Lot 141
  • 141

Robert Heinecken

25,000 - 35,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Robert Heinecken
  • Upper Middle Class Nuclear Family
  • polaroid polacolor prints
  • Various sizes to 82 by 34 5/8  in. (208.3 by 87.9 cm.)
a suite of 4 unique mural-sized Polaroid Polacolor prints, each initialed and dated on the image, framed, 1988 (4)


The Polaroid Collection

Sotheby's New York, Photographs from the Polaroid Collection, 21-22 June 2010, Sale 8649, Lot 35 


Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, American Perspectives: Photographs from the Polaroid Collection, September–November 2000, and traveling to 3 other venues through 2001

Photographic Resource Center at Boston University, American Perspectives: Photographs from the Polaroid Collection, November 2002–January 2003


American Perspectives: Photographs from the Polaroid Collection (Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, 2000), pl. 100 (these prints)

Catalogue Note

The suite of 4 large-scale unique Polaroid Polacolor prints offered here is a photographic rendering after an original Robert Heinecken relief collage.  Heinecken placed cut, crumpled, and crushed magazine advertisements strategically on black mounts to create five figures (from left): a teenaged daughter, a father, a young boy, a mother, and a baby.  The small figure of a friendly family dog holding the Wall Street Journal is pictured at the father’s feet.  The brand names and consumer goods featured so prominently in the composition undermine the much-touted integrity of the cherished nuclear family unit. 

In 1988, Heinecken received a Polaroid Corporation grant to use the massive 40-by-80-inch Polaroid camera at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, a device developed initially to copy paintings.  The camera, measuring 12-foot-by-12-foot and 16-foot high, was ideal for the large scale of Heinecken’s Upper Middle Class Nuclear Family collage, which measures approximately 7-foot by 11-foot.  As an artist for whom the re-appropriation of images is a central theme (see Lot 142), Heinecken utilized Polaroid technology not only to document Upper Middle Class Nuclear Family, but also to create an entirely new work that further comments on contemporary society’s gross consumer culture. 

The original relief collage of Upper Middle Class Nuclear Family is in the collection of the Robert Heinecken Trust, Chicago.