Lot 29
  • 29

Elena Keller, b.1951

10,000 - 15,000 GBP
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • Elena Keller
  • Dream
  • signed, titled and dated 85 on reverse
  • oil on canvas
  • 100 by 114cm., 39½ by 44¾in.

Catalogue Note

Elena Keller's Dream is reminiscent of some of the highly laconic découpages that Henri Matisse produced in the 1940s. Working at the margins of figurative art, Keller eliminates all unnecessary detail and reduces form and colour to bare basics. These limited means allow the artist to imbue the traditional motive of a reclining or sleeping nude with a different meaning, unveiling the ever lasting human interest in the phenomenon of dreams.

The woman's face, made akin to an African mask with cut-out features and braided hair makes her look like a shaman and reinforces the idea of dreaming as a mystical out-of-body experience. Curled in a position that is more animal than human, she is stripped of sexuality and personality; her heavy warm body floats in the darkness. Meanwhile, the sombre three-color palette and an almost perfectly symmetrical composition help to create an atmosphere of stillness, freezing the moment in time. The semi-circular shapes surrounding the figure suggest the shutting eyelids of another person falling asleep making the dreaming woman become Dream personified, a dream-within-a-dream.

The evident influence of Aboriginal and African art in Dream is characteristic of Elena Keller’s works of the late 1980s and the demonstrated application of simple geometrical forms with great interpretative power foreshadows the artist’s later abstract compositions.