Lot 43
  • 43

Richard Prince

5,000,000 - 7,000,000 USD
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  • Richard Prince
  • Another Opinion
  • signed, titled and dated 1989 on the overlap
  • acrylic and silkscreen on canvas
  • 75 x 58 in. 190.5 x 147.3 cm.


Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York
Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Belgium
Private Collection, Belgium


València, IVAM Centre del Carme, Richard Prince, September - November 1989
Belgium, Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Richard Prince, March - April 1990
Stockholm, Galleri Nordanstad-Skarstedt, Richard Prince, 1991
Zurich, Kunsthalle Zürich, Richard Prince, Paintings, February - April 2002, p. 24, illustrated in color and p. 120, illustrated in color (in installation at Galleri Nordanstad-Skarstedt, Stockholm, 1991)


This work is in excellent condition. The drying traction cracks throughout the lettering are stable and secure, and this is inherent to the artist's process and consistent with various other two-color joke paintings. There are two lighter spots of liquid accretion in the upper left corner which may perhaps be associated with the studio, and scattered drips and spots of a similar nature and various lengths appear intermittently in the portion of the painting below the text. There is a light linear 5" abrasion located above "Three" and 16" to 21" down from the top edge. In the upper left corner of the lateral side there is a 1" textured irregularity in the weave of the canvas support. Under ultraviolet light there are no apparent restorations. The canvas is framed in a stained wood frame under Plexiglas with a 1" float painted white.
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

Executed in a brilliant indigo emblazoned with sharp, charismatic orange letters, Richard Prince’s Another Opinion from 1989 is an exceptional work from the seminal series of monochrome joke paintings that the artist produced between 1987 and the year of the present work. Representing his inspired amalgamation of postmodern conceptual strategies and abstract painting with a resolutely Pop art twist, Another Opinion epitomizes Prince’s most celebrated body of work. Investigating the sensory and optical potential of words akin to his Pop Art predecessor Ed Ruscha, while following in the conceptual trickery of the notorious jokesmith Marcel Duchamp, Richard Prince’s Another Opinion is dramatically striking, elegant, and most importantly downright hilarious.

Emerging amongst the appropriation artists of the 1980s, Richard Prince stood out for the distinctive coolness of his work. While many of the re-photographers of his generation were inspired by postmodern theories on authenticity and originality, Prince’s work simultaneously reflected a decidedly American cultural influence through his fascination with cowboys, bikers, cars, and lowbrow American humor. After his iconic series of cowboy photographs in the early 1980s, in which Prince explored his signature conceptual strategy of appropriating imagery from advertising whilst referring to archetypes of the American dream, he became intrigued by the incorporation of jokes into his works. Like the found sources that he used for his photographs, the artist appropriated the jokes from cartoon-strips, which he initially turned into hand-drawn copies on paper. Prince explained, “artists were casting sculptures in bronze, making huge paintings, talking about prices and clothes and cars and spending vast amounts of money. So I wrote jokes on little pieces of paper and sold them for $10 each.” (the artist cited in Exh. Cat., New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Richard Prince: Spiritual America, 2007, p. 37)

Following these initial hand-written jokes and subsequent works in which the cartoon images were silkscreened onto canvas, Prince soon embarked on a more radical approach in which all illustrations were entirely abolished. Daring anyone to take a one-liner for a serious work of art, Prince had started to assemble his jokes in a catalogue in 1985, which ultimately led to his iconic paintings, of which the present work is one of the earliest examples. If the artist’s decision to start painting was not radical enough after his earlier photographic work, Prince’s painted jokes – detached, witty, and matter-of-fact – were also the complete antithesis of the neo-expressionist painting that dominated the art world in the 1980s. Instead of the expressive, gestural application of paint that was so fashionable, Richard Prince silkscreened his jokes onto a flat, monochrome canvas. Similar to his re-photography of existing images, this approach removed the artist’s hand from the work. Despite this conceptual strategy, Prince nonetheless considered these works first and foremost as paintings. As he jokingly remarked, “the ‘Joke’ paintings are abstract. Especially in Europe, if you can’t speak English.” (the artist cited in Exh. Cat., Oslo, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Richard Prince: Canaries in the Coal Mine, 2006, p. 124)

Another Opinion confronts the viewer with a strangely puzzling juxtaposition of a minimalist canvas and painted words. Although this can be read as a reference to postmodern linguistic theory, the work also points to two quintessentially American features: hard-edge abstraction and popular humor. Cleverly subverting the clean and serious language of abstract painting, the jokes' amalgamation of low and high culture characterizes Prince’s most iconic work. Wittingly parodying gags from the popular vernacular, the artist has found a way of incorporating a difficult subject matter – humor – into a deeply serious and resolutely intellectual artistic practice.