433
433
George Condo
THE K-MART GIRL
Estimate
600,000800,000
LOT SOLD. 735,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
433
George Condo
THE K-MART GIRL
Estimate
600,000800,000
LOT SOLD. 735,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
New York

George Condo
B. 1957
THE K-MART GIRL
signed, titled and dated 2001 on the reverse
oil on canvas, in artist's chosen frame 
73 3/8 by 61 3/4 in. 186.4 by 156.9 cm.
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Provenance

Caratsch de Pury & Luxembourg, Zurich
Private Collection, Europe
Sotheby's, London, 17 October 2013, Lot 47
Acquired from the above sale by the present owner 

Exhibited

Leipzig, Museum der bildende Künste, Gala 5. Sammler Zeigen Ihre Favoriten, March - June 2009, p. 11, illustrated in color 

Catalogue Note

Through the appropriation of regular working stereotypes, The K-Mart Girl is an archetypal example of George Condo’s acclaimed visual vocabulary that challenges and re-defines the conventional notion of figurative portraiture. Condo re-interprets the bastions of normality and confronts the viewer with unexpected juxtapositions and unconventional narratives. The instantly recognizable distortions and geometric additions in Condo’s portraits present a singularly apposite commentary on contemporary society. Despite their quasi-grotesque alterations of form, Ralph Rugoff notes that Condo also imbues his characters with a sense of ineffable pathos: “Unlike in caricature… the preposterous features of these figures are in fact rendered with great sympathy. Drawing on the traditional rhetoric of portraiture, Condo imbues his invented subjects with a compelling psychological presence” (Ralph Rugoff, "The Mental States of America," in Exh. Cat., London, Hayward Gallery, George Condo: Mental States, 2011-2012, p. 16).

Endowed with surreal possibilities and the ostensible depictions of everyday characters, the subjects of Condo’s portraitures provide a satirical commentary on the commercialism and consumerism present within certain aspects of American society in the 21st Century. With interest in depicting regular, seemingly anonymous, working "types", The K-Mart Girl conflates the high and low through Condo’s trademark distortions of the human form within the framework of historical portraitures. The sitter’s grin bares her teeth beneath a bulbous nose, while the exaggerated eyes and ears lend a comedic element to the portrait.  The signature red and white stripes of her uniform represent the instantly recognizable K-Mart colors, lending clues to the sitter’s profession and identity. Known for their mass-market goods and emphasis on bargain prices, K-Mart is arguably one of the ultimate examples of American consumerist ethos.

Stylistically, Pablo Picasso’s influence on Condo’s modus operandi is unmistakable and the artist openly pays homage to his Modernist predecessor. The influence of Picasso’s spatial distortions can be seen in Condo’s own investigations into the possibilities of geometrical forms and re-invention of facial features. In the slanting contours of her face and the strangely twisting smile, The K-Mart Girl has an enigmatic presence and provides an indication of the extent to which earlier artistic masterpieces have acted as sources of inspiration for Condo’s work. The result is curious power that superbly encapsulates the elegant mixture of humor and humanity that exists within Condo’s painting. In the artist’s own words, “Picasso painted a violin from four different perspectives at one moment. I do the same with psychological states. Four of them can occur simultaneously. Like glimpsing a bus with one passenger howling over a joke they're hearing down the phone, someone else asleep, someone else crying – I'll put them all in one face” (George Condo, quoted in The Guardian, 10 February 2014).

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
New York