Lot 173
  • 173

CHRISTOPHER WOOL | i. Three Women Iii. Three Women IIiii. Three Women III

250,000 - 350,000 GBP
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  • Christopher Wool
  • i. Three Women Iii. Three Women IIiii. Three Women III
  • i. signed, dated 2005 and numbered 6/9 and Iii. signed, dated 2005 and numbered 6/9 and IIiii. signed, dated 2005 and numbered 6/9 and III
  • i. - iii. silkscreen on Saunders watercolour paper
  • i.- iii. 207 by 127 cm. 81 1/2 by 50 in.
  • i.- iii. Executed in 2006, these works are number 6 from an edition of 9, plus 3 artist's proofs (with variants in shades of light, medium and dark rose).


Edition Schellmann, Munich
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2006


Colour:The background of the work is pale pink in the original. Condition:This work is in very good condition. Each sheet is attached verso to the backing board in numerous places and each has a deckled right hand edge. Each sheet undulates slightly. Extremely close inspection reveals a very faint and tiny handling mark to the very extreme right hand edge of Three Women II and a minute speck of media to the centre of the left hand edge of Three Women I.
"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. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

“I became more interested in ‘how to paint it’ than ‘what to paint’” (Christopher Wool cited in: Exh. Cat., San Francisco, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (and travelling), Christopher Wool, 1998, p. 256) 

A visually arresting manifestation presenting a multitude of dichotomies; Christopher Wool’s Three Women I, II, III curiously delineates a profound juxtaposition between painting and erasing, gesture and removal, depth and flatness. In a continued search for tools beyond the conventional paintbrush, Wool, whose prolific career has spanned some thirty years, later added to his repertoire silkscreen and digital printing. Revising and rerouting the surfaces of previous works, Wool presents open-ended proposals, perpetually incomplete and perhaps subject to further elaboration. As such Three Women I, II, III directly addresses the limits of painting and representation, the operations of visual cognition as well as the act of image making through the mechanics of self-expression.

A triptych of the very highest calibre, the three anthropomorphic expanses are replete with hazy strokes in which form and texture and inextricably linked. Composing a stunning symphony of tonality, Wool sabotages and defaces fleshy hues with an array of wild graffti-like scrawls. A cornucopia of arabesque strokes, streaked tides of smeared spray paint converge to produce spectacular economy of line alongside washed and withdrawn smudges. Disregarding the Modernist hierarchy of line, zones of denunciation are viewed in equal measure. As curator Katherine Brinson comments, “each new set of lines is smothered in hazy veils of wiped grey, with further layers sprayed on top, to the point where distinguishing between the various imbrications becomes impossible. The antiheroic notion of mark-unmaking correlates with a conviction lying at the heart of Wool's oeuvre - that linear progress toward artistic mastery is a modernist relic” (Katherine Brinson, ‘Trouble is My Business,’ in: Exh. Cat., New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Christopher Wool, 2014, p. 47).

With an unparalleled abrasive urban sensibility, Wool confronts the extinction of painting in which process is celebrated as a means of production. His intricate landscape thus recalls the work of Brice Marden, Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke, but perhaps more overtly than his predecessors Wool offers compositions that simultaneously reveal their construction and deconstruction. Espousing a cyclical dynamic of recursion and negation in tandem with a rebellious process of application and cancellation, Wool accretes the surface of his pressurised paintings while voiding their very substance. Three Women I, II, III is thus a lyrical and exquisite example of Wool’s most eminent artistic endeavours to date.