Art Contemporain Day Auction

Art Contemporain Day Auction

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 137. World Without End.

Glenn Brown

World Without End

Lot Closed

June 7, 01:36 PM GMT


70,000 - 100,000 EUR

Lot Details


Glenn Brown

b. 1966

World Without End

signed, titled and dated 1994 on the reverse

oil on canvas

51 x 40,2 cm ; 20⅛ by 15⅞ in.

Executed in 1994.




Glenn Brown

n. 1966

World Without End

signé, titré et daté 1994 au dos

huile sur toile

51 x 40,2 cm ; 20⅛ by 15⅞ in.

Exécuté en 1994.

Simon Lee Gallery, London

Acquired from the above by the present owner


Simon Lee Gallery, Londres

Acquis auprès du précédent par le propriétaire actuel

Minnesota, Walker Art Center; Houston, Contemporary Arts Museum, Brilliant! New Art from London, October 1995 - April 1996

Hong Kong, Simon Lee Gallery, Homeland, May - June 2015


Minnesota, Walker Art Center; Houston, Contemporary Arts Museum, Brilliant! New Art from London, octobre 1995 - avril 1996

Hong Kong, Simon Lee Gallery, Homeland, mai-juin 2015

“I fetishise the brushmark, and treat them like objects to be gazed at in awe, eventually to be mocked”


A cacophony of riotous colour, World Without End from 1994 is a prime example of Glenn Brown’s extraordinarily painterly practice. Betraying impassioned brushwork yet possessing a photographic and impossibly smooth painted surface, the present work embodies the art of appropriation at its most extravagant. As thick impasto seemingly churns and collides, dynamic colour convalesces to create an electric and homogenous surface. Rendered in a kaleidoscopic palette of vibrant blues and reds merging into vivacious yellow and green, World without End is one of the most abstract from Brown’s oeuvre, which since the early 1990s has been concerned with the abduction of existing artworks and their metamorphosis into a pantheon of mutated hostages.

Rendering thick brush marks in a flat, photographic manner, works by artists such as Frank Auerbach, Georg Baselitz, or in the present work Karel Appel, are reproduced from pictures in books and magazines, in an extreme form of quotation that draws further attention to the medium of painting itself. Indeed, with technical virtuosity, Brown’s practice copies and modifies reproductions, imitating the painted surface in a perfect illusion, while being completely devoid of texture. In World without End, each brushstroke has been painstakingly copied so that it overpowers the subject of the original work, yet rather than retain the surface texture, the present work acts as trompe-l'oeil. The result is that the mythical act of the heroic artist with a brush in hand is erased and exposed as nothing but an illusion, as the artist confesses, “I fetishise the brushmark, and treat them like objects to be gazed at in awe, eventually to be mocked” (Glenn Brown cited in: ‘Glenn Brown: Room 2’,, online).

With painterly rhetoric and sophisticated distortion, Brown examines our relationship with the art of the past from Rococo to Mannerist, Expressionist and Surrealist, while also exploring issues of original authorship and reproduction. In doing so, the artist reflects upon the history of art without confining himself to a specific period. The sources for his works can be found in the works of Old Masters such as Rembrandt and Adolph von Menzel, Surrealists – especially Salvador Dalí – as well as sci-fi painters such as Chris Foss. Deliberately drawing from reproductions, Brown manipulates this imagery, often beyond recognition, before transposing such artistic production into works of an unparalleled uncanniness, where colours and forms undergo further re-assessment.

Both alluring and unsettling and ranging from monstrous to melancholic, Brown’s paintings – like his drawings and sculptures – broadcast a pronounced indifference to common distinctions between good and bad taste, or beauty and abjection. To this end, Brown’s paintings intervene and distort the canon of art history by directly employing the terms of our contemporary experience of it – a visual encounter that today is utterly mediated by the ubiquitous reproduction. Crucially it is the inconsistency of the mass-produced facsimile made abundant in art books, catalogues and infinitely replicated within the fathomless hyperspace of the computer screen that provides the artist with his primary entry point. Akin to Gerhard Richter before him, Brown thus explores the validity of painting in spite of, and dependent upon, a visual culture mediated by mass reproduction and the possibility of infinite replication. Taking his cue from 1980s appropriation art, Brown represents the next step in the dialogue between photography, painting and post-modern quotation.