Lot 413
  • 413

Dan Colen

250,000 - 350,000 USD
533,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Dan Colen
  • Untitled (A Million Kisses in Your Lifetime)
  • signed and dedicated on a label affixed to the backing board
  • Chanel lipstick and acrylic on canvas


Private Collection (gift of the artist)
Peres Projects, Los Angeles (acquired from the above in 2008)
Acquired by the present owner from the above in 2008

Catalogue Note

As one of Colen’s personal favorite works, Untitled (A Million Kisses in Your Lifetime) from 2007 was originally a gift from the artist to his brother on the occasion of his wedding; the marriage ultimately failed, and eager to discard reminders of his ex-wife, Colen’s brother sold the painting. The tale behind the painting’s ownership is perhaps befitting of Colen’s artistic reflection and exploration of the fleeting beauty of a moment and the ephemeral nature of everything around us, including love.

To create the Kiss paintings, Colen had one woman wearing varying shades of Chanel lipstick, plant each kiss on the canvas in very precise spots, at regular intervals and with varying pressure to create an undulating web of pink, red and purple kiss marks. Much like the Gum and Flower paintings, the Kiss paintings engender a dichotomy of presence and absence: both processes require physical engagement and participation, yet in the final product we see only an imprint or mark of that interaction. Unique to the Kiss paintings are qualities of intimacy, tenderness and affection – rarely seen in Colen’s oeuvre.

The proliferation of kisses in this series perhaps stands as a tribute to Oscar Wilde’s notorious grave at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, where admiring visitors pay their respects to the literary master by placing lipstick-stained kisses on his tomb. The result, much to the chagrin of Père Lachaise staff, is a tangled, graffitied network of kisses, showering the famously flamboyant writer with admiration and love, which is visually analogous to Untitled (A Million Kisses in Your Lifetime). As Wilde wrote in his 1893 dark comedy A Woman of No Importance, and as the story behind this painting is testament, “a kiss may ruin a human life.”