Lot 50
  • 50

Felix Gonzalez-Torres

350,000 - 450,000 USD
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  • Felix Gonzalez-Torres
  • "Untitled"
  • gelatin silver prints with artist's frames, in 5 parts
  • Each: 25 1/4 by 32 7/8 in. 64.1 by 83.5 cm.
  • Executed in 1994, this work is number 1 from an edition of 2, plus 1 artist's proof and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.


Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above in May 1994


Hanover, Sprengel Museum, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, June - August 1997
Villa Merkel, Galerie der Stadt Esslingen am Neckar, Fotografie als Handlung: 4th International Foto-Triennale, June - September 1998
San Francisco, Fraenkel Gallery, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, April - May 2004 (another example exhibited)
Seattle, Henry Art Gallery; West Palm Beach, Norton Museum of Art; Tampa Museum of Art; Chicago Cultural Center, Crosscurrents at Century's End: Selections from the Neuberger Berman Art Collection, June 2003 - June 2004, pl. XIX, p. 49, illustrated in color



Renate Wiehager, ed., Fotografie als Handlung [Photography as Concept]: 4th International Foto-Triennale; Esslingen, 1998, pp. 74 – 75, illustrated in color
Dietmar Elger, et al., eds., Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Catalogue Raisonné, Ostfildern-Ruit, 1997, p.133, illustrated in color
Nancy Spector, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, New York, 1995, p. 40, illustrated in color


This work is in very good condition overall. There are scattered spot nuances on the surfaces which appear to be inherent to the emulsion process. Otherwise, there are no apparent problems with this work. Please note that the Plexiglas, as well as the backing paper has been replaced on all five original frames. Framed under Plexiglas. Please note that the quote introducing the artwork on page 71 of the catalogue is misattributed to Felix Gonzalez-Torres. The statement was made by Nancy Spector, and the citation should read as follows: Nancy Spector, "Travel as Metaphor," in Felix Gonzalez-Torres, ed. Julie Ault (Göttingen: Steidl, 2006), 249.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

The five images that comprise the present work, Felix Gonzalez-Torres's "Untitled" from 1994, depict a somber and expansive sky fragmented. The birds cluster like specks of pale dust; in two of the photographs, they fade to near invisibility. Gonzalez-Torres, an artist known for imbuing his stark imagery with visual metaphor, addresses here the idea of travel, both as a physical act of displacement – a transition from familiar to foreign – and as a reflection of progress, at once personal and cultural. The birds appear – uncannily – as at once static and dynamic, obviously flying but also floating. As Torres himself notes, "As with all artistic practices...[my work] is related to the act of leaving one place for another, one which proves perhaps better than the first" (As quoted from the press release for Gonzalez-Torres's individual exhibition at Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, January – February 1990).


In one respect, these prints differ Gonzalez-Torres's more familiar works, which employ common objects like candy, paper and light- bulbs to suggest love and remembrance. His "Untitled" (Perfect Lovers), 1987- 1991, for example, features two clocks, hung side-by-side, that record time until inevitably falling out of synch. Similarly, piles of candy beg viewers to take a piece; to deplete the piece. Here, the work is quieter, subtler. The faint contrast between the frenetic birds and the misty sky suggests a permeability between being and surrounding.


At the same time, photography was central to Gonzalez-Torres. He was trained as a photographer and his entire oeuvre can be seen to have a relationship to photographic practice or theory. By returning to the ostensibly traditional format of framed, photographic prints during his career, Gonzalez-Torres extended his artistic practice, a significant aspect of which was his radical exploration of the boundaries of value and worth, uniqueness and the multiple.