Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2013
The found photographs used in the New Figures series are taken from vintage erotic photographs of girls posing on black and white backgrounds. The results are then blown up onto large canvases using an ink-jet printer, and the original material is all but painted over with freehand appendages to create a new perspective on the human form. The sketched lines, grey tones, and collaged shapes in the present work undoubtedly mine the field of art history; in Untitled we are instantly reminded of Picasso’s radical approach to draughtsmanship.
The New Figures mark a continuation of his over-painted ink-jet print interpretations of modern masters. First, it was a reworking of De Kooning’s Women series - conflating the originals with pornographic ink-jet prints and sections of expressive, gestural brushwork. Now, Prince turns to Picasso, an artist well known for his infatuation with the female form. At the heart of Prince’s investigation then is a not just the issue of artistic appropriation but also the tradition of the nude within contemporary art. “How do you paint the nude, the figure today?”, he questioned, “The answer is don't try to get away from the past but instead take from it everything you have ever seen and experienced and loved and paint today and then tomorrow and then paint the day after that” (Richard Prince cited in: Press Release, London, Sadie Coles HQ, Richard Prince, February 2013, online).
On the subject of appropriation though, it is perhaps unsurprising the Prince chose Picasso, an artist widely known with his famous line "good artist’s copy, great artist’s steal".
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