Lot 110
  • 110

JONAS WOOD | Collaboration Appropriation 4

300,000 - 400,000 GBP
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  • Jonas Wood
  • Collaboration Appropriation 4
  • signed, titled and dated 2015 on the reverse
  • oil and acrylic on canvas
  • 106.7 by 91.4 cm. 42 by 36 in.


David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles
Acquired from the above by the present owner


Colour: The colours in the catalogue illustration are fairly accurate, although the basket balls are slightly brighter and lighter in the original. Condition: This work is in very good condition. Extremely close inspection reveals a minute media accretion to the centre left of the composition between the S and the P. No restoration is apparent when examined under ultra violet light.
"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

Executed in 2015, Collaboration Appropriation 4 bears witness to the artistic tropes of flattened colours and spatial distortion typical of Jonas Wood’s celebrated oeuvre. Known for his tableaus of contemporary life festooned with potted plants, hanging baskets and other domesticated foliage, the Los Angeles-based artist has the uncanny ability to infuse a seemingly simple subject with visual intrigue and dynamic presence. Roberta Smith, speaking of Wood’s practice notes, “Jonas Wood’s painting continues to mature impressively, gaining pictorial and psychological weight. More than ever his works negotiate an uneasy truce among the abstract, the representational, the photographic and the just plain weird. They achieve this with a dour yet lavish palette, tactile but implacably workmanlike surfaces and a subtly perturbed sense of space in which seemingly flattened planes and shapes undergo shifts in tone and angle that continually declare their constructed, considered, carefully wrought artifice” (Roberta Smith, ‘Paintings by Jonas Wood,’ New York Times, 17 March 2011, online.) The present work’s graphic style aligns itself in the surrealist manner of quotidian objects, in which everything is not as it seems. Against a backdrop of jet black, two basketballs blossom atop stems of rich foliage. Around the quasi-orchid structures, acid house daises complete smiling faces and speckled petals flower and envelop. Commercial titans in the world of basketball, Spalding and Wilson are emblazoned on the sporting paraphernalia, a gesture that is Warholian in vigour and Koons in aesthetic. To conjure such an image, the artist creates collages from found material in his studio. Speaking of his methods, Wood comments, “I work from photos. I collect photos, ones I’ve taken or I’ve appropriated or that other people have sent to me. And then I either make a collage of those things or work directly from photos” (Jonas Wood cited in: Pac Pobric, ‘Jonas Wood: I was so afraid for way too long’, Artnet News, 28 March 2019, online.)

Working in traditional genres of still life, landscape, and portraiture Wood joins a lineage that stretches from modern masters such as Van Gogh, Picasso and Matisse to contemporary giants David Hockney and Alex Katz. Reminiscing about his early influences Wood remarks, “Matisse, Picasso, Braque, Calder, Monet, Vuillard, Bonnard, van Gogh, Stuart Davis, and Hockney have all been very real influences to me. When I was a young child, my family would speak about these artists as examples of greatness in painting. I guess even then I took them seriously because these are the artists I ended up fashioning my studio practice after” (Jonas Wood cited in: Emma Louise Tovey, ‘Jonas Wood’, Dossier Journal, 3 April 2012, online). Furthermore, Wood was heavily influenced by his grandfather, whose art collection featured works by Francis Bacon, Alexander Calder, Jim Dine, Robert Motherwell, Larry Rivers and Andy Warhol.

Indeed, Collaboration Appropriation 4 recalls the manipulated space of Cubism and the flatness of Matisse however, one of the more direct references within Wood’s career is undoubtedly Hockney. Like his British predecessor’s iconic works, Wood draws influence from the California landscape (both interior and exterior) and employs the same compelling juxtapositions that give both his and Hockney’s work their beguiling yet uneasy sense of space. Sara Roffino notes the way in which Wood and Hockney share “an interest in combining multiple perspectives, using patterns to create space, and examining how colour ‘can be irrational and rational at the same time’” (Sara Roffino, ‘Hockney’s Children: 5 Artists on Why They’re so Indebted to the Charming British Painter,’ Artnet News, 1 December 2017, online). Building upon Hockney’s abstraction, Wood nevertheless sets himself apart by embracing crisp edges and an eschewal of traditional models of illusionistic space.

Wood has risen from obscurity to the top of the contemporary art pyramid through his mastery of abstract space, evocative use of colour, and his connection to the lineage of California painters and European art history alike. That his first museum survey was held last year at the Dallas Museum of Art is a testament to the calibre of his artistic production and inimitable creative spirit.