Lot 225
  • 225

SARAH GRILO | Sin título

50,000 - 70,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Sarah Grilo
  • Sin título
  • signed
  • oil on canvas
  • 51 1/4 by 63 3/4 in. 130 by 162 cm.
  • Executed in 1978.


Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner circa 2007

Catalogue Note

In the 1959 issue of Art in America magazine Stanton Loomis Catlin, one of the pre-eminent scholars and curators of Latin American art in the United States at the time, proclaimed “the decade that preceded the outbreak of World War II may be looked back upon as the time of the second discovery of America. For this was the period when a largely cartographical image of an 8,530,000-square-mile land area began to assume a social and cultural reality [that had] changed so substantially, an assessment of [its artistic] achievements is required” (Stanton L. Catlin, “New Vistas in Latin American Art,” Art and America Magazine, No 3., New York 1959, p. 24). Catlin goes on to highlight the innovative paintings of Argentine artist Sarah Grilo, who for him represented the emergence of a new, larger world view of art: Her paintings “effectively communicate a sensibility of true poetic value, giving non-objective principles a new, personal dimension.[.] Disassociated from official or otherwise predetermined, conceptions of artistic truth and cultural destiny [her paintings are] evidence of an increasingly successful search for a reality based on direct experience” (ibid., p. 28). Born in Buenos Aries in 1919, Sarah Grilo moved to Europe in the 1940s, living in both Spain and France. Grilo’s eventual return to Buenos Aires in 1952 marked a definitive point of departure for the evolution of her visual language. In a foreshadowing 1954 interview, Grilo responded to the question of what to her was most fundamental to painting, stating “painting must be a manifestation of its current time, it holds the greatest potential of expressive power [and, more importantly,] it was the responsibility of each new generation of artists to disrupt” what was created by their predecessors. Grilo effectively abandoned traditional, figurative academic norms to create a unique dialect of Abstraction.

Grilo immediately relocated to New York City upon receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1961, finding Abstraction Expressionism as the prevailing darling of the New York art world. However, she would set her paintings apart from fellow contemporaries Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler, and Lee Krasner. Drawing upon the intense and vibrant energy of New York City’s streets, Grilo appropriated the loose sensibility of the dense and wild graffiti found across building facades and subway cars along with the refined qualities of graphic typographic print letters on street posters. The group of paintings that emerged from Grilo’s urban surroundings “anticipated” the later generations of New York street artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Painted in 1978, Sin titulo is exemplary of Sarah Grilo’s fully mature style and stands as a manifestation of her rigorous technique and energetic pictorial lexicon. Her new pictorial language abandoned the “pure” and conventional abstract expressionist cannon of spontaneous “action painting”, and instead offers a refined and highly personal system of pictograms and symbols (The Estate of Sarah Grilo, Biography, 2019, n.p.). Here, Grilo superimposes seemingly wild lines against seemingly sporadically placed type-print font made harmonious by dominant, monochrome color tone (blue in this instance).

Sarah Grilo’s works have been exhibited widely across the United States, Europe and South America including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Nelson Rockefeller Collection, New York, The Blanton Museum of Art, Austin; the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, among others.