Lot 11
  • 11

Richard Prince

200,000 - 300,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Richard Prince
  • Untitled
  • signed and dated 2012 on the reverse 
  • inkjet and acrylic on canvas
  • 141 by 125.7 cm. 55 1/2 by 49 1/2 in.


Sadie Coles HQ, London

Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2013


London, Sadie Coles HQ, New Works by Richard Prince, February - March 2013

Catalogue Note

Oscillating between a voluptuous neoclassical marble and a fragment of soft porn, Richard Prince’s Untitled forms part of the artist’s New Figures series. Through intuitive brushwork painted in soft hazy grisaille tones, a curvaceous torso morphs into gigantic and elongated, angular limbs. Created just after the artist’s critically acclaimed exhibition at Kunsthaus Bregenz, these provocative paintings innovatively deal with the prime pillar of Prince’s practice – appropriation. By fusing it with enquiries into art historical influence, and the re-use and deconstruction of iconography, Prince opened new ground to challenge the concept of artistic originality.

The found photographs used in the New Figures series are taken from vintage erotic photographs of girls posing on black and white backgrounds. The results are then blown up onto large canvases using an ink-jet printer, and the original material is all but painted over with freehand appendages to create a new perspective on the human form. The sketched lines, grey tones, and collaged shapes in the present work undoubtedly mine the field of art history; in Untitled we are instantly reminded of Picasso’s radical approach to draughtsmanship.

The New Figures mark a continuation of his over-painted ink-jet print interpretations of modern masters. First, it was a reworking of De Kooning’s Women series - conflating the originals with pornographic ink-jet prints and sections of expressive, gestural brushwork. Now, Prince turns to Picasso, an artist well known for his infatuation with the female form. At the heart of Prince’s investigation then is a not just the issue of artistic appropriation but also the tradition of the nude within contemporary art. “How do you paint the nude, the figure today?”, he questioned, “The answer is don't try to get away from the past but instead take from it everything you have ever seen and experienced and loved and paint today and then tomorrow and then paint the day after that” (Richard Prince cited in: Press Release, London, Sadie Coles HQ, Richard Prince, February 2013, online).

On the subject of appropriation though, it is perhaps unsurprising the Prince chose Picasso, an artist widely known with his famous line "good artist’s copy, great artist’s steal".