Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening


Marlene Dumas
B. 1953
signed, titled and dated 87 on the reverse
oil on canvas
110 by 130cm.
43 1/4 by 51 1/4 in.
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Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam
Private Collection, The Netherlands


Bern, Kunsthalle, Marlene Dumas, the question of human pink, 1989, p. 44, illustrated in colour
Eindhoven, Stedelijk van Abbesmuseum; Philadelphia, Institute of Contemporary Art, Marlene Dumas: Miss Interpreted, 1993-94, illustrated in colour

Catalogue Note

Fishbowl Country is an arresting image of the male nude which epitomises the painterly and psychological intensity of Dumas’ expressive style. Like Francis Bacon, Dumas in her work unlocks a wealth of emotion and feeling with a surprising economy of means, and here taps into the depths of the exposed and vulnerable sitter. Fixing the viewer with the seductive intensity of his penetrating gaze, the figure’s dazzling turquoise eyes echo the colours and depth of the fishbowl, whose loosely painted form transforms the scene from one of confrontation to intimacy.

The present work is very similar to one of Dumas’ most renowned depictions of the male: The Particularity of Nakedness also from 1987 and now in the Stedelijk van Abbesmuseum in Eindhoven. The present work was only the second male nude Dumas ever painted, and in it she establishes the themes of ambiguous eroticism and intimacy that charge much of her oeuvre. Although emphatically linked to the viewer through the up-close intimacy of the composition, Dumas here ensures the figure maintains the all important anonymity that characterizes the often haunting personalities she paints.

Contemporary Art Evening