Lot 5: GLENN BROWN
Contemporary Art, Part 1
February 10, 2005
London, United Kingdom
signed, titled and dated 1999 (March - April) on the reverse
oil on board
"I fell head over heels in love with painting, all of it, for better or worse" (Glenn Brown quoted in Exhibition Catalogue, Frankfurt, Schirn Kunsthalle, "Dear Painter, paint me...", 2002, pp. 86-89)
Glenn Brown's contribution to the field of painting, through his synthesis of visual material, both historic and current, and his references to a wide range of sources from fine art to popular culture is compelling.
During his career, Brown's paintings have been inspired by a variety of sources, from historical artists such as Jean-Honoré Fragonard and Salvador Dali, to the utopian images of leading science-fiction artists. Using reproductions (often themselves inaccurate) of original works of art, Brown subverts the scene images that inspire him, transforming them into paintings that are both hauntingly familiar and, through his intervention, completely new.
Using an encyclopaedic knowledge of the history of art Brown entrenches himself in painting's materiality and myth, and the core to this subjective pantheon of artists is the School of London painter Frank Auerbach. In Beautification Brown looks to the image of Auerbach's Reclining Head of JYM (1983-84), sublimely translating the painterly soul and thickness of Auerbach's expressive brushwork into a flat sea of exquisitely detailed, feathered brushstrokes.
"....in Brown's hands, Auerbach's vigorous brushstrokes and thick impasto - intended to convey the sitter's strong physicality and the character of the artist/model relationship - are quietly muffled to create a completely smooth, illusionistic rendering of the source works' drama-laden materiality. While every reworking of Auerbach's originals involves changing the overall palette, recasting the backdrop, or tweaking facial features in order to transform the mood, Brown always retains a profound respect for the composition. Each time he returns to a portrait of J.Y.M., he accomplishes more than a postmodern act of appropriation. Far from being a simple critique of the source painting, each of Brown's readaptations is a renewal of his vows of fidelity and devotion to his art". (Alison, M. Gingeras in Exhibition Catalogue, London, Serpentine Gallery, Glenn Brown, 2004, p. 15).
PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTOR
Patrick Painter, Los Angeles
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner
59 by 56cm.
23 1/4 by 22in.
Exhibited: Bignan, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Glenn Brown, 2000, p. 41, no. GB60, illustrated