Street Masters: Contemporary Artists Reinterpret the Classics

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Launch Slideshow

Sotheby’s has teamed up with cutting-edge gallery Fat Free Art to invite a group of internationally renowned street artists to reimagine works from our Master Paintings sale on 8 June in New York. Using their signature materials and styles, selected artists have reinterpreted 15th- through 17th-century paintings for Street Masters, a special exhibition at Fat Free Art’s Lower East Side space. Click ahead to see some of these brand-new works alongside the Master paintings that inspired them, and visit Fat Free to see more contemporary interpretations of lots from Sotheby’s upcoming sale. 

Street Masters
2–14 June | Fat Free Art Gallery

Master Paintings
8 June | New York

Street Masters: Contemporary Artists Reinterpret the Classics

  • Utrecht School, circa 1625, A Man Smoking a Pipe. Estimate $10,000–15,000.
  • Pang, Miniature Asshole.
    Based in Lisbon, Pang paints both in the studio and around such cities as London, Rome, Paris and Marrakech where her mural work can be found. She studied at a classical painting atelier in Florence for four years and has since developed her oil painting while also focusing on street art. Integrating Old Master copies into her work, Pang juxtaposes opposing disciplines by using humour – her signature is a cowboy who flippantly destroys her classical pieces.  

  • Mariana Oushiro, The Lady Liberty Pipe.
    A Brazilian-Japanese artist and designer from São Paulo, Oushiro is currently based in New York. “When I started [interpreting] A Man Smoking a Pipe, it was an adventure, like it always is," the artist said of his experience. “It’s like driving with no direction but knowing where I am going.” 

  • Anthonie de Lorme, The Interior of a Renaissance-Style Church. Estimate $40,000–60,000.
  • Aiko, The Church of Aiko.
    Aiko was born and raised in Tokyo before moving to New York in the mid-1990s where she apprenticed in Takashi Murakami’s studio. Now firmly established in the contemporary art world, Aiko remains well-respected within the international graffiti and street art scene. Her extensive list of major projects includes commissions for Louis Vuitton and The Standard Hotel, creating indoor and outdoor art, including Miami’s Wynwood Walls, and working on the 2010 Banksy documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop

  • Fumero, Grafstract City.
    Fumero’s rendition of the 17th-century Baroque artist Anthonie de Lorme’s church interior maintains its original integrity but with a colourful, urban twist. The New York street artist’s painting is a drastic departure from de Lorme’s original dark and austere composition. Fumero chose to recreate this scene because of the complexity of illustrating the architectural structures in linear perspective. 

  • Workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder, Lucretia. Estimate $30,000–50,000.
  • Belin, The Lucretia.
    Born in 1979 in Linares, Spain, Miguel Angel Belinchon Bujes, known as Belin, is famous for his hyperrealist depictions of landscapes and portraits. In his work inspired by Lucretia, he used vivid colours and a mix of textures to create a new hyperrealistic dynamic. He defines this experiment as “Post Neo Cubism,” paying tribute to Spanish master Pablo Picasso. 

  • Sr. X, Void.
    Spanish street artist Sr. X began drawing as a child when he would read Marvel comics and Manga. “The things that most inspire me are those I see during the day,” he said. “Most of all, those that come to my mind in that strange moment between dream and wakefulness.” 

  • Johan Baptist Govaerts, Still Life of Flowers and a Bird's Nest on a Stone Ledge. Estimate $20,000–30,000.
  • Jongmin Kim, Live Urban Flowers.
    “In the original masterpiece, the flowers bring to mind the analogy with life in the streets of New York in all its diversity, vivaciousness and inherent beauty,” the artist, who mixes various forms of expressionism, impressionism and more in her work, said on interpreting the still life.  

  • Nailah Fuller, Untitled.
    A visual artist who creates images to invoke self-dialogue, Fuller likes to provoke thought and experiment with unsaid truths. “In this piece, I thought about how the masters work would fit in today’s society,” she said. “I placed the master on a NYC wall to elaborate how people would possibly react to its original intention and glory. I added my own writing and sketches to make a statement about the ideals of ‘new and old.’ New York is filled with some of the great art, and people walk right past it every day. When the artist is dead, it becomes sacred. This cycle is inevitable, but as art enthusiasts, we must balance new and old. We must learn from masters, but remember we soon will be masters.” 

  • Agnolo di Domenico del Mazziere, formerly known as the Master of Santo Spirito, Portrait of a Boy, Half Length, In a Landscape, Dressed in Black Robes and Cap. Estimate $30,000–50,000.
  • Nick Smith, Brother with Golden Bird.
    Glasgow-born artist Nick Smith produces striking artworks with the clever application of his custom colour swatches. Each individual swatch is annotated with a word, allowing Smith to run text as an intriguing layer of information attached to the pixelated image. In this reinterpreted Master painting, Smith researched the story of the two brothers credited with creating the work and parallelled them with a story penned by the Brothers Grimm. To trace the synergy between the two sets of brothers, Smith says reading his artwork up close is a must.  

  • Tomaso Albertini, Soul of a Boy.
    Born in Milan, Albertini lives and works in New York City where he creates three-dimensional works that experiment with materials like cardboard and melted plastic. Using both sculptural and painting techniques, his interpretation of the Old Master portrait features many stories within a larger one. The boy’s living tattoos tell his story: a man with wings on the chest represents dreams and the future, while on the heart, two lovers to try to protect the organ as if it was a treasure. 

  • Giuseppe Maria Crespi, Study of a Bearded Man Wearing a Turban, Head and Shoulders, Looking Right; Study of an Elderly Bearded Man, Looking Left. Estimate $40,000–60,000.
  • Pang, Crespi/Miniature Asshole.
    Pang’s signature cowboy makes an appearance again in this reinterpretation of a study by Giuseppe Maria Crespi. 

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