Lot 117
  • 117

GLENN BROWN | Monument to International Socialism

80,000 - 120,000 GBP
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  • Glenn Brown
  • Monument to International Socialism
  • oil and acrylic on bronze
  • 38.1 by 52 by 37.1 cm. 15 by 20 1/2 by 14 5/8 in.
  • Executed in 2009.


Gagosian Gallery, London
Acquired from the above by David Teiger in 2009


London, Gagosian Gallery, Glenn Brown, October - November 2009, pp. 38-39, illustrated in colour


John-Paul Stonard, 'Glenn Brown', The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 156, No. 1137, August 2014, p. 559 (text)


Colour: The colour in the catalogue illustration is fairly accurate although the overall tonality is deeper and more vibrant in the original. Condition: This work is in very good condition. Extremely close inspection reveals a few minute and unobtrusive losses to some of the extreme tips of the impasto peaks.
"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

For Glenn Brown, one of Britain’s most renowned contemporary artists, the past and present are treasuries of raw material, offering countless images, titles, and techniques to be combined, appropriated, and deconstructed. Drawing from an extensive knowledge of art history, as well as of literature, music, and popular culture, Brown creates complex and sensuous works of art that are resolutely of our time, through contemporary reading of images new and remembered. Brown’s sculptures are highly compelling, elaborate masses built from precisely placed strokes of thick oil paint. In some of them, parts of the cold 19th century bronzes that he uses as supports are still visible under the gravity-defying impasto. While Brown started creating sculptures in 1993, it was with Monument to International Socialism in 2009 that he first started using antique bronze figures as support. The thick paint-slugs of eggplant, jade, buttery yellow and navy hide what seem to be a bronze horse or cow, suckling a miniature version of itself. Monument to International Socialism perfectly encapsulates the artist’s unique artistic vision, challenging not only the notion of what sculpture is, but the very laws of gravity and exploring new and undiscovered territory in art making. Contrary to the artist’s paintings, where he seems to strip the sitter of its skin and unveil the muscles that lie underneath, his sculptures do the exact opposite and pile on excessive layers of paint, adding a new painterly dimension to the found object.  According to Brown “sculpture has to operate in its own right – it cannot be slavish to its source” (Glenn Brown in conversation with Karen Wright, The Independent, 3 September 2015, online).

Many of Brown’s works seem to materialise as if part of a dreamy meditation in which scale is disproportionate, gravity is upended, and reality is not as it seems. The artist notes that he sees “the sculptural brush marks as challenging the logic of paint in that they appear to defy gravity by actually staying upright. For me, they exist within a surreal world that is based on getting paint to do something it shouldn’t do, and to sit in a three-dimensional world that it shouldn’t be in. The vitrine allows the sculpture to exist within its own mummified world”  (Glenn Brown in conversation with Rochelle Steiner, Exh. Cat.London, Serpentine Gallery, Glenn Brown, 2004, p. 99).

Mining art history and popular culture, Glenn Brown has created an artistic language that transcends time and pictorial conventions. In sophisticated compositions that fuse diverse histories - the Renaissance, Impressionism, Surrealism - Brown creates a space where the abstract and the visceral, the rational and irrational, the beautiful and grotesque, churn in a dizzying amalgamation of reference and form.