Lot 213
  • 213

GEORGE CONDO | Late Night in St. Moritz

120,000 - 180,000 GBP
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  • George Condo
  • Late Night in St. Moritz
  • signed and dated 90
  • oil, pastel, charcoal, gouache and paper collage on canvas
  • 160 by 150 cm. 63 by 59 in.


Leo Koenig Inc., New York
Galerie Bischofberger, Zurich
Private Collection
Phillips, London, 16 October 2014, Lot 146
Private Collection
Phillips, Hong Kong, 19 January 2017, Lot 65
Acquired from the above by the present owner


Colour: The colours in the catalogue illustration are fairly accurate, although the overall tonality is slightly lighter and brighter in the original. Condition: This work is in very good condition. All collaged elements are stable. Some of the collaged sheets undulate slightly and there are a few short and unobtrusive tears to some of the edges, which appear to be original. Close inspection reveals some light handling marks, rub marks, tension cracks and spots of wear in places to all four extreme edges and all four corner tips. 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

George Condo’s, Late Night in St Moritz is exemplary of the artist’s iconic, stylised paintings that telescope modern society and the contemporary psyche. In the present work, Condo combines a kaleidoscopic array of artistic styles such as Cubism, Mannerist Orientalism and Neo-Dadaism. Drawing influence from expansive regions, Condo melds styles and motifs from different eras of art history. Renaissance portraiture, cubism, surrealism, comic books; Condo assimilates his references into striking, psychologically charged scenes: “I love the idea of two incompatible worlds brought together – opposing forces harmonically melded” (George Condo cited in: Diane Solway, ‘Musings On A Muse,’ W Magazine, January 2013, online resource). Condo’s amalgamation of older and more modern painting styles offers a sense of untimeliness which boldly contrasts with the populist work of his contemporaries Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Like them, however, Condo work engages in a new kind of stylistically blended figurative painting. Condo’s vivid imagination and ability to reference pioneers and art historical sources whilst toying with human emotions and mental states all in one work make Condo instantly recognisable. "The only way for me to feel the difference between every other artist and me is to use every artist to become me,” (George Condo cited in: Stuart Jeffries, ‘George Condo: ‘I Was Delirious. Nearly Died’’, The Guardian, 10 February 2014, online). 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 the faces and the strangely twisting smiles, the present work has an enigmatic presence and provides an indication of the extent to which earlier artistic masterpieces have acted as sources of inspiration for the artist’s work. The result is a 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 cited in: The Guardian, 10 February 2014).

Often referred to as portraits, Condo complicates such a straightforward classification noting that traditionally, portraiture aimed to capture the essential character of the individual through a faithful reproduction of the sitter’s likeness. The exaggerated and clownish features of Condo’s eclectic cast of characters so clearly evidenced in the present work seem to disguise their identity, while simultaneously revealing a compelling psychological presence. Nonetheless, Condo often uses the tropes of traditional portraiture, conducting a symphony of artistic references to Rembrandt, Caravaggio, and Picasso only to disrupt and subvert them. The Madonna, one of Condo’s first mature works which launched his career in the early 1980s, imitates the style of the Old Master’s while simultaneously distorting it. “I felt that my offering [to painting] would be an artificial, simulated American view of what European painting looks like” stated the artist. “I thought of this as being a realist, in a strange way…I think creating hybrids is a characteristic of American thinking” (George Condo cited in: Stacey Schmidt, ‘George Condo Meets George Washington’, in: Thomas Kellein, Ed., George Condo: One Hundred Women, Ostfildern-Ruit 2005, p. 11).