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THE TRIUMPH OF PAINTING: THE STEVEN & ANN AMES COLLECTION

George Condo
WOMAN ON BROWN CHAIR
Estimation
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
500 000700 000
Lot. Vendu 972,500 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT
23

THE TRIUMPH OF PAINTING: THE STEVEN & ANN AMES COLLECTION

George Condo
WOMAN ON BROWN CHAIR
Estimation
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
500 000700 000
Lot. Vendu 972,500 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
New York

George Condo
B. 1957
WOMAN ON BROWN CHAIR
signed and dated 07 on the reverse
oil on canvas
63 by 50 in. 160 by 127 cm.
Lire le rapport d'état Lire le rapport d'état

Provenance

Galerie Andrea Caratsch, Zurich
Acquired by the present owner from the above in 2007

Exposition

Zurich, Galerie Andrea Caratsch, George Condo, New Works, June - July 2007

Bibliographie

Simon Baker, George Condo: Painting Reconfigured, London, 2015, p. 252, no. 290, illustrated in color

Description

George Condo’s visually arresting and wildly irreverent, Woman on Brown Chair from 2007 is a superb example of the artist’s remarkable skill as a puppeteer of the human psyche, showcasing his ability to warp the representational and deftly manipulate the emotional dramas of his subjects and viewers. Mining art historical references from the Old Masters to the early Modernists, Condo re-contextualizes the works of artists who have come before him to produce his own, avant-garde vision. Straddling the line between the familiar and the uncanny, the grotesque and the beautiful, Condo’s rich pictorial creations have made him one of the most inventive and popular artists of his generation. As his enigmatic, misshapen maiden looms from the shadows, Condo urges the viewer to step outside tradition and consider, simultaneously, those aspects of the work which delight and repulse us.

An amalgamation of art historical references and styles, the skillfully executed Woman on Brown Chair is refreshingly liberated from the art historical canon; indeed, Condo's portrait seems to problematize the very genre of portraiture, parodying any attempt at naturalism. The darkened, murky backdrop and auburn chair recall the richly rendered portraits of Rembrandt, their subjects resplendently emerging from chiaroscuro depths. Partially obscured by her own mask of shadow, however, Condo’s Woman on Brown Chair meets our gaze through the fractured facial landscape of Cubism, revealing a distorted amalgamation of bulbous cheeks, Hapsburg jaw, scarlet smile, and manic stare. Beyond her warped visage, the only signs of distress are in the tensed fingers of her arched hand; yet even here, the slenderness of her long fingers recalls the aristocratic elegance of Da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine. Figure and form are rendered in precise, controlled brushstrokes, the refined variations in shading of the brown chair as skilled as that of any Dutch master. Masterfully combining a vast array of art historical modes, Condo internalizes multiple pictorial languages to form his own brand of psychologically charged portraiture. Speaking the year before this portrait was painted, Condo revealed: “I believe that painting needs to transform in order for it to become interesting for each and every generation, but I think of it more in terms of being liberated by history. Liberated by what has come before.” (the artist cited in Ralph Rugoff, “The Enigma of Jean Louis,” in Exh. Cat., New York, Luhring Augustine Gallery, George Condo: Existential Portraits: Sculpture, Drawings, Paintings 2005-2006, 2006, p. 7) Condo’s playful disregard for the chronological progression of art history recalls the work of Philip Guston, whose late figurative paintings shocked the art world with their dismissal of abstraction, predating by several years the triumphant return of figurative painting in the 1980’s. Echoing this whimsical irreverence for precedent in his work, Condo notes: “When we actually thought for years that time should have a chronological order, we were only destroying ourselves.” (George Condo, Unpublished Text, 1976, in Simon Baker, George Condo: Painting Reconfigured, New York, 2015, p. 8)

Breaking free from the shroud of his historical forebears, Condo thrusts his compositions into a fantastic, hallucinogenic state that he refers to as “Psychological Cubism”: a pictorial mode that emulates Cubism, not in its attempt to show an object from various different angles, but by setting to paint the internal and ever-changing emotions within human nature. Condo’s caricatures are not abstractions of humanity, but are intended as honest, unedited accounts of the paradoxes and complexities of human nature. The deformity of his subjects is tempered by a bittersweet poignancy, their hysterical visages exposing the raw extremes of the psyche to the illuminating light of portraiture. An icon of twenty-first century artistic production, Condo boasts a unique ability to evoke and render the full spectrum of human emotions, has exemplified by the profoundly expressive and psychologically enigmatic nature of the present work. Playfully grotesque and amusingly uncanny, Condo’s paintings allow the viewer to step beyond the borders of our aesthetic maps, forcing us to consider that which we feel and experience before such surreal reflections of our own humanity.

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
New York