Contemporary Discoveries

Contemporary Discoveries

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 43. Exception.

Property from a Private Midwest Collection

Peter Halley


Lot Closed

December 15, 03:42 PM GMT


60,000 - 80,000 USD

Lot Details


Property from a Private Midwest Collection

Peter Halley

b. 1953


signed Peter Halley (twice) and dated 1997 (on the reverse)

acrylic, metallic acrylic, pearlescent acrylic and Roll-A-Tex on canvas

74 by 70 in.

188 by 177.8 cm.

Executed in 1997.

Gagosian Gallery, New York

Sotheby's New York, 11 May 2005, lot 426

Acquired from the above sale by the present owner

Emerging as an artist in the Lower East Side of New York City in the 1980s, Peter Halley derived his signature style from the minimalist artists that preceded him. The influences of Josef Albers’ writing, Interaction of Color, and the styles of Piet Mondrian and Donald Judd shaped Halley’s use of geometric abstraction. Living in New York City was one of the main reasons his iconic style developed. The artist said that, “the space of [his] work became premised on the idea that the way we live is characterized by physical isolation, but that we are reconnected through technology. Technology and economics create these channels of communication in ways that we do not choose. [The artist] pictured this by painting bands that [he] call[s] “conduits,” that connect the prisons and cells.” His body of work consists of minimalized motifs of the idea of a prison cell and the electrical wiring that supports a city. As New York City rapidly urbanized with each day, Halley’s work became increasingly detailed. 

Although Halley created his compositions in a stark and organized format, the colors with which he uses change the essence of his oeuvre. As is evident in the present work, Lilac Prison, the artist is known for applying fluorescent Day-Glo paint to the space within his geometric forms. After having lived in New Orleans, Halley was enchanted by bright, vibrant colors. Using a roller to apply the paint, so as not to have the artist’s hand appear in a finished work, his artistic methodology even incorporates the impersonal aspects of the urban world. 

("Personal Structures: Time Space Existence" book by Peter Lodermeyer, Karlyn De Jongh & Sarah Gold, DuMont Buchverlag, Cologne, Germany, 2009, pp 276 – 281)