Lot 444
  • 444


500,000 - 700,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Marlene Dumas
  • Blue Movie
  • signed, titled and dated 2008 on the reverse
  • oil on canvas
  • 15 3/4 by 19 5/8 in. 40 by 49.8 cm.


Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp
Acquired from the above by the present owner in October 2008


Antwerp, Zeno X Gallery, Marlene Dumas: For Whom the Bell Tolls, September - October 2008
Phoenix Art Museum, Extended Loan, April - October 2011
Los Angeles, Francois Ghebaly Gallery, Body of Evidence, March - April 2012
Durham, Duke University, Nasher Museum of Art; Columbus, The Ohio State University, Urban Arts Space; New York, Columbia University, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery; Portland, Lewis & Clark College, Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art, Open this End: Contemporary Art from the Collection of Blake Byrne, February 2015 - December 2016, pl. 69, p. 107, illustrated in color


Hans Werner Holzwarth, Art Now!, Vol. 3: A Cutting-Edge Selection of Today's Most Exciting Artists, Cologne 2008, pp. 137-139, illustrated in color

Catalogue Note

Marlene Dumas' Blue Movie from 2004 is a paragon of the artist's extensive exploration of social sexual themes: the role of women, the role of looking and the role of the nude and the male gaze. Themes of female identity and the relationship to the body permeate Dumas' long-standing practice. Her identity as a female artist painting nude women challenges the continual tradition of male artists depicting idealized notions of feminine forms and societal roles. Blue Movie stands as a testament to the significance of this practice—always ambiguous yet dedicated to dismantling the traditional conventions of painting. Through the transfiguration of traditional bodily forms, Dumas’ work challenges conventional representations of the body throughout art history in order to avoid association with genre painting and, instead, stands as an authoritative metaphor for the human condition. By refuting the traditional notions of portraiture, where a sitter is typically painted in real time, Dumas works to modernize this process by capturing a moment and subsequently adding additional meaning through the medium of paint. Blue Movie recalls Matisse's Blue Nude (1907) that was a scandalous image when it was first revealed to the French public in 1907 at the Société des Artistes Indépendants and later at the historic Armory Show of 1913 in New York City. In the place of realism, Dumas' tactic, like Matisse's, is a psychological probing that eschews clarity of identity or race. The color blue becomes a conduit through with themes of universal eroticim are championed. 

Furthermore, the delicately painted Blue Movie stands as a commentary on the state of painting today. It demonstrates how the medium of paint continues to be relevant in the contemporary arena, particularly when tackling provocative topics such as extreme eroticism, the sex economy, and the role of women within both. While Dumas' painting never fails to be enigmatic, Blue Movie is a refined example of artistic control—the perfect balance of suggestion and discretion, a work of faultless seduction.