Contemporary Art Online | New York

Contemporary Art Online | New York

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 193. Untitled (Study for Growing Up).

Eric Fischl

Untitled (Study for Growing Up)

Lot Closed

July 21, 07:11 PM GMT


20,000 - 30,000 USD

Lot Details


Eric Fischl

b. 1948

Untitled (Study for Growing Up)

oil on canvas

Canvas: 40 by 22 in.  (101.6 by 55.9 cm.)

Framed: 44½ by 26½ in.  (113 by 67.3 cm.)

Executed in 1987.

Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York

Acquired from the above by the present owner in February 1992

Eric Fischl’s Untitled (1987) is a study for a larger painting, Growing Up in the Company of Women I (1987), which belongs to his series of multi-panel paintings (1983-1989). In this series, which he has called his “second act,” Fischl fragments the image such that each panel becomes a shard of memory or fantasy. Growing Up in the Company of Women I (1987) depicts a young boy (the subject of the study) playing catch with a naked woman, presumably his mother. In this way, Fischl transforms the most quintessential, suburban pastime into an unsettling and shocking drama. However, the banality of this scene endows Fischl’s painting with an unreconcilable ambiguity. Are they just playing catch? Furthermore, in this work, Fischl isolates the young boy from his mother by placing them on different, disjointed panels. Existing in different worlds and upon different panels, the boy and the woman are completely unaware of each other’s nakedness; however, there remains a tension between the two figures who are inextricably bound together through the game of catch. Arthur Danto writes, “But in Fischl’s paintings, the psychology is of everyday life. In his suburbs, people act out the fantasies that people used mainly to dream about.”[1] The young boy of Untitled, with his hand curled around a baseball, thus suggests several of Fischl’s essential concerns with adolescence, desire, and taboo.

[1] Arthur Danto, “Formation, Success, and Mastery: Eric Fischl Through Three Decades,” in Eric Fischl: 1970-2000 (New York, The Monacelli Press, 2000), 18.