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NEW WAVE NEW BEAT: PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE NEW YORK COLLECTION

Richard Prince
NEW ENGLAND NURSE #1
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
UK: Greenford Park
Lots marked W will be sent to Greenford Park Fine Art Storage Facility immediately after the auction.
Double Dagger
Indicates that the lot is being sold whilst subject to Temporary Importation, and that VAT is due at the reduced rate
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
250,000350,000
LOT SOLD. 790,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
15

NEW WAVE NEW BEAT: PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE NEW YORK COLLECTION

Richard Prince
NEW ENGLAND NURSE #1
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
UK: Greenford Park
Lots marked W will be sent to Greenford Park Fine Art Storage Facility immediately after the auction.
Double Dagger
Indicates that the lot is being sold whilst subject to Temporary Importation, and that VAT is due at the reduced rate
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
250,000350,000
LOT SOLD. 790,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
London

Richard Prince
B. 1949
NEW ENGLAND NURSE #1
acrylic on canvas on gatorboard
159.4 by 108.2 cm. 62 3/4 by 42 5/8 in.
Executed in 2000.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Gladstone Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2005

Catalogue Note

Created in 2000, New England Nurse #1 is one of the very first iterations in Richard Prince’s celebrated Nurse series: a body of imposing paintings that were first revealed to the public to great acclaim in 2003. Drawing on Prince’s own collection of trashy nurse-fantasy novellas of the 1950s and 60s, the Nurses (very much aligned with Prince’s previous Cowboys and Girlfriends) play with pervading gender stereotypes and explore the consciousness and desire at stake in archetypes of popular Americana. Presaging the full scale painting New England Nurse of 2002, a work that resides in the prestigious Rubell Family Collection, Miami, New England Nurse #1 foreshadows and anticipates the greater body of critically lauded Nurse paintings that were to follow in the ensuing years.

In the Nurse paintings, and in counterbalance to the Cowboys, Prince replaced his macho protagonists with a pantheon of provocatively crass and sexually charged femme fatales. Associated with low-brow American culture, Prince's choice of archetypes illuminates the artist’s interest in both personal and collective identity. The multivalent voices of the Cowboy, Girlfriend and Nurse, provide multiple readings of divergent personas via a masquerade of stereotypical characters. In this way, Prince engages with prescribed identities determined by social and cultural codes, and looks to both critique and celebrate the darker underbelly implicit within these constructed myths.

The Nurses were created by scanning and enlarging the cover of pulp-fiction hospital-based romance novels, objects that, for a professed bibliophile, held great fascination for Prince. These scanned images were printed onto canvas using an inkjet printer after which he manipulated the existing compositions by editing out secondary characters, obscuring text, and isolating female protagonists through scumbled and expressively applied layers of paint.

In New England Nurse #1, the illustrator’s original wholesome yet seductive image is disrupted by a stack of words that are by turns clinical, gory, and insalubrious. Prince subverts the stereotypical female ciphers of the mid-twentieth century and presents female sexuality as both desirable and perhaps empowered in her contamination. At the same, however, white paint is smeared across the nurse’s mouth and she is effectively gagged. Nonetheless, it is arguable that it is the sexualised persona given to her by her original illustrator that is silenced. The white paint thus becomes a powerful tool to convey Prince’s project of identity crisis in contemporary image culture: “I made a mistake painting all this white – this is when I say I get lucky… I realized that was going to be the contribution to the image, to put a mask on these various nurse illustrations. It was a way of unifying and also talking about identity” (Richard Prince, quoted in: Natalie Shukur, ‘Richard Prince,’ RusshMagazine, 2014, online). By masking the nurse’s mouth, he silences the desirability prescribed by the novel’s original illustration, thereby unmasking and challenging the ways in which society and culture has historically determined identity.

Across a diverse oeuvre that challenges modes of contemporary representation, Richard Prince has mined photographs, VHS tapes, art history and literature. He consumes, collects, and manipulates text and image, all for the sake of curating the trappings of American culture.

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
London