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

Brice Marden
BASEL DRAWINGS (WINDOW STUDIES NO. 1, 2, 4, 5)
Estimate
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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.
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.
550,000750,000
LOT SOLD. 682,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
16

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

Brice Marden
BASEL DRAWINGS (WINDOW STUDIES NO. 1, 2, 4, 5)
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.
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.
550,000750,000
LOT SOLD. 682,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

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London

Brice Marden
B. 1938
BASEL DRAWINGS (WINDOW STUDIES NO. 1, 2, 4, 5)
signed, dated 83 and numbered #1, #2, #4 and #5 respectively
ink on paper, in four parts
each: 76.2 by 55.9 cm. 30 by 22 in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London
Jason McCoy Gallery, New York
Daryl Y Harnisch, New York
Private Collection, New York
Mary Boone Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1998

Exhibited

New York, Mary Boone Gallery, Georg Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, Brice Marden, October 1985

London, Anthony d’Offay Gallery, Brice Marden: Recent Paintings and Drawings, April - May 1988, n.p., no. 26-29, illustrated

Lausanne, FAE, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Sélection: Oeuvres de la collection, June - October 1991, p. 99, illustrated in colour

Literature

Pilar Viladas, 'Posh Spice', The New York Times, 29 October 2000, p. 77, illustrated in colour

Catalogue Note

Brice Marden’s Basel Drawings (Window Studies No. 1, 2, 4, 5) present a hushed, numinous rumination on the relations between space, gesture, structure and light. Quadripartite, the work comprises four rectangular sheets arranged like a window: the upper two panels are quadrisected by inky lines of red and green, while the lower pair is divided into nine equally-sized parts. Commissioned by the Basel Cathedral Stained Glass Trust at the end of 1977, Marden created these studies as proposals for the windows of Basel Cathedral. Occupying the majority of his time from 1978 to 1985, the commission acted as an artistic turning-point for Marden, who used the project as a vehicle by which to explore his interests in alchemy, the self, and the universe’s primordial foundations. Just as in works like For Hera (1977), Annunciation (1977-8) and Thira (1980), Marden mapped the intersections of the earthly and the spiritual. Representing, by turns, the alchemical bases of earth, air, fire and water, these coloured lines configure Marden’s take on humanity’s origin.

Marden’s style resides in the uncanny interstice between the mechanical and the expressive; each facet serving as a perfect foil for the other. An apparently depersonalised formalism is rendered via ink blots, irregularities and haptic traces. If Donald Judd made a point of rejecting Minimalism’s claim to spirituality, Marden identified a poignancy precisely in the failure of minimal art to remain devoid of it: “the rectangle, the plane, the structure, the picture”, he explains, “are but sounding boards for a spirit” (Brice Marden cited in: Exh. Cat., London, Anthony d’Offay Gallery, Brice Marden: Recent Paintings & Drawings, 1988, np). Enacting neither the reproduction of visual reality, nor the expression of emotion, nor the delivery of pure abstraction, Marden’s work effectively achieves all three of these functions. Indeed, in certain of his monochromes such as The Dylan Painting (1966), Marden deliberately leaves a small strip of the work unpainted. Drips of the paint from the surface above accumulate in this space, left bare to remind the viewer of abstraction’s bodily, human origin.

The present work was immediately followed by a series of Window Paintings, which also formed part of the Basel Cathedral commission. Part of the power of these works, as well as of Basel Drawings (Window Studies: #1, 2, 4, 5), derives from their realising the intellectual human urge – never quite understood, never quite satiated – to represent the transcendent. As John Yau expresses, the works “suggest a movement from the earthly to the spiritual, without arriving at an image of immateriality… From the outset of his career, Marden accepted the inevitability of being continuously thwarted, of never being able to arrive at a purely spiritual realisation. His response was to make fully considered proposals, which remain open and incomplete. It is this incompleteness, the ache of it, that haunts the paintings, the artist, and the viewer” (John Yau cited in: Ibid., n.p.).

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

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London