Contemporary Discoveries

Contemporary Discoveries

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 320. Awakening.

George Condo


Lot Closed

March 15, 04:19 PM GMT


80,000 - 120,000 USD

Lot Details


George Condo

b. 1957


signed Condo, dated 1996 and variously inscribed (on the reverse)

oil on panel mounted to artist's board

12 by 9 in.

30.5 by 22.9 cm.

Executed in 1996.

Acquired directly from artist by the present owner

Launching his career as an assistant in Andy Warhol’s studio, George Condo quickly learned how to draw from a variety of source material; encompassing references that span from the Renaissance to Modernism, and into the undeniable influence of contemporary pop culture. Assimilating these references into a transformative practice, Condo devises a unique approach to psychological portraiture, producing paintings that simultaneously allude and evade categorization. The result is a pantheon that is at once strange and familiar, experimental and fragmented; these enticing subjects are distinguished by their ballooning cheeks and bulbous noses, tumescent chins and globular eyes gracing this fleshed out collection of characters. Describing his transmutable style, the artist has explained: “In the beginning I took fragments of architecture to create a person, now I take a person and fragment them to make architecture” (G. Condo cited in: L. Hoptman, ‘Abstraction as a State of Mind’ in: Exh. Cat., New York, New Museum, George Condo: Mental States, New York, 2011, p. 24)

As seen in the present lot, Awakening, the artist works in his most recognizable form. This expressive figure maintains his most recognizable caricature like qualities with its ballooning cheeks and egregiously large front teeth. Curator Ralph Rugoff notes, “Unlike in caricature… the preposterous features of these figures are in fact rendered with great sympathy. Drawing on the traditional rhetoric of portraiture, Condo imbues his invented subjects with a compelling psychological presence” (R. Rugoff, ‘The Mental States of America’ in: Exh. Cat., London, Hayward Gallery, George Condo: Mental States, 2011-2012, p. 16). In this particular work, the familiarity of a nearly childlike character exudes in this painting as a representation of Condo's most recognizable style.