haring’s paintings and grafti that distinguished his output from that of others. It is the purpose that animates it, the meaning located within the continuous lines, and the subtle formal interaction that takes place between that meaning and the painted matter itself. Untitled exemplifes the political line that Haring imparts in his work with an imperious subject matter – a fgure hitting another fgure right inside the circular hole that punctures his body – but also in its choice of rendition, which here only emphasises the composition’s urgent tone, akin to Picasso’s Guernica scene.
At once vindictive and playful, Untitled demonstrates Haring’s ability to straddle the seriousness of subjects including violence and death, and the humour deriving from absurd aggressions – spurred by politics, history, and at times people themselves. It also testifes to his talent in fusing form and content, not only showing violence but embodying it in precise, strongly vivifed lines. Refecting the political intentions Haring discreetly weaves into his compositions, the form of a man with a gaping hole in his torso is particularly striking. It forms part of the artist’s cosmos of political signs, frst appearing in his work in the early 1980s, following a vision that had occurred to him afer the murder of John Lennon. At the time, Haring had recorded the event in his diary and began using it as a pattern within his painterly scenes. Not only does the hole here refer to the murder of a musical legend that marked his whole generation, it furthermore signifes the sense of emptiness that dawns on the whole of humanity, right at its core. Paired with historical context, the image in Untitled assumes increased symbolic meaning. Indeed, the painting was executed in 1981, at the dawn of the AIDS crisis in New York. At this time, rumours regarding a ‘gay-related immunodefciency disease’ began to consume the thoughts of many Americans, who feared that the emerging sickness
would spread like the plague. An unpredictable assault on the body, both absurd and fatal, Untitled shows two viscerally active protagonists visibly consumed by an uncontrollable, intangible energy – allegorical perhaps, of the tragic fatefulness of AIDS, which intruded bodies, unannounced, and ravaged thousands of lives. Haring’s idiosyncratic dripping aesthetic, in this sense, brings to mind a variety of symbolisms – movement, the melt entailed by fre, and the general collapse of the human body. Yet, on a formal level, it equally recalls the stylistic tendencies that pervaded the art historical canon throughout the 20th century. Notably, a particularity of Untitled is its unequivocal iconographic similitude to Abstract Expressionist canvases – in its sheer size, but also in its attention to colour and space. Embodying the painted matter’s irrepressible autonomy, the drips within Untitled more specifcally evoke the eponymous method carried out by Jackson Pollock. His Blue Poles, 1952, equally displaying sizzling colours scattered across a strong chromatic ground in a riotous splash, conjures a new lens through which to envision the present work. At the same time, the study of colour in Mark Rothko’s No. 5 / No. 22, 1950, seems an interesting source for comparison. Ceaselessly shifing focus from form and subject matter in his creative process, Haring ultimately marries the two, imparting energetic content with similarly energetic hues.
Mark Rothko, No. 5/No. 22, 1950, oil on canvas, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Image: 2020, The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence.
The present work exhibited at Keith Haring. The Political Line, MusĂŠe d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, 18 April 2013. ÂŠ Keith Haring Foundation. Image: Francois Durand/Getty Images.
Pablo Picasso, Guernica, 1937, oil on canvas, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid. © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2020. Image: Bridgeman Images.
‘I am intrigued with the shapes people choose as their symbols to create a language. Tere is within all forms a basic structure, an indication of the entire object with a minimum of lines that becomes a symbol. Tis is common to all languages, all people, all times.’ Keith Haring
It is furthermore evident that the performative aspect entailed by Untitled’s creation process was replicated in the dance shared by the two portrayed fgures. One can imagine Haring moving from place to place, waltzing from one quadrant of the vinyl to the other to design his characters in a single, free-fowing motion. The result is what the viewer sees before his eyes; a dancing scene between two anonymous fgures who, despite displaying alarming signs and consequences of violence – a kick, a hole – remain whimsical on the surface, somehow playful with one another. Regarding Haring’s tendency to pair aggression with love, violence with dance, Robert Farris Thompson once noted, ‘Parallel to Haring’s sadness, and his social conscience, ran something else: an allegiance to the dance in all its powers of transcendence’ (Robert Farris Thompson, ‘Notes on the Art and Life of Keith Haring’, Keith Haring: The Political Line, exh. cat., Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, 2014, p. 47). It is perhaps in this sense that Untitled is a chef-d’oeuvre beyond compare; it infltrates all the masterful elements that have hailed Keith Haring as one of the foremost artists of his time.
11. A.R. Penck
AUFSTAND DER SPIELER
Provenance Galerie Terminus, Munich Acquired from the above by the present owner
signed ‘ar. penck’ lower centre; further titled ‘AUFSTAND DER SPIELER’ on the stretcher oil on canvas 160.3 x 120.2 cm (63 1/8 x 47 3/8 in.) Painted in 2001. Estimate £150,000-200,000 $196,000-261,000 €177,000-236,000 ♠ plus Buyers Premium and VAT, ARR applies*
Discord of signs and symbols In the whirlwind of moving forms, As the spark soars over tongues of fame, And dark clouds tear open in the raging storm. A.R. Penck
Characteristically simplifed in form and ranging from small to large, fve anonymous fgures traverse A.R. Penck’s AUFSTAND DER SPIELER, 2001, with unruly vigour, identifed by the work’s title ‘The Rebellion of the Gamblers’. Surrounded by energetic black strokes carefully devised on a white background, delineating familiar objects such as spears, hammers, an eye and a dice, these pulsating characters exemplify the German artist’s vibrant ‘Standart’ style, heavily informed by the aesthetic of hieroglyphs and cave paintings. ‘Standart’, coined by Penck himself, confates the English word ‘Standard’ and the German ‘Standarte’, signifying a banner or fag. As such, the umbrella-genre denotes the graphic power of his compositions, but also the political undertones that they bear. The artist furthermore expanded; ‘Every Standart can be imitated and reproduced and can thus become the property of every individual. What we have here is a true democratisation of art’ (A.R. Penck, quoted in Oliver Basciano, ‘A.R. Penck Obituary’, The Guardian, 5 May 2017, online). Born Ralf Winkler in Dresden in 1939, A.R. Penck adopted his infamous pseudonym afer the East German communist regime began seizing his works during the 1960s. The artist had already been working in Dresden with difculty for a decade, failing to enrol in sanctioned art academies and thus resigning himself to making paintings and sculptures from discarded rubbish. His visceral drawings, pried on by the regime’s watchful eye, were considered an expression of dissidence. It is perhaps as a result of this oppression that Penck assumed a new name in 1966, testament of a token to start afresh. His next and fnal sign of resistance to the GDR’s hostile environment was his escape to Cologne in 1980; thereafer, along with artists including Jörg Immendorf, Georg Baselitz and Markus Lüpertz, he became a key protagonist of the new fguration movement that was fourishing in the Federal Republic of Germany. Executed in 2001, exactly ten years afer the fall of the Berlin wall, AUFSTAND DER SPIELER captures the crux of Penck’s mature opus, following his establishment as a major German artist in the 1980s, and his fve prodigious decades of painterly production. The composition
Rock painting of a bull and horses, circa. 17000 BC, Caves of Lascaux, Dordogne, France Image: Bridgeman Images.
reveals the artist’s idiosyncratic style, for which he immediately became celebrated upon his move West; in it, thickly-outlined stick-fgures are portrayed walking towards or running away from one another, armed with spear-shaped objects and surrounded by a vortex of spirals, dashes and dots. Though one may visually associate works such as AUFSTAND DER SPIELER to the similarly visceral and cartoon-like iconography of Keith Haring, context elucidates that a steep discrepancy exists between the two artists’ approaches and visions. While Haring painted immediacy to materialise a necessity to act in times of physical danger – precipitated by the AIDS crisis – Penck designed roving fgures to compensate for the lack of movement allowed in East Germany following the erection of the Berlin wall. ‘His crowded scenes suggested confict, or deep psychic distress, annotated in a forgotten hieroglyphic language or a protocomputer code, and set in a time that seemed at once mythic and contemporary’, writes William Grimes (William Grimes, ‘A.R. Penck, German Neo-Expressionist of Cold-War Era, Dies at 77’, The New York Times, 5 May 2017, online). By pairing notions of anguish and dynamism with a ‘primitive’ and almost childlike pictorial language, the artist constructs a picture that is wholly universal, profound on levels both symbolic and formal. Regarding Penck’s unique formal approach and ensuing aesthetic, Johannes Schmidt delectably synthesised; ‘With his signs, symbols, metaphors and even allegories [Penck] made use of an aesthetic range of instruments which had been neglected or disposed in modern art. At the same time, however, he also used radical simplifcation and linearity to form a completely new style which difered markedly from the language of forms based on antiquity, which had prevailed throughout the centuries from the Renaissance to Art Nouveau. He also included the energetic, informal brushwork and the serial methods of Op Art, and equally happily added Expressionist fgures. Perhaps we can see in the art of A.R. Penck the beginning of Post-Modernism’ (Johannes Schmidt, Being and Essence: The Unknown A.R. Penck, Dresden, 2008, n.p.). A prodigious refection of this, AUFSTAND DER SPIELER exists beyond its evident art historical lineage, and additionally brings to mind contemporary technologies employing code-induced forms. The stick-fgure in Penck’s oeuvre became vital to his communicative scheme including text, symbol and image. With it, he could further humanise and thus animate the rhythmic arrangements he devised across his surfaces, largely taking cues from jazz music. Himself a drummer and indeed part of a band in the late 1980s, Penck afrmed that there was an inherent connection between music and his art. ‘Yes, in the rhythm because I am very interested in rhythm’, he said (A.R. Penck, quoted in ‘Interviews: A.R. Penck’, Journal of Contemporary Art, vol. 7, no. 1, Summer 1994, pp. 80-88). With its raw immediacy and energetic syntax, AUFSTAND DER SPIELER reads like the visual manifestation of a jazz solo.
12. Günther Förg
Untitled acrylic on lead on wood 280.4 x 160.3 cm (110 3/8 x 63 1/8 in.) Executed in 1990, this work is recorded in the archive of Günther Förg as No. WVF.90.B.0532.
Provenance Luhring Augustine Hetzler Gallery, Santa Monica Galerie Michael Janssen, Cologne Private Collection, Hamburg Phillips de Pury & Company, London, 14 October 2006, lot 68 Private Collection, Florida Acquired from the above by the present owner
Exhibited Dallas Museum of Art, Encounters 2: Günther Förg and Skeet McAuley, 9 August - 27 September 1992
We thank Mr. Michael Nef from the Estate of Günther Förg for the information he has kindly provided on this work.
Estimate £400,000-600,000 $525,000-788,000 €474,000-711,000 ‡ ♠ plus Buyers Premium and VAT, ARR applies*
‘I like very much the qualities of lead the surface, the heaviness.’ Günther Förg
Towering high above the viewer’s eye, Untitled, 1990, is a particularly vibrant example of Günther Förg’s exhaustive series of Lead Paintings, developed in the late 1980s and completed in the early 1990s. In these works, Förg juxtaposed acrylic and lead on fat wooden supports, revealing the tonal and textural variations deriving from the metallic material’s progressive oxidisation. Focusing on the formal abilities enabled by the metal, Förg circumvented the tide of fgurative painting that was pervading his native Germany in the 1980s; instead, he remained attached to abstraction, and the organic processes with which the genre could be achieved. In the present composition, Förg celebrates the charismatic presence of two disparate yet commanding hues: a natural, meandering silvery colour – organically washed out in places – and a deep, cherry red pigment. Untitled was notably highlighted in the exhibition Encounters 2: Günther Förg and Skeet McAuley which took place at the Dallas Museum of Art in 1992, marking the frst museum exhibition of Förg in the United States, as well as the inaugural presentation of his Lead Paintings to the country’s wider public. While Förg’s initial painterly experiments were occupied with stringent black monochrome works, the Lead Paintings followed a stationary period in the artist’s creativity, following his abandonment of painting in the early 1980s. It wasn’t until commencing his Lead Paintings at the end of the decade that Förg began utilising the medium again, covering wooden frames with sheets of lead, and subsequently painting directly onto the sheets, without treatment or preliminary ground. Emitting a distinctive solidity, the artist’s choice of materials never failed to highlight the strength of his chosen colour – herein, a sensual red. Laying bare any residing marks on the lead ground, he moreover built upon the material’s potentiality, and exploited the possibilities enabled by the brushstroke in conjunction with the chosen chrome. In this sense, it is the materiality of the present work that most powerfully distinguishes it from other two-dimensional abstractions. ‘I like very much the qualities of lead – the surface, the heaviness’, the artist claimed. ‘Some of the paintings were completely painted, and you only experience the lead at the edges; this gives the painting a very heavy feeling - it gives the colour a diferent density and weight. In other works the materials would be explicitly visible as grounds. I like to react on things, with the normal canvas you ofen have to kill the ground, give it something to react against. With the metals you already have something - its scratches, scrapes’ (Günther Förg, quoted in David Ryan, Talking Painting, Karlsruhe, 1997, online). A work replete with contrasts and dualities, both chromatic and textural, Untitled prodigiously captures Förg’s preoccupation with the ephemeral and the natural.
Expanding on the radically understated appearance of his work, Förg has advocated that abstraction is a means of expression in itself, whereby the materiality of the surface is of superior importance. ‘Working in a language (abstraction) that in the twentieth century has been described as spiritual, religious, symbolic, profoundly universal, and mythic, there seems nothing of that in Förg’s reality… a sense of nothing but the thing itself’, Paul Schimmel wrote (Paul Schimmel, Günther Förg: Painting/Sculpture/Installation, exh. cat., Newport Harbor Art Museum, California, 1989, p. 15). The artist, in this sense, rejected the metaphysical signifcance imparted by Barnett Newman in his infamous Zip paintings; instead, he veered towards the quiet contemplation enabled by Donald Judd’s non-spiritual sculptures. ‘Lacking both a clean, hard edge, as in Palermo’s paintings, and the unbridled gesture of the expressionists, Förg’s composition and technique lie somewhere in between’, continues Paul Schimmel. ‘The edges are neat but not precise, hand-made and rapidly laid down, with spontaneity having priority over structure…chance and spontaneity are emphasized further in the Lead Paintings in which the natural oxidation of the lead neutralizes the personal touch’ (Paul Schimmel, ‘Introduction’, Günther Förg: Paintings/Sculpture/Installation, exh. cat., Newport Harbor Art Museum, California, 1989, p. 14). Celebrating the substance of lead and revealing the exquisite sensual properties of a quasi-scarlet red, Untitled embodies the artist’s fundamental painterly formula in a way that incorporates composition, space, colour and materiality. As a result, ‘colours emerge, the paintings become more open, and even the material’s arbitrary elements in the patina become part of the picture’ (Günther Förg, quoted in Günther Förg: Paintings on Lead, exh. cat., Thomas Dane Gallery, London, 2006, p. 7).
Barnett Newman, Be I (second version), 1970, acrylic on canvas, Detroit Institute of Arts, USA © The Barnett Newman Foundation, New York / DACS, London 2020. Image: Bridgeman Images.
13. Rudolf Stingel
Provenance Gagosian Gallery, London Acquired from the above by the present owner
signed and dated ‘Stingel 2008’ on the reverse oil and enamel on linen 211.2 x 170.2 cm (83 1/8 x 67 in.) Executed in 2008. Estimate £250,000-350,000 $326,000-456,000 €294,000-412,000 ‡ ♠ plus Buyers Premium and VAT, ARR applies*
‘Silver makes everything look contemporary. If you paint something silver, it looks, I don’t know, from today.’ Rudolf Stingel
‘All possible pictures have already been made. Te only useful thing left to do, I believe, is to confront yourself with the picture, pushing it almost to the edge of a pit of failure and destruction.’ Rudolf Stingel
Brice Marden, Vine, 1992-93, oil on linen, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2020. Image: 2020, The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence.
Rudolf Stingel’s Untitled, 2008, conjures an enigmatic – yet compelling – vision. Held at a junction between photorealism, minimalism and abstraction, the painting portrays an intricate lattice structure that, in its depiction of a seemingly infnite criss-crossing motion, resembles a real, tangible fence. While the chain-link’s verisimilitude – rendered through thick, accrued brushstrokes, and heightened attention to detail – suggests textured physicality, closer inspection reveals the fatness of the painting’s surface. Forming part of Stingel’s series of chain-link paintings from 2008, Untitled is an early example of the artist’s broader body of photo-realist paintings commenced in 2005, which thorougly investigates the boundaries between fact and fction, reality and representation. Deploying a variety of genres on a single medium, Stingel moreover experiments with materials, aesthetics and participatory modes in turn, ceaselessly interrogating the parameters of painting and the originality of the artist’s hand in the creative process. An exquisite example of his
inquisitive practice, Untitled epitomises Stingel’s galvanising painterly output, which was recently the subject of an extensive survey at the Beyeler Foundation, Basel, in 2019. Extending along the 2-metre height of the canvas, the subtle white lines weaving into a majestic web atop the dark-grey background of the present work liken the composition to the elegant minimalist paintings of Agnes Martin and Brice Marden. Common to these two artists’ oeuvre – both predecessors to Stingel’s own – was a loose sense of focus on repetitious lines: straightened to the most meticulous of standards for Martin, and swirling in all directions for Marden. In this sense, Untitled posits as a reinvention of the modernist grid, looking at the foremost tradition of a specifc artistic lineage – Minimalism – and turning it upside down. Simultaneously, Untitled is endowed with an avant-garde edge in its allusion to the readymade object. The precision with which Stingel fnishes the details
of the chain-link is indeed such that one may imagine it printed by means of a technical process, or directly refected onto the canvas. The composition, therefore, is at once abstract and fgurative; it hovers between various known categories of painting as a single hybrid kind, distinctly the fruit of Stingel’s experimental vision. With its subtle fence pattern and alternating chromatic depth, Untitled recalls Stingel’s early works from the mid- to late 1980s, at a time when his practice was primarily vested with an in-depth investigation of washed-out coloured abstraction, and most specifcally the silver pigment. ‘Silver makes everything look contemporary’, the artist exclaimed. ‘If you paint something silver, it looks, I don’t know, from today’ (Rudolf Stingel, quoted in Linda Yablonsky, ‘The Carpet That Ate Grand Central’, The New York Times, 27 June 2004, online). Exuding the luminescence of his preferred hue, the present work simultaneously interplays with the clean, fat smoothness of the colour grey, which, with its slight meanderings and subtle contrasts throughout, evokes the sculptural medium. The cross-genre quality of the present work is reinforced by the large scale of the linen support; stretching more than two metres in height and almost two metres in width, Untitled explores the hyperrealistic exploitation of oil and enamel to conjure density and iridescence on a colossal scale. Equally present within the work is the theme of repetition, which Stingel has worked on extensively throughout his oeuvre. Developing a series of paintings depicting Baroque-style decorations, and another emulating the patterns found on traditional carpets, the artist perpetually relishes in the idea of painting formal recurrence, both within the confnes of the canvas and his oeuvre at large, constituting myriad series that are in dialogue with one another over the course of multiple decades. What ties Stingel’s disparate painterly ventures together is his unfinching inquisitiveness into the medium of painting itself; his thirst of fnding new ways to exploit its inherent originality. As the art critic Roberta Smith once remarked, Stingel ‘combines a love of painting with the postmodern suspicion of it, and ofen achieves a near-perfect balance between the visual and the conceptual’ (Roberta Smith, ‘DIY Art: Walk on It, Write on It, Stroke It’, The New York Times, 29 June 2007, online). Characterised by simultaneous attention to surface, iridescence, space, and reality, Untitled ofers a new paradigm for the possibilities of painting, echoing Roberta Smith’s description of Stingel’s work as ‘Opulence countered by austerity, spectacle undercut by banality’ (Roberta Smith, ‘DIY Art: Walk on It, Write on It, Stroke It’, The New York Times, 29 June 2007, online). At once abstract and referential, majestic and irreverential, it reinvents the history of modern painting whilst commanding the viewer to succumb to its trompe l’oeil efect.
Property from an Important American Collection
14. Anish Kapoor
Blade stainless steel 55 x 106 x 106 cm (21 5/8 x 41 3/4 x 41 3/4 in.) Executed in 2004, this work is number 1 from an edition of 3 plus 1 artist’s proof. Estimate £120,000-180,000 $157,000-235,000 €141,000-212,000 ‡ ♠
Provenance Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2004 Exhibited New York, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, Anish Kapoor: WHITEOUT, 8 May 25 June 2004, p. 65 (exhibited and illustrated, pp. 4, 25, 26-27, 34, 73)
Literature David Anfam, ed., Anish Kapoor, London, 2009, plate c, pp. 502-503 (another example illustrated) Stephanie Dieckvoss, Rosalind Furness and Melissa Larner, eds., Anish Kapoor: Turning the World Upside Down in Kensington Gardens, exh. cat., Serpentine Gallery, London, 2011, p. 140 (illustrated, pp. 135 and 139)
plus Buyers Premium and VAT, ARR applies*
‘Te spatial questions [the mirrored object] seemed to ask were not about deep space but about present space, which I began to think about as a new sublime.’ Anish Kapoor
Spiralling from the ground upwards, Blade, 2004, forms part of Anish Kapoor’s body of mirrored works that the artist began creating in the mid-1990s, and more broadly falls within his integral and iconic sculptural language of the 'non-object' that he continues to explore. The sculpture was frst exhibited alongside other intimately scaled works in the exhibition WHITEOUT, at Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York, just before the summer of 2004. Simultaneously, Kapoor was working on his monumental public sculpture Cloud Gate, 2004, which now gracefully occupies Chicago’s Millennium Park. From sof and undulating to ascending and sharp, these enigmatic, smaller sculptures continued the artist’s investigation of space and geometry as malleable terrains devoid of formulaic constrictions. Here, it is Blade’s ever-fuctuating form and refective quality that upturns the viewers’ traditional perception of their surroundings and themselves. The uncanny sense of limitlessness produced by Blade’s refection recalls Kapoor’s interest in the analogy between the idea of the sublime in artistic tradition and the cosmic concept of a parallel universe. ‘The spatial questions [the mirrored object] seemed to ask were not about deep space but about present space, which I began to think about as a new sublime. If the traditional sublime is in deep
space, then this is proposing that the contemporary sublime is in front of the picture plane, not beyond it’, Kapoor explained (Anish Kapoor, quoted in Anish Kapoor: Past Present Future, exh. cat., The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, 2008, p. 52). When the viewer peers into its dazzling surface, Blade subsumes the material body into an illusion of immateriality. Ceaselessly distorting the viewer’s perception of their environments, Kapoor articulates materiality in a way that allows a simultaneous enaction of motion and staticity, form and void – demonstrating his capacity to activate negative space, and spur an ‘experience that is outside of material concern’ (Anish Kapoor, quoted in Germano Celant, Anish Kapoor, Milan 1998, n.p.). In its compellingly simple appearance, Blade calls to mind the visual language of Minimalism, the diminished form of abstraction, and the phenomenological qualities of experiential arts. One may think more specifcally of Robert Morris’ daring Untitled, 1965/1971, similarly exploring the intersection between Minimalism and anti-form. Morris’ sculpture, consisting of four mirrored boxes maintained just far enough from one another to enable walking, similarly captures refections of the outside world into its multiple surfaces, thereby producing complex interactions with the environment in which they
Robert Morris, Untitled, 1965, reproduced in 1971, mirror glass and wood, Tate, London. © The Estate of Robert Morris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London 2020. Image: Tate, London.
Anish Kapoor, Cloud Gate, 2004, stainless steel, Millennium Park, Chicago. © Anish Kapoor. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2020. Image: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.
are placed. With its immaculate refective surface and its intriguing, amorphous constitution, Blade also transforms notions of space and self-perception; it asks the viewer to constantly re-evaluate its contours, sides and angles, to fully complete Kapoor’s phenomenological intent. Striving to complicate conventional notions of the art object, Kapoor allows for the world around his refective sculptures to become part of the work itself. Kapoor’s mirrored surfaces do not just refect the world; rather, they explore the constant fux of reality. Blade invites the viewer to enter a liminal space of continuous becoming – powerfully suspending our experience of the quotidian as the realms of fnite and the infnite, inside and outside, depth and surface poetically dissolve.
‘I seem to be making sculpture about the space beyond, illusory space.’ Anish Kapoor
The Collection of
Robert Tibbles Young British Artists & More
‘I have to be realistic and say that being a collector is part of who I am. It brings me so much pleasure. I bought and put together all these works, in a very slow but very careful way, and they only got better with time.’ Robert Tibbles
Robert Tibbles is a collector in the truest sense. Having found his niche in the late 1980s, when London was bustling with a novel, brash artistic energy that readily met the increasing momentum of his own industry – fnance – he became one of the frst to promote and purchase the work of a then loud, yet marginal, artistic movement: the Young British Artists (YBAs). Deeply enamoured with art from his frst encounter with it in 1988, he quickly amassed a dozen works, and then more, constituting a collection of topical, charismatic, and intimate pieces spanning painting, sculpture, photography and video. The art collection he built over two decades remained with him to this day, predominantly in the comfort of his London home, and is now being entrusted to Phillips, London, across particularly crafed sales. ‘There are lots of diferent types of collectors’, Robert confessed. ‘I’ve never been one to put works straight into storage’. Instead, he placed a monumental Spot Painting by Damien Hirst above his freplace, a brash dual portrait of Gilbert & George, along with two paintings by Sarah Morris spelling out ‘GIRLS’ and ‘FUCK’ in his dining room, and a poetic Julian Opie composition, portraying a road cut of by a large expanse of azure sky, just above his bed. Each work from Robert Tibbles’ artful aggregation is tied to the other in a shared story of passion, foresightedness and wit. It is important to mention the spiritedness of Robert’s collection as each work carries tremendous individual charisma; a spark that refects his own. The frst major work he purchased was Damien Hirst’s Bodies, 1989, brought to his attention by the art dealer Karsten Schubert in the year of its creation. Aquiring the work for £600, he was the frst collector, alongside Charles Saatchi, to buy a work by Damien Hirst. Indeed, while Hirst was still a student at the Goldsmiths College of Art, London, Robert was immediately taken by his work; he envisioned a likeness between his gesture and that of Duchamp years before him, similarly elevating an ordinary object to the realm of fne art. Hirst himself has fond memories of the banker. ‘I remember
Robert very well, he was so excited by the art’, he said. ‘It was in the days when I installed my own work in people’s houses, so I went round and met him and he made me tea’. Further highlighting the integrity of Robert’s collection, the artist mused, ‘Robert is a proper collector and I’m really touched he kept and lived with my work for all those years’. Through the initial and seminal purchase of Bodies, Robert continued buying more works by the artist, and became increasingly close to Schubert, who subsequently introduced him to Hirst’s mentor – the Irish-born, U.S.A-educated artist Michael Craig-Martin. Robert’s particular relationship with Michael Craig-Martin, cultivated over the years, ushered new possibilities for his vision as a collector. He formed a friendship with him early on in his collecting years, and valued his advice as a friend and artist throughout his collecting journey. One of his most exciting purchases was the commissioned Narrative Painting from 1993-94; a composition that followed CraigMartin’s solo show in Paris’ Centre Pompidou in 1993, where he had painted the walls of each room a diferent colour, and placed one image on each wall. For Robert, Craig-Martin produced a canvas with a large expanse of pink to symbolise one wall, and an eighth of yellow to symbolise its tangent. ‘He then included a book because he always said, “If you want to be a really serious Contemporary Art collector, Robert, you cannot have curtains or books”. And then he included the back of a canvas to show I am a collector’. Themes that consume artists at the time of creation – including life, death, freedom, irreverence and identity politics – seem to consume Robert in turn, and run consistently throughout the collection he built. The Robert Tibbles Collection: Young British Artists & More thus forms a coherent, wholly fascinating narrative; one that tells Robert Tibbles’ singular story, and the visionary verve with which he approached art over the course of three decades.
Robert Tibbles in his London home, with Michael Craig-Martinâ€™s Full, 5 December 2019. ÂŠ Michael Craig-Martin, 2020. Image: Alex Braun/Phillips.
The Collection of
Robert Tibbles Young British Artists & More
15. Michael Craig-Martin
Full acrylic on canvas 213.8 x 412.7 cm (84 1/8 x 162 1/2 in.) Painted in 2000. Estimate £80,000-120,000 $104,000-156,000 €94,100-141,000 ♠
Provenance Jay Jopling, London Acquired from the above by the present owner circa 2000 Exhibited London, Fragile House, fg-1, 2000 Dublin, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Michael Craig-Martin: Works 1964 - 2006, 4 October 2006 - 14 January 2007, pp. 216-217 (illustrated, pp. 216-217)
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‘I thought the objects we value least because they were ubiquitous were actually the most extraordinary.’ Michael Craig-Martin
Michael Craig-Martin in front of the present work, circa. February 2006. Image: Eamonn McCabePopperfoto via Getty Images.
Mixing surprising amalgamations of neon colour and seminal arthistorical references, Full, 2000, is an exceptional example of Michael Craig-Martin’s witty, versatile and iconographically referential painterly practice. Over an expanse of four metres, nine objects are pictured side by side, evenly distributed across the width of the canvas. The restraint of the drawing – typically defned by sleek black lines – stands in high contrast with the ferce, riotous hues that animate the composition; absorbed by the grandeur of this visual blend, the viewer is lef to ponder the nature of each item. Afer careful observation, one is able to discern, one afer the other, the fling cabinet from Edward Hopper’s Ofce at Night, 1940, the brushes from Jasper Johns’ Painted Bronze, 1960, Craig-Martin’s own repeated ladder symbol, as well as his seminal conceptual readymade An Oak Tree, 1973, followed by Marcel Duchamp’s Bottlerack, 1914, Man Ray’s Object to Be Destroyed, 1923, and fnally CraigMartin’s fre-extinguisher, appearing in his 1996 painting Innocence and Experience (Fire Extinguisher). There is also an undeniable architectural element to the composition, frst, in its ambitious scale – Craig-Martin’s favourite to work on – and second, in its precise outlines and broader construction. ‘I am fascinated by architecture and also by the possibility of making very large images’, the artist said (Michael Craig-Martin, quoted in ‘Michael Craig-Martin’, Aesthetica Magazine, 2013, online). With Full, Craig-Martin presents the viewer with a monument to the ordinary – an homage to symbolism.
Housed in the same collection since its acquisition in 2000, Full revels in its immaculate provenance, presented at auction for the frst time in 2020 since its creation. Echoing the proximity shared by the collector Robert Tibbles and Craig-Martin, the painting was purchased when the artist and the collector were already close. ‘I met him through Karsten Schubert, who sold me the Medicine Cabinet [Damien Hirst’s Bodies] in 1989. He was around in the galleries, and we became friendly’, Tibbles remembers. In 1993, Tibbles commissioned his frst piece from Craig-Martin – Narrative Painting, 1993-94, which pictures a large expanse of pink next to a narrower section of yellow, over which a canvas and a book appear to foat. ‘Michael included a book because he always said “If you want to be a really serious Contemporary Art collector, Robert, you cannot have curtains or books.” And then he included the back of a canvas to show I am a collector’ (Robert Tibbles, in conversation with Cheyenne Westphal, 6 December 2019). With the present work, Craig-Martin seems to have merged notions of solemnity and creativity, the thirst of knowledge and the verve to collect, and materialised them into a suite of objects. Art and its index thus fuse into a single subject matter in the composition: that of symbolism. As a result, Full functions as a sourcebook of art history; a collector’s perfect companion as he moves forward towards an increasingly careful examination of objects.
Following the Line:
The Art Historical References of Michael Craig-Martin
Edward Hopper, Ofce at Night, 1940, oil on canvas, Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Gif of the T.B. Walker Foundation, Gilbert M. Walker Fund, 1948. © Heirs of Josephine Hopper/ Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS) NY/DACS, London 2020. Image: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.
Jasper Johns, Painted Bronze, 1960, oil on bronze, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © Jasper Johns/VAGA at ARS, NY and DACS, London 2020. Image: Bridgeman Images.
Marcel Duchamp, Bottlerack, 1961, bottlerack, replica of 1914 original, The Philadelphia Museum of Art. © Association Marcel Duchamp/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2020. Image: The Philadelphia Museum of Art/Art Resource/ Scala, Florence.
Man Ray, Indestructible Object (or Object to Be Destroyed), 1964, assemblage, replica of 1923 original, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © Man Ray 2015 Trust / ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2020. Image: 2020, The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence.
‘As an artist you are free to use any image, any style, any idea from any culture and any period of history.’ Michael Craig-Martin
Despite originating from diferent historical contexts, the nine symbols in Full are unifed by the special, beautifed status that was endowed to them by the artists who materialised them in painting or sculpture, decades before Craig-Martin. The bottlerack, the glass of water, the paintbrushes et. al., all transcended their functional value and entered the realm of art history when they were elevated by seminal art-historical protagonists who, in their art, sought to reinstate value in the ordinary. ‘What’s more famous than famous?’, Craig-Martin once asked, ‘…more famous than famous is ordinary, because ordinary is everywhere, ubiquitous, instantly familiar and so familiar that it’s invisible’. In this perspective, he continued, ‘a lightbulb is more famous than Marilyn Monroe’ (Michael Craig-Martin, quoted in Matt Alagiah, ‘Michael Craig-Martin on the changing nature of “ordinariness”’, It’s Nice That, 6 February 2019, online). In the present composition, CraigMartin pays tribute to Hopper, Duchamp, Man Ray; distinguished fgures who successfully shed light on the exceptional nature of ordinary objects – and made them visible again. A father of the Young British Artists movement, Craig-Martin fostered a new generation of conceptual creators who looked at the world anew, and materialised it accordingly. Full is a masterpiece from his own visual repertoire; it beautifully encapsulates his desire to merge painting, sculpture, architecture, and the striking relevance of symbolism within a single image. It moreover demonstrates the importance of colour and visual brashness in the work of Young British Artists – a feature that contemporaries such as Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Michael Landy and Gary Hume imparted in their own work.
Michael Craig-Martin, An Oak Tree, 1973, glass, water, shelf and printed text, Tate, London. © Michael CraigMartin. Image courtesy of Gagosian.
The Collection of
Robert Tibbles Young British Artists & More
16. Damien Hirst
Antipyrylazo III signed ‘D Hirst’ on the reverse household gloss on canvas 205.7 x 251.5 cm (80 7/8 x 99 in.) Executed in 1994. Estimate £900,000-1,200,000 $1,180,000-1,570,000 €1,060,000-1,410,000 ♠
Provenance Jay Jopling, London Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1994 Exhibited London, Gagosian Gallery, Damien Hirst: The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011, 12 January - 18 February 2012, p. 828 (illustrated, p. 75)
Literature Robert Violette, ed., Damien Hirst: I want to spend the rest of my life everywhere, with everyone, one to one, always, forever, now, London, 1997-2005, p. 236 (illustrated) Jason Beard and Millicent Wilner, eds., Damien Hirst: The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011, London, 2013, p. 828 (illustrated, p. 75)
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‘I was always a colourist. I’ve always had a phenomenal love of colour... I mean, I just move colour around on its own. So that’s where the Spot Paintings came from...’ Damien Hirst
Congregated on a vast, white support, ffy colourful spots run across the elongated expanse of Antipyrylazo III, 1994, while forty-one descend down its two metre height, making for a joyous amalgamation of 2,050 bright circular units. An early example of Damien Hirst’s infamous Spot Paintings – which comprise thirteen sub-series, and a total of more than 1,500 canvases – Antipyrylazo III falls within the artist’s sustained investigation of the medical realm, taking afer a similarly named chemical tool indicating the presence of calcium and magnesium in natural materials. With this niche, obscure title, pulled from the revered thematic catalogue Biochemicals for Research and Diagnostic Reagents that the artist frst stumbled across in the early 1990s, Hirst delves into a territory that eludes easy comprehension. He then paradoxically pairs the work’s esoteric designation with an image that is clear and recognisable to all: candy-like spots proliferating with jubilant energy. Regarding the medicinal nature of the title, Hirst elucidated, ‘I started them as an endless series… A scientifc approach to painting in a similar way to the drug companies’ scientifc approach to life. Art doesn’t purport to have all the answers; the drug companies do. Hence the title of the series [...] and the individual titles of the paintings themselves’ (Damien Hirst, quoted in Robert Violette, ed., ‘On Dumb Painting’, Damien Hirst: I want to spend the rest of my life everywhere, with everyone, one to one, always, forever, now, London, 1997-2005, p. 246).
Though upon visualising the series, one may think of Hirst’s more recent Spot Paintings – those that boast unequivocally pristine, thick and glossy surfaces – the story of the artist’s pharmaceutical body of work goes back to his student days at Goldsmiths College of Art, London. Hirst made his frst Spot Painting on canvas in 1988, following some loose hand-painted spots on board from 1986, and two near-identical arrangements applied directly on the wall from 1988. This preliminary work was entitled Untitled (with Black Dot), and was a rare work from the series to contain the colour black. The present painting, executed just six years later, benefts from years of practice and refned instructions, while at the same time retaining the matte quality of Hirst’s early spots. The colour from each dot is not restricted by an overarching sense of fatness – like they ofen are in recent formulations – but instead delves into new layers of depth, perhaps enabled by a minute, lesser use of prime that in turn allows for subtly varying levels of thickness to interact at the surface. Indeed, only the frst few dozen Spot Paintings were made by Hirst alone, as the rest became part of a larger production system soliticiting the help of assistants. Hirst’s mature works thus not only remove drawing traces in their immaculate, spotless rendition, but furthermore negate the artist’s hand, promoting a kind of artistic mechanism that readily espouses his conceptual approach to the
‘I wanted to fnd a way to use colour in paintings that wasn’t expressionism. And then I lost faith in it and wanted to create a system where whatever decisions you make within a painting, the paintings end up happy. And I came up with spot paintings?’ Damien Hirst
The artist in his studio, 1993 © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020. Image: Gemma Levine/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.
Donald Judd, Untitled, 1991, enamelled aluminium, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © Judd Foundation/ARS, NY and DACS, London 2020. Image: 2020, The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence.
painterly medium. Any physical evidence of human intervention – such as the compass point lef at the centre of each spot – vanishes, until the works appear to have been constructed perfunctorily, or ‘by a person trying to paint like a machine’ (Damien Hirst, in conversation with Sophie Calle, Internal Afairs, exh. cat., Institute of Contemporary Art, London, 1991, reproduced online). For Hirst, this technique marked a departure from years of experimenting with paint and collage, and the frst result of his search for a truly contemporary art form, coming as close as possible to formal perfection. Yet with Antipyrylazo III, extremely faint traces of pencil around certain dots recall the artist’s early craf, when he and the canvas were at one – an exceptional and rare feat in his eponymous body of work. In this perspective, Hirst asserts that his approach to the Spot Paintings had more to do with their embodiment of the painterly medium than with sheer perceptual experimentation with colour or space. ‘[T]hey have nothing to do with Richter or Poons or Bridget Riley or Albers or even Op’, he said. ‘They’re about the urge or the need to be a painter above and beyond the object of painting. I’ve ofen said that they are like sculptures of painting’ (Damien Hirst, quoted in Jason Beard and Millicent Wilner, eds., ‘On Dumb Painting’, Damien Hirst: The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011, London, 2013, p. 246).
It is the technique employed in the making of Antipyrylazo III that diferentiates it from other types of experimentation; the resulting aesthetic engenders an immediate response with a sleek, minimalist approach. In its laborious and painstaking reproduction of each circle, Antipyrylazo III exploits the powers of illusion allowed by the painterly medium at its heights. The element of organisation – both with respect to structure and colour – is of quintessential importance in Antipyrylazo III. The spots are structured on a grid; a seminal art historical tool that allows painters and sculptors to bring their visions – real or abstract – to life. The grid, wrote Rosalind Krauss, is what art looks like when it turns its back on nature. Yet in the frenetic repetition of the single pattern, disseminated across three decades of Hirst’s output, the artist has transcended the grid held within his two-dimensional support. Showing his Spot Paintings in a group and all over the world has indeed become part of their content and meaning: they are infltrating everywhere, their feld expanding to cover the world itself. The use of an iconic image as a brand, a point of departure from which to multiply ad infnitum holds visual and conceptual similarities with the gestures of Dan Flavin, Donald Judd and Yayoi Kusama, who also repeatedly deployed the same pattern within their work – a beaming
Dan Flavin, Untitled (to a man, George McGovern) 2, 1972, fuorescent light and metal fxtures, Dia:Beacon, New York. © Stephen Flavin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2020. Image: Bill Jackson Studio, New York, courtesy Dia Art Foundation.
‘To create that structure, to do those colours, and do nothing. I suddenly got what I wanted. It was just a way of pinning down the joy of colour.’ Damien Hirst
dash, a succession of slabs, or myriad recurring visions of dots, pumpkins and eyes. In the very nature of Hirst’s recurring pattern – the spot – Antipyrylazo III furthermore recalls the traditional technique of Pointillism, which sought to compose a single image with small dots exclusively. In this perspective, the present work could posit as the section of a pointillist canvas under microscope; a snapshot of the image upon total abstraction. It is in the plethora of references it conjures that Antipyrylazo III encapsulates the complexity of life itself. Named afer a biological indicator, it gestures outwards to new horizons, only to fnally return to its initial scientifc realm, summoning multifaceted notions of life and death. In its grand size and sublime rendering, the work exists as an exceptional and seminal example of Hirst’s broader investigation.
The Collection of
Robert Tibbles Young British Artists & More
17. Damien Hirst
Bodies signed, titled and dated ‘Damien Hirst Bodies 1989’ on the reverse glass, faced particleboard, ramin, plastic, aluminium and pharmaceutical packaging 137.2 x 101.6 x 22.9 cm (54 x 40 x 9 in.) Executed in 1989. Estimate £1,200,000-1,800,000 $1,560,000-2,350,000 €1,410,000-2,120,000 ♠ plus Buyers Premium and VAT, ARR applies*
Provenance Karsten Schubert, London (acquired directly from the artist in 1989) Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1989 Exhibited London, Goldsmiths College, Degree Show, 1989 Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Damien Hirst. The Agony and the Ecstasy: Selected Works from 1989-2004, 31 October 2004 - 31 January 2005, p. 254 (illustrated, p. 63) New York, L&M Arts, Damien Hirst: The Complete Medicine Cabinets, 28 October - 11 December 2010, pp. 76 and 176 (the present work illustrated, pp. 75, 77, degree show illustrated, p. 199) London, Tate Modern, Damien Hirst, 4 April - 9 September 2012, p. 232 (illustrated, p. 69)
Literature Robert Violette, ed., Damien Hirst: I want to spend the rest of my life everywhere, with everyone, one to one, always, forever, now, London, 1997-2005, p. 332 (illustrated, p. 210) Jeremy Cooper, No Fun Without U: The Art of Factual Nonsense, London, 2000, p. 13 (degree show illustrated, p. 13) Elizabeth Fullerton, ARTRAGE! The Story of the Britart Revolution, London, 2016, pp. 46-47 (degree show illustrated, p. 46)
‘You can only cure people for so long and then they’re going to die anyway. You can’t arrest decay but these medicine cabinets suggest you can.’ Damien Hirst
Created at the genesis of Damien Hirst’s career, Bodies, 1989, marked a watershed in the artist’s practice, as well as a signifcant milestone in the history of contemporary British art. With its distinct pharmacological subject matter, the sculpture presaged an array of works within Hirst’s oeuvre – most notably his two pharmacy-themed installations, his Pill Cabinets and Spot Paintings, as well as his restaurant Pharmacy, 1998-2003. The artist frst inaugurated his thematic vision with two medicine cabinets entitled Sinner, 1988, and Enemy, 1988-89, which he flled with remnants of his late grandmother’s medication. These preliminary formulations, executed during his second year at Goldsmiths College of Art in London, were followed by a sequence of thirteen cabinets, named afer the twelve songs of the Sex Pistols’ UK debut album Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, with two units referring to the seminal track God Save the Queen. The frst four from the grouping – Bodies, Liar, Seventeen and Pretty Vacant – were exhibited at the artist’s degree show in a shared space with his peer Angus Fairhurst, forming the bedrock of the series. From the Medicine Cabinets, one resides at the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen München, and three are housed in the eminent collections of Bruno Bischoferger, Irma and Norman Braman, and Vicki and Kent Logan (promised gif to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art). Bodies, an early formulation from the series and the embodiment of track number 2 from the Sex Pistols’ album, posits as a precocious sign of Hirst’s rebellious spirit and unfinching audacity.
In 1989, Bodies was immediately bought by the German gallerist Karsten Schubert from Hirst's degree show, along with three other cabinets, before being purchased by the British collector Robert Tibbles, with whom the work – along with a multitude of YBA treasures – has remained for almost thirty years. Along these three decades, Bodies was shown only three times following Hirst’s graduation show: once, at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples; then, alongside eleven counterparts at L&M Arts, New York, exactly ten years ago; and fnally in 2012 at Tate Modern, London, on the occasion of Hirst’s frst substantial survey in a British institution. The spectacular nature of Bodies is thus threefold. Firstly, its importance within Hirst’s oeuvre – as an undisputed masterpiece from his celebrated Medicine series – is veritably unparalleled. Secondly, its provenance – held in the same collection essentially since conception – tells a story of passion, trust and courage, that close to no other collection could boast. And fnally, its meaning today, tying historical and personal signifcance, transcends artistic intention and takes on an added symbolic layer, which encompasses the importance of the owner as patron. It is only upon seeing the work – and taking a step back from its storied parcours – that one can be brought back to its fundamental conceptual genius, and made to understand the gesture from which Hirst departed as a 23 year-old student, studying at Goldsmiths alongside a generation of equally irreverent artists.
‘I can’t understand why most people believe in medicine and don’t believe in art, without questioning either.’ Damien Hirst
Damien Hirst, Untitled (Drawing With Cabinet and Medical Packaging) Corpus Book Image, 1989. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020. Image: courtesy of the artist’s studio.
Installation view of the present work in Damien Hirst's Degree Show, Goldsmiths College, London, 1989. ÂŠ Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020. Image: courtesy of the artistâ€™s studio.
‘I like it when there is more than one way of saying something, like songs on an album.’ Damien Hirst
Jef Koons, New Shelton WetDry 5-Gallon, New Hoover Convertible Doubledecker, 1981-1987, vacuum cleaners, acrylic and fuorescent lighting, Private Collection. © Jef Koons. Image: 2020, Christie's Images, London/Scala, Florence
From an innocent and uninformed perspective, a frst encounter with Bodies grants the viewer with a succession of interrogations. Though the object of the cabinet is immediately familiar and recognisable, the arrangement of the medical elements is deeply enigmatic – too perfect, too aesthetic, and therefore designed to spur confusion as to whether its constitution was deliberate or entirely random. The used packages, described by Hirst as ‘empty fucking vessels’, are believed to have been originally arranged as if the cabinet were itself a body, each item placed according to the organs it relates to. ‘I chose the size and shape of the cabinet like a body. I wanted it to be kind of human, like with an abdomen and a chest and guts’, the artist said. ‘Then I played around with the idea of putting the head at the top and those for your feet at the bottom and in doing something like that. I started trying to fnd out what all the drugs were’ (Damien Hirst, quoted in ‘Pharmaceutical Heaven’, Damien Hirst, exh. cat., Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples, 2004, pp. 105-106). Yet Hirst quickly outgrew this system, overtaken by his desire to arrange the cabinets arbitrarily, according to colours and patterns. ‘In the end, coming from that background of colour arranging, I can’t resist doing it in terms of colour. Everything is done in terms of colour and what it looks like. The whole cabinet really is just an illusion, just to hide behind the fact of making those old fashioned decisions I think’ (Damien Hirst, quoted in ‘Pharmaceutical Heaven’, Damien Hirst, exh. cat., Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples, 2004, pp. 105-106).
The cabinets’ arbitrary arrangements furthermore echoes the multiplicity of meaning that radiates from their enigmatic shells. Bodies, as such, is evocative of a plethora of visual references and historical notions. On the one hand, it provides an art historical nod to Kurt Schwitters’ collages and Joseph Cornell’s ingenious assemblages; on the other, it echoes the formal concerns of such seminal fgures as Sol LeWitt and Donald Judd. In its artistic displacement of a real, recognisable object, the sculpture also calls to mind Andy Warhol’s Brillo boxes – culled from the environment of a supermarket – that indeed resonate with Hirst’s desire to have his cabinets look like those he saw in pharmacies. Being part of an endlessly ambivalent series, Bodies’ meaning seems perpetually in process, awaiting the thoughts and interpretations of its newcoming spectators. In a compelling anecdote, Hirst described the response of a particular viewer who had a distinct understanding of the drugs’ arrangement; having worked in the medical industry, she had in mind a physician’s very real and strategic placement of the medication packages. Afer staring at the object for some time, the viewer said she could not fgure out Hirst’s cabinet; to her, it made no clinical sense, and was in fact a total mess – this, despite the fact it may have appeared exactly the opposite to an unsuspecting eye: neat, clinical and orderly.
The Sex Pistols Medicine Cabinet Series by Damien Hirst
Track 1 Holidays, 1989, Private Collection Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020.
Track 3 No Feelings, 1989, Irma and Norman Braman Collection, Miami Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020.
Track 4 Liar, 1989, Private Collection Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020.
Track 7 Seventeen, 1989, Private Collection Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020.
Track 8 Anarchy, 1989, Private Collection Photographed by Stephen White. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020.
Track 9 Submission, 1989, Bruno Bischoferger Collection, Zurich Photographed by Stephen White. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020.
Track 5 god, 1989, Private Collection Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020.
Track 5 God, 1989, Private Collection, New York Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020.
Track 6 Problems, 1989-2010, Private Collection Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020.
Track 10 Pretty Vacant, 1989, Vicki and Kent Logan Collection, promised gif to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020.
Track 11 New York, 1989, Private Collection Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020.
Track 12 E.M.I., 1989, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlung München, Udo and Anette Brandhorst Collection Photographed by Haydar Koyupinar. © Bayerische Staatsgemaldesammlungen.
Lef / Right Joseph Cornell, Pharmacy, 1943, mixed media, Private Collection. © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation/ VAGA at ARS, NY and DACS, London. Image: 2020, Christie's Images, London/Scala, Florence. Sol LeWitt, Open Modular Cube, 1966, painted aluminium, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2020. Image: Bridgeman Images.
Of paramount importance in Bodies is also the theme at its core, deeply entrenched in all of Hirst’s subsequent works. Indeed, Bodies refers to Hirst’s preferred – and most employed – subject matter: the dichotomy of life and death, and the uniquely special, iridescent, and fragile line separating the two. ‘I’m going to die and I want to live forever’, the artist confessed to Sophie Calle. She asked in return, ‘You obviously don’t think that drugs can cure this problem, if indeed it is a problem, but do you think that art can?’ ‘No’, he responded, ‘but I’m not going to stop trying. I know it’s impossible to believe it, and impossible for me to not… If I follow my ideas about art through to their fnal conclusion I realize I shouldn’t make art, but I still do’ (Damien Hirst, in conversation with Sophie Calle, Internal Afairs, exh. cat., Institute of Contemporary Art, London, 1991, reproduced online). If it is not Bodies and its myriad medical contents that will save Hirst from the great leveller of death, it could perhaps be the idea behind it – the conceptual host allowing him to look beyond the mere physicality of the world. This seems to be at the heart of Hirst’s conceptual intention, overarching the entirety of his oeuvre.
Art – not medicine – is the cure. This is something he vividly expressed in the context of explaining his cabinets. ‘I cannot understand why some people believe completely in medicine and not in art’, he said ‘without questioning either. I was with my mum in the chemist’s; she was getting a prescription. And it was, like, complete trust on the sculpture and organizing shapes, one level in something she’s equally in the dark about. In the medicine cabinets there’s no actual medicines in the bottles. It’s just completely packaging and formal sculptures and organized shapes. My mum was looking at the same kind of stuf in the chemist’s and believing in it completely. And then, when looking at it in an art gallery, completely not believing in it. And as far as I could see it was the same thing. And for a long time I’d seen that. I knew that was going on. And I was thinking “If I could only make art like that – that did that”. And then in the end, I just decided to do that directly. I’ve always loved the idea of art maybe, you know, curing people. And I have this kind of obsession with the body’ (Damien Hirst, quoted in Arthur C. Danto, ‘Damien Hirst’s Medicine Cabinets: Art, Death, Sex, Society and Drugs’, The Complete Medicine Cabinets, exh. cat., L&M Fine Arts, New York, 2010, reproduced online).
The present work in Robert Tibbles' London home.
The Collection of
Robert Tibbles Young British Artists & More
18. Gilbert & George b. 1943 and b. 1942 CITY FAIRIES signed and dated ‘1991 Gilbert & George’ lower centre; further titled ‘CITY FAIRIES’ lower right mixed media, in artists’ frames, in 18 parts overall 253.7 x 426.8 cm (99 7/8 x 168 in.) Executed in 1991. Estimate £120,000-180,000 $157,000-235,000 €141,000-212,000 ♠ plus Buyers Premium and VAT, ARR applies*
Provenance Anthony d’Ofay Gallery, London Acquired from the above by the present owner in October 1997 Exhibited Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Gilbert & George: New Democratic Pictures, 6 September 25 October 1992, no. 3, p. 44 (illustrated, p. 45) Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, Gilbert & George, 18 May - 8 September 1996, p. 223 Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Gilbert & George, 4 October 1997 4 January 1998, p. 430 (illustrated, pp. 220-221) London, Tate Modern; Munich, Haus der Kunst; Turin, Castello di Rivoli; San Francisco, de Young Museum; Milwaukee Art Museum; New York, Brooklyn Museum, Gilbert & George: Major Exhibition, 15 February 2007 - 11 January 2009, pl. 143, p. 207 (illustrated, p. 132)
Literature François Jonquet, Gilbert & George: Intimate Conversations with François Jonquet, London, 2004, pp. 213-214 Robin Dutt, Gilbert & George: Obsessions & Compulsions, London, 2004, p. 120 (illustrated) Rudi Fuchs, ed., Gilbert & George: The Complete Pictures 1971-2005, Volume 2: 1988-2005, London, 2007, p. 763 (illustrated, p. 766)
‘In CITY FAIRIES we depicted ourselves as fairies. Fairies are traditionally little creatures that live at the bottom of your garden. Tey have wings like insects and lead an idyllic existence.’ Gilbert & George
At once playful and sardonic, humorous and profane, CITY FAIRIES, 1991, is a paradigmatic example of Gilbert & George’s oeuvre, touching on themes of identity, freedom, and irreverence. Split in 18 colourful units, the work outlines a vast composition that is almost perfectly symmetrical, spanning bright purples, pinks, greens and yellows, and showing the two artists birthing one other through the mouth as winged, suited creatures, supported from beneath by a pair of exposed buttocks. At the core of the photographic construction – between the two artist’s standing bodies – lies an image of London’s Liverpool Street Station, brimming with pacing fnanciers. This location, somewhat incongruous within the composition, takes on particular meaning in the context of CITY FAIRIES’ provenance. Indeed, acquiring the work in 1997, Robert Tibbles concurrently worked at UBS as a bond salesman – the ofces of which were erected at the heart of the same London railway. A fervent admirer of large, brash contemporary art, the collector found it only ftting that the image would reference a distinct dimension of his own
life; ‘It felt like my work’, he said (Robert Tibbles, in conversation with Cheyenne Westphal, 6 December 2019). Testament to the work’s importance within the artists’ oeuvre, CITY FAIRIES was exhibited on the occasion of multiple ‘one-man shows’ (the duo insists on the term), at the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1998, and Tate Modern, London; Haus der Kunst, Munich; Castello di Rivoli, Turin; de Young Museum, San Francisco; Milwaukee Art Museum; and the Brooklyn Museum, New York, from 2007 to 2009. With its bright colours and bold subject matter, CITY FAIRIES sheds light on the visual and conceptual power of iconoclasm – a theme of paramount importance in Gilbert & George’s artistic output. Employing stained-glass windows and an eclectic colour palette, the work borrows from religious iconography, while at the same time challenging its numinous display through a use of highly graphic and disruptive images. Laying bare their bodies and aggrandising them to colossal proportions, the artistic duo pushes their imagery to new levels of rawness, confronting the viewer to anatomical parts traditionally only visible in situations of heightened intimacy. Providing further insight into the work’s meaning, the artists have declared: ‘Fairies are traditionally little creatures that live at the bottom of your garden. They have wings like insects and lead an idyllic existence. In English, “fairy” is also an old-fashioned familiar way of saying homosexual. A derogatory word. In a way, we’re turning the whole thing around by calling ourselves “fairies” and totally standing by it’ (Gilbert & George, quoted in François Jonquet, Gilbert & George. Intimate Conversations with François Jonquet, London, 2004, pp. 213-14). Conducting themselves as living sculptures – ‘Our whole life is one big sculpture’, George once said – Gilbert & George have, throughout their multi-disciplinary practice, surpassed any kind of artistic categorisation or etiquette, instead straddling a variety of media such as performance, sculpture and photography (George, quoted in Carter Ratclif, ‘Gilbert and George: The Fabric of their World’, Gilbert and George: The Complete Pictures 1971-1985, Stuttgart, 1996, p. 9). With its compelling size, history and subject matter, the photographic construction posits as an excellent example of their thematic output – both buoyant and acerbic, amusing and tormenting.
Damien Hirst, Posterity – The Holy Place, 2006, butterfies and household gloss on canvas, Private Collection. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/Artimage 2020. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd.
Gilbert Prousch and George Passmore, London, 1990. Â© Gilbert & George, 2020. Photo: Chris Felver/Getty Images.
The Collection of
Robert Tibbles Young British Artists & More
19. Damien Hirst
Provenance White Cube, London Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2002
signed, titled and dated ‘Damien Hirst Summer Breeze 2002’ on the reverse butterfies and household gloss on canvas, in artist’s frame overall 203 x 233.6 cm (79 7/8 x 91 7/8 in.) Executed in 2002. Estimate £250,000-350,000 $327,000-457,000 €294,000-412,000 ♠ plus Buyers Premium and VAT, ARR applies*
‘Ten you get the beauty of the butterfy... Te death of an insect that still has this really optimistic beauty of a wonderful thing.’ Damien Hirst
On frst encounter, Damien Hirst’s delectably fresh Summer Breeze, 2002, seems to paint the perfect summer day. Sixteen colourful butterfies, small and big, are set against a pristine blue sky, punctuated by sof formations of luminous white clouds. However, on closer inspection, the idyllic composition reveals darker folds. The sixteen butterfies fapping across the work’s surface are not roaming freely as they outwardly seem to be; their wings are trapped in the household gloss that covers the painting’s support; ‘I [wanted] it to look like an artist’s studio where he had wet coloured canvases and the butterfies had landed in them’, (Damien Hirst, quoted in Damien Hirst: The Agony and the Ecstasy, exh. cat., Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples, 2004, p. 83). Continuously playing with dichotomic notions of life and death, freedom and captivity, Hirst here creates an inherently ambivalent image that spurs contradicting emotions within the viewer – astonishment, rapture, quickly followed by hard-hitting disillusionment. Yet even in its bleak moments, the art of Hirst continues to spark wonder. His ‘work is essentially life-afrming, even at its most chilling moments’, writes Richard Shone (Richard Shone, ‘Damien Hirst: A Power to Amaze’, Damien Hirst: Pictures from the Saatchi Gallery, London, 2002, p. 85).
Acquired by Robert Tibbles in the early 2000s, the avid Hirst-collector observed that beyond the multiple links existing between the artist’s plethora of series, a particularly potent one stood out between Hirst’s butterfy paintings and his fy works – and more specifcally Summer Breeze, 2002, and AIDS, 2003, which both sat in conversation in Tibbles’ collection for decades. Capturing Hirst’s preoccupation with life and death, Summer Breeze depicts a clear blue sky scattered with butterfy wings glued to the canvas, whereas AIDS engulfs the viewer in darkness, with thousands of fies trapped behind glass. Through almost opposite renditions – one akin to an aesthetic of entrapment and the other deceivingly emulating an image of liberation – these two works convey similar themes, essentially spanning freedom and ensnarement, life and death. About the Butterfy works, Hirst has said: ‘I don’t want it to look like a kind of oil-painted beautiful sky that’s been created. If you use it, thick gloss paint really does, in a very sculptural way, start to form fucking clouds. I want it to look like an accident of gloss paint with butterfies stuck on it’ (Damien Hirst, quoted in Damien Hirst and Gordon Burn, On the Way to Work, London, 2001, p. 133). In this sense, Summer Breeze discreetly addresses the same complex and intense subjects as its visibly darkened counterpart; it is a testimony to the fragility of life, and the ofen misleading impressions of iridescent beauty.
Installation view of Damien Hirst including In and Out of Love (White Paintings and Live Butterfies), 1991, Tate Modern, London, 2012. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020. Image: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd.
‘I think rather than be personal you have to fnd universal triggers: everyone’s frightened of glass, everyone’s frightened of sharks, everyone loves butterfies.’ Damien Hirst
Yet in its specifc use of butterfies – insects that have been gifed a very particular experience of life, at once long in its concoction and quick in its expiration – Summer Breeze also tackles an age-old subject that has fascinated painters, poets, writers, and opera composers across time. By virtue of their beauty, unique growing stages and lifespan, butterfies have enjoyed a repeated presence in the canon of art, scattered in Renaissance paintings and cabinets of wonder, while at the same time maintaining heightened importance in contemporary art. Eminent fgures such as Vincent van Gogh, Odilon Redon, Mark Grotjahn, but also Vladimir Nabokov have observed the almostmiraculous status that the winged creatures were bestowed in life. ‘Caressed by the inert and omnivorous body of painting, butterfies, like the animals in formaldehyde, maintain their vital and pulsating aspect’, noted Mario Codognato, ‘even in the stasis of death, prolonging and transferring their fnal movement in the stasis of representation, and celebrating, simultaneously, their grandeur and
their impotence’ (Mario Codognato, ‘Warning Labels’, Damien Hirst: The Agony and the Ecstasy, exh. cat., Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples, 2004, p. 41). The universal, timeless and collective fascination surrounding butterfies also lead to more widespread activities, including butterfy-catching and butterfy-collecting. In the common practice of placing butterfies behind glass, man has notably achieved the impression that life can be frozen in the instant of death. A wondrous, exceptional example of Hirst’s butterfy paintings, Summer Breeze is one of the few formulations of the Butterfy series evincing a non-monochromatic background. The sky backdrop in the present work amplifes the discrepancy that exists between the butterfies’ physical entrapment and their falsely unrestrained fight; as a result, the composition takes on an added poetic layer, whereby living creatures are sunk into an intangible vortex of air – impossibly glued to the summer breeze.
The Collection of
Robert Tibbles Young British Artists & More
20. Damien Hirst
Beautiful tropical, jungle painting (with pink snot)
Provenance Jay Jopling, London Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1999
signed, titled and dated ‘Damien Hirst Beautiful tropical, jungle painting (with pink snot) 1998’ on the reverse household gloss on canvas diameter 215 cm (84 5/8 in.) Executed in 1998. Estimate £270,000-350,000 $353,000-457,000 €318,000-412,000 ♠ plus Buyers Premium and VAT, ARR applies*
‘Te movement sort of implies life.’ Damien Hirst
An enthralling tondo that transports the viewer into a vortex of colour and movement, Beautiful tropical, jungle painting (with pink snot), 1998, forms part of Damien Hirst’s celebrated series of Spin Paintings, which he frst conceptualised in his Brixton studio in 1992, and tentatively introduced to the public as a participative method in 1993. In the summer of that year, Hirst and his peer Angus Fairhurst – both dressed as clowns – set up a ‘Spin Art’ stall at the London street fair A Fête Worse than Death, organised by Joshua Compston and featuring works by Gavin Turk, Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas. Hirst and Fairhurst’s stall encouraged passersby to create their own spin paintings by pouring variably coloured paint onto rapidly rotating canvases, producing a number of unique kaleidoscopic surfaces that, in their fnished state, were sold for one pound each. It was only a year later that Hirst began creating Spin Paintings with the intent of growing them as a prominent branch of his infamously serial artistic practice. That year, he commissioned a scaled-up version of the machine he had used at the fair, and began to work on tondos – which now occupy the majority of the series. Calling comparisons with Jackson Pollock’s infamous gestural process, Hirst’s application of paint combined with the machine’s energetic spin blurred the
boundaries between genres and media. Created in 1998 as an early formulation of the series, the present work vividly embodies Hirst’s tongue-in-cheek attitude to art historical tradition through a brilliant process-based approach, lingering somewhere between painting and performance. Enforcing his tendency to elaborate discreet rules for all his selfdescribed ‘endless’ series of works, Hirst’s spins are ofen thematic and specifc in designation. Like all other paintings from the series, Beautiful tropical, jungle painting (with pink snot) bears an idiosyncratically elongated title that begins with ‘Beautiful’ and ends with ‘Painting’. Composed of amorphous masses of ochre, green, red and blue that take over the surface of the canvas entirely, the composition transforms into a wondrous and vivacious explosion of colour that departs from Hirst’s usual intentness on order, repetition, and quasi-scientifc formulaism. Unlike his infamous Medicine Cabinets, Spot and Kaleidoscope Paintings, Hirst’s spins are controlled solely by the motion of a machine, which he is only able to manipulate to a limited degree. They are ‘childish… in the positive sense of the word’, the artist has said (Damien Hirst, quoted in Stuart Morgan, ‘An
Henri Rousseau, The Dream, 1910, oil on canvas, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Image: Bridgeman Images.
‘I really like making them [Spin Paintings]. And I really like the machine, and I really like the movement. Everytime they’re fnished, I'm desperate to do another one.’ Damien Hirst
Interview with Damien Hirst’, 1995, reproduced online). They conjure a gem or candy-like visual universe that seems to spin forevermore – even in their fnal state. The circular shape of the canvas furthermore brings to mind Hirst’s infamous pattern of the spot, which invades a number of his series, namely his eponymously titled body of Spot Paintings. The result of daring spontaneity and dizzying movement, Beautiful tropical, jungle painting (with pink snot) is evocative of the movement found in Abstract Expressionist canvases, while at the same time recalling Robert Delaunay’s masterful circular compositions, which equally appear to swirl and whirl with unbridled energy. A tondo of colourful charisma enmeshing a number of striking hues, the present work boasts a comparable painterly constitution. Yet the wildness of its spin, paired with a revealingly feral title, suggests a tangible atmosphere. In this sense, one is reminded of Henri Rousseau’s The Dream, which features a nude woman reclining in fora and fauna, pried on by two wide-eyed lions. Though Rousseau’s picture entails scenic verisimilitude, and therefore contrasts with the present work’s full abstraction, its colours and suggestive angles convey a similar environment – beautifully tropical.
The Collection of
Robert Tibbles Young British Artists & More
21. Gary Hume
Magnolia Door One
Provenance Richard Salmon Gallery, London Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1988
signed and titled ‘MAGNOLIA DOOR ONE HUME’ on the reverse; further inscribed ‘SOLD TO STOCKBROKER’ on a label afxed to the reverse household gloss on canvas 254 x 162.6 cm (100 x 64 in.) Painted in 1988. Estimate £20,000-30,000 $26,100-39,200 €23,600-35,300 ♠ plus Buyers Premium and VAT, ARR applies*
‘Te doors swing to and fro, all day and all night long...’ Adrian Searle, ‘Gary Hume’, Frieze, 5 June 1993, online
Opening and closing to the thoroughfare of bodies, hasty nurses, convoys of cleaning equipment and new life, hospital doors are silent witnesses to life’s most defning and perfunctory moments, encapsulating the spectrum of complexity that commands each person’s existence. In Gary Hume’s Magnolia Door One, 1988, the faint traces of circular windows in the upper quadrant of the canvas and the neat separation at its centre re-envision a door in its static state. An early example of Hume’s iconic series of Door Paintings, Magnolia Door One is an important formulation in which the artist employed the eponymous colour, immediately following the three seminal Mint Green Doors he presented at Damien Hirst’s Freeze show in 1988. Commenced the same year, the Magnolia doors were conceptualised specifcally in reference to their colour. ‘I went to St Bartholomew’s Hospital with a tape measure and a piece of paper, measured numerous doors and made schematic copies of them’, he said. ‘I used house paint in an institutional colour, magnolia, which is a colour of no choice… it was about democratic use of the symbol of the door’ (Gary Hume, quoted in ‘Brilliant’: New Art from London, exh. cat., Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1995, p. 45). Though Hume’s early doors captured the interest of only a select few in 1988, the artist went on to represent Great Britain in the Venice Biennale eleven years later. Today, his works are held in the prominent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate, London, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others. A study in liminality, Hume’s Magnolia Door One looks at the dutiful structure of the door that, in the context of hospitals, physically separates life from death. At the same time, the artist uses a neutral, transitional hue that vacillates between many diferent colours, evoking the chromatically diminished art of Agnes Martin, who equally
studied chromatic soothening in her minimalist canvases. Pink, beige, or green according to the viewer’s position and perspective, Magnolia Door One posits as a chameleon of sorts, adapting to all situations like a double-swing door. As a result, the painting is as transitional in subject matter as it is in aesthetic; it presents itself as a great leveller both in meaning and in form. Commenting on the portals’ capacity to carry poetic meaning, Adrian Searle writes, ‘It seems entirely appropriate to our time that the painting-as-window should have become a painting-as-door, and that the door should be closed. It is an image of closure and impenetrability which still manages to allude to the idea of something beyond – withheld, unseen, absent. There’s
‘Seeing them [Door Paintings] together, there’s a sense of disquiet because they can turn slightly macabre-like a regiment of doors with anthropomorphic qualities.’ Gary Hume
Gary Hume, Incubus, 1991, alkyd paint on Formica, Tate Collection, London. © Gary Hume. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2020. Image: Tate, London.
Gautier Deblonde, Gary Hume, from the Artists Series, 1993-99, black and white photograph. © Gary Hume. Image © Gautier Deblonde. All Rights Reserved, DACSArtimage 2020.
a dumb poetry in the image of the shut door. The paint is built up, layer on layer, accentuating in relief the parts of the door. It is painted as well or as badly as you or I might decorate a door. Any drips are accidental’ (Adrian Searle, ‘Gary Hume’, Frieze, 5 June 1993, online). Similarly displacing and physically embodying objects to elevate, honour and commemorate all the things that surround us, Rachel Whiteread’s sculptural output that sheds light on the household items and familiar architectural structures we ofen overlook. Just like Hume’s work, Whiteread’s sculptures are evocative of much more than that which they represent indexically. They bring the viewer back to the notion of inescapability, as outwardly closed and impenetrable structures. Equally, Robert Gober and Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ silent sculptures come to mind – notably in their transformation of movable or live constructions into mute, seemingly sterile forms. In displacing what was once known into the realm of the nebulous, these artists address the poetry that is located in the ordinary – those small alterations that render the invisible visible again. Exploring the diference between the painted and the real, Magnolia Door One moves between strangely representational and iconographically minimal. Like a doorway, it is just the right size to encompass a human body – designed to meet human needs, and therefore, immediately evocative. An exceptional example of one of Hume’s most compelling ideas, the present painting demonstrates the medium’s ability to convey emotion through a simple, quintessential rendering.
Sarah Morris’ Girls and Fuck in the home of Robert Tibbles, to be included in the 20th Century and Contemporary Art Day Sale under Lots 157 and 158 respectively. Behind are Damien Hirst’s Antipyrylazo III and Gary Hume’s Magnolia Door One.
Property of a Distinguished European Collector O♦
22. Peter Doig
Camp Forestia signed, titled and dated ‘Camp Forestia ‘96 Peter Doig’ on the reverse oil on board 34.9 x 50.1 cm (13 3/4 x 19 3/4 in.) Painted in 1996. Estimate £700,000-1,000,000 $919,000-1,310,000 €829,000-1,180,000 ♠ plus Buyers Premium and VAT*
Provenance Rifemaker Gallery, London Private Collection Sotheby’s, London, 22 June 2006, lot 326 Private Collection Acquired from the above by the present owner Exhibited London, Ridinghouse Editions, Peter Doig: Small Paintings, 11 December 1996 - 25 January 1997 Faurschou Foundation Beijing, Peter Doig: Cabins and Canoes, The Unreasonable Silence of the World, 3 March - 24 June 2017, pp. 118 and 274 (illustrated, pp. 119 and 268)
‘For the most part I tried to avoid becoming involved in nostalgia, and that’s why a lot of the imagery I used for these paintings were things that reminded me of my experience rather than things that were directly from my experience.’ Peter Doig
Delineating the inky contours of a wooden cabin tucked amidst trees and fauna, Camp Forestia, 1996, is a wonderful example of Peter Doig’s atmospheric oeuvre, ceaselessly informed by childhood memories, photographs, and confated imagery. Camp Forestia, painted in a period when Doig was particularly inspired by woodland scenes, snowscapes and architectural elements, is a uniquely intimate formulation of his eponymous body of work, based on a Seattle lake clubhouse, formerly known as ‘Camp Forestia’. Boasting a wistful sepia palette, the present work stands amidst a few similarly named compositions, two of which are held at Tate, London, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Refecting the titular cabin in the large body of water devised just beneath it, Doig presents the same image twice, separated only by the futtering vegetation at the composition’s centre. Expanding horizontally, this stretch of land strictly divorces the portrayed earthly entities from their refected, rippling counterparts, bisecting the picture into two refracted pictorial planes. ‘The mirroring opened up another world’, the artist explained. ‘It went from being something like a recognisable reality to something more magical’ (Peter Doig, quoted in Judith Nesbitt, ‘A Suitable Distance’, Peter Doig, exh. cat., Tate Britain, London, 2008, p. 14). Through methods of mirroring and doubling, Doig invites the viewer to examine the distinctions between reality and representation, and to enter the liminal space that is held at the junction of both. Painted in the afermath of Doig’s Turner Prize nomination in 1994, Camp Forestia displays a number of the artist’s most revered iconographic feats, including his ability to convey images that drif between reality and fantasy, fguration and abstraction. At the heart
of the composition, the titular cabin is unveiled in luminous splendour, glowing like an overexposed photograph. The architecture’s source – Seattle’s former Camp Forestia establishment – is amalgamated with Doig’s childhood memories of Canada, brimming with lakes, aurora borealis and interminable stretches of land. ‘Many of the paintings were not “Canadian” at all-they just ended up looking that way’, the artist said. ‘I was trying to come to terms with the Canadian part of my life. I lef Canada when I was nineteen. I really wanted to get away. […] Going back to Canada when I was a little bit older, I realized how much I had absorbed there. It now felt important’ (Peter Doig, ‘Q&A: Peter Doig on the Haunting Infuence of Place’, Artspace, 2 February 2018, online). Mining magazine advertisements, photographs and archival content upon his return to London in 1989, Doig conjured archetypical, almost clichéd images of the Canadian spirit. He furthermore noted ‘So many of these paintings are of Canada, but in a way I want it to be a more imaginary place – a place that’s somehow a wilderness’ (Peter Doig, quoted in Robert Schif, ‘Incidents’, Peter Doig, exh. cat., Tate Britain, London, 2008, p. 11). Camp Forestia’s hazy features, in conjunction with its rigorously structured composition, demonstrates Doig’s profciency in balancing the real, the embellished and the imagined, bringing together amassed visions of natural land whilst simultaneously bearing inherent imaginative subjectivity. In the cabin’s liquid refection, the viewer is lured into a liminal space between past and present – a place where memory and image-making begin to occur. The physicality of the cabin itself – grand enough to supersede human dimensions, and small enough to be deemed approachable – played an important role
Left / Right Gustave Courbet, Chateau de Chillon, 1874, oil on canvas, Musee-Maison Natale Gustave Courbet, Ornans, France. Image: Bridgeman Images.
Edvard Munch, The Storm, 1893, oil on canvas, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Image: 2020, The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence.
‘So many of these paintings are of Canada, but in a way I want it to be a more imaginary place – a place that’s somehow a wilderness.’ Peter Doig
in Doig’s construction of a homely muse, closely connected to the audience’s collective unconscious. ‘I wanted to make some homely paintings’, the artist said. ‘You have to remember the kind of art that was being exhibited at the time. In the late 1980s and early 1990s most art had a clean, contemporary, slick look. It was highly polished or manufactured to specifcation. I didn’t want to become a part of that world. I purposely made works that were handmade and homely looking, [...] I started with very modest homes, like cabins’ (Peter Doig, quoted in ‘Q&A: Peter Doig on the Haunting Infuence of Place’, Artspace, 2 February 2018, online). Created as part of his highly acclaimed Cabin series, 1991-1998, the present work speaks to the heightened importance of architectural structures within Doig’s oeuvre throughout that decade. In Camp Forestia, the Breughel-like blizzards that largely defned his paintings from the early 1990s have here given way to a calm, autumnal scene that twinkles distantly from its stormy predecessors, instead bringing the eponymous cabin into focus. Whilst recalling Doig’s continued interest in themes evocative of his peripatetic childhood environments, the work presents an ambiguous image that explores a broader scope of human emotion, whereby the house at the heart of the composition becomes a symbol for homeliness and nostalgia. In this perspective, Camp Forestia speaks to Doig’s desire to create pictures he described as ‘homely’, a concept linked to the uncomplicated comfort of home, but also evocative of the Freudian notion of the uncanny. The uncanny, translating to ‘unheimlich’, or ‘not from home’ in German, exists in a semantic overlap with the terms ‘heimlich’ (secret) and ‘heim’ (home),
together hosting a range of complex associations. Camp Forestia, at once distant and familiar, embodies the Freudian concept with great verve; it is anchored in an enduring tradition of unnamed and untraceable architectures in the history of painting. Constructing a list of ‘Top Ten House Painters’ on the occasion of Matthew Higgs’ exhibition Imprint 93 Project at the Cabinet Gallery, London, in 1994, Peter Doig notably hailed Edward Hopper’s House by the Railroad, 1925, Ed Ruscha’s F House, 1987, and the elusive Château de Chillon painted by Gustave Courbet in 1874, as seminal examples. Additionally, one may grasp an echo of Edvard Munch’s The Storm, 1893, in the present work, comparable by virtue of its similar contrast between light and darkness, its use of mirroring enabled by the central tree’s meandering silhouette, and its nebulous, misty sky. Both essential renditions of the house, Munch’s The Storm and Doig’s Camp Forestia seem as though they are set in the same, imperceptible terrain. They draw a topography of scattered emotions rather than a clear geographic arrangement – a place that is universal, atemporal, and psychologically absorptive. At the same time, the explicit sense of isolation exuded by Camp Forestia’s lack of human presence diferentiates it from Doig’s populated incarnations; in this perspective, the viewer is made to focus even more on the portrayed house, devised entirely in accordance to the nature that surrounds it. Exquisitely painted, Camp Forestia testifes to Doig’s superior artistic abilities. It is an exceptional example of his assured hand, conjuring an image that is familiar and surreal, ethereal and grounded.
Property of an Important Collector
23. Cecily Brown
Girl Eating Turtle Dove each signed, consecutively numbered and dated ‘Cecily Brown [1-2] of 2 2011-12’ on the reverse oil on linen, diptych each 78.7 x 58.4 cm (31 x 23 in.) Painted in 2011-12.
Provenance Gagosian Gallery, New York Blain|Southern, London Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2012 Exhibited Klosterneuburg, Essl Museum, Cecily Brown, 20 June - 7 October 2012, pp. 62 and 74 (illustrated, p. 63)
Estimate £550,000-750,000 $722,000-985,000 €652,000-889,000 ‡ ♠ plus Buyers Premium and VAT, ARR applies*
‘I want the experience of looking at one of my paintings to be similar to the process of making the painting - you go from the big picture to something very intense and detailed, and then back again.’ Cecily Brown
With Girl Eating Turtle Dove, 2011-12, Cecily Brown replicates the act of reading in the form of painting. Compelled to move from one painted surface to the other, the viewer’s eye roves from lef to right in the hope of fnding, and indeed deciphering, the scene elucidated in the work’s title. Yet it is perhaps upon digesting the general animation taking place within the composition that one might come closer to discovering the eponymous action. Vibrant and explosive, the canvases devise a plethora of thrashing paint gesturing inwards and outwards. Together, these compose an entirely abstract composition, nonetheless evincing an obvious sense of movement and immediacy, characteristic of Brown’s best work. In this sense, the titular girl and turtle dove dissolve into a vortex of indistinct formations, embodying the visceral nature of their interaction rather than the realistic representation of it. Included in Brown’s important monographic show at Essl Museum in 2012, Girl Eating Turtle Dove is a splendid diptych that unites the twin impact of two visceral canvases, demonstrating the artist’s unique ability in conveying the multifaceted nature of human experience. Further cementing Brown’s oeuvre as one of the most exhilerating outputs of its time, the artist’s work will occupy the sumptuous premises of Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, from April to July 2020.
Oscillating between unintelligible sections and part-discernible movement, Girl Eating Turtle Dove explores the frontiers that separate fguration from abstraction. ‘All my work is a confict between [...] my desire to paint the fgure, and my refusal to allow the fgure to remain’, the artist once said. ‘As soon as the fgure gets too clear, I fnd it gets too close to describing something’ (Cecily Brown, quoted in ‘Cecily Brown at Essl Museum’, theartVIEw, 20 June 2012, online). Despite eluding verisimilitude, an adventurous verve is made abundantly clear within the present image, powerful enough to supersede the scene Brown had in mind when beginning to paint. ‘The more time you give to the painting, the more you get back’, the artist hinted (Cecily Brown, quoted in Perri Lewis, ‘Cecily Brown: I take things too far when painting’, The Guardian, 20 September 2009, online). With this in mind, one can muster the formation of water puddles between abstract thickets of colour, living creatures behind cascading lines and an overarching natural environment, fading into the depths of the paint itself. Awash with a dense layering of thick impasto and teasingly tangible brushstrokes, Girl Eating Turtle Dove furthermore reveals the meandering movements that the artist undertook as she tackled
‘Now, when I reach for the right colour at exactly the right moment, that’s when I know it’s going well, that’s the feeling I’m striving for. Guston said it beautifully: it’s painting itself. It’s difcult to talk about without making it sound too spiritual: you’re in an open state.’ Cecily Brown
Willem de Kooning, The North Atlantic Light, 1977, oil on canvas, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. © The Willem de Kooning Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London 2020. Image: 2020, Photo Art Resource/Scala, Florence.
Lee Krasner, Gaea, 1966, oil on canvas, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © The Pollock-Krasner Foundation ARS, NY and DACS, London 2020. Image: The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence.
diferent areas of the two canvases. As a result, the work is utterly haptic upon frst impression, its electric sensuality only heightened by Brown’s chosen material. Oil ‘moves, it catches the light, it’s great for skin and fesh and hef and meat’, the artist elucidated. ‘I wanted to make something that you couldn’t tear your eyes away from. I like the fact that because my earlier work was so known for having erotic contents, I actually need to give very little now and it’s seen as erotic or hinting at erotic’ (Cecily Brown, quoted in ‘New York Minute: Cecily Brown,’ AnOther, 14 September 2012, online). Brown’s deployment of oil paint, paired with marks that are at once elegiac and precise, results in a wonderfully promiscuous visual lexicon that has its origins in the art historical traditions of abstract painting. Sharing an afnity with the Old Masters, such as Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens, but also the Abstract Expressionists including Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell and Willem de Kooning, Brown bolsters her compositions through a multitude of sources. Girl Eating Turtle Dove specifcally echoes the textural quality
of Krasner’s swirling compositions, transpiring through her incisive and tactile movements straddling thin washes and thicker, fuid marks. Similarly, Philip Guston’s animated canvases are brought to mind, notably his neo-expressionist paintings of the late 1950s, which conjure a sense of activity and relentless movement, embodied by vivifed strokes of earthy colour. Bisecting the image in two separate entities, Girl Eating Turtle Dove establishes a physical dynamic whereby one canvas morphs into the other, thus producing a diptych where vibrant tornadoes of swirling pigment occur alongside lyrical outbursts and bright accentuations. Quasi-fgurative, Girl Eating Turtle Dove displays a dizzying array of marks and gestural inscriptions that result in a rebelliously enigmatic pictorial feld. It namely evokes sky and land, indicated by its moody blues and greens, while simultaneously alluding to a strong sense of sensuality. A diptych endowed with a life of its own, the present work lives as proof that close to none have interpreted the medium of painting with such virtuoso as Cecily Brown.
24. Sean Scully
Robe Green Gold signed, titled and dated ‘ROBE GREEN GOLD Sean Scully 2018’ on the reverse oil on aluminium 215.9 x 190.5 cm (85 x 75 in.) Painted in 2018.
Provenance Cheim & Read, New York Private Collection, Switzerland Exhibited Mexico City, Cuadra San Cristóbal, Sean Scully, San Cristóbal, 7 February – 24 March 2018, p. 10 (titled and dated Untitled (Robe), 2017, illustrated, p. 45)
Estimate £700,000-1,000,000 $919,0001,310,000 €829,000-1,180,000 ‡ ♠ plus Buyers Premium and VAT, ARR applies*
‘Te way I’m painting directly afects the weight of the paint and thus the colour. Everything is painted into its place, as the title “wall” implies I’m building a surface, but I’m building out of feeling directly, and this feeling has rhythm.’ Sean Scully
‘If a painting is expressively painted, it can’t be made any other way. Te beauty and feeling you can represent is completely diferent to any other art form. Painting is very, very special that way. Tere’s something about it that’s almost primal.’ Sean Scully
Evincing passages of mulberry red, ocean blue, ochre and pine green in twelve loosely defned blocks, Robe Green Gold, 2018, is a fantastic mature formulation of Sean Scully’s acclaimed Wall of Light series. Commenced in the early 1980s, this ongoing cycle of works was frst conceptualised when Scully visited Mexico in 1983, and witnessed the rippling shafs of light projected on the noble stones draping Mayan monuments. It was not until 1998, however, that the efects of this ineradicable vision began to refect in his own work, veering towards an increasingly organic approach to painting, and echoing the ‘culture of walls and light’ residing in pre-Columbian constructions and vernacular ruins. ‘When light and wall meet, strength and fragility can become symbiotic, as well as symbolic,’ Michael Auping wrote of the series. ‘It is this unique efect that Scully increasingly has come to investigate in his paintings … one brushstroke at a time’ (Michael Auping, ‘No Longer a Wall’, Stephen Bennett Phillips, Sean Scully: Wall of Light, exh. cat., The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., 2005, p. 23). Though the brick-like formations of the present work suggest a heavy architectural presence, the artist’s pigment-loaded gestural brushmarks belie the composition’s two-dimensional nature. With each horizontal and vertical stroke traversing the canvas, the work reveals a complexity of colour which seeps through the cracks like light.
Highlighted in the 2018 exhibition, Sean Scully, San Cristóbal at Cuandra San Cristóbal, which featured ffeen paintings and three sculptures by the artist, Robe Green Gold partook in a poetic dialogue with the architecture of the Cuadra San Cristóbal estate where the show took place – one of Luis Barragán’s modernist masterpieces, located on the outskirts of Mexico City. The site-specifc exhibition, coinciding with the 15th edition of Mexico’s leading art fair Zona Maco, was the frst to occur at the equestrian and residential complex, privately owned by the Egerström family since it was completed in 1968. Coexisting with this spectacular space, the present work allowed its autumnal hues and methodic construction to converse with the brash colours and elegiac linearity deployed throughout Barragán’s architecture. ‘Sean’s had hundreds of shows with white walls, concrete foors and harsh lights,’ wrote Oscar Humphries, the curator of the show. ‘When you’re working with a great artist, there’s room to be more nuanced, and make installations like this’ (Oscar Humphries, quoted in Benoît Loiseau, ‘The abstract artist taking on Luis Barragán’s famed modernist estate’, Wallpaper Magazine, 7 February 2018, online). Further testament to the artist’s enduring prominence, Scully will be bestowed a major solo exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from May to August 2020.
Constructed in what Scully referred to as ‘bricks’, the brashly flled boxes of colour within Robe Green Gold allow glimmers of layered pigmentation to be revealed. In this sense, Scully’s architectural attitude towards form brings to mind an art-historical narrative that captivated many of his predecessors, including Josef Albers, Ad Reinhardt, Donald Judd and Piet Mondrian. ‘Scully injected Piet Mondrian’s strict grid like architecture into Rothko, animating his quiet mediations and giving early body and weight to his vaporous clouds of color’, wrote Stephen Bennett Phillips (Stephen Bennett Phillips, ‘Becoming Sean Scully’, Sean Scully: Wall of Light, exh. cat., The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., 2005, p. 19). Similarly studying the relationship between colour and space, Scully demonstrates an exquisite painterly discernment that aligns his gesture and vision with that of his minimalist forebears. Revealing Scully’s idiosyncratic painting process, Robe Green Gold was created employing thick layers of variably-coloured paint, built upon one another to compose a dense structure. ‘The way I’m painting directly afects the weight of the paint and thus the color’, the artist said. ‘Everything is painted into its place, as the title “wall” implies I’m building a surface, but I’m building out of feeling directly, and this feeling has rhythm’ (Sean Scully, quoted in Kevin Power, ‘Questions for Sean Scully’, Artist’s website, April 2003, online). As a result, the horizontal and vertical bricks within Robe Green Gold impart the composition with rhythm and emotion, only heightened by the interplay between opaque and translucent slabs. Lending support to one another, the bricks are still slightly spaced apart, allowing for an under-layer of paint to sneak into the surface of the work. The consequential perception of depth engenders an illusion of light, whose juxtaposition with the physicality of the dense brick suggests a world that is inaccessible, literally walled of to the viewer.
Lef / Right Mark Rothko, No. 3/No. 13, 1949, oil on canvas, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Image: 2020, The Museum of Modern Art, New York/ Scala, Florence. Piet Mondrian, Composition No. II with Red, Blue, Black and Yellow, 1929, oil on canvas, National Museum, Belgrade. Image: Scala Images, Florence.
Striking a beguiling visual resonance with Mark Rothko’s atmospheric canvases on a visual level, similarly stacking elongated expanses of paint atop one another in what seems to be a single harmonious blend, Scully’s paintings nonetheless contain a vivacity that his Abstract predecessor’s eludes. ‘There’s a huge sense of tragedy in me,’ Scully elucidated in 2018. ‘Unlike Rothko, who I have been compared to, I’m not passive. He was a sedentary person. If you are inhabited by sorrow in some way, which he was, I think then you have to do something about it, and I’ve done something about it by making my work more aggressive’ (Sean Scully, quoted in William Cook, ‘Sean Scully: “Fatherhood has given my art a new lease of life”’, Life Spectator, 3 October 2018, online). Pouring his emotions within each block, mimicking the hesitancy with which they manifest in brash brushstrokes, Scully conjures an image of his own soul, an iteration of his meandering moods, truncated as a lone piece within his broader series. Highly emotive, Scully’s abstruse compositions seem to invoke contradicting notions, spanning the colossal and the frail, the formidable and the feeting. Musing on the quasi-spiritual aspect of his abstract works, the artist remarked: ‘Abstract art has the possibility of being incredibly generous, really out there for everybody. It’s a nondenominational religious art. I think it’s the spiritual art of our
The artist at his exhibition Sean Scully, Cuadra San Cristóbal, Mexico City, 7 February – 24 March 2018. Image: Felix Friedmann.
time’ (Sean Scully, quoted in Judith Higgins, ‘Sean Scully and the metamorphosis of the stripe’, Artnews, vol. 84, no. 9, November 1985, p. 106). Lorand Hegyi expands upon this numinous possibility, declaring that ‘Perhaps it might seem something of a paradox to talk about narrative in relation to the abstract, non-representational paintings of Scully, but the whole style of his composition forces us to consider the allegorical aspects surrounding the duality in his pictorial structure in the light of narrative’ (Lorand Hegyi, ‘The Possibility of Emotional Painting: Sean Scully’s Hidden Narrative’, Sean Scully: A Retrospective, London, 2007, p. 21). Upon sustained inspection, a deeper spiritual meaning indeed makes itself obvious in Scully’s seemingly formulaic arrangements. ‘My paintings talk of relationships, how bodies come together. How they touch. How they separate. How they live together, in harmony and
disharmony... Its edge defnes its relationship to its neighbour and how it exists in context. My paintings want to tell stories that are an abstracted equivalent of how the world of human relationships is made and unmade. How it is possible to evolve as a human being in this’ (Sean Scully, quoted in Walter Smerling, ‘Constantinople or the Sensual Concealed’, The Imagery of Sean Scully, exh. cat., MKM Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst, Duisburg, 2009, p. 8). Conveying a light that is diferent from the feeting, brooding visions Scully grew up around in London, Robe Green Gold evinces the breakthrough he reached upon experiencing the scintillating ruins of Mexico in the 1980s. Purposefully reunited with the country upon showing his work within Barragán’s modernist estate, Scully manifests a commitment to pure abstraction: its emotional power, its storytelling potential, and, above all, its ability to convey light.
Property of a Distinguished Collector
25. Frank Stella
WLID alkyd on canvas 160.4 x 319.6 cm (63 1/8 x 125 7/8 in.) Executed in 1967. Estimate £2,000,000-3,000,000 $2,620,000-3,930,000 €2,370,000-3,560,000
Provenance Leo Castelli Gallery, New York (LC# 248) Wasserman Development Corporation (acquired from the above in 1967) Ben C. Deane, Newport Beach Harold Diamond, New York Private Collection, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner
Exhibited Enschede, Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Abstract USA 1958 - 1968: In the Galleries, 11 September 2010 - 20 February 2011, no. 25, p. 62 (illustrated)
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‘Te concentric square format is about as neutral and as simple as you can get. It’s just a powerful pictorial image. It’s so good that you can use it, abuse it, and even work against it to the point of ignoring it. It has a strength that’s almost indestructible – at least for me.’ Frank Stella
‘Te aim of art is to create space – space that is not compromised by decoration or illustration, space in which the subjects of painting can live.’ Frank Stella
Depicting two larger-than-life, multi-layered squares alternating between grey tones and fuorescent values, WLID, 1967, is a sublime example of Frank Stella’s body of Concentric Squares, painted with alkyd house paint and commenced in 1961. In the present work, divided in two sections, Stella has employed white, black, and various shades of grey paint on the right side of the canvas, and a kaleidoscopic array of colours spanning blue, green, red, orange, and yellow on the other half of the picture plane, forming an immersive composition that seemingly displays an image and its duplicate under X-ray – or refected in a colour-proof mirror. ‘In the “double concentric” pictures, the values of the successive hues [do] not directly correspond to the values of the gray bands that constituted their mirror-image counterpart. What the eye [does] distinguish, however, was the commonality of their progressive sequence – a sequence so obvious that it seemed to have been done “by the numbers” according to Stella’ (William Rubin, Frank Stella: 1970-1987, exh. cat., The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1987, p. 48). Like Stella’s earlier Black, Aluminium and Copper paintings, the artist’s target-like, square compositions articulate the relationship between the two-dimensional picture plane and its threedimensional support. However unlike previous, colourless
formulations, these are characterised by a crisp regularity, rigid symmetry and all-over fatness. As elucidated by the art historian William Rubin, ‘In their extreme simplicity, and the absolute evenness of their matte surface, these pictures have a kind of immediacy that was not to be found in the more complex structures, the more elusive and ambiguous light and the more painterly execution—relatively speaking—of the Black, Aluminum and Copper pictures’ (William Rubin, Frank Stella: 1970-1987, exh. cat., The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1987, n.p.). In its confation of colour and greyscale, WLID embodies the stylistic transition Stella underwent in the 1960s, moving away from black and into a wider spectre of chromes. Three years afer the execution of the work, the artist would be bestowed a retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, making him the youngest artist ever to receive this recognition, at the age of 33. Playing a pivotal role in the development of Stella’s work, the symbol of the square was deployed in many diferent constructs throughout the artist’s painterly output. ‘The Concentric Squares created a pretty high, pretty tough pictorial standard’, he said, ‘Their simple, rather humbling efect—almost a numbing power—became a sort of “control” against which my increasing tendency in the seventies to be
extravagant could be measured’ (Frank Stella, quoted in William Rubin, Frank Stella 1970-1987, exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1987, p. 48). Systematically experimenting with colour and value relationships, Stella found a departure point from which to conceptualise the more radically shaped canvases and threedimensional wall reliefs that dominated his later work. Indeed, Stella has evolved towards volume, creating twisting, monumental reliefs and sculptures, many of which realised the same achievements he had made in two-dimensional abstraction. Coming from an academic background – Stella has been described as ‘extraordinarily intelligent’, ‘precocious’ and ‘exceedingly well schooled’ – the artist was taught and encouraged by the legendary teacher Stephen Greene at Princeton University, before being skyrocketed to fame by his Black Paintings at the end of the 1950s, four of which notably appeared in a landmark group show at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1959 (Peter Schjeldahl, ‘Big Ideas’, The New Yorker, 9 November 2015, online). As Stella’s chief concern was composition, and an absolute commitment to symmetry, the concentric square came swifly aferwards, constituting for the artist an ideological watershed. ‘The concentric square format is about as neutral and as simple as you can get’, the artist said. ‘It’s just a powerful pictorial image. It’s so good that you can use it, abuse it, and even work against it to the point of ignoring it. It has a strength that’s almost indestructible – at least for me’ (Frank Stella, quoted in William Rubin, Frank Stella 1970-1987, exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1987, p. 43). Used as a leading theme from its inception in 1961, the square was later deployed within shaped canvases and wall-mounted installations, sometimes as an image held inside diferent geometric structures, namely curving, concentric circles in his Protractor series, 1967–71.
Lef / Right Kasimir Malevich, Suprematist Composition (with Yellow, Orange and Green Rectangle), 1915-16, oil on canvas, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Image: Bridgeman Images. Josef Albers, Homage To The Square, 1967, oil on panel, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. © The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / DACS 2020. Image: Bridgeman Images.
As a distinct subject matter, the square can trace an extensive history of its own – one that Stella has now become an ineradicable protagonist of. Beginning as a measure from which to evaluate the size and scope of phenomenological elements within realist paintings, the symbol of the square became, in the era of modernism, the epitome of simplicity, the ‘zero point of painting’, the essential break between representation and abstraction. Beginning with Kasimir Malevich’s iconic Black Square, in 1915, the shape was furthermore deployed by a number of American modernists, including Josef Albers and his infamous Homage to the Square series, initiated in 1950. An architectural element furthermore makes itself evident in the present work. Playing with diverse senses of depth and tonality, WLID plunges the viewer in an experience of space that resembles that which is spurred by grand, charismatic buildings or architectural spaces. In this sense, Gordon Matta-Clark’s scissions of walls on building sites is a highly intriguing point from which to depart in the conceptualisation of the present work – and an interesting example from which to view the form of the square, not just in two- but also three dimensional form. As synthesised by Stella himself, ‘Afer all the aim of art is to create space – space that is not compromised by decoration or illustration, space within which the subjects of painting can live’ (Frank Stella, quoted in Sally Everett, Art Theory and Criticism: An Anthology of Formalist, Avant-Garde, Contextualist and Post-Modern Thought, New York, 1995, p. 246).
‘In the ‘60s, it just took of. People started looking at the younger generation and giving them what you might call a pretty big play. It was as though the whole art world just opened up.’ Frank Stella
Ellsworth Kelly, Spectrum IV, 1967, oil on canvas, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery. Image: 2020, The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence.
Employing an exacting methodology whereby each cubic ring is painted in fat, unmixed and saturated colour, Stella creates minute arrangements that seemingly radiate from the centre outwards, and reverberate back again, conjuring a quasi-hallucigenic experience of space. It appears almost a magical feat that the artist should have composed WLID by applying paint straight from the tube onto the canvas; yet, it is precisely Stella’s painstaking process that distinguishes his output from that of anyone else’s, and his nearperfect result from a truly sleek, uncompromised image. There is something very matter-of-fact about Stella’s work, which delectably echoes the discipline with which he realises his Concentric Squares. ‘I like to make paintings, and I work at that: it’s my job. I don’t consider myself that diferent from anybody else. So I live in the real world and while I’m living in it, I’ll be more or less like other people. At some points I’m going to cross common experiences. Some of them are going to stick and become a little bit peculiarly mine… I don’t worry about that. I worry about the paintings… the drive to make art’ (Frank Stella, quoted in William Rubin, Frank Stella: 1970-1987, exh. cat., The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1987, p. 8).
The idea of making painting an enterprise of essential means, strongly advocated by the critic Clement Greenberg, was further advanced by Michael Fried, an art historian and critic who happened to be Stella’s classmate at Princeton. Fried markedly supported Stella, whose output aligned with Greenberg’s doctrine of modernist painting as progressive art for art’s sake. ‘Frank Stella’s new paintings investigate the viability of shape as such’, Fried wrote in his seminal essay ‘Shape as Form’, just a year before the execution of the present work (Michael Fried, ‘Shape as Form’, Art and Objecthood, Chicago, 1998, p. 77). Due to its geometric composition, WLID exudes a sensation of selfcontained movement, with vibrations pushing out to the edges of the frame and tunneling back towards the centre. The spectator’s eye is pulled inwards to the middle and then outwards to the bounds of the work. By containing this sort of internal dynamism through the use of form, colour and repetition, the work encapsulates the style that hailed Stella ‘a god of the sixties art world, exalting tastes for reductive form, daunting scale, and forid artifcial color’ (Peter Schjeldahl, ‘Big Ideas’, The New Yorker, 9 November 2015, online).
The artist in his New York City studio on 15 November 1967. ÂŠ Frank Stella. ARS, NY and DACS, London 2020. Image: David Gahr/Getty Images.
Property from an Important Private European Collection
26. Alex Katz
Gray Bow signed and dated ‘Alex Katz 89’ on the overlap oil on canvas 101.6 x 330.8 cm (40 x 130 1/4 in.) Painted in 1989.
Provenance Galleria Emilio Mazzoli, Modena Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1989 Exhibited Modena, Galleria Emilio Mazzoli, Alex Katz, April 1990 (illustrated)
Estimate £500,000-700,000 $654,000-915,000 €593,000-830,000 plus Buyers Premium and VAT*
‘Realist painting has to do with leaving out a lot of detail. I think my painting can be a little shocking in all that it leaves out. But what happens is that the mind flls in what's also missing... Painting is a way of making you see what I saw.’ Alex Katz.
With delicate intimacy and painterly prowess, Alex Katz crafs Gray Bow, 1989, as a painted homage to the female muse. Captured in a moment of introspective contemplation, Katz has animated his subject through a use of decisive brushstrokes, curated tonality and unique pictorial composition. Presenting the anonymous model in pared-back detail, the artist achieved a portrait that is at once familiar yet uncanny, eliminating all but the woman’s essential facial characteristics. This methodology of painting, in which the artist curates and curtails what is shared and what is restrained from view, suggests that the work is more an exercise in the parameters of depiction than a portrait in its own right. Indeed, in the meticulous execution of the protagonist’s stylised features – her delicately focused eyes, her gently parted lips adorned with a small but defning beauty spot, and her dark hair that caresses the nape of her neck – Katz presents not a portrait of his model but the act of painting itself, evidencing his mastery of
Portrait of Alex Katz from behind a large painting of his wife and son, 1950s. Other portraits of his wife, Ada, hang on the wall behind him. © Alex Katz/VAGA at ARS, NY and DACS, London 2020. Image: Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images.
the medium. Testament to the artist’s enduring importance within the contemporary art canon, Katz will be the subject of a career retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 2022. In Gray Bow, Katz eliminates background detail from the work and instead presents the sitter against a stagnant blanket of white, prescribing for his subject a condition of liminality. She is positioned centre lef of the horizontally outstretched canvas, with a feld of vision that seems to extend beyond the frame. Without context of time nor place, Katz crafs a universal subject, timeless in her wistful envisioning of a horizon beyond reach. In this way, Gray Bow relates to the self-portraiture of Cindy Sherman, who in her Film Stills series disguises her own identity by posing as an actor in myriad imagined flms, presenting herself as a fgure who is both instantly recognisable and utterly unknown.
‘What’s in front of me is what's most interesting.’ Alex Katz
Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Dora Maar, 1st October 1937, oil on canvas, Musée Picasso, Paris. © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2020. Image: Bridgeman Images.
Similarly, Gray Bow allows for varying analyses. The protagonist’s smile is at once vulnerable and charismatic, her gaze longing yet settled. Just as Katz refuses the viewer substantial detail of her features, so too does he reserve for himself the knowledge of her true nature, her fears and desires. While the Abstract Expressionists utilised abstraction to explicate the inherent fatness of painting, Katz exploits the capacities of fguration to call to attention the true nature of his medium. Negating the formalist traditions of fgurative depiction, in which artists tirelessly sought to emulate spatial depth within the constraints of their canvas, Katz acknowledges and exploits the limitations of painting, namely, its inherent two-dimensionality. The fatness of Gray Bow reverberates across the entirety of the canvas, establishing a uniformity between content and technique. In this way, the character becomes as much a vehicle for the presentation of Katz’s artistic methodology as do the materials of paint and canvas for the enterprise of her portraiture.
Such an oscillatory relationship between form and content is achieved through a meticulous process of creation, which begins with a rapid pen or pencil drawing defning the subject or motif. The preliminary sketches are then translated into large-format cartoons that are successively afxed to a primed canvas and punctured with a tool, before the artist begins the painted piece. Such processes are ofen repeated with Katz working from the same image to create a number of iterations in varying sizes and tonal schemes. There is a defnitive confdence in the work’s execution, with an immaculate, even fnish and balanced tonal shifs that establish a cinematic efect for the work, furthered by the horizontal shape of the canvas that mimics the format of a widescreen flm. Such works are not so much truthful representations as they are experimentations into the act of artistic creation. Gray Bow, as such, is an exquisite example of Katz’s lifelong devotion to both the subject of female musedom, and his art.
27. Tom Wesselmann
Reverse Drawing: Bedroom Blonde with Irises signed and dated ‘Wesselmann 93’ lower right charcoal and pastel on paper 164.8 x 239.7 cm (64 7/8 x 94 3/8 in.) Executed in 1993. Estimate £320,000-420,000 $417,000-548,000 €376,000-494,000 ‡
Provenance Collection of the artist Haunch of Venison, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner Exhibited Tübingen, Institut Für Kulturaustausch; Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts; Berlin, Altes Museum; Munich, Museum Villa Stuck; Kunsthal Rotterdam; Speyer, Historisches Museum der Pfalz; Paris, Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain;
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Madrid, Fundación Juan March; Barcelona, Palais de la Virreina; Lisbon, Culturgest; Nice, Musée d’Art Moderne, Tom Wesselmann: 1959-1993, 9 April 1994 27 January 1997, no. 95, p. 178 (illustrated, p. 170) New York, Haunch of Venison; NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, Nova Southeastern University; Washington D.C., The Kreeger Museum, Tom Wesselmann Draws, 7 November 2009 30 July 2011, p. 61 (illustrated, p. 60) Houston, McClain Gallery, RECLINE, Portraiture & Henri Matisse Prints, 26 January - 19 April 2019
‘I don’t depict nudes from any sociological, cultural, or emotional intentions. My one intention is to always fnd new ways to make exciting paintings using the situation of the traditional nude.’ Tom Wesselmann
Henri Matisse, Blue Nude (Souvenir of Biskra), 1907, oil on canvas, Baltimore Museum of Art: The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, BMA 1950.228 © Succession H. Matisse/ DACS 2020. Image: Mitro Hood, courtesy of The Baltimore Museum of Art.
Reverse Drawing: Bedroom Blonde with Irises, 1993, evinces Tom Wesselmann’s daring departure from prescribed artistic categories in the second half of the twentieth century. With a prolifc artistic career spanning fve decades, the artist turned away from the movement of Abstract Expressionism that was then dominating the American art scene, and instead directed his artistic practice towards a path that refected his own bold experimentality, most closely twined with American Pop art. A large-scale charcoal and pastel work on paper, Reverse Drawing: Bedroom Blonde with Irises relates to Wesselmann’s steel drawing series begun in 1983, and derives from a similarly titled cut-out steel piece from 1987. In this series, the artist intended to create works which appeared as if they were painted directly on the wall, with a tactile sensibility which could be felt by the viewer. A contemporary of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Claes Oldenberg, Wesselmann paved his own distinct path within American Pop by focusing his artistic practice on the nude fgure. ‘When I made the decision in 1959 that I was not going to be an abstract painter; that I was going to be a representational painter… I only got started by doing the opposite of everything I loved’, the artist said. ‘And in choosing representational painting, I decided to do, as my subject
‘I can sort of look back at whom I was awed by just by saying “Matisse and de Kooning”.’ Tom Wesselmann
matter, the history of art: I would do nudes, still-lifes, landscapes, interiors, portraits, etc.’ (Tom Wesselmann, quoted in Marco Livingstone, ‘Tom Wesselmann: Telling It Like It Is’, A Retrospective Survey 1969-1992, exh. cat., Isetan Museum of Art, Tokyo, 1993, p. 21). Taking on these more traditional subject matters and imparting them with a contemporary twist, Wesselmann charged his work with a novel sensuality, generally absent from art of the time – which seemed to focus on satirical critiques of capitalism through the artistic treatment of everyday items, such as Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans and Brillo Boxes. Wesselmann’s works were not so much sardonic formulations of consumerism as they were proclamations of praise for the ever-changing capacities of colour, line and shape. Utilising the visual discourse of advertising, underpinned by vibrant tonalities, bold line and a relative simplicity of detail, the artist brought formal concerns to the fore of his painterly enterprise.
A culmination of various historical styles and traditions, colliding the Still Life genre with the perpetual theme of the reclining nude, Reverse Drawing: Bedroom Blonde with Irises exemplifes a courageous leap taken by Wesselmann in which artistic boundaries and categories are re-envisioned. Yet whilst evidencing the infuence of artistic traditions of the past, the work remains distinctly modern, paying homage to Wesselmann’s Pop contemporaries such as Roy Lichtenstein. A sublime example of Wesselmann’s body of intimate, yet ravishing works on paper, Reverse Drawing: Bedroom Blonde with Irises signals the radical and refreshing autonomy that the artist introduced with his creative output.
Upon frst encounter, Reverse Drawing: Bedroom Blonde with Irises provides the viewer with an ambivalent experience that situates the composition outside of the two-dimensional plane proposed by drawing and painting. Fluctuating from vibrant tonality to blankness, curvaceous line and textural shape to empty space, Reverse Drawing: Bedroom Blonde with Irises constitutes its negative as much as itself. The painting thus enacts a similar perceptive encounter as that spurred by Willem de Kooning’s Women series, in which the viewer must actively discern each thrashing line from heavy limb or angular breast, twining themselves within the tactile plane. Similarly, the details within Reverse Drawing: Bedroom Blonde with Irises are not instantaneously legible. The lines of pastel that constitute the fgure’s body and limbs mingle firtatiously with those that defne the iris petals and the interior surroundings, establishing a complex spatiality that the viewer is lef to devotedly decipher. Unlike other works from the Great American Nude series in which the artist focused his attention on the female body, ofen cropping or eliminating entirely the woman’s face or eyes, here Wesselmann reclaims for his subject an almost authoritative agency. The tight cropping of the scene provides an intimacy for the work, as if we were laying right beside the fgure. Yet never does it feel as if we are encroaching on a private moment – a sentiment ofen the prescribed by classical odalisque nude portraits, allowing, if not encouraging, the penetrative male gaze. Here, the direct stare of the fgure in Reverse Drawing: Bedroom Blonde with Irises initiates a perceptive encounter whereby the authoritative gaze is reclaimed. In this way, we may feel we are no longer the ones looking, but rather those being looked at. With swollen red lips that curl slightly upwards at the corners, and arms outstretched above her head, the protagonist is furthermore redolent of Henri Matisse’s Blue Nude (Souvenir of Briska), 1907, whose reclining fgure similarly seems sculpted in palpable space.
Willem de Kooning, Woman I, 1950-52, oil on canvas, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © The Willem de Kooning Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London 2020. Image: 2020, The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence.
Property from a Distinguished European Collection
28. Michaël Borremans
Untitled signed and dated ‘Michaël M.G.G. Borremans 2008’ on the reverse oil on canvas 42.1 x 36.5 cm (16 5/8 x 14 3/8 in.) Painted in 2008. Estimate £250,000-350,000 $327,000-458,000 €297,000-416,000 ♠ plus Buyers Premium and VAT, ARR applies*
Provenance Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp Acquired from the above by the present owner Exhibited Antwerp, Zeno X Gallery, Michaël Borremans. Painted Fruit, 26 April - 31 May 2008 Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart; Műcsarnok, Kunsthalle Budapest; Kunsthalle Helsinki, Michaël Borremans, Eating the Beard, 1 May - 26 June 2011, pp. 20, 27 and 217 (illustrated, p. 153) Vienna, BAWAG Contemporary, Michaël Borremans: Magnetics, 23 November 2012 – 20 January 2013, pp. 19, 49 Brussels, BOZAR, Centre for Fine Arts; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Dallas Museum of Art, Michaël Borremans, As sweet as it gets, 22 February - 5 July 2015, no. 59, p. 298 (illustrated, p. 167) Shanghai, TANK, Convex/Concave: Belgian Contemporary Art, 31 October 2019 - 12 January 2020
Literature ‘Doekje voor het bloeden – kunstschilder Michaël Borremans’, Humo, no. 24/3536, 10 June 2008, p. 149 (illustrated) ‘Painting is a way of showing oneself as an artist, and every painting is a kind of face, a self-portrait’, Art World, no. 7, October November 2008, p. 75 Jefrey Grove, ed., Michaël Borremans: Paintings, Ostfldern, 2009, pp. 35 and 182 (illustrated, p. 160) ‘An der Grenze zum Tod - Michaël Borremans ‘Eating the Beard’ Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, 20.2 - 1.5.2011’, Das Kunstmagazin, February 2011, p. 89 Rosa Juno Streekstra, ‘The Unfnished’, University of Amsterdam, 2011, online Rachel Morón, ‘Perspectives Shif in WIELS and TANK Shanghai’s “Convex/ Concave”’, TL Magazine, 8 January 2020, online (illustrated)
‘With the paintings, at frst you expect a narrative, because the fgures are familiar. But then you see that some parts of the paintings don’t match, or don’t make sense. Te works don’t come to a conclusion in the way we expect them to. Te images are unfnished: they remain open.’ Michaël Borremans
At once fgurative and abstract, familiar and uncanny, Michaël Borremans’ Untitled, 2008, serves as a poignant portrait of a collective human unconscious. An anonymous young woman appears as if in a state of sleep paralysis, lips sealed shut, body restrained by senseless immobility, wettened eyes fxated upon some unknowable vision. Her disturbance and fear are inefable; yet the scene feels intimately familiar. Most disconcerting of all is the painted mask which uniformly covers her face, breaking unevenly below her jawline. Materialising the power of silence, Borremans draws the viewer in with mystical force. Referencing Edouard Manet, Gustave Courbet and Diego Velázquez in an exquisite treatment of paint, the artist crafs a composition that is self-conscious in its dialogue with the past whilst simultaneously maintaining an air of defance. ‘Borremans embraces tradition’, Michael Amy elucidates, ‘and then seizes the proverbial rug, and pulls it from under its feet’ (Michael Amy, quoted in Michaël Borremans: As sweet as it gets, exh. cat., BOZAR, Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels, 2014, p. 284). Presenting an elusive subject matter in the guise of fguration, Borremans introduces an art which successfully evades the defnitive nature of categorisation and interpretation. In Untitled, the oscillatory play between abstraction and fguration is expertly exploited in his rendering of the girl’s neck and upper chest, which dissolve in detail until he achieves a state close to a near-complete blur – splotches and lines of monochromatic paint that, when isolated in the lower segment of the painting, produce no coherent image. As our eyes journey upwards, however, the legibility of the fgure increases with the implementation of additional painterly detail; the colour palette is enriched, the fguration is enhanced, the painting appears as if transforming from two-dimensional space into three. To achieve such a dramatic technical transition in the space of a single canvas is no small feat. Yet Borremans achieves this with such fuidity and transience that we barely notice it has occurred.
The uniform mask of white is disrupted only by two red circles adorning the protagonist’s cheeks, akin to those worn by clowns, or painted upon the wooden surfaces of ventriloquist dolls. Such comparisons conjure a sense of the sinister that, once recognised, saturates the work. The victim/perpetrator duality is shared by the subjects in Cindy Sherman’s Fairy Tales and Disasters series, as well as Gerhard Richter’s harrowing Tote (Dead) paintings. Thus, the preconceived innocence and fragility of the subject is disrupted by the mask she wears, as Borremans presents us with a troubling paradox; a subject who is somehow simultaneously threatened yet threatening, terrifed yet terrifying. As Natalie King notes, Borremans’ fgures are ‘unsettling, eluding comprehension. The painted fgure is beside the point, more absent than present, an object to be posed and deciphered like a riddle’ (Natalie King and Diana d’Arenberg, ‘Michaël Borremans in Conversation’, Ocula, 17 April 2018, online). A misty haze hangs over the present painting, conjuring an otherworldly atmosphere tinged with a permeating sense of ambiguity. Opposing the highly contrasted chiaroscuro of Old Masters, Borremans ofers a sedated, verging on monochromatic tonality which prescribes for the work a sense of liminality – as if the subject were caught between two states; consciousness and slumber, life and death, this world and the next. In her eternal stillness, Borremans’ subject resembles John Everett Millais’ Ophelia, 1851-52, a work which yearns for a richly devised narrative interpretation and inscription. Untitled, however, remains uniquely intangible and transient. Ultimately, Borremans’ Untitled can be read as an exercise in blurring the distinctive boundaries between pictorial truth and artistic illusion. The work enlivens our expectations of what painting can achieve; both stylistically, and symbolically. In the words of Borremans, paintings such as Untitled are ultimately ‘philosophical question[s] about what truth can be. And truth is just as much in the lie as in something straightforward or honest… in my work I want to give information in a way that’s clearly incorrect, not ftting, out of place. I think that’s more honest.’ (Michaël Borremans, quoted in Michael Herbert, ‘Michaël Borremans’, Art Review Asia, May 2015, online).
John Everett Millais, Ophelia, 1851-52, oil on canvas, Tate Gallery, London. Image: Tate, London.
29. Adrian Ghenie
Pie Fight Study 4 signed and dated ‘Ghenie 2008’ on the reverse oil on canvas 53 x 52 cm (20 7/8 x 20 1/2 in.) Painted in 2008.
Provenance Tim Van Laere Gallery, Antwerp Private Collection (acquired from the above in 2008) Christie’s, London, 7 March 2018, lot 120 Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
Estimate £350,000-450,000 $458,000-589,000 €415,000-534,000 ♠ plus Buyers Premium and VAT, ARR applies*
‘I don’t want to give the viewer everything, but when people look at my work. I want them to think about what they’re looking at and to feel something.’ Adrian Ghenie
In Pie Fight Study 4, 2008, an unnamed man attempts to brush of the remains of a cream pie freshly slathered across his face. In his allusive gesture, betraying the ‘afer’ of a very clear ‘before’, the man appears as though he is smearing away the paint that designs his face; transforming the tragicomic scene into a study of the act of painting. Belonging to Adrian Ghenie’s Pie Fight works from 2008-9, Pie Fight Study 4 coalesces a well-known trope from slapstick cinema with a wide-ranging umbrella of human emotions – including vulnerability, excitement, frustration and desire. ‘My work is less sociological, and more psychological’, the artist has said. ‘I seek images that go straight to your brain, which you can’t help but submit to’ (Adrian Ghenie, quoted in Stephen Riolo, ‘Adrian Ghenie, Pie Eater’, Art in America, 26 October 2010, online). Realising this efect with great virtuoso, the present image captures the visual and emotional ambivalence for which Ghenie has become known, later deployed in analogous series revealing blurred visions of infamous historical fgures. The artist’s characters – known or anonymous – systematically appear in haunting interiors, both dreamlike and cinematic, and are achieved with a classical infection that recalls the great masters of the Baroque era. They linger in a place unknown and yet distinctly familiar – somewhere between the ludicrous settings of American vaudevilles, the dimly-lit stages of flms noirs, and the inconceivable chiaroscuro envisioned within Old Masters paintings. In the present work, Ghenie casts the viewer’s eye into an inherently
Francis Bacon, Three Studies for Self-Portrait, 1979, oil on canvas, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2020. Image: The Metropolitan Museum of Art/ Art Resource/Scala, Florence.
enigmatic environment, as the abstract ground against which the unnamed protagonist is set seemingly absorbs him in an impastoed chromatic haze. Born in the city of Baia Mare, Romania, Adrian Ghenie spent his formative years living under the regime of Romanian dictator Ceaușescu, eventually witnessing the revolution which would culminate in the political leader’s execution. Extremism, totalitarianism and overall 20th century political turbulence saturate the artist’s oeuvre while visual allusions to historical events preoccupy his diverse body of work. From Elvis Presley to Charles Darwin, Vincent Van Gogh to key fgures of National Socialism, Ghenie’s multi-layered canvases coerce and coax the viewer to address collective and, conversely, private memory, to provide a collaged reading of his work. Using key historical fgures and moments as structural columns to suspend his claustrophobic microcosms, Ghenie’s imagery is exhaustive in its references. The artist asserts ‘I’m not a history painter, but I am fascinated by what happened in the 20th century and how it continues to shape today. I don’t feel any obligation to tell this to the world, but for me the 20th century was a century of humiliation – and through my painting, I’m still trying to understand this’ (Adrian Ghenie, quoted in Jane Neal, ‘Referencing slapstick cinema, art history and the annals of totalitarianism, Adrian Ghenie’s paintings fnd ways of confronting a century of humiliation’, Art Review, December 2010, online).
Largely preoccupied with the notion of evil – or more precisely, how the possibility for evil is found in every endeavour – Ghenie also approached closely twined subject matters spanning solitude, silence, violence and humiliation. Notably, his Pie Fight series does not so much address the trauma of 20th century history as it does the deep childhood fears that linger within all of us; in the present work, these are embodied by the anonymous man who has sufered arbitrary ridicule and brutalisation in the public eye. In this perspective, Ghenie conjures a nightmarish mood that fnds its foundations in the viewer’s collective reservoir of feelings, thoughts, memories and instinctual anguishes. ‘We inevitably live in a post-WWII epoch’, Ghenie explains, ‘which means that we constantly have to look back to that watershed moment in order to understand our present condition’ (Adrian Ghenie, quoted in Magda Radu, ‘Adrian Ghenie: Rise & Fall,’ Flash Art, December 2009, p. 49). Looking at the consequence of an external aggression, Pie Fight Study 4 allegorically encapsulates Ghenie’s statement that our post-World War II condition innately shapes our visions of violence, and the necessity to locate what spurred the feelings of the ‘afer’. Indeed, the viewer does not know what initiated the food-thrust; they simply are aware of its result, which in many ways echoes the incertitude with which citizens retrospectively tackle the banal evils of history. The result is there – right in our faces – and we are lef to refect upon its cause. Culling imagery from flms such as The Three Stooges, Pie Fight Study 4 additionally recalls the movie’s comedic scenes, revelling in the arena of cliché whilst simultaneously betraying a sense of idle anarchy. The darkness entailed by Ghenie’s portrayal of ridicule and historic sufering is thus somewhat alleviated by the humorous subject matter he chose; the envelope with which he has decided to deliver his message. Indeed, Pie Fight Study 4 employs contemporary flmic codes that de-dramatise the heaviness of the image’s connotations, therefore allowing the viewer a short instant of comedic relief. The multi-layered approach with which Ghenie composes the image verges on the philosophical; in this perspective, Ghenie has said about the series: ‘An image like that is based on the very common human experience of frustration. It’s not exclusive to a specifc culture or education. If I ask people what they remember about my work, they typically remember this image. I believe that art, especially fgurative art, [has] responsibility. If an image is not loaded with symbolic meaning on a Jungian level then it’s an empty image’ (Adrian Ghenie, quoted in Stephen Riolo, ‘Adrian Ghenie, Pie Eater’, Art in America, 26 October 2010, online). Mixing painterly prowess and a continuous cinematic consciousness, Pie Fight Study 4 powerfully embodies the scintillating spark that constitutes the core of Ghenie’s oeuvre. Depicting the difcult, ambivalent feelings that rush through the victim’s body following an attack, the composition constructs a portrait of humanity as a whole, and the dark folds it occasionally reveals.
Property of a Distinguished Private Collector
30. Marlene Dumas
Chained to the Bed for 15 Years signed and dated ‘Marlene Dumas ‘86’ lower centre; further titled ‘Chained to the Bed for 15 Years’ upper centre gouache and crayon on paper 118.4 x 291.8 cm (46 5/8 x 114 7/8 in.) Executed in 1986-87. Estimate £300,000-400,000 $394,000-525,000 €355,000-474,000 ‡ ♠
Provenance Gallery Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam Jack Tilton Gallery, New York Private Collection (acquired from the above in 1990)
Literature Wouter Welling, ‘Omtrekkende bewegingen: Citaten uit brieven van Marlene Dumas’, Artefactum, vol. 6, no. 27, February-March 1989, p. 33 (illustrated, p. 33)
Exhibited Kunsthalle Bern, The Question of Human Pink, 7 July – 20 August 1989 New York, Jack Tilton Gallery, Lynch to Lucier, 2 - 27 October 1990
plus Buyers Premium and VAT, ARR applies*
‘I experience human beings as very untrustworthy creatures, because even if not consciously or deliberately, they do much harm to one another. Te psychological harm, more than the physical violence, interests me.’ Marlene Dumas
Chained to the Bed for 15 Years: Marlene Dumas and the Male Nude Text by Dominic van den Boogerd
The drawing Chained to the Bed for 15 Years, made in 1986-87, marks a signifcant moment in the development of the work of SouthAfrican artist Marlene Dumas: it is the frst large size work devoted to the subject of the male nude. It was included in the important solo-exhibition The Question of Human Pink in Bern, Switzerland, in 1989, where it was presented alongside several other drawings and paintings of reclining male and female nudes. The reason why Dumas’ male nudes have not attracted the same amount of attention as her female nudes can only be subject to speculation. That they deserve our attention alltogether is however without doubt. The present work shows a naked man lying on his back on a sofa. His head is tilted backwards; we cannot see his face. His ankles and his lef hand are tied to the legs of the bed. The body and the bed take up most part of the image, the scene only just ftting within the frame. The man’s gently curved legs and his delicate feet look elegant and stylised, like those of athletes depicted on antique Greek vases. The torso seems to consist of individual parts: the well-trained
musculature of the breast, the tummy which is tense and smooth, the crotch dissolving into a shade of blue. The title of the work, Chained to the Bed for 15 Years, sounds like a sensational headline culled from the Sunday papers, heralding a cheesy story of lust and crime. Fake news is real entertainment. The image is drawn in fuent lines, rough scratches and crosshatchings in black and brown, as well as lighter colours such as orange, blue and white. There is unrest and nervousness in the way the drawing has been executed. ‘Drawings are closer and quicker in conveying immediate feelings’, Marlene Dumas has stated, adding that drawings are ‘still to be found in toilets, too’ (Marlene Dumas, Sweet Nothings. Notes and Texts, London, 2014, pp. 66 and 73). Expressive drawings on sheets of paper, in washed ink, crayon, pencil, or a combination of graphic techniques, form a large part of Dumas’ internationally renowned oeuvre. The present work clearly refects the directness and vividness typical for Dumas’ idiosyncratic style of drawing.
‘My best works are erotic displays of mental confusions (with intrusions of irrelevant information).’ Marlene Dumas
Barberini Faun, 3rd century, Roman marble copy of Greek original, State Collection of Antiquites, Monaco. Image: De Agostini Picture Library/ Bridgeman Images.
Lef / Right Marlene Dumas, Cultivated Emotion - The Art Lover, 1986, ink on paper, one of a series of 23 handmade drawings produced for De Slagersvriend 1. © Marlene Dumas, 2020. Image: courtesy of the artist. Andy Warhol, Sleep, 1963, 16mm flm, black and white, silent, 5 hours 21 minutes at 16 frames per second. © 2020 The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, a museum of Carnegie Institute. All rights reserved. Film still: courtesy The Andy Warhol Museum.
Chained to the Bed for 15 Years dates from a period when the artist focused primarily on the possibilities of one motif in particular, that of the reclining nude. In the context of the politicised art world of the 1980s, fuelled by the feminist critique of the so-called Pictures Generation (spearheaded by Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Bloom), the representation of the female nude was controversial, to say the least. The naked woman, once the favourite muse of the artist, had become a ‘problem’, as curator Cornelia Butler put it (Cornelia Butler, ‘Painter as Witness’, Measuring Your Own Grave, exh. cat., Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2008, p. 63). In the drawing series Defning in the Negative, 1988, Marlene Dumas demonstrated, in a hilarious way, the trouble with casting undressed ladies in art. Next to sketchily drawn nude fgures are notes such as ‘I won’t pose for Mr. Salle’, ‘I won’t sleep in Mr. Fischl’s bed’, and ‘I won’t be hung upside down for Mr. Baselitz’. Not that Marlene Dumas had a problem with men who paint naked women, but as there were hardly any female painters active in this area, male artists simply constitued her only frame of reference (Dominic van den Boogerd, ‘Hang-ups and Hangovers in the Work of Marlene Dumas’, Marlene Dumas, London, 1999, pp. 30-85).
Challenging the male-dominated tradition of the female nude in art history, Dumas questions whether or not the nude could still be a meaningful subject for painting today. What made her explorations of the genre exceptional is the fact that she did not limit her subject matter to the ‘second sex’. As one of the very few artists at the time, she focused on the representation of the male nude. The most debated example perhaps is The Particularity of Nakedness, 1987, residing in Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven – a large and elongated painting representing a naked man. The horizontally stretched out fgure, set against blue skies, is carressed by calmness and peacefulness. As he lays there fat on his back, his head sligthly bended towards us, we are able to look straight into his bright blue eyes. The title of the work stems from the essay ‘Ways of Seeing’, 1972, in which art critic John Berger draws a distinction between nudity and nakedness. Referring to Peter Paul Rubens’s portrait of his newlywed wife Helena Fourment (Helena Fourment in a Fur Coat, 1636-1638, also known as Het Pelske [Little Fur Coat], Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna), Berger underlines the values of banality and imperfection: it is the sofness of her chubby fesh
that prevents her from turning into ‘a nude’. Whereas the nude is somehow impersonal, devoid of sexuality and ofen employed to embody ideals of high esteem, nakedness is controversial, frst and foremost physical, bodily, and charged with eroticism. The somewhat bashful gesture with which Helena wraps the fur around her body to conceal herself from the public eye, pushing up her breasts unintentionally, contributes to the frm impression that Rubens’s depiction is erotic rather than academic, personal instead of generic, ofering us ‘the promise of her extraordinary particularity’ (John Berger, ‘Ways of Seeing’, 1972). Clearly, Rubens’ scarcely clad spouse is of the same league as Dumas’ relaxing man, who, precisely because of his nakedness, is shrouded in an air of defencelessness and vulnerability.
Chained to the Bed for 15 Years is the frst of many larger works questioning the representation of masculine nudity. The source for this work can be found in a series of small drawings that Marlene Dumas had produced in 1986. A wooden box, containing 23 graphic works by 23 Dutch artists, De Slagersvriend 1 was the frst in a series of art editions initiated by Amsterdam painter Eli Content. The number of copies was strictly limited to the number of participating artists, each individual artist receiving one number of the edition. Marlene Dumas’ contribution to the frst portfolio consists of 23 handmade drawings in ink on paper, entitled Cultivated emotion – the art lover. Each one of them depicts a naked man, reclining on a bed, looking in ecstasy to a framed work of art on the wall. In these rapidly sketched, cartoonish drawings, love for art is linked to sexual ecstasy.
The particular pose of the reclining man goes back to a reproduction of a classic sculpture which Marlene Dumas holds in her image archives since many years. It is a photograph of the Barberini Faun, 220 BC, a life-size marble statue that is permanently displayed in the Glypthothek in Munich. The sculpture is either a Greek original or a Roman copy of high quality, though its present form might largely be the result of successive restorations. Nudity in Greek art was of course nothing new; the blatant sexuality of this reclining faun however is unrivaled. Apparently drunk or intoxicated, his wantonly spread legs focus all attention on his genitals. Marlene Dumas captures the eroticism of the male nude, mostly absent in feminist art, but undeniably present in the work of artists such as Jean Cocteau and David Hockney (note that Dumas’ The Particularity of Nakedness has been criticised for being a ‘homosexual painting’). Dumas renders the chin and the throat of the reclining man as seen from below, a viewpoint similar to the camera-angle of many shots in Andy Warhol’s flm Sleep, 1964, registering his lover John Giorno sleeping naked in a bed.
Marlene Dumas, The Particularity of Nakedness, 1987, oil on canvas, collection Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. © Marlene Dumas, 2020. Image: Peter Cox, courtesy of the artist.
Since 1988, the male nude has reappeared in Dumas’ work more than once: in the many drawings of (In Search of) The Perfect Lover, 1994, in the exhibition Youth and Other Demons at Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo, 1996, in the series of drawings referred to collectively as Erotic Room, 1998, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, and in several paintings from the notorious MD-light series, 1999-2000. If the depicted men are sexually attractive, there is ofen a sleazyness to them – many are modelled afer photographs of rent boys, male prostitutes, strippers and porn actors. Most recently, the male nude featured in Dumas’ acclaimed series of ink wash-drawings illustrating William Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis, exhibited at David Zwirner Gallery in New York, 2018 – much to the surprise of visitors, unaware of the fact that Dumas’ naked Adonis has a history. A history initiated by Chained to the Bed for 15 Years. Dominic van den Boogerd is an Amsterdam-based art critic and tutor at De Ateliers. Among many publications in art magazines and exhibition catalogues, he co-authored the Phaidon monograph on Marlene Dumas.
31. Takashi Murakami
Provenance Galerie Perrotin, Paris Acquired from the above by the present owner
signed and dated ‘Takashi Murakami 2016’ on the reverse acrylic and platinum leaf on canvas mounted on wood panel diameter 150 cm (59 in.) Executed in 2016. Estimate £300,000-400,000 $393,000-524,000 €356,000-475,000 ‡ plus Buyers Premium and VAT*
‘I fnd them [the fowers] just as pretty, just as disturbing. At the same time there is this strength in them; it is the same image of strength I fnd when drawing the human face... I would pretty much like to make a work in which I would represent them as if in a “crowd scene”, in the manner of these scenes of moving crowds that you see in flms.’ Takashi Murakami
Â© 2016 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
‘We want to see the newest things… because we want to see the future, even if only momentarily. It is the moment in which, even if we don’t completely understand what we have glimpsed, we are nonetheless touched by it. Tis is what we have come to call art.’ Takashi Murakami Ogata Korin, Flowering Plants in Autumn, 18th Century, Suntory Museum of Art, Tokyo. Image: Scala Images, Florence.
Presenting an abundance of fowers burgeoning from a circular support, Cosmic Power, 2016, steps into the viewer’s world with unrepressed joy. Proliferating spherically, the facetious creatures are at once inviting and threatening, their ambivalent countenance denoting both positive buoyancy and unknowable menace. Flowering from one another with the same eyes, same smiles, and same oval buds, the joyful plants are indeed distinguishable only by their varying colour, like synthetic shells concealing a glacial core. Their aesthetic is heavily informed by chrysanthemums – fowers Murakami repeatedly formulated in his painterly universe since the early 1990s – and echo the symbolism of longevity and rejuvenation they typically assume within the canon of Japanese painting. As such, the fowers draw from a contemporary world saturated with images, but also take afer a tradition thoroughly vested with the subjects of nature and contemplation. In multiplying their frozen smiles, the Japanese artist renders them unbelievable despite imagistic verisimilitude; far from reality, yet referential of an enduring iconographic tradition and trend. Simultaneously bitter and sweet, the ebullient congregation encapsulates the paradoxical approach with which Murakami constructs his distinct visual language. Having graduated from the Tokyo University of Fine Arts with a PhD in Nihonga painting, Murakami has always referenced the virtuous precision of traditional Japanese art in his contemporary creations.
Despite eluding the aesthetic and conventional materials employed within Nihonga tradition, Murakami paired its painterly principles with cutting-edge techniques, additionally penetrating the cultural worlds of manga and anime to conjure seemingly timeless compositions. This amalgamated aesthetic – blending the ancient and the new – ultimately culminated in a concept he penned in 2001 entitled Superfat. Superfat, in its titular and constitutive quest for fatness, embodies a sense of smoothness – languor even – that nonetheless holds a paradoxical notion of dynamic force. ‘I’d been thinking about the reality of Japanese drawing and painting and how it is diferent from Western art’, Murakami said. ‘What is important in Japanese art is the feeling of fatness. Our culture doesn’t have 3-D’ (Takashi Murakami, quoted in Hunter Drohojowska-Philp, ‘Superfat’, Artnet, January 2001, online). Moving beyond pure imagistic potential, Superfat also refers to the fattening and confation of genres, namely the fusion of high and low art. The movement thus explores the evolution of Japan’s understanding of its modern condition, and the relationships tying vanguard art, manga, anime, and their woodblock predecessors in a total absence of perspective. These two discrete phenomena – visual and conceptual – are visibly intertwined in Cosmic Power, which presents the viewer with a convincing tableau shunning its support’s two-dimensionality. As a result, the myriad fowers atop its surface are propelled into the viewer’s physical environment, vibrant and alive.
Varying in size and colour, the countless smiling buds of the present work seem to bleed onto an invisible horizon, expanding beyond their visible sphere. Musing on the symbol of fowers and how they became an integral part of his work, Murakami declared: ‘When I was preparing for the entrance exams for the University of Fine Arts, I spent two years drawing fowers. I drew some every day. And the entrance exam in the Nihonga section also involved fower drawing. Aferwards, to earn a living, I spent nine years working in a preparatory school, where I taught the students to draw fowers. Once every two days, I would buy fowers for my lesson and make compositions for the students to work on. […] Each one seems to have its own feelings, its own personality’ (Takashi Murakami, quoted in Takashi Murakami, exh. cat., Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, 2002, p. 84). Typically painted with proportional dimensions and great attention to detail, Murakami’s fowers became a leitmotif of his various artistic outputs – in painting, but also sculpture. For the present work, the artist’s technique is reminiscent of Andy
Warhol’s within the context of his factory. Like Warhol, Murakami has employed the assistance of painters within his factory-sized studio in Miyoshi Kaikai Kiki Co. From a total of three hundred assistants in his company, ffy are dedicated exclusively to painting, very clearly and precisely materialising his painterly vision. With its subtle colour gradations, its pristine white background, its superimposed chrysanthemums and its iconic circular shape, Cosmic Power is a superior example of Takashi Murakami’s ongoing fower series in painting. It captures the bold, bright and kawaii idiosyncrasies of Japanese pop culture, while at the same time recalling eminent Japanese masters such as Ogata Kōrin and Katsushika Hokusai, exquisitely encapsulating Murakami’s capacity to live between times, whilst remaining deeply rooted within the codes of our contemporary world.
FAR AWAY FRIENDS signed and dated ‘KAWS..09’ on the reverse acrylic on canvas 198.5 x 198.3 cm (78 1/8 x 78 1/8 in.) Painted in 2009.
Provenance Private Collection Literature KAWS, exh. cat., The Aldrich Museum of Art, Ridgefeld, CT, 2010, p. 36 (illustrated) Sneeze Magazine, issue no. 8, New York, 2010, summer (illustrated)
Estimate £800,000-1,200,000 $1,040,000-1,570,000 €942,000-1,410,000 plus Buyers Premium and VAT*
‘[I] found it weird how infused a cartoon could become in people’s lives; the impact it could have, compared to regular politics.’ KAWS
Falling against a pastel blue ground adorned with sparse cartoonish clouds, KAWS’ infamous KURF character is unequivocally familiar in the present work. Forming part of the artist’s larger KURF series, in which KAWS re-envisions the harmonious cartoon character, FAR AWAY FRIENDS, 2009, re-contextualises the fgure whilst maintaining the source image’s universal appeal. In its commanding, larger-thanlife scale, it promotes a use of vibrant tonality, simplifed detail and universally legible pictorial content that is reminiscent of advertising billboards. Such features have come to defne KAWS’ work of the past two decades, symbolising a synthesis of high and low culture. The resulting aesthetic, embedding popular cartoon iconography within a fne art context, has given way to extraordinary commercial and critical acclaim, culminating in the artist’s major survey slated to take place at the Brooklyn Museum, New York, in 2021. Exemplifying KAWS’ capacity to conjure an almost rubber-like, matte fnish in paint, the falling KURF in FAR AWAY FRIENDS appears as fat and evenly rendered on the canvas as its source character does on the television screen. Yet, obliterating its knowable eyes – replaced by
trademark ‘X’ symbols – the artist transforms the fgure’s well-known silhouette into that of a new, ambivalent counterpart. Graphically, the fgure remains recognisable, evidencing KAWS’ ability to transcend language and cultural barriers, yet in its minute details and novel characteristics, simultaneously delves into an otherworldly realm that relies solely on the artist’s imaginative powers. The uniformity of colour and the precision of line, falsely implying themselves to be technological productions, further demonstrate KAWS’ talent in constructing a convincing image. In this way, FAR AWAY FRIENDS successfully dissolves the purported distinctions between fne art and mass media, ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture – thus producing an art that is highly coveted yet accessible to all. At once familiar and uncanny, entertaining and ominous, FAR AWAY FRIENDS presents an inherently ambivalent image. A plethora of cultural references lay beneath the simplifed symbolism of the composition, including diverse images culled from cartoon imagination and art history. Notably, the azure expanse interspersed with naïve, cotton candy clouds recalls John Constable’s Cloud Study
John Constable, Cloud Study, 1821, oil on canvas, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, New Haven. Image: Bridgeman Images.
Keith Haring, Untitled, 1981, acrylic on panel, Private Collection. © The Keith Haring Foundation, 2020. Image: 2020, Christie's Images, London/Scala, Florence.
which, some two hundred years prior, captured the languorous atmosphere held above our heads with unknowable poetry. In its surrealist pairing, the ethereal setting on which the protagonist foats furthermore evokes René Magritte’s delectable Le Baiser, 1951, which also employs the symbol of the cloud as an index of dreamlike fantasy. Yet simultaneously, the painting entails a synonymy with childhood innocence and play. Reminiscent of the iconic wallpaper that repeatedly appears in the Toy Story franchise, the sky surrounding the KURF’s whimsically suspended fgure echoes fctitious landscapes imagined in Japanese anime and manga, whereby falling fgures are traditionally caught from below, or alternatively grabbed from above.
from where has the KURF jumped? And to where is he falling? Eyes shut closed with the distinctive KAWS ‘X’s, the fgure remains caught in a liminal space between top and bottom, jumping and landing. ‘By giving the comics a new face’, writes Germano Celant, ‘the artist seems to aspire to update their past, which is not simply playful and lyrical, but can also be frightening and deathly. Hence the masks with ‘sewn’ eyes that do not look ahead but inside at their own stories…’ (Germano Celant, ‘BD and K’, KAWS: 1993-2010, exh. cat., Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefeld, CT, 2010, p. 55). In this way, FAR AWAY FRIENDS can be read as a portrait of loss, once again accessing emotions that transcend nationality, culture and time.
Yet, just as the work points to realms of fantasy and reverie, the absurdity of the KURF’s position within non-habitable space simultaneously holds unsettling undertones. The title itself implies a loss of childhood innocence, or a painful distancing from oneself and one’s most loved. FAR AWAY FRIENDS thus begs the question:
Referencing visual realms spanning contemporary culture and the art historical canon, the present work attests to Michael Auping’s statement that ‘KAWS is not just referring to pop culture, he is making it’ (Michael Auping, ‘America’s Cartoon Mind’, KAWS: WHERE THE END STARTS, exh. cat., Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, 2017, p. 63).
René Magritte, The Kiss (Le Baiser), 1951, oil on canvas, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas. © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2020. Image: Bridgeman Images.
Continually infltrating his audience’s unconscious by tapping into the mental space where memory and instinctual cognizance collide, KAWS forms a world that runs parallel to our own – using the same graphic codes, yet endowing them with a new, diferent appearance. As a result, paintings such as FAR AWAY FRIENDS compel us to ‘feel empowered to ponder the meaning and have an opinion’. In them, ‘We recognize the cartoon characters yet, with KAWS’s intervention, the meaning becomes somewhat subverted’ writes Mónica RamírezMontagut. ‘Thus it is up to us to decide whether these are homages or criticisms’ (Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, KAWS, exh. brochure, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefeld, CT, 2010, online). Forming part of KAWS’ shrewdly referential iconographic repertoire, FAR AWAY FRIENDS typifes the language with which the painter has cemented his position as a preeminent fgure of neo-Pop, alongside artists such as Jef Koons and Takashi Murakami. The work is exemplary of the artist’s capacity to create a communicative visual language, rendering complex aspects of the human condition legible to a global audience.
‘I always visually gravitated toward comics, but I wasn’t somebody who read every story... I wasn’t taken to galleries.’ KAWS
33. Takashi Murakami
Dragon Heads - Gold gold leaf on carbon fbre 135 x 88 x 84.5 cm (53 1/8 x 34 5/8 x 33 1/4 in.) Executed in 2015, this work is number 1 from an edition of 3 plus 2 artist’s proofs. Estimate £400,000-600,000 $522,000-782,000 €470,000-705,000 ‡ plus Buyers Premium and VAT*
Provenance Blum & Poe, Los Angeles Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2015 Exhibited Los Angeles, Blum & Poe, Arhat, 13 April – 25 May 2013 (another example exhibited) Art Projects Ibiza, Takashi Murakami. Arts Projects Ibiza in Partnership with Blum & Poe, 24 June - 26 September 2015 (another example exhibited) Paris, Galerie Perrotin, Takashi Murakami. Learning The Magic of Painting, 10 September - 23 December 2016 (another example exhibited)
Literature Brook Mason, ‘Ibiza takeover: Blum & Poe stage pop-up exhibition of Takashi Murakami’s recent work’, Wallpaper, 1 July 2015, online (another example illustrated and mentioned) Matthew Ponsford, ‘Murakami in Ibiza: Can art’s rule-breaker get ravers to a gallery?’, CNN, 2 July 2015, online (another example illustrated) ‘Takashi Murakami’, Wall Street International Magazine, 23 July 2015, online (another example illustrated and mentioned)
‘Desire and death are always connected in some way, I believe, just as they are both an inextricable part of life. A thrill without danger is not a thrill.’ Takashi Murakami
Â© 2015 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Both charming and ominous, luxurious and intricate, Dragon Heads – Gold, 2015, is a wonderful example of Takashi Murakami’s dynamic sculptural practice. Comprised of an accumulation of skulls topped one above the other and adorned in gold leaf, the work commands the attention of the viewer, eliciting an astonishing perceptive experience upon frst encounter. As each skull becomes increasingly difcult to discern from the next, the viewer’s refection gets lost within the depths of the sculpture, rippling from one area of the mirrored surface to another, in warped or diminished dimensions. Pairing Japanese tradition with a contemporary sheen, Murakami develops a symbiotic visual lexicon that dissolves the distinctions between high art and popular culture, contemporary production and ancient image-making. In doing so, the artist’s practice engages in an oscillatory conversation with the industries of fne art and fashion, producing paintings and sculptures which are as much works of art as they are coveted commercial icons. Whilst Pop artists Claes Oldenburg and Andy Warhol produced a satirical critique of capitalism and the increasingly consumerist culture of the art world, Murakami has fattened these boundaries, creating an art defned by bountiful excess.
Constituting one of several recurring character motifs from Murakami’s iconography, the skull has been a protagonist in the artist’s output for the past twenty years. The roundness with which the skulls are crafed in the present work confers the inert creatures an endearing charm, almost able to masquerade their symbolism as icons of death. Yet, as ofen in the traditions of kawaii and manga from which Murakami takes inspiration, there are deeper connotations that lurk beneath their innocent appearance. Elucidating this paradox, the artist noted, ‘Desire and death are always connected in some way, I believe, just as they are both an inextricable part of life. A thrill without danger is not a thrill’ (Takashi Murakami, quoted in Matthew Ponsford, ‘Murakami in Ibiza: Can art’s rule-breaker get ravers to a gallery?’, CNN, 2 July 2015, online). In its juxtaposition of the themes of death and desire, danger and innocence, the dichotomy at the heart of Dragon Heads – Gold evokes Damien Hirst’s For the Love of God, which similarly employs the image of the skull, whilst casting it as tangibly sublime in its luxurious three-dimensional form. Echoing Murakami’s use of a precious material, Hirst’s sculpture presents the platinum cast of an 18th century skull encrusted with 8,601 diamonds. Notably, Murakami departs from his signature Superfat style in Dragon Heads – Gold, veering instead towards the three-dimensional physicality of sculpture. Hung from the wall, the work eludes the fatness of Japanese graphic art and animation, and ofers by contrast a commanding and charismatic presence. Almost surreal in form, Dragon Heads – Gold blurs the boundaries between that which is real and imagined, animate and inanimate, plunging the viewer into the realm of the fantastical. The visual experience prescribed by the work negates that of the sculpture of antiquity through to early modernity, which ofen demands the intricate inspection and careful contemplation of its audiences. Instead, it exists within a contemporary lineage that includes Jef Koons’ glossy balloon animals, which equally allow an immediately gratifying experience to even the most feeting of viewers. Murakami’s art, like Koons’, is curated for a contemporary audience – an audience whose interest is ofen heavily informed by the rapid proliferation of visual information made available by ever-developing technologies. Transcending nationality, culture and time, Dragon Heads - Gold encapsulates Murakami’s development of an idiosyncratic visual lexicon constituted through references to the visual iconography of pop culture and mass media. In this sense, it is emblematic of the artist’s vision and intention, which has ofered a new horizon for art in the 21st century.
Lef / Right Jef Koons, Balloon Rabbit at Gagosian Gallery, New York, May 2013. © Jef Koons. Image: courtesy of the artist’s studio. Takashi Murakami with another example of the present work at Galerie Perrotin in 2016. © 2020 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Image: Bridgeman Images.
FINAL DAYS Afrormosia wood 207 x 175.5 x 119 cm (811/2 x 691/8 x 467/8 in.) Executed in 2014, this work is number 2 from an edition of 3 plus 2 artist’s proofs and is accompanied by a certifcate of authenticity signed by the artist.
Provenance Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong Private Collection (acquired from the above) Phillips, Hong Kong, 27 May 2018, lot 33 Private Collection, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner
Exhibited Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, KAWS: ALONE AGAIN, 10 May – 4 August 2019 (another example exhibited)
Estimate £700,000-900,000 $917,000-1,180,000 €831,000-1,070,000 ‡ plus Buyers Premium and VAT*
‘Even though I use a comic language, my fgures are not always refecting the idealistic cartoon view that I grew up on.’ KAWS
Portraying the beguiling hybrid of KAWS’ KURF character and his signature COMPANION fgure on a colossal scale, FINAL DAYS, 2014, evidences the symbiotic iconography for which the American artist has become internationally known and celebrated in recent years. Wholly original, the fgure stretching its arms out to the viewer nonetheless hosts a number of familiar references that the artist repeatedly draws from in forming his own visual lexicon. Transforming well-known cartoon silhouettes into creations of his own, KAWS constitutes a novel family of characters, of which the present amalgamated creature fuses entirely new, trademark characteristics. At once ominous and endearing, imposing and intimate, FINAL DAYS is exemplary of KAWS’ ability to conjure the inherent ambivalence of childhood nostalgia, as well as the legibility of popular culture with a clear contemporary fair.
repertoire, was frst envisioned by the artist in 1999 as a small-scale fgurine. KAWS provided for his fgure the COMPANION title to imbue the same sense of wistful nostalgia one may experience when watching a favourite cartoon from childhood, or hold a formerly treasured toy. This afnity is subverted, however, by the sinister skull and crossbones placed atop the character’s body. Upon digesting these contradicting elements, the viewer is propelled into a liminal space between recognition and repulse. As the artist himself stated, ‘Even though I use a comic language, my fgures are not always refecting the idealistic cartoon view that I grew up on… COMPANION is more real in dealing with contemporary human circumstances’ (KAWS, quoted in KAWS: WHERE THE END STARTS, exh. cat., Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, 2016, p. 5).
Generously used over time as a subject in itself, the iconography of cartoons was notably employed in the Pop and contemporary creations of Andy Warhol, Takashi Murakami and Jef Koons. Here, however, KAWS’ fgure becomes distinctly troubling, eluding the exact representation of a pre-existing personnage. The COMPANION fgure, which has proliferated across KAWS’ sculptural and pictorial
Arms outstretched, right leg tilted forward, the COMPANION fgure in FINAL DAYS is captured in movement, mid-stride. But from where, and to where is it directed? Does the fgure stumble out of some foreboding darkness, seeking safety, or is it he who represents the threat? Do the hands that grasp the mid-air emptiness yearn, like Frankenstein’s monster, to grab us, or are they reaching out for help?
‘Te familiar is just a starting point. Even though the images are widely known, they are somehow personal to me. Te emotion in the work is just something that comes out as I develop the works I want to make.’ KAWS
Jef Koons, Rabbit, 1986, stainless steel, The Broad Museum, Los Angeles. © Jef Koons. Image: The Broad Images, Los Angeles.
Do the trademark ‘X’ eyes which serve as the artist’s signature represent the fgure’s demise, or ours? ‘By giving the comics a new face’, writes Germano Celant, ‘the artist seems to aspire to update their past, which is not simply playful and lyrical, but can also be frightening and deathly. Hence the masks with ‘sewn’ eyes that do not look ahead but inside at their own stories…’ (Germano Celant, ‘BD and K’, KAWS: 1993-2010, exh. cat., Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefeld, 2010, p. 55). These are the provocations which KAWS so seamlessly presents. KAWS’ choice to execute FINAL DAYS in wood strays from his predominant devotion to materiality which mimics the matte fnish of toys and other mass-produced objects, most commonly executing sculptures in painted vinyl. Wood entered his artmaking practice when he partnered with the Japanese furniture company Karimoku to produce his frst small wooden COMPANION. When considering the construction of a COMPANION on a much larger scale, KAWS recalls he was ‘thinking of the relationship I’ve had to wood toys growing up and the warmth and feeling they have when you hold them in your hand or place them on a shelf or table and stare at them… I wanted to expand on that, to create a wooden sculpture that makes you feel small but at the same time I want the viewer to feel like they should somehow help or console the work, despite its towering size’ (KAWS, quoted in ‘KAWS: The Story Behind an Artwork, in the Artist’s Own Words’, Modern Painters, February 2016, online).
Working with wood, KAWS learned of the material’s new possibilities for mass production. ‘We use a lot of technology with the sculptures we make’, the artist has said. ‘You know the large, wooden sculptures? Even though they’re wood, they go from small maquettes that are ten to ffeen inches to being digitized and built out on a CNC machine, which is sort of like 3-D printing’ (KAWS, quoted in ‘Pharrell Williams Interviews KAWS’, KAWS: WHERE THE END STARTS, exh. cat., Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, 2016, p. 83). Ultimately, what FINAL DAYS achieves is a method of visual communication that transcends nationality, culture and time. The message it communicates depends, however, on the interpretation of the viewer. In crossing out the eyes with ‘X’ marks and stripping the fgure of all other facial features, KAWS denies viewers the instantly recognisable emotive expression typical of cartoon characters. As Michael Auping notes, ‘Because of their short narratives, cartoons are designed to simplify human emotions: happy/angry, good/bad. KAWS introduces more complex and subtle feelings, such as melancholy, disgust, pride and envy. This is existentialism absorbed into a cartoon world. In his own perverse way, the artist has turned the famous mouse and other cartoon favourites back into degenerate people with faws’ (Michael Auping, ‘America’s Cartoon Mind’, KAWS: WHERE THE END STARTS, exh. cat., Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, 2016, p. 68.). As a result, audiences may recognise in COMPANION any number of complex human emotions and experiences, perhaps, most pointedly, their own.
A larger version of the present work at Frieze Sculpture in London from July to October 2017. © KAWS 2020. Image: Danielle So.
35. Anish Kapoor
Provenance Galleria Minini, Brescia Acquired from the above by the present owner
stainless steel 260 x 260 cm (102 3/8 x 102 3/8 in.) Executed in 2014. Estimate £800,000-1,200,000 $1,050,000-1,570,000 €949,000-1,420,000 ‡ ♠ plus Buyers Premium and VAT, ARR applies*
‘Te shiny might be a modern sublime, which is fully refective, absolutely present, and returns the gaze. Tis feels like a new way to think about the non-objective object.’ Anish Kapoor
Mapping the sky’s meandering lights, its fuidity and seemingly infnite expanse, Sky Mirror, 2014, is an exquisite example of Anish Kapoor’s eponymous Sky Mirror series, consisting of large concave mirrors facing upwards and placed outdoors. A variation of Kapoor’s earlier and ongoing Voids – sculptures that induce vertigos in their illusory depth – the artist’s Sky Mirrors similarly warp the viewer’s perception of surrounding space, tricking them into thinking that the sky is tumbling down to terrestrial realms. Kapoor began working on his perspective-shifing sculptures in the mid-1990s, with a broader series of concave works tackling notions of refection and distortion; yet it is with his outdoor formulations that he truly began incorporating nature into his work. Forming part of the artist’s ongoing investigation of space, Sky Mirror is a refection of its materialisation en plein air; it meditates on permeable physicality, while at the same time ofering an echo to the changing of seasons, the transition from day to night, the slightest of alterations in a light’s phosphorescence. As a result,
the work is perpetually in process, losing its material form as it dissolves into its surroundings. Like a nameless chameleon, ‘it literally ceases to be physical; it levitates; it does something else [that] is, in my view, completely beguiling’ (Anish Kapoor, quoted in Nicholas Baume, Anish Kapoor: Past, Present, Future, exh. cat., Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, 2008, p. 53). Held in lingering tension between unmissable presence and resounding absence, Sky Mirror poignantly captures Kapoor’s desire to achieve paradoxical phenomenology, whereby objects are at once there and not there. In its numerous public iterations that include Rockefeller Center, New York, in 2006, Kensington Gardens, London, in 2010-11, Versailles, France, in 2015, and the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, in 2010, the Sky Mirror works have repeatedly demonstrated a striking dual quality, at once mirroring the skies hanging above their various grounds, and living as a monumental,
‘Te space doesn’t recede-it comes out at you... a new sublime that’s forward of the picture plane.’ Anish Kapoor
Lef: / Right Detail of Jan van Eyck, The Arnolfni Marriage, 1434, oil on panel, National Gallery, London. Image: Bridgeman Images. Installation view of Anish Kapoor, Sky Mirror, 2016, Rockefeller Centre, New York, 19 September - 27 October 2006. © Anish Kapoor. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2020. Image: courtesy of the artist’s studio.
‘I think I understand something about space. I think the job of a sculptor is spatial as much as it is to do with form.’ Anish Kapoor
charismatic objects in their own right, akin to seminal art-historical mirrors. Epitomised by Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfni Marriage, 1434, and the small mirror discreetly refecting the portrayed scene at the back of the composition, the symbolic object additionally relates to James Turrell’s mission to capture natural light, resulting in an amalgamous sculpture ofen perceived by viewers as both discreet and boisterous – like a famboyant intruder in a familiar place. ‘A lot of the works are about passage, about a kind of a passing through’, the artist has mused. ‘The idea of place has always been very important to the work. A place that is in a sense original. I mean, by the word original, to do with “frst”, and I think that is to do with centring oneself – allowing a thing to occur specifcally rather than in general […] and that necessitates a place’ (Anish Kapoor, quoted in William Furlong, ‘Anish Kapoor’, Audio Arts Magazine, vol. 10, no. 4, 1990, reproduced online). Each time made in slightly varying dimensions, the Sky Mirrors are conceived to best suit their environments, as well as coexist peacefully with the human presence that surrounds them. In this perspective, they aptly respond to the necessities of their in situ status, whereby their existence as structures is supported by the space in which they live, and the subtleties that diferentiate that space from any other. At Versailles, the Sky Mirror was able to refect diferent perspectives of a portion of the sky, historically shared by French royals and international visitors alike. In one’s own chosen environment, the work carries out its self-fulflling mission in a more intimate fashion, all the while continuing Kapoor’s intention to emphasise, symbolise, and actualise existing space. In any new territory, Sky Mirror activates the physical terrain that exists around it, while at the same time bringing crucial attention to what is held above – a capacity that appears to have become increasingly rare, in a world dominated by earthly, eyelevel distractions. In this perspective, Sky Mirror falls within Kapoor’s chosen realm of spirituality, moving beyond its mere physical countenance. It sits on
the ground, yet looks towards the sky, and therefore signifes the potential for humans to equally set their sights above. Pulling the sky down to the earth in a sublime union of elemental forces, the sculpture presents a proposition about space that is a central enquiry in Kapoor’s work, and that transcends one’s earthly groundings. The numinous dimension should be self-fulflling, Kapoor specifes: ‘Just as you can’t set out to make something beautiful, you can’t set out to make something spiritual. What you can do is recognise that it may be there. It normally has something to do with not having too much to say. There seems to be space for the viewer, and is sometimes something we identify as being spiritual. And it is all about space’ (Anish Kapoor, quoted in Nadia Slejskova, ‘The Year of Anish Kapoor’, ArtFrame, 27 March 2011, online). To produce the efect they set out to achieve, the Sky Mirrors must furthermore attend to Kapoor’s strict and rigorous aesthetic requirements. With regards to his stainless steel sculptures, Sandhini Poddar has commented, ‘In erasing the edge and collapsing the horizon, Kapoor’s stainless steel sculptures [...] shatter and scatter the omnipotence of the gaze’ (Sandhini Poddar, ‘Suspending Disbelief: Anish Kapoor’s Mental Sculpture’, Anish Kapoor: Memory, Berlin, 2009, p. 47). This phenomenon of disappearance seems only feasible in the event of an entirely polished surface, immaculately smooth so as to let all elements glide into its landscape organically. In this way, the concave mirrored structure is but a blank canvas on which the sky – as paint – can come settle to create an ever-shifing composition; the present work is an exquisite example of this, synthetically perfect in form and thus morphing with its surroundings. In all its paradoxically harmonious contradictions, Sky Mirror wonderfully exemplifes Kapoor’s capacity to provoke existential thought and dreamlike visions. Its scale feels grand enough to encapsulate and engulf what has before been deemed ungraspable, unfathomable, grand beyond reach: the vastness of the sky itself.
Property from the Estate of Karel Geirlandt
36. Raoul de Keyser
1930 - 2012
Hellepoort signed ‘raoul de keyser’ on the reverse oil on canvas 167.3 x 124.2 cm (65 7/8 x 48 7/8 in.) Painted in 1985. Estimate £100,000-150,000 $130,000-196,000 €118,000-176,000 ♠ plus Buyers Premium and VAT, ARR applies*
Provenance Galerie Joost Declercq, Deurle Karel Geirlandt, Belgium (acquired from the above in 1986) Thence by descent Exhibited Deurle, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Raoul De Keyser, 19 April - 25 May 1986 Antwerp, Guillaume Campo, Hommage aan K. Geirlandt, 9 - 24 February 1990 Literature Steven Jacobs, ed., Raoul De Keyser: Paintings 1980-1999, Ghent, 2000, no. 482, p. 133 (illustrated)
‘Every work is for me a kind of essay. And if each work, in the literal sense, is in fact a word, an attempt, then what shall be the entire oeuvre?’ Raoul de Keyser
With its distinct planes of colour and its sparse gestural marks, Hellepoort, 1985, conveys Raoul de Keyser’s meditative visual language, hovering between landscape painting and instinctive abstraction. The title Hellepoort, signifying ‘Hell Gate’ or ‘Gates of Hell’ in Dutch, suggests a resonance with Auguste Rodin’s similarly titled sculptural group, depicting a scene from Dante Alighieri’s Inferno on a monumental scale. Yet, de Keyser’s Hellepoort eschews realism or any clear subject matter, and instead presents a congregation of foating elements drenched in varyingly bright hues. Split between convincing expanses of blue, maroon and light yellow, the canvas seems to have been initiated and then worked on again – numerous times and systemically – resulting in an intuitive surface boasting three monochromatic planes, and a collection of slim, layered brushstrokes. Esoteric, concise and eloquent, Hellepoort exemplifes one of the subtle shifs that de Keyser’s practice underwent in the 1980s, whereby colours became increasingly exuberant, and the artist’s experimentation with space more complex. Seven years later, he would participate in the highly acclaimed documenta 9, 1992, curated by Jan Hoet – and subsequently become a household name in Belgium.
‘I don’t want to become the ‘‘pretty’’ painter ... Ultimately I want to paint ruthlessly.’ Raoul de Keyser
Nicolas de Stael, View of Marseille, 1955, oil on canvas, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2020. Image: Scala, Florence.
Acquired by Karel Geirlandt in the mid-1980s, Hellepoort captures a distinct snapshot in time, when the artistic scene in Belgium was burgeoning, and a few motivated, fore-thinking protagonists were championing contemporary production with great verve. Geirlandt was one such fgure; he was a writer, an artistic pioneer, and the driving force behind the Ghent Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgium in the mid-1970s – an institute that would later become the S.M.A.K. under the impetus of Mark De Cock and Jan Hoet. Wishing to make contemporary art as accessible as Old Masters painting and traditional sculpture, Geirlandt envisioned a place akin to the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, that would depart from the temporal limitations under which most artistic institutions were constrained. Within this visionary vein, Geirlandt believed in the freshness of de Keyser’s painterly output, and the necessity of sharing it with the world. Moving beyond representational value and placing an emphasis on the act of painting itself, Hellepoort distinctly encapsulates the timeless, yet also deeply contemporary, quality of de Keyser’s work. Its confoundingly elegant aesthetic is just as additive as it is diminutive – a perspective through which Stephen Truax once compared his art to that of Giorgio Morandi. ‘The negative space between the objects is just as important as the objects themselves’, he wrote. ‘Through exhaustive repetition, they both empty out their work of whimsy. They forge new ideas through making and remaking. Most of the action occurs of the fnal canvas; the real work is in what was scraped away rather than what is presented’ (Stephen Truax, ‘Raoul de Keyser: Drif’, The Brooklyn Rail, May 2016, online). In this way, Hellepoort also brings to mind the mute pictorial universe of Nicolas de Staël who, through a similar balance of presence and absence, managed to convey a landscape, a natura morta, an abstract idea. The various layers of paint coexisting with one another in the present work namely recall the stratifed formations dominating de Staël’s mature canvases, whereby vibrancy curiously met sensitivity, and instinctual roughness came hand in hand with noble beauty. Notably, Hellepoort prodigiously demonstrates how a sum of painterly fragments can come together as a single, cohesive whole. The composition’s diferent parts blend into one another seamlessly, yet elude the physicality of a pattern or a homogenised design. In this way, Hellepoort showcases the rare capacity de Keyser has in conveying an empirical image, where errors and hesitations are embraced as part of the fnal composition. It is this self-conscious vulnerability that sets Hellepoort apart, as the painting establishes its own rules, shifing and varying according to each viewer’s unique perception.
37. Marcel Broodthaers
Moules signed, titled and dated ‘Moules, 1967 M. Broodthaers’ on the overlap photographic canvas 100.2 x 80.2 cm (39 1/2 x 31 5/8 in.) Executed in 1967. Estimate £150,000-250,000 $196,000-327,000 €178,000-297,000 ♠ plus Buyers Premium and VAT, ARR applies*
Provenance Van Den Bosch, Belgium Betty Barman, Brussels Sotheby’s, London, 25 May 1989, lot 390 Willy D’Huysser Gallery, Brussels Galerie Isy Brachot, Brussels Ronny Van De Velde, Antwerp Private Collection, Belgium Exhibited Brussels, Galerie Cogeime, MEC Art contemporain, October 1967 Palais des Beaux-Arts à Bruxelles, Catalogue-Catalogus, 27 September 3 November 1974 Brussels, Galerie Isy Brachot, Marcel Broodthaers, October 1990 (illustrated, p. 134) Paris, Galerie Isy Brachot, Marcel Broodthaers, November 1990 January 1991
Tokyo, Watari, Museum of Contemporary Art, Irony by Vision, 29 May - 15 September 1991, p. 65 (illustrated) New York, Museum of Modern Art; Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía; Dusseldorf, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Marcel Broodthaers. A Retrospective, 14 February 2016 - 11 June 2017, p. 307 and 341 (illustrated, p. 306) Literature Freddy de Vree, Marcel Broodthaers: Oeuvres 1963-1975, Brussels, 1990, (illustrated, p. 134) Marcel Broodthaers, exh. cat., Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris; Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, 1991-92 (Palais des Beaux-Arts à Bruxelles exhibition illustrated, p. 245) We are grateful for Marie-Puck Broodthaers’ and Maria Gilissen’s assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.
‘I have been using since 1967 photocanvases, flms, slides, to establish the relationships between the object and the image of that object, and also those that exist between the sign and the meaning of a particular object: writing... Te language of forms must be reunited with that of the word.’ Marcel Broodthaers
Te Mussel Tis clever thing has avoided society’s mould. She’s cast herself in her very own. Other look alikes share with her the anti-sea. She’s perfect. Marcel Broodthaers
René Magritte, La trahison des images (Ceci n'est pas une pipe), 1929, oil on canvas, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2020. Image: 2020, Museum Associates/LACMA/Art Resource NY/Scala, Florence.
A celebration of one of Marcel Broodthaers’ most important motifs, Moules, 1967, presents an inky black casserole brimming with mussel shells on a blank canvas, the lid of the pan spelling out ‘Moules’, or ‘Mussels’ in French. At once formally straightforward and conceptually layered, the photographic work epitomises Broodthaers’ eccentric universe and irreverential practice, informed by his longstanding background in poetry. ‘I have been using since 1967 photo-canvases, flms, slides, to establish the relationships between the object and the image of that object, and also those that exist between the sign and the meaning of a particular object: writing’, the artist said (Marcel Broodthaers, quoted in Michael Compton, ‘In Praise of the Subject’, Marcel Broodthaers, exh. cat., Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1989, p. 40). It is thus no coincidence that the work’s subject matter should be polysemic in French: ‘moules’ signifying not only ‘mussels’ but also ‘moulds’ – a nod to the animal’s capacity to make its own shell (and thus, so-to-speak, its own mould). Signifying the importance of mussels within Broodthaers’ visual lexicon, the symbol has appeared time and again in the artist’s work, notably in key formulations housed at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Tate, London. Included in the major monographic show that further cemented Broodthaers’ status within the art world – Marcel Broodthaers, travelling from the Museum of Modern Art, New York, to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, and the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf from 2016 to 2017 – Moules had already been exhibited extensively and outside of the continent, notably on the occasion of the exhibition Irony by Vision, taking place in Tokyo’s Museum of Contemporary Art, in 1991, and curated by Jan Hoet.
Working as a writer and poet until the age of 40, Broodthaers began making objects in 1964, developing a visual repertoire spanning surrealism, conceptualism, and the deadpan aesthetic of Marcel Duchamp’s readymades. Sourced from his favourite restaurant, the mussels became a signature material and subject for his work in the last decade of his life – a talismanic presence buttressed by sister symbols such as eggshells, eagles, and garden tools. These, together, represented the absurdist twist with which Broodthaers commented on life, the ordinary nothings that salvaged him from a vocational disappointment. Operating as both a creator and a commentator, Broodthaers slightly altered the Belgian dish’s usual presentation in the present work, instead likening it to an erect column. The saucer in the photographic canvas, as a result, rises like an amateurish Tower of Babel, demonstrating how ‘The bursting out of the mussels from the casserole does not follow the laws of boiling’, but instead ‘follows the laws of artifce and results in the construction of an abstract form’ (Marcel Broodthaers, quoted in Sigrid Adriaenssens, ‘Belgian Shell Art and Architecture: Marcel Broodthaers and Andre Paduart’, Form Finding Lab, 22 March 2017, online). Sitting ‘on the edge of things, where the world of visual arts and the world of poetry might eventually, I wouldn’t say meet, but at the very frontier where they part’, Moules is an apt representation of Broodthaers’ desire to enact a type of hybrid production (Marcel Broodthaers, Collected Writings, Belgium, 1974, p. 410). Channelling an irreverential spirit that fnds its foundations in a number of gestures enacted by Broodthaers’ predecessors, the artist stated that ‘I have just followed the footprints lef in the artistic sands
by René Magritte and Marcel Duchamp… Faithfully in spite of the winds that blow’ (Marcel Broodthaers, quoted in Marcel Broodthaers, exh. cat., Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1989, p. 32). In reference to his mussels specifcally, Broodthaers contended, ‘A mussel hides a mould and vice versa. Magritte’s pipe is the mould of smoke’ (Marcel Broodthaers, quoted in Deborah Schultz, Marcel Broodthaers: Strategy and Dialogue, Bern, 2007, p. 115). Broodthaers’ rapport with words and images indeed echoed Magritte’s experimentation with the two realms – exploring the grounds where they become treacherous and those where they strangely hit the perfect spot. The artist’s admiration for his surrealist forebear only vivifed when he met him in 1945; he subsequently cultivated a continuous dialogue with him, devised in both real and fctitious terms, as on the occasion of their ‘imaginary interview’ published in the Journal des arts plastiques in 1967. Exploring a wide-ranging variety of literary, social and historical themes across his twelve-year artistic career, Broodthaers fashioned an oeuvre that brims with whimsical humour and semiotic puzzles, bolstered by strategies of repetition and self-deprecation. Celebrated on the occasion of numerous institutional shows, and most recently in the artist’s major retrospective Soleil Politique at the Museum of Modern Art, Antwerp (October 2019 - January 2020), Broodthaers’ legacy continues to resonate today in the canon of contemporary art.
Marcel Duchamp, Bicycle Wheel, 1951 (afer lost original of 1913), assemblage, Museum of Modern Art, New York. © Association Marcel Duchamp/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2020. Image: Scala Images, Florence.
Property from the Collection of Walter Fontana
38. Carol Rama
1918 - 2015
Pornografa due signed and dated ‘Carol Rama 1965’ lower right; further stamped 'CAROL RAMA' on the stretcher mixed media on canvas 120 x 160 cm (47 1/4 x 62 7/8 in.) Executed in 1965, this work is registered in the Associazione Archivio Carol Rama, Turin, under number 0001 and is accompanied by a photo certifcate issued by the archive. Estimate £150,000-200,000 $196,000-261,000 €177,000-236,000 ♠ plus Buyers Premium and VAT, ARR applies*
Provenance Marcello Levi, Turin Carlina Galleria d’Arte, Turin Studio Copernico, Milan Walter Fontana Collection, Milan (acquired from the above in 2011) Exhibited Turin, Carlina Galleria d’Arte, Carol Rama – il rosso e il nero, 16 May - 12 July 2003, p. 24 (illustrated, pp. 25 and 98) Turin, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo; Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto; Gateshead, BALTIC - The Centre for Contemporary Art, Carol Rama, 9 March 2004 - 24 April 2005, p. 88 (illustrated) Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, La magnifca ossessione, 26 October 2012 - 16 February 2014, pp. 8, 80 and 154 (illustrated)
Barcelona, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona; Paris, Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris; Espoo Museum of Modern Art; Dublin, Irish Museum of Modern Art; Turin, Galleria Civica d’arte moderna e contemporanea, La Passion selon Carol Rama, 30 October 2014 - 5 February 2017, p. 253 (illustrated, pp. 142-143) Literature The Passion according to Carol Rama, exh. cat., Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona; Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris; Espoo Museum of Modern Art; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Galleria Civica d’arte moderna e contemporanea, Turin, 2014 - 2017, p. 251 (illustrated, pp. 140-141) ‘Il Giornale dell’Arte: Eccentrica Erotica Eretica Carol Rama’, Vernissage, no. 185, October 2016, p. 8 (illustrated)
The artist and Pinuccia Sardi Cagnucci in front of the present work. © Archivio Carol Rama, Torino.
Over the course of almost eight decades, Carol Rama produced a prodigious body of work that, in its diverse formulations, eluded a single category and instead traversed fguration, abstraction, Surrealism, Minimalism and Pop. First developing a gentle fgurative style in her Appassionata series – portraying hissing female characters cramped in medical appliances – Rama subsequently gestured towards abstraction, employing both organic and industrial materials to convey rawness, sensuality, imperiousness and delicacy. Cumulative and seemingly animate, Pornografa due, 1965, is a def example of this stylistic shif, where passion becomes abstraction. Notably, the canvas was on loan at the Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, and highlighted on the occasion of the artist’s most important exhibition to date, La Passion selon Carol Rama, which travelled from the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, to the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Espoo Museum of Modern Art, the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, and the Galleria Civica d’arte moderna e contemporanea, Turin, from 2014 to 2017. Demonstrating Rama’s capacity to experiment with pictorial matter, the present work forms part of her series of Bricolages, which she conceptualised alongside her peer and friend Edoardo Sanguineti in 1962. Sanguineti – a Genoese poet who met Rama in the late 1940s – described Rama’s bricolages with the words of Claude Lévi-Strauss: ‘the poetry of bricolage derives from the fact that it talks not only with things, but through things’; and in turn, the artist’s multifaceted assemblages were refective of Sanguineti’s poems, replete with various
languages and linguistic registers (Edoardo Sanguineti, quoted in Paolo Fossati and Maria Cristina Mundici, ‘A Career’, Carol Rama, Turin, 1999, p. 22). In the 1960s, Rama made two paintings titled Pornografa; an initial formulation in 1963, which she gifed to Sanguineti, and the present work in 1965, which remained in Italy until today. These ‘organic’ works presaged her predominantly rubber-based output of the 1970s, of which the material recalled fesh, aged skin, and the notion of the body more broadly. A defant maverick, Rama consistently shunned diktats enforced by the alternating political bodies of her native Turin – most particularly the diminishing decrees articulated upon women. Rather, she created her own behavioural rules, of which her painterly portraits became emblematic illustrations. Her desire to free her body from social and political regulations manifestly transpired in her combative Appassionata series of the 1930s, but most prominantly came to life in the bricolages that defned the second half of her artistic practice. In these, harsh industrial materials – at times uncanny, at times hazardous – coexisted harmoniously on unsuspecting canvases, bringing a ferce, novel artistic language into the world. In its elegiac moments, Rama’s visual syntax evokes a kind of speech allowed only by the untouched virtue of childhood; in its crude, sometimes aggressive aesthetic, it recalls the unforgiving hardships of life, including disability, dementia, sex, and death. With Pornografa due, the large black mass radiating small black dots dispersed across
‘I paint out of passion and anger and violence and sadness and a certain fetishism and out of joy and melancholy together and out of anger especially.’ Carol Rama
Lucio Fontana, Concetto Spaziale, 1954, pieces of glass, perforations and oil on canvas, Sammlung Moderne Kunst in der Pinakothek der Moderne - Bayerische Staatsgemaeldesammlungen, Munich. © Lucio Fontana/Milan SIAE/DACS, London 2020. Image: Scala Images, Florence.
the canvas recalls an aesthetic of spillage, or perhaps the delicate blossoming of a dark fower. Yet the title and material remind the viewer of the urgency that underpins a large portion of Rama’s work, and the sexual undertone that consumes it. In this perspective, the pictorial explosion could denote the discharge of bodily fuids; a possibility that the tar-black colour pushes even further, verifying Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer’s observation that ‘the body and its sensual, murderous ruin are never far from [Rama’s] mind’ (Sarah LehrerGraiwer, Carol Rama: Antibodies, exh. cat., New Museum, New York, 2017, n.p.). It only seems natural that the body –and the urgency that its sensory drives entail– would constitute the heart of Rama’s artistic production. It was roughly until 1926 that the young Rama lived in a state of bliss and insouciance, before experiencing a succession of events that afected her phenomenological perspective of the body. In the early 1930s, Rama’s mother Marta was committed in a mental asylum, and in 1942, her father Amabile committed suicide. These two tragedies came afer the Great Depression, Amabile’s ensuing unemployment, and the fast decline of the family’s fnancial situation. From these losses, Rama felt a great sense of guilt, and as a result later afrmed
that ‘the sense of sin became my artistic master’ (Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer, Carol Rama: Antibodies, exh. cat., New Museum, New York, 2017, p. 17). Rama would also pay frequent visits to her mother as a child, and by the same token, familiarise herself with patients who behaved freely, unaware of social diktats. ‘[…] I didn’t understand that I was in a madhouse environment and […] I saw these women, squatting on the ground, with their legs spread, their asses in the air, and I believed the entire world looked like this, no?’ (Carol Rama, in conversation with Corrado Levi, Edoardo Sanguineti/Carol Rama, Turin, 1983, p. 79). Being a witness to her mother’s commitment into a clinic and her father’s self-inficted death, Rama saw from a very early age just how complex a body’s associations could become, especially when placed in tension with psychological notions of health, ruin, and socio-political restriction. Growing from these experiences, the artist surely projected her particular vision of the body on her works – depicting it as misbehaving, contorted, truncated, liberated and wounded, in turn. Presenting result of this amalgamation of thoughts cultivated over decades, Pornografa due falls within a quintessentially Rama-esque category. It is a live bricolage; an assemblage to be experienced with all the senses.
Property from an Important Private European Collection
39. Alighiero Boetti
Senza titolo signed and dated ‘Gennaio 65. ABoetti.’ lower lef ink on paper 101.1 x 70.3 cm (39 3/4 x 27 5/8 in.) Executed in 1965, this work is registered in the Archivio Alighiero Boetti under number 107. Estimate £80,000-120,000 $104,000-156,000 €94,100-141,000 ♠
Provenance Rainer Ganahl, New York Gladstone Gallery, New York Galleria Emilio Mazzoli, Modena Acquired from the above by the present owner circa 2008
Literature La Biennale di Venezia, exh. cat., Venice Biennale, 2001, fg. 2, p. 96 (illustrated) Jean-Christophe Ammann, Alighiero Boetti, Catalogo generale, Tomo primo, Opere 1961-1971, Milan, 2009, no. 48, p. 134 (illustrated)
Exhibited Milan, Galleria Cardi, Alighiero Boetti, Francesco Clemente, Gino de Dominicis, Nicola de Maria, Mimmo Paladino, Richard Tuttle, 1 July - 30 September 1999
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Alighiero Boetti, Untitled, 1965, ink and pencil on paper, Museum of Modern Art, New York. © DACS 2020. Image: 2020, Museum of Modern Art, New York/ Scala, Florence.
An exceptionally early work from Alighiero Boetti’s opus, preceding the artist’s afliation to the Italian movement of Arte Povera, his inaugural solo exhibition of January 1967, and his notorious bisection of two internal entities named ‘Alighiero’ and ‘Boetti’, Senza titolo, 1965, presents a minutely rendered black and white telescope on an otherwise blank background. In 1965, the Italian artist was predominantly employing ink to realise precise technical drawings of everyday objects – cups, glasses, bottles – or relevant machinery for audiovisual recordings – microphones, cameras, photographic utensils. The present work is an exquisite example of this esoteric practice, which precociously presaged the artist’s creative interests, later materialised in monumental maps and order or game-oriented compositions. Demonstrating Boetti’s skill as a draughtsman, Senza titolo was notably created by the artist’s own hand, before he began soliciting the assistance of friends, acquaintances and strangers in the creation of his works. Testament to its importance within Boetti’s output, a comparable work of the same year, portraying a microphone in similar diminished fashion, is housed at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Property from the Collection of an Important European Collector
40. Roman Opałka
1931 - 2011
OPAŁKA 1965/1 – ∞ DETAIL 4514079 – 4536373
Provenance Gallery Thomas Zander, Cologne Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2012
titled ‘‘‘OPALKA 1965/1 – ∞ DETAIL 4514079 - 4536373”’ on the reverse acrylic on canvas 196.5 x 135.2 cm (77 3/8 x 53 1/4 in.) Conceived in 1965, this work will be included in the Roman Opałka Catalogue raisonné currently under preparation by Michel Baudson under number D430. Estimate £250,000-300,000 $327,000-392,000 €294,000-353,000 ♠ plus Buyers Premium and VAT, ARR applies*
‘Every time that I add a number, everything changes. It is a sort of journey, if you will, where the steps are conscious each and every time, each step adds to the others, the weight of the duration of all these steps that you have lived.’ Roman Opałka
As part of an extensive project dedicated to time – constituting his nearly ffy-year long Detail series – the Franco-Polish artist Roman Opałka once stated that his ‘fundamental proposition, the programme of his life, can be witnessed in a work process which records a progression – both a document of time and its own defnition’ (Roman Opałka, Roman Opałka: Artist Statement, available online). An exceptionally early example from this visionary impulse, OPAŁKA 1965/1 – ∞ DETAIL 4514079 - 4536373, 1965, forms the bedrock of the artist’s painterly output. From 1965 onwards, he not once ceased to create dizzying, ethereal works, all achieved with the same formula and in the same size, by adding minute white numerals on a near-white canvas. Seeking to visualise the irreversible passing of time, Opałka would then frequently photograph his ageing body next to the whitening canvases, exploring the body’s vulnerabilty in contrast to the immortality of writing. A paradigmatic example of his unwavering pursuit and enduring legacy, DETAIL 4514079 – 4536373 posits as a monument to the man whose life became his art, and art, his life. In an approach at once ritualistic and obsessive, Opałka awoke each day to count and paint, paint and count. Not simply seeking to capture measureable time – time as ‘told’ by the clock – the artist aimed to show ‘lived’ time. He achieved this by materialising endless streams of numbers, delimited painstakingly by hand using a ‘no. 0’ brush – a size
he never varied – onto identically-sized canvases, emulating the exact dimensions of his studio door. Employing this method, Opałka formed abstract fows akin to digital codes or cryptograms, and continually aspired to count from one to infnity, until his own death would prevent him from going further. In 1968, he changed the background colour of his canvases to grey, and four years later, began adding 1 percent more white pigment to the ground colour, steadily moving towards a white background. This elicited a sense of ‘invisibility’, as the numbers and ground began to blend almost entirely. Pure white, which Opałka coined as ‘blanc mérité’, or ‘well-earned white’, was achieved in 2008. Opałka’s series of Details notably coincided with the artistic movements of Minimalism and Pop Art, forming part of a broader reconsideration of the art-object which took place throughout the 1960s. In this perspective, the afnity between the artist’s sequential canvases and On Kawara’s formulaic arrangements – documenting the passing of time in diary form – is absolute. With its idiosyncratic structure and instant graphic power, On Kawara’s May 25, 1966, notably conveys an efect analogous to that of DETAIL 4514079 – 4536373, confronting the viewer to the tangible feetingness of time. Just as pale gradations of grey are utilised by Opałka to convey a sense of continuum, On Kawara’s dates document the linearity with which history unrolls. Testament to Opałka’s sacrifcial artistic venture, the present work forms part of a programme that the artist defned as nonsensical. ‘This existence makes no sense; it is nonsense’, he wrote. ‘And this nonsense is my work’ (‘Roman Opałka: TIME’, Text as presented during the symposium Time at Arti et Amicitiae in Amsterdam, 15 June 2007). Echoing the sentiments of the mid-20th century ‘Theatre of the Absurd’, Opałka’s work descends into the ultimate end. In this perspective, he makes reference to the repetitive nothingness of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot: ‘…one day we were born, one day we shall die, the same day, the same second, is that not enough for you?’ Refecting this iconic link to the literary canon, the Detail series is an extensive, modern-day memento mori. At the same time, Opałka’s practice is a celebration in humanity’s capacity to understand the brevity, and thus signifcance, of each passing moment.
Agnes Martin, Untitled #12, 1977, India ink, graphite and gesso on canvas, Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Logan Purchase Prize Fund, The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois. © Agnes Martin / DACS 2020. Image: Bridgeman Images.
There is also in Opałka’s DETAIL 4514079 – 4536373 a subversion of the viewer’s traditional understanding of writing as fat, and the body as mobile. In the work, it is the numbers that come to life, and the body, by contrast, which increasingly struggles to subsist against the tides of time. Opałka controls the uncontrollable by writing down: he seizes and materialises the intangible and feeting nature of the biological clock. In 2011, Opałka passed away, completing his project at Detail number 5607249. What had commenced as a quest towards the infnite became an expression of life as it was lived by the artist; as such, the present work exists as a timeless and unbound relic from one’s existential journey.
Roman Opalka paints a sequence of numbers to represent the passing of time, 2 March 2000. ÂŠ ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2020. Image: Raphael GAILLARDE/ Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images.
Property of an Important European Collector
ON TIME each part signed, consecutively numbered and dated ‘KAWS..11 1/2 2/2’ on the reverse acrylic on canvas, in 2 parts overall 152.4 x 122.4 cm (60 x 48 1/4 in.) Painted in 2011. Estimate £300,000-400,000 $391,000-522,000 €353,000-470,000
Provenance Zidoun-Bossuyt Gallery, Luxembourg Acquired from the above by the present owner Exhibited Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Focus: KAWS, 11 December - 19 February 2012 Literature Kent Boyer, ‘Review of KAWS at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’, Dallas Art News, 19 January 2012, online
plus Buyers Premium and VAT*
With its distinct graphic look, ON TIME, 2011, forms part of KAWS’ body of black paintings. Though still intent on the representation of cartoon imagery and mass-culture symbols, this body of work is more enigmatic than the artist’s more tonally ebullient canvases. Indeed, ON TIME asks the viewer to squint their eyes to decipher the image beneath, leaving at the surface a harmonious composition of subtle gradations. Producing such an efect necessitates an extremely tight and well-executed technique, which KAWS has achieved by employing matte, glossy blacks and a range of greys. The tone-on-tone quality is playful in a way that slightly difers from the artist’s explosively colourful compositions; here, the forms are rendered alive through the viewer’s sustained inspection, making the work ingeniously participative.
UK Auction Buyer’s Guide The following pages are designed to offer you information on how to buy at auction at Phillips. Our staff will be happy to assist you. The Conditions of Sale and Authorship Warranty published on our website at https://phillips.com also govern the auction. Bidders are strongly encouraged to read them as they outline the legal relationship between Phillips, the seller and the buyer and describe the terms upon which items are bought at auction. A) Before The Auction Catalogues & Catalogue Entries Our catalogues provide information on the lots for sale at the auction and are available on our website at www.phillips. com and in hard copy. Lot details can also be viewed on the Phillips App. If you would like to purchase a hard copy catalogue for a Phillips auction, please visit our website or contact us at email@example.com. Catalogue entries may include the history of ownership of a work of art, as well as the exhibition history of the property and references to the work in art publications. While we are careful in the cataloguing process, provenance, exhibition and literature references may not be exhaustive. In some cases we may not disclose the identity of previous owners where we are not authorised to do so. Please note that all dimensions of the property set out in the catalogue entry are approximate. Pre-auction viewings are open to the public and free of charge. The dates and times are published on our website at https://phillips.com. Our specialists are available to give advice and condition reports at viewings or by appointment. Estimates Pre-sale estimates are intended as a guide for prospective buyers. Any bid within the high and low estimate range should, in our opinion, offer a chance of success. However, many lots achieve prices below or above the pre-sale estimates. Pre-sale estimates do not include the buyer’s premium or VAT. Where ‘Estimate on Request’ appears, please contact the specialist department for further information. As estimates can be subject to revision we suggest contacting us closer to the time of the auction. Estimates in non-local currencies Although the sale is conducted in pounds sterling, the pre-sale estimates in the auction catalogues may also be printed in other currencies. These estimates are approximate and provided as a courtesy to our clients. The exchange rates used are those applying on the last practical date before printing the catalogue. The rates may have changed between the time of printing the catalogue and the auction. Condition Our catalogues include references to condition only in the descriptions of multiple works (e.g., prints). Such references, though, do not amount to a full description of condition. The absence of reference to the condition of a lot in the catalogue entry does not imply that the lot is free from faults or imperfections.
Solely as a convenience to clients, Phillips may provide condition reports. In preparing such reports, our specialists assess the condition in a manner appropriate to the estimated value of the property and the nature of the auction in which it is included. While condition reports are prepared honestly and carefully, our staff are not professional restorers or trained conservators. We therefore encourage all prospective buyers to inspect the property at the pre-sale exhibitions and recommend, particularly in the case of any lot of significant value, that you retain your own restorer or professional advisor to report to you on the property’s condition prior to bidding.
∑ Endangered Species Lots with this symbol have been identified at the time of cataloguing as containing endangered or other protected species of wildlife which may be subject to restrictions regarding export or import and which may require permits for export as well as import.
Any prospective buyer of photographs or prints should always request a condition report because all such property is sold unframed, unless otherwise indicated in the condition report. If a lot is sold framed, Phillips accepts no liability for the condition of the frame. If we sell any lot unframed, we will be pleased to refer the purchaser to a professional framer.
Calculating the Total Purchase Price If you are the successful bidder on a Lot, the total purchase price you pay is made up of the following elements:
Symbols Used In The Catalogue You may see the following symbols referenced in the catalogue. O Guaranteed Property Lots designated with the symbol O are the subject of a minimum price guarantee. In such cases Phillips has guaranteed to the seller of the lot that regardless of the outcome of the sale the seller shall receive no less than a minimum sum. This guarantee may be provided solely by Phillips or jointly with a third party. ♦ Third Party Guarantee Where Phillips has agreed to a minimum price guarantee it assumes the financial risk of a lot failing to sell or selling for less than the minimum price guarantee. Because the sums involved can be significant Phillips may choose to share the burden of that financial risk with a third party. The third party shares the risk by committing in advance of the sale, usually by way of a written bid, to buy the lot for an agreed amount whether or not there are competing bidders for the lot. If there are competing bidders third party guarantors may also bid above any written bid. In this way the thirdparty guarantor assumes the risk of the bidding not reaching the amount of the minimum price guarantee. In return for underwriting or sharing this risk Phillips will usually compensate the third party. The compensation may be in the form of a fixed fee or an amount calculated by reference to the hammer price of the lot. If the thirdparty guarantor is the successful bidder Phillips will report the purchase price net of any fees paid to the third-party guarantor. ∆ Property in which Phillips has an Ownership Interest Lots with this symbol indicate that Phillips owns the lot in whole or in part or has an economic interest in the lot equivalent to an ownership interest. No Reserve •Unless indicated by a •, all lots in this catalogue are offered subject to a reserve. A reserve is the confidential value established between Phillips and the seller and below which a lot may not be sold. The reserve for each lot is generally set at a percentage of the low estimate and will not exceed the low pre-sale estimate.
Ж Property Subject to US Import Tarifs
Lots with this symbol indicate that the Property may be subject to additional tariffs upon importation into the United States of America. See paragraph 12 of the Conditions of Sale.
VAT on Buyer’s Premium and/or Hammer Price (If applicable)
Artist’s Resale Royalty (ARR) (If applicable)
The Hammer Price: This is the final, highest bid which the auctioneer accepts by bringing down the auctioneer’s hammer. Buyer’s Premium: This is the commission Phillips charges the successful highest bidder and buyer of the lot. The Buyer’s premium is calculated on the hammer price of the lot at the following rates on a cumulative basis: • 25% on the portion of the hammer price up to and including £300,000; and • 20% on the portion of the hammer price above £300,000 up to and including £3,000,000 and • 13.5% on the portion of the hammer price above £3,000,000. Where VAT is payable on the Buyer’s premium the VAT inclusive Buyer’s Premium rates are 30%, 24% and 16.2% respectively. VAT Most items we sell are sold under UK Auctioneer’s Margin Scheme rules. This means that VAT is charged at 20% on the buyer’s premium and will not be shown separately on the invoice. UK Auctioneer’s Margin Scheme lots have no VAT symbol. Where the lot has a †, ‡ or Ω symbol against it, VAT may be charged on a different basis. For full details, including how to claim VAT refunds, please see the VAT & Tax Guide in this Auction Buyer’s Guide and on our website ♠ Artist’s Resale Royalty (ARR) The laws in certain countries entitle qualifying artists or their estates to a royalty when the artist’s works are resold for a hammer price of EUR 1,000 or more. Lots subject to ARR are marked with the symbol ♠. The ARR is calculated as a percentage of the hammer price on a cumulative basis as follows and is payable as part of the purchase price: Portion of the Hammer Price (in EUROS) From 0 to 50,000 From 50,000.01 to 200,000
Royalty Rate 4% 3%
From 200,000.01 to 350,000 From 350,000.01 to 500,000 Exceeding 500,000
1% 0.5% 0.25%
The total charge for ARR on any single lot cannot exceed Euros 12,500. To calculate the ARR, we use the pounds sterling/euro reference exchange rate quoted on the date of the auction by the European Central Bank. Example To illustrate how the purchase price is calculated, please see the below example: UK Auctioneer’s Margin Scheme lot Hammer Price: £350,000 Buyer’s Premium including VAT @20% £102,000: 25% of first £300,000 of the hammer price = £75,000 + 20% on the balance of £50,000 = £10,000 Total BP = £85,000 VAT @ 20% on the total BP of £85,000 = £17,000
By bidding on the telephone, you consent to the recording of your conversation. We suggest that you leave a maximum bid, excluding the buyer’s premium and VAT, which we can execute on your behalf in the event we are unable to reach you by telephone. Online Bidding If you cannot attend the auction in person, you may bid online on our online live bidding platform available on our website at https://phillips.com. The digital saleroom is optimized to run on Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Internet Explorer browsers. Clients who wish to run the platform on Safari will need to install Adobe FlashPlayer. Follow the links to ‘Auctions’ and ‘Digital Saleroom’ and then pre-register by clicking on ‘Register to Bid Live.’ The first time you register you will be required to create an account; thereafter you will only need to register for each sale. You must pre-register at least 24 hours before the start of the auction in order to be approved by our bid department. Please note that corporate firewalls may cause difficulties for online bidders.
B) At The Auction Bidding Bids may be executed during the auction in person, by paddle or by telephone or prior to the sale in writing by absentee bid. Proof of identity in the form of governmentissued identification will be required, as will an original signature and proof of address. We may also require that you furnish us with a bank reference. For individuals, acceptable forms of government issued photo identification include a passport or photo driving licence. For companies, acceptable forms of government issued identification include a certificate of incorporation or similar as well as proof of owners and directors. Undisclosed agreements between bidders to bid or abstain from bidding on lots are illegal. Please note that Phillips monitors its sales and bidding records to ensure that bidding is transparent and fair and will take appropriate action in the event of any suspected breach of this requirement. In Person To bid in person, you will need to register for and collect a paddle before the auction begins. New clients are encouraged to register at least 48 hours in advance of a sale to allow sufficient time for us to process your information. All lots sold will be invoiced to the name and address to which the paddle has been registered and invoices cannot be transferred to other names and addresses. Please do not misplace your paddle. In the event you lose it, inform a Phillips staff member immediately. At the end of the auction, please return your paddle to the registration desk. By Telephone If you cannot attend the auction, you may bid live on the telephone with one of our multilingual staff members. This service must be arranged at least 24 hours in advance of the sale and is available for lots whose low pre-sale estimate is at least £500. Telephone bids may be recorded.
Absentee Bids If you are unable to attend the auction and cannot participate by telephone, Phillips will be happy to execute written bids on your behalf. A bidding form can be found at the back of this catalogue. This service is free and confidential. Bids must be placed in the currency of the sale. Our staff will attempt to execute an absentee bid at the lowest possible price taking into account the reserve and other bidders. Always indicate a maximum bid, excluding the buyer’s premium and VAT. Unlimited bids will not be accepted. Any absentee bid must be received at least 24 hours in advance of the sale. In the event of identical bids, the earliest bid received will take precedence. Bidding Increments Bidding generally opens below the low estimate and advances in increments of up to 10%, subject to the auctioneer’s discretion. Absentee bids that do not conform to the increments set below may be lowered to the next bidding increment. UK£50 to UK£1,000 UK£1,000 to UK£2,000 UK£2,000 to UK£3,000 UK£3,000 to UK£5,000
by UK£50s by UK£100s by UK£200s by UK£200s, 500, 800 (e.g. UK£4,200, 4,500, 4,800) UK£5,000 to UK£10,000 by UK£500s UK£10,000 to UK£20,000 by UK£1,000s UK£20,000 to UK£30,000 by UK£2,000s UK£30,000 to UK£50,000 by UK£2,000s, 5,000, 8,000 UK£50,000 to UK£100,000 by UK£5,000s UK£100,000 to UK£200,000 by UK£10,000s above UK£200,000 at the auctioneer’s discretion The auctioneer may vary the increments during the course of the auction at his or her own discretion. Conditions Of Sale The auction is governed by the Conditions of Sale and Authorship Warranty which are available on our website. All prospective bidders should read them carefully. They may be amended by saleroom addendum or auctioneer’s announcement.
Interested Parties Announcement In situations where a person allowed to bid on a lot has a direct or indirect interest in such lot, such as the beneficiary or executor of an estate selling the lot, a joint owner of the lot or a party providing or participating in a guarantee on the lot, Phillips will make an announcement in the saleroom that interested parties may bid on the lot. Consecutive And Responsive Bidding; The auctioneer may open the bidding on any lot by placing a bid on behalf of the seller. The auctioneer may further bid on behalf of the seller up to the amount of the reserve by placing consecutive bids or bids in response to other bidders. No Reserve Lots If a lot is offered without reserve, unless there are already competing absentee bids, the auctioneer will generally open the bidding at 50% of the lot’s low pre-sale estimate. In the absence of a bid at that level, the auctioneer will proceed backwards at his or her discretion until a bid is recognized and will then advance the bidding from that amount. Absentee bids on no reserve lots will, in the absence of a higher bid, be executed at approximately 50% of the low pre-sale estimate or at the amount of the bid if it is less than 50% of the low pre-sale estimate. If there is no bid whatsoever on a no reserve lot, the auctioneer may deem such lot unsold. C) After The Auction Payment Payment is due immediately following the auction, unless other arrangements have been agreed with Phillips in writing in advance of the sale. Interest will be charged on late payment at the rate of 12% per annum. Payments must be made by the invoiced party in pounds sterling and may be sent by wire transfer. Our account details are available on our website. Please reference the relevant invoice number when making payment. Alternatively, payment can be made: • For invoices of £30,000 or less by credit card. We accept American Express, Visa, MasterCard and UnionPay (UnionPay for in person transactions only). • It is our corporate policy not to make or accept single or multiple payments in cash in excess of £5,000 for all purchases in any calendar year. Title to each lot will not pass until the buyer has made full payment of the Purchase Price plus any applicable Artist Resale Royalty and all applicable taxes. Collection Once Phillips has received full and cleared payment of the total purchase price for the lot and any other amounts the buyer owes to Phillips, lots will be released for collection. To collect paid for lots buyers (or their authorised representatives) must provide proof of identity. Authorised Representatives should also bring a copy of a letter signed by the buyer authorising them to collect. Smaller items may be collected from our London gallery on the day of the auction. Please check with our staff when making payment.
Important Notices After the auction, lots will be transferred to offsite fine art storage facilities. The buyer information pack you will receive after the auction will confirm details of the storage facility where your lot is held for collection. Please contact us to make arrangements for collection. Storage Charges Lots will be held for collection from our offsite storage facilities for thirty (30) days after the auction free of charge. Storage charges and property release fees will apply after this 30-day period for any lots which have not been collected. Details of the applicable storage charges will be confirmed to you in the buyer information pack you will receive after the auction. Loss or Damage Buyers are reminded that Phillips accepts liability for loss or damage to lots for a maximum of seven (7) days following the auction. Transport and Shipping We will coordinate with shipping agents instructed by you in order to facilitate the packing, handling and shipping of property purchased at Phillips. Please refer to Paragraph 7 of the Conditions of Sale for more information. As a free service for buyers, Phillips will wrap purchased lots which are for hand carry only. We do not provide packing, handling or shipping services directly. Export and Import Licenses Before bidding for any property, prospective bidders are advised to make independent enquiries as to whether a licence is required to export the property from the United Kingdom or to import it into another country. It is the buyer’s sole responsibility to comply with all import and export laws and to obtain any necessary licences or permits. The denial of any required licence or permit or any delay in obtaining such documentation will not justify the cancellation of the sale or any delay in making full payment for the lot. Endangered Species Items made of or incorporating plant or animal material, such as coral, crocodile, ivory, whalebone, Brazilian rosewood, rhinoceros horn or tortoiseshell, irrespective of age, percentage or value, may require a licence or certificate prior to exportation and additional licences or certificates upon importation to the US or to any country within or outside the European Union (EU). Please note that the ability to obtain an export licence or certificate does not ensure the ability to obtain an import licence or certificate in another country, and vice versa. We suggest that prospective bidders check with their own government regarding wildlife import requirements prior to placing a bid. It is the buyer’s sole responsibility to obtain any necessary export or import licences or certificates as well as any other required documentation. Please note that the US prohibits the importation of any item containing African elephant ivory. Asian elephant ivory may be imported in to the US only if accompanied by independent scientific analysis regarding continent of origin and confirmation the object is more than 100 years old. We have not obtained a scientific analysis on any lot prior to sale and cannot indicate whether elephant ivory in a particular lot is African or Asian elephant. Buyers purchase
Identification of Business or Trade Buyers As of January 2010, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (“HMRC”) has made it an official requirement for auction houses to hold evidence of a buyer’s business status, due to the revised VAT rules regarding buyer’s premium for lots with symbols for businesses outside the UK. • Where the buyer is a non-EU business, Phillips requires evidence of the business status by means of the company identification, Certificate of Incorporation, Articles of Association or government-issued documents showing that the company exists. • Where the buyer is an EU VAT registered business, Phillips requires the business’s VAT registration number. These details can be scanned and emailed to us, or alternatively they can be faxed or mailed. If these requirements are not met, we will be unable to cancel/ refund any applicable VAT. Electrical and Mechanical Lots All lots with electrical and/or mechanical features are sold on the basis of their decorative value only and should not be assumed to be operative. It is essential that, prior to any intended use, the electrical system is verified and approved by a qualified electrician.
VAT & Tax Guide VAT Depending on the status of the lot, and your status as a buyer, VAT may be charged on the hammer price, the buyer’s premium or both. UK Auctioneer’s Margin Scheme Most items we sell are second-hand goods, so we sell them under UK Auctioneer’s Margin Scheme rules. Lots falling into this category have no VAT symbol and are treated as follows: No symbol
UK Auctioneer’s Margin Scheme sale
20% VAT charged on the buyer’s premium. (The invoiced buyer’s premium will include the VAT).
Special VAT Treatment If the Lot has one of the below symbols, the VAT treatment will be as follows: VAT Symbol
Standard UK VAT rules
20% VAT charged on both the hammer price and buyer’s premium
Imported lot under Temporary Admission (Low rate)
5% import VAT on the hammer price and 20% VAT on the buyer’s premium
Imported lot under Temporary Admission (High rate)
20% import VAT on the hammer price and 20% VAT on the buyer’s premium
Lots sold outside the Auctioneer’s Margin Scheme If the buyer is a relevant business person in the EU (nonUK) or is a relevant business person in a non-EU country then no VAT will be charged on the buyer’s premium. This is subject to Phillips receiving evidence of the buyer’s VAT registration number in the relevant Member State (non-UK) or the buyer’s business status in a non-EU country such as the buyer’s Tax Registration Certificate. Should this evidence not be provided VAT will be charged on the buyer’s premium. Exports from the European Union The following types of VAT may be cancelled or refunded by Phillips on exports made within three months of the sale date if strict conditions are met: • The amount in lieu of VAT charged on the buyer’s premium for property sold under the Auctioneer’s Margin Scheme (i.e., without a VAT symbol). • The VAT on the hammer price for property sold under normal VAT rules (i.e., with a † symbol). The following type of VAT may be cancelled or refunded by Phillips on exports made within 30 days of the payment date if strict conditions are met: • The import VAT charged on the hammer price and an amount in lieu of VAT on the buyer’s premium for property sold under temporary admission (i.e., with a ‡ or a Ω symbol) under the Auctioneer’s Margin Scheme. In each of the above examples, where the appropriate conditions are satisfied, no VAT will be charged if, at or
before the time of invoicing, the buyer instructs Phillips to export the property from the EU. This will require acceptance of an export quotation provided by Phillips. If such instruction is received after payment, a refund of the VAT amount will be made. Where the buyer carries purchases from the EU personally or uses the services of a third party, Phillips will charge the VAT amount due as a deposit and refund it if the lot has been exported within the timelines specified below and either of the following conditions are met: • For lots sold under the Auctioneer’s Margin Scheme or the normal VAT rules, Phillips is provided with appropriate original documentary proof of export from the EU within three months of the date of sale. Buyers carrying their own property must obtain hand-carry papers from the Shipping Department to facilitate this process. • For lots sold under temporary admission, Phillips is provided with the original correct paperwork duly completed and stamped by HMRC which shows the property has been exported from the EU via the UK within 30 days of the payment date. It is essential for shippers acting on behalf of buyers to collect copies of original import papers from our Shipping Department. HMRC insist that the correct customs procedures are followed and Phillips will not be able to issue any refunds where the export documents do not exactly comply with governmental regulations. Property subject to temporary admission must be transferred to another customs procedure immediately if any restoration or repair work is to be carried out. Buyers carrying their own property must obtain hand-carry papers from the Shipping Department, for which a charge of £20 (plus any applicable VAT) will be made. The VAT refund will be processed once the appropriate paperwork has been returned to Phillips. Phillips is not able to cancel or refund any VAT charged on sales made to UK or EU private residents unless the lot is subject to temporary admission and the property is exported from the EU within 30 days of the payment date. We can only process VAT refunds where the VAT to be refunded is £50 or more per shipment. There will be a processing fee of £20 (plus any applicable VAT). Buyers intending to export, repair, restore or alter lots under temporary admission should notify the Shipping Department before collection. Failure to do so may result in the import VAT becoming payable immediately and Phillips being unable to refund the VAT charged on deposit. VAT Refunds from HM Revenue & Customs Where VAT charged cannot be cancelled or refunded by Phillips, it may be possible to seek repayment from HMRC . Repayments in this manner are limited to businesses located outside the UK and may be considered for example for Import VAT charged on the hammer price for lots sold under temporary admission. If you are located in an EU member state other than the UK you will need to apply for a refund of UK VAT directly to your local tax authority. This is done via submission of an electronically based claim form which should be accessed through the website of your local tax authority. As a result,
your form may include VAT incurred in a number of member states. Time limits for claiming VAT refunds • If you are located in an EU member state other than the UK: Any claim must be made on a calendar year basis and submitted no later than 30 September in the following calendar year (e.g., for VAT incurred in the year 1 January to 31 December 2019 you should make a claim to your local tax authority no later than 30 September 2020). Once you have submitted the electronic form to your local tax authority it is their responsibility to ensure that payment is obtained from the relevant member states. This should be completed within four months. If this time limit is not adhered to you may receive interest on the unpaid amounts. • If you are located outside the EU you should apply for a refund of UK VAT directly to HMRC. Claim forms are available from the HMRC website. https://www.gov.uk. You should submit claims for VAT to HMRC no later than six months from the end of the 12-month period ending 30 June (e.g., claims for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020 should be made no later than 31 December 2020). Please note that refunds of VAT will only be made where VAT has been incurred for a business purpose. Any VAT incurred on articles bought for personal use will not be refunded. Sales and Use Taxes Buyers from outside the UK should note that local sales taxes or use taxes may become payable upon import of lots following purchase. Buyers should consult their own tax advisors.
Conditions of Sale The Conditions of Sale and Authorship Warranty set out below govern the relationship between bidders and buyers, on the one hand, and Phillips and sellers, on the other hand. All prospective buyers should read these Conditions of Sale, the UK Auction Buyer’s Guide, the Important Notices, VAT & Tax Guide and the Authorship Warranty carefully before bidding. 1 Introduction Each lot in this catalogue is offered for sale and sold subject to: (a) the Conditions of Sale and Authorship Warranty; (b) additional notices and terms printed in other places in this catalogue, including the Guide for Prospective Buyers and (c) supplements to this catalogue or other written material posted by Phillips in the saleroom, in each case as amended by any addendum or announcement by the auctioneer prior to the auction. By bidding at the auction, whether in person, through an agent, by written bid, by telephone bid or other means, bidders and buyers agree to be bound by these Conditions of Sale, as so changed or supplemented, and Authorship Warranty. These Conditions of Sale, as so changed or supplemented, and Authorship Warranty contain all the terms on which Phillips and the seller contract with the buyer. 2 Phillips as Agent Phillips acts as an agent for the seller, unless otherwise indicated in this catalogue or at the time of auction. On occasion, Phillips may own a lot directly, in which case we will act in a principal capacity as a consignor, or a company affiliated with Phillips may own a lot, in which case we will act as agent for that company, or Phillips or an affiliated company may have a legal, beneficial or financial interest in a lot as a secured creditor or otherwise. 3 Catalogue Descriptions and Condition of Property Lots are sold subject to the Authorship Warranty, as described in the catalogue (unless such description is changed or supplemented, as provided in Paragraph 1 above) and in the condition that they are in at the time of the sale on the following basis. (a) The knowledge of Phillips in relation to each lot is partially dependent on information provided to us by the seller and Phillips is not able to and does not carry out exhaustive due diligence on each lot. Prospective buyers acknowledge this fact and accept responsibility for carrying out inspections and investigations to satisfy themselves as to the lots in which they may be interested. Notwithstanding the foregoing, we shall exercise such reasonable care when making express statements in catalogue descriptions or condition reports as is consistent with our role as auctioneer of lots in this sale and in light of (i) the information provided to us by the seller; (ii) scholarship and technical knowledge and (iii) the generally accepted opinions of relevant experts, in each case at the time any such express statement is made. (b) Each lot offered for sale at Phillips is available for inspection by prospective buyers prior to the auction. Phillips accepts bids on lots on the basis that bidders (and independent experts on their behalf, to the extent appropriate given the nature and value of the lot and the bidder’s own expertise) have fully inspected the lot prior to
bidding and have satisfied themselves as to both the condition of the lot and the accuracy of its description. (c) Prospective buyers acknowledge that many lots are of an age and type which means that they are not in perfect condition. As a courtesy to clients, Phillips may prepare and provide condition reports to assist prospective buyers when they are inspecting lots. Catalogue descriptions and condition reports may make reference to particular imperfections of a lot, but bidders should note that lots may have other faults not expressly referred to in the catalogue or condition report. All dimensions are approximate. Illustrations are for identification purposes only and cannot be used as precise indications of size or to convey full information as to the actual condition of lots. (d) Information provided to prospective buyers in respect of any lot, including any pre-sale estimate, whether written or oral, and information in any catalogue, condition or other report, commentary or valuation, is not a representation of fact but rather a statement of opinion held by Phillips. Any pre-sale estimate may not be relied on as a prediction of the selling price or value of the lot and may be revised from time to time by Phillips at our absolute discretion. Neither Phillips nor any of our affiliated companies shall be liable for any difference between the pre-sale estimates for any lot and the actual price achieved at auction or upon resale. 4 Bidding at Auction (a) Phillips has absolute discretion to refuse admission to the auction or participation in the sale. All bidders must register for a paddle prior to bidding, supplying such information and references as required by Phillips. Proof of identity in the form of government issued identification will be required, as will an original signature and proof of address. We may also require that you furnish us with a bank reference. For individuals, acceptable forms of government issued photo identification include a passport or photo driving licence. For companies, acceptable forms of government issued identification include a certificate of incorporation as well as proof of owners and directors.
(b) As a convenience to bidders who cannot attend the auction in person, Phillips may, if so instructed by the bidder, execute written absentee bids on a bidder’s behalf. Absentee bidders are required to submit bids on the Absentee Bid Form, a copy of which is printed in this catalogue or otherwise available from Phillips. Bids must be placed in the currency of the sale. The bidder must clearly indicate the maximum amount he or she intends to bid, excluding the buyer’s premium and value added tax (VAT). The auctioneer will not accept an instruction to execute an absentee bid which does not indicate such maximum bid. Our staff will attempt to execute an absentee bid at the lowest possible price taking into account the reserve and other bidders. Any absentee bid must be received at least 24 hours in advance of the sale. In the event of identical bids, the earliest bid received will take precedence.
(c) Telephone bidders are required to submit bids on the Telephone Bid Form, a copy of which is printed in this catalogue or otherwise available from Phillips. Telephone bidding is available for lots whose low pre-sale estimate is at least £500. Phillips reserves the right to require written confirmation of a successful bid from a telephone bidder by fax or otherwise immediately after such bid is accepted by the auctioneer. Telephone bids may be recorded and, by bidding on the telephone, a bidder consents to the recording of the conversation.
(d) Bidders may participate in an auction by bidding online through Phillips’s online live bidding platform available on our website at www.phillips.com. To bid online, bidders must register online at least 24 hours before the start of the auction. Online bidding is subject to approval by Phillips’s bid department in our sole discretion. As noted in Paragraph 3 above, Phillips encourages online bidders to inspect prior to the auction any lot(s) on which they may bid, and condition reports are available upon request. Bidding in a live auction can progress quickly. To ensure that online bidders are not placed at a disadvantage when bidding against bidders in the room or on the telephone, the procedure for placing bids through Phillips’s online bidding platform is a one-step process. By clicking the bid button on the computer screen, a bidder submits a bid. Online bidders acknowledge and agree that bids so submitted are final and may not under any circumstances be amended or retracted. During a live auction, when bids other than online bids are placed, they will be displayed on the online bidder’s computer screen as ‘floor’ bids. ‘Floor’ bids include bids made by the auctioneer to protect the reserve. In the event that an online bid and a ‘floor’ or ‘phone’ bid are identical, the ‘floor’ bid may take precedence at the auctioneer’s discretion. The next bidding increment is shown for the convenience of online bidders in the bid button. The bidding increment available to online bidders may vary from the next bid actually taken by the auctioneer, as the auctioneer may deviate from Phillips’s standard increments at any time at his or her discretion, but an online bidder may only place a bid in a whole bidding increment. Phillips’s bidding increments are published in the Guide for Prospective Buyers. (e) When making a bid, whether in person, by absentee bid, on the telephone or online, a bidder accepts personal liability to pay the purchase price, as described more fully in Paragraph 6 (a) below, plus all other applicable charges unless it has been explicitly agreed in writing with Phillips before the commencement of the auction that the bidder is acting as agent on behalf of an identified third party acceptable to Phillips and that we will only look to the principal for such payment. (f) By participating in the auction, whether in person, by absentee bid, on the telephone or online, each prospective buyer represents and warrants that any bids placed by such person, or on such person’s behalf, are not the product of any collusive or other anti-competitive agreement. (g) Arranging absentee, telephone and online bids is a free service provided by Phillips to prospective buyers. While we undertake to exercise reasonable care in undertaking such activity, we cannot accept liability for failure to execute such bids except where such failure is caused by our willful misconduct.
8 April, London
Simon Tovey STovey@phillips.com +44 20 7318 4084
Public Viewing 1 - 8 April 30 Berkeley Square, London
5 Conduct of the Auction (a) Unless otherwise indicated by the symbol •, each lot is offered subject to a reserve, which is the confidential minimum selling price agreed by Phillips with the seller. The reserve will not exceed the low pre-sale estimate at the time of the auction. (b) The auctioneer has discretion at any time to refuse any bid, withdraw any lot, re-offer a lot for sale (including after the fall of the hammer) if he or she believes there may be error or dispute and take such other action as he or she deems reasonably appropriate. Phillips shall have no liability whatsoever for any such action taken by the auctioneer. If any dispute arises after the sale, our sale record is conclusive. The auctioneer may accept bids made by a company affiliated with Phillips provided that the bidder does not know the reserve placed on the lot. (c) The auctioneer will commence and advance the bidding at levels and in increments he or she considers appropriate. In order to protect the reserve on any lot, the auctioneer may place one or more bids on behalf of the seller up to the reserve without indicating he or she is doing so, either by placing consecutive bids or bids in response to other bidders. If a lot is offered without reserve, unless there are already competing absentee bids, the auctioneer will generally open the bidding at 50% of the lot’s low pre-sale estimate. In the absence of a bid at that level, the auctioneer will proceed backwards at his or her discretion until a bid is recognized and will then advance the bidding from that amount. Absentee bids on no reserve lots will, in the absence of a higher bid, be executed at approximately 50% of the low pre-sale estimate or at the amount of the bid if it is less than 50% of the low pre-sale estimate. If there is no bid whatsoever on a no reserve lot, the auctioneer may deem such lot unsold. (d) The sale will be conducted in pounds sterling and payment is due in pounds sterling. For the benefit of international clients, pre-sale estimates in the auction catalogue may be shown in US dollars and/or euros and, if so, will reflect approximate exchange rates. Accordingly, estimates in US dollars or euros should be treated only as a guide. If a currency converter is operated during the sale, it is done so as a courtesy to bidders, but Phillips accepts no responsibility for any errors in currency conversion calculation. (e) Subject to the auctioneer’s reasonable discretion, the highest bidder accepted by the auctioneer will be the buyer and the striking of the hammer marks the acceptance of the highest bid and the conclusion of a contract for sale between the seller and the buyer. Risk and responsibility for the lot passes to the buyer as set forth in Paragraph 7 below. (f) If a lot is not sold, the auctioneer will announce that it has been ‘passed’, ‘withdrawn’, ‘returned to owner’ or ‘bought-in’. (g) Any post-auction sale of lots offered at auction shall incorporate these Conditions of Sale and Authorship Warranty as if sold in the auction. 6 Purchase Price and Payment (a) The buyer agrees to pay us, in addition to the hammer price of the lot, the buyer’s premium, plus any applicable
value added tax (VAT) and any applicable resale royalty (the ‘Purchase Price’). The buyer’s premium is 25% of the hammer price up to and including £300,000, 20% of the portion of the hammer price above £300,000 up to and including £3,000,000 and 13.5% of the portion of the hammer price above £3,000,000. Phillips reserves the right to pay from our compensation an introductory commission to one or more third parties for assisting in the sale of property offered and sold at auction. (b) VAT is payable in accordance with applicable law. All prices, fees, charges and expenses set out in these Conditions of Sale are quoted exclusive of VAT. (c) If the Artist’s Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to the lot, the buyer agrees to pay to us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those regulations and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist’s collection agent. In circumstances where (i) we are on notice that the resale royalty is payable or (ii) we have not been able to ascertain the nationality of the artist, we will identify the lot with the symbol ♠ next to the lot number and will invoice the resale royalty to the buyer. If we subsequently determine that the nationality of the artist does not entitle him/her to the resale royalty on the lot, we will arrange a refund to the buyer of the amount of the royalty paid to us. If, after a sale in which we did not collect the resale royalty on a particular lot, we become aware that information provided to us prior to the auction concerning an artist’s nationality was incorrect and the artist is entitled to the resale royalty on the lot, the buyer shall pay the resale royalty to us upon receipt of an invoice. (d) Unless otherwise agreed, a buyer is required to pay for a purchased lot immediately following the auction regardless of any intention to obtain an export or import license or other permit for such lot. Payments must be made by the invoiced party in pounds sterling as follows: (i) Payments may be made by wire transfer. Our account details are available on our website. Please reference the relevant invoice number when making payment. Alternatively, payment can be made: • For invoices of £30,000 or less by credit card. We accept American Express, Visa, MasterCard and UnionPay (UnionPay for in person transactions only). • It is our corporate policy not to make or accept single or multiple payments in cash in excess of £5,000 for all purchases in any calendar year. (e) Title in a purchased lot will not pass until Phillips has received the Purchase Price for that lot in cleared funds. Phillips is not obliged to release a lot to the buyer until title in the lot has passed and appropriate identification has been provided, and any earlier release does not affect the passing of title or the buyer’s unconditional obligation to pay the Purchase Price. 7 Collection of Property (a) Phillips will not release a lot to the buyer until we have received payment of its Purchase Price in full in cleared funds, the buyer has paid all outstanding amounts due to Phillips or any of our affiliated companies, including any charges payable pursuant to Paragraph 8 (a) below, and the buyer has satisfied such other terms as we in our sole
discretion shall require, including completing any antimoney laundering or anti-terrorism financing checks. As soon as a buyer has satisfied all of the foregoing conditions, he or she should contact us at +44 (0) 207 318 4081 or +44 (0) 207 318 4082 to arrange for collection of purchased property. (b) The buyer must arrange for collection of a purchased lot within seven days of the date of the auction. After the auction, we will transfer all lots to our offsite fine art storage facilities. Details will be included in the buyer information packs sent to buyers after the auction. Purchased lots are at the buyer’s risk, including the responsibility for insurance, from (i) the date of collection or (ii) seven days after the auction, whichever is the earlier. Until risk passes, Phillips will compensate the buyer for any loss or damage to a purchased lot up to a maximum of the Purchase Price paid, subject to our usual exclusions for loss or damage to property.
(c) As a courtesy to clients, Phillips will, without charge, wrap purchased lots for hand carry only. We do not provide packing, handling, insurance or shipping services. We will coordinate with shipping agents instructed by the buyer, whether or not recommended by Phillips, in order to facilitate the packing, handling, insurance and shipping of property bought at Phillips. Any such instruction is entirely at the buyer’s risk and responsibility, and we will not be liable for acts or omissions of third party packers or shippers. (d) Phillips will require presentation of government-issued identification prior to release of a lot to the buyer or the buyer’s authorized representative. 8 Failure to Collect Purchases (a) Lots will be held for collection from our offsite storage facilities for thirty (30) days after the auction free of charge. Storage charges and property release fees will apply after this 30-day period for any lots which have not been collected. Details of the applicable storage charges will be confirmed to buyers in the buyer information pack they will receive after the auction. Purchased lots will not be released to the buyer until the Purchase Price and all charges have been paid in full. (b) If a purchased lot is paid for but not collected within six months of the auction, the buyer authorizes Phillips, upon notice, to arrange a resale of the item by auction or private sale, with estimates and a reserve set at Phillips’s reasonable discretion. The proceeds of such sale will be applied to pay for storage charges and any other outstanding costs and expenses owed by the buyer to Phillips or our affiliated companies and the remainder will be forfeited unless collected by the buyer within two years of the original auction. 9 Remedies for Non-Payment (a) Without prejudice to any rights the seller may have, if the buyer without prior agreement fails to make payment of the Purchase Price for a lot in cleared funds within seven days of the auction, Phillips may in our sole discretion exercise one or more of the following remedies: (i) store the lot at Phillips‘s premises or elsewhere at the buyer’s sole risk and expense; (ii) cancel the sale of the lot, retaining any partial payment of the Purchase Price as liquidated damages; (iii) reject future bids from the buyer
or render such bids subject to payment of a deposit; (iv) charge interest at 12% per annum from the date payment became due until the date the Purchase Price is received in cleared funds; (v) subject to notification of the buyer, exercise a lien over any of the buyer’s property which is in the possession of Phillips and instruct our affiliated companies to exercise a lien over any of the buyer’s property which is in their possession and, in each case, no earlier than 30 days from the date of such notice arrange the sale of such property and apply the proceeds to the amount owed to Phillips or any of our affiliated companies after the deduction from sale proceeds of our standard vendor’s commission, all sale-related expenses and any applicable taxes thereon; (vi) resell the lot by auction or private sale, with estimates and a reserve set at Phillips’s reasonable discretion, it being understood that in the event such resale is for less than the original hammer price and buyer’s premium for that lot, the buyer will remain liable for the shortfall together with all costs incurred in such resale; (vii) commence legal proceedings to recover the hammer price and buyer’s premium for that lot, together with interest and the costs of such proceedings; (viii) set off the outstanding amount remaining unpaid by the buyer against any amounts which we or any of our affiliated companies may owe the buyer in any other transactions; (ix) release the name and address of the buyer to the seller to enable the seller to commence legal proceedings to recover the amounts due and legal costs; or (x) take such other action as we deem necessary or appropriate. (b) The buyer irrevocably authorizes Phillips to exercise a lien over the buyer’s property which is in our possession upon notification by any of our affiliated companies that the buyer is in default of payment. Phillips will notify the buyer of any such lien. The buyer also irrevocably authorizes Phillips, upon notification by any of our affiliated companies that the buyer is in default of payment, to pledge the buyer’s property in our possession by actual or constructive delivery to our affiliated company as security for the payment of any outstanding amount due. Phillips will notify the buyer if the buyer’s property has been delivered to an affiliated company by way of pledge.
(c) If the buyer is in default of payment, the buyer irrevocably authorizes Phillips to instruct any of our affiliated companies in possession of the buyer’s property to deliver the property by way of pledge as the buyer’s agent to a third party instructed by Phillips to hold the property on our behalf as security for the payment of the Purchase Price and any other amount due and, no earlier than 30 days from the date of written notice to the buyer, to sell the property in such manner and for such consideration as can reasonably be obtained on a forced sale basis and to apply the proceeds to any amount owed to Phillips or any of our affiliated companies after the deduction from sale proceeds of our standard vendor’s commission, all salerelated expenses and any applicable taxes thereon. 10 Rescission by Phillips Phillips shall have the right, but not the obligation, to rescind a sale without notice to the buyer if we reasonably believe that there is a material breach of the seller’s representations and warranties or the Authorship Warranty or an adverse claim is made by a third party. Upon notice of Phillips election to rescind the sale, the buyer will promptly return the lot to Phillips, and we will then refund the
Purchase Price paid to us. As described more fully in Paragraph 13 below, the refund shall constitute the sole remedy and recourse of the buyer against Phillips and the seller with respect to such rescinded sale.
Buyers should note that they are responsible for all charges, duties and taxes related to the exportation and importation of lots shipped by them or shipped on their behalf by Phillips.
11 Export, Import and Endangered Species Licences and Permits Before bidding for any property, prospective buyers are advised to make their own enquiries as to whether a licence is required to export a lot from the United Kingdom or to import it into another country. Prospective buyers are advised that some countries prohibit the import of property made of or incorporating plant or animal material, such as coral, crocodile, ivory, whalebone, Brazilian rosewood, rhinoceros horn or tortoiseshell, irrespective of age, percentage or value. Accordingly, prior to bidding, prospective buyers considering export of purchased lots should familiarize themselves with relevant export and import regulations of the countries concerned. Please note that the US prohibits the importation of any item containing African elephant ivory. Asian elephant ivory may be imported in to the US only if accompanied by independent scientifc analysis of continent of origin and confrmation the object is more than 100 years old.
Please contact the department organising the auction for further details.
With regard to any item containing endangered species other than elephant ivory, an importer into the US must provide documented evidence of the species identifcation and age of an object in order to demonstrate that the item qualifes as an antique. This will require the buyer to obtain an independent appraisal certify the species of endangered material on the object and certifying that the object is not less than 100 years of age. A prospective buyer planning to import an object containing endangered species into the US may not rely on Phillips cataloguing to establish the species of endangered material on the object or to establish the age of the object and must consult with a qualifed independent appraiser prior to placing a bid on the lot. It is solely the buyer’s responsibility to comply with these laws and to obtain any necessary export, import and endangered species licences or permits. Failure to obtain a licence or permit or delay in so doing will not justify the cancellation of the sale or any delay in making full payment for the lot. As a courtesy to clients, Phillips has marked in the catalogue lots containing potentially regulated plant or animal material, but we do not accept liability for errors or for failing to mark lots containing protected or regulated species. 12. US Import Tarifs Buyers intending to import property into the United States of America should note that US Customs may charge an additional import duty upon the importation of (i) products manufactured or created in mainland China and (ii) printed materials (including photographs, prints, lithographs, books and designs) printed in the UK or Germany. Phillips will mark with a symbol Ж lots which may be subject to additional US import tarifs, where this is known to us. Please note, however, that any such markings are done by us only as a convenience to bidders. Phillips does not accept liability for errors including failing to mark lots accurately or for the absence of any marking.
(b) Except as otherwise provided in this Paragraph 14, none of Phillips, any of our affiliated companies or the seller (i) is liable for any errors or omissions, whether orally or in writing, in information provided to prospective buyers by Phillips or any of our affiliated companies or (ii) accepts responsibility to any bidder in respect of acts or omissions, whether negligent or otherwise, by Phillips or any of our affiliated companies in connection with the conduct of the auction or for any other matter relating to the sale of any lot.
Authorship Warranty (c) All warranties other than the Authorship Warranty, express or implied, including any warranty of satisfactory quality and fitness for purpose, are specifically excluded by Phillips, our affiliated companies and the seller to the fullest extent permitted by law. (d) Subject to sub-paragraph (e) below, none of Phillips, any of our affiliated companies or the seller shall be liable to the buyer for any loss or damage beyond the refund of the Purchase Price referred to in sub-paragraph (a) above, whether such loss or damage is characterised as direct, indirect, special, incidental or consequential, or for the payment of interest on the Purchase Price to the fullest extent permitted by law. (e) No provision in these Conditions of Sale shall be deemed to exclude or limit the liability of Phillips or any of our affiliated companies to the buyer in respect of any fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation made by any of us or in respect of death or personal injury caused by our negligent acts or omissions. 15 Copyright The copyright in all images, illustrations and written materials produced by or for Phillips relating to a lot, including the contents of this catalogue, is and shall remain at all times the property of Phillips and, subject to the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, such images and materials may not be used by the buyer or any other party without our prior written consent. Phillips and the seller make no representations or warranties that the buyer of a lot will acquire any copyright or other reproduction rights in it. 16 General (a) These Conditions of Sale, as changed or supplemented as provided in Paragraph 1 above, and Authorship Warranty set out the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the transactions contemplated herein and supersede all prior and contemporaneous written, oral or implied understandings, representations and agreements.
(b) Notices to Phillips shall be in writing and addressed to the department in charge of the sale, quoting the reference number specified at the beginning of the sale catalogue. Notices to clients shall be addressed to the last address notified by them in writing to Phillips. (c) These Conditions of Sale are not assignable by any buyer without our prior written consent but are binding on the buyer’s successors, assigns and representatives. (d) Should any provision of these Conditions of Sale be held void, invalid or unenforceable for any reason, the remaining provisions shall remain in full force and effect. No failure by any party to exercise, nor any delay in exercising, any right or remedy under these Conditions of Sale shall act as a waiver or release thereof in whole or in part. (e) No term of these Conditions of Sale shall be enforceable under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 by anyone other than the buyer. 17 Law and Jurisdiction (a) The rights and obligations of the parties with respect to these Conditions of Sale and Authorship Warranty, the
conduct of the auction and any matters related to any of the foregoing shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with English law. (b) For the benefit of Phillips, all bidders and sellers agree that the Courts of England are to have exclusive jurisdiction to settle all disputes arising in connection with all aspects of all matters or transactions to which these Conditions of Sale and Authorship Warranty relate or apply. All parties agree that Phillips shall retain the right to bring proceedings in any court other than the Courts of England. (c) All bidders and sellers irrevocably consent to service of process or any other documents in connection with proceedings in any court by facsimile transmission, personal service, delivery by mail or in any other manner permitted by English law, the law of the place of service or the law of the jurisdiction where proceedings are instituted at the last address of the bidder or seller known to Phillips.
Phillips warrants the authorship of property in this auction catalogue described in headings in BOLD or CAPITALIZED type for a period of five years from date of sale by Phillips, subject to the exclusions and limitations set forth below. (a) Phillips gives this Authorship Warranty only to the original buyer of record (i.e., the registered successful bidder) of any lot. This Authorship Warranty does not extend to (i) subsequent owners of the property, including purchasers or recipients by way of gift from the original buyer, heirs, successors, beneficiaries and assigns; (ii) property where the description in the catalogue states that there is a conflict of opinion on the authorship of the property; (iii) property where our attribution of authorship was on the date of sale consistent with the generally accepted opinions of specialists, scholars or other experts; (iv) property whose description or dating is proved inaccurate by means of scientific methods or tests not generally accepted for use at the time of the publication of the catalogue or which were at such time deemed unreasonably expensive or impractical to use or likely in our reasonable opinion to have caused damage or loss in value to the lot or (v) property where there has been no material loss in value from the value of the lot had it been as described in the heading of the catalogue entry. (b) In any claim for breach of the Authorship Warranty, Phillips reserves the right, as a condition to rescinding any sale under this warranty, to require the buyer to provide to us at the buyer’s expense the written opinions of two recognized experts approved in advance by Phillips. We shall not be bound by any expert report produced by the buyer and reserve the right to consult our own experts at our expense. If Phillips agrees to rescind a sale under the Authorship Warranty, we shall refund to the buyer the reasonable costs charged by the experts commissioned by the buyer and approved in advance by us. (c) Subject to the exclusions set forth in subparagraph (a) above, the buyer may bring a claim for breach of the Authorship Warranty provided that (i) he or she has notified Phillips in writing within three months of receiving any information which causes the buyer to question the authorship of the lot, specifying the auction in which the property was included, the lot number in the auction catalogue and the reasons why the authorship of the lot is being questioned and (ii) the buyer returns the lot to Phillips to the saleroom in which it was purchased in the same condition as at the time of its auction and is able to transfer good and marketable title in the lot free from any third party claim arising after the date of the auction. Phillips has discretion to waive any of the foregoing requirements set forth in this subparagraph (c) or subparagraph (b) above. (d) The buyer understands and agrees that the exclusive remedy for any breach of the Authorship Warranty shall be rescission of the sale and refund of the original Purchase Price paid. This remedy shall constitute the sole remedy and recourse of the buyer against Phillips, any of our affiliated companies and the seller and is in lieu of any other remedy available as a matter of law or equity. This means that none of Phillips, any of our affiliated companies or the seller shall be liable for loss or damage beyond the remedy expressly provided in this Authorship Warranty, whether such loss or damage is characterized as direct, indirect, special, incidental or consequential, or for the payment of interest on the original Purchase Price.
Design London / 26 March, 2pm
Antonia King firstname.lastname@example.org
21–26 March 30 Berkeley Square London W1J 6EX Shiro Kuramata ‘Miss Blanche’ chair designed 1988, executed 1991
30 Berkeley Square, London, W1J 6EX phillips.com +44 20 7318 4010 email@example.com Please return this form by email to firstname.lastname@example.org at least 24 hours before the sale. Please read carefully the information in the right column and note that it is important that you indicate whether you are applying to bid as an individual or on behalf of a company. Please select the type of bid you wish to make with this form (please select one):
In-person Absentee Bidding Telephone Bidding
As a private individual On behalf of a company
• If you cannot attend the sale, we can execute bids confdentially on your behalf.
Sale Number First Name
Surname Account Number
Company (if applicable)
• For absentee bids, indicate your maximum limit for each lot, excluding the buyer’s premium and any applicable VAT. Your bid will be executed at the lowest price taking into account the reserve and other bidders. On no reserve lots, in the absence of other bids, your bid will be executed at approximately 50% of the low pre-sale estimate or at the amount specifed, if less than 50% of the low estimate.
• Your bid must be submitted in the currency of the sale and may be rounded down to the nearest amount consistent with the auctioneer’s bidding increments.
Post Code Phone
• If we receive identical bids, the frst bid received will take precedence.
• Arranging absentee and telephone bids is a free service provided by us to prospective buyers. While we will exercise reasonable care in undertaking such activity, we cannot accept liability for errors relating to execution of your bids except in cases of wilful misconduct. Agreement to bid by telephone must be confrmed by you promptly in writing or by fax. Telephone bid lines may be recorded.
Phone number to call at the time of sale (for Phone Bidding only) 2.
Please complete the following section for telephone and absentee bids only Lot number
In Consecutive Order
• Phillips charges the successful bidder a commission, or buyer’s premium, on the hammer price of each lot sold. The buyer’s premium is payable by the buyer as part of the total purchase price at the following rates: 25% of the hammer price up to and including £300,000, 20% of the portion of the hammer price above £300,000 up to and including £3,000,000 and 13.5% of the portion of the hammer price above £3,000,000. • “Buy” or unlimited bids will not be accepted. Alternative bids can be placed by using the word “OR” between lot numbers.
VAT number (if applicable)
• Company Purchases: If you are buying under a business entity, we require a copy of government-issued identifcation (such as the certifcate of incorporation) as well as proof of owners and directors to verify the status of the company. This should be accompanied by an ofcial document confrming the company’s EU VAT registration number, if applicable, which we are now required by HMRC to hold. • Conditions of Sale: All bids are placed and executed, and all lots are sold and purchased, subject to the Conditions of Sale available online at phillips.com,. Please read them carefully before placing a bid. Your attention is drawn to Paragraph 4 of the Conditions of Sale.
Please indicate in what capacity you will be bidding (please select one):
• Private Purchases: Proof of identity in the form of government-issued identification and proof of address will be required.
Maximum pound sterling price* Absentee Bids Only
* Excluding Buyer’s Premium and VAT
By ticking this box, you confrm your registration/bid(s) as above and accept the Conditions of Sale of Phillips as stated in our catalogues and on our website.
20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York / 14 May 2020
Enquiries Amanda Lo Iacono Head of Evening Sale email@example.com +1 212 940 1278
Rudolf Stingel Untitled (detail) oil on canvas 132 x 181 in. (335.2 x 459.7 cm.) Painted in 2009.
Sale Information 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale
20th Century & Contemporary Art Department
Auction and Viewing Location 30 Berkeley Square, London W1J 6EX
Head of Evening Sale Rosanna Widén +44 20 7318 4060 firstname.lastname@example.org
Auction 13 February 2020, 7pm Viewing 3 February – 13 February Monday – Saturday 10am – 6pm Sunday 12pm – 6pm Sale Designation When sending in written bids or making enquiries please refer to this sale as UK010120 or 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale. Absentee and Telephone Bids tel +44 20 7318 4045 fax +44 20 7318 4035 Susanna Brockman +44 20 7318 4041 Rebecca Gathercole +44 20 7901 7927 Anne Flick +44 20 7318 4089 email@example.com
Associate Specialist Charlotte Gibbs +44 20 7318 4093 firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Administrator Constance Perret +44 20 7318 4073 email@example.com Writer/Researcher Clara Krzentowski +44 20 7318 4064 firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Property Manager Ross Martin +44 20 7318 4057 email@example.com Photographers Jean Bourbon Alex Braun Matt Kroenig Kent Pell Charlie Sheldon Auctioneer Henry Highley
Client Accounting Richard Addington Head of Client Accounting +44 20 7901 7914 Jason King Client Accounting, Director +44 20 7318 4086 Buyer Accounts Heather Welham +44 20 7901 2982 Seller Accounts Surbjit Kaur +44 20 7318 4072 Client Services 30 Berkeley Square, London W1J 6EX +44 20 7318 4010 Shipping Andrew Kitt +44 20 7318 4047 Annaliese Clark +44 20 7318 4081 Rita Matos +44 20 7901 7906 Lucia Nuñez +44 20 7901 7920 Creative Services Andrea Koronkiewicz, Director of Creative Services Orlann Capazorio, Director of Production Steve Rubbins, Senior Graphic Designer Grace Neighbour, Graphic Designer
The 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening sale would like to thank: London Operations Team, Anthony Brennan, Nathan Bendavid, Kate Finefrock, Francesca Carnovelli, Raphael Laval, Zoe Tolkowsky, Brooke Reese, Julia Hirschberg, Samara Kaplan, Mathilde Heaton, Caroline Porter, Judith Lamb, Catherine Bird, Rebecca Cockell, Rebecca Dabby, Michael de Habsbourg-Lorraine, Stanislas Reiffers, Eliza Davis Beard, Gabriella McIlgorm and Claire Ping.
Front cover Lot 10, Keith Haring, Untitled, 1981 Keith Haring artwork © Keith Haring Foundation.
Back cover Lot 17, Damien Hirst, Bodies, 1989 (detail) © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020.
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Boafo, A. 1 Boetti, A. 39 Borremans, M. 28 Broodthaers, M. 37 Brown, C. 23 Craig-Martin, M. 15 Curtiss, J. 2 de Keyser, R. 36 Doig, P. 22 Dumas, M. 30 El Anatsui 7 Fรถrg, G. 12 Ghenie, A. 29 Gilbert & George 18 Grosse, K. 5 Haring, K. 10 Hirst, D. 16, 17, 19, 20 Hume, G. 21 Jia, A. 8 Kapoor, A. 14, 35 Katz, A. 26 KAWS 32, 34, 41 Kusama, Y. 6 Martinez, E. 4 Murakami, T. 31, 33 Opaลka, R. 40 Penck, A.R. 11 Rama, C. 38 Ruscha, E. 9 Scully, S. 24 Self, T. 3 Stella, F. 25 Stingel, R. 13 Wesselmann, T. 27
Phillips presents 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale in London where we will be featuring works by Damien Hirst.
Published on Jan 31, 2020
Phillips presents 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale in London where we will be featuring works by Damien Hirst.