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Auction Description for Sotheby's: Contemporary Evening

Contemporary Evening

by Sotheby's


54 lots with images

November 9, 2005

1334 York Avenue

at 72nd Street

New York, NY, 10021 USA

Phone: 00 1 212 606 7000

Fax: 0141 204 2502

Email: info@sothebys.com

FRANCIS ALYS

Lot 1: FRANCIS ALYS

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Description: B. 1959EL SOPLON (THE PROMPTER)measurementsAlÿs (canvas): 12 x 10 in. 30.5 x 25.4 cm. Huerta: 75 x 48 in. 190.5 x 121.9 cm.García: 59 x 36 in. 149.9 x 91.4 cm. Rivera: 63 x 48 in. 160 x 121.9 cm.García: signedRivera: signedinstallation of three oil on tin paintings and one encaustic, paper and adhesive on canvas, in 4 partsExecuted in 1995.PROVENANCEGalería Camargo Vilaça, São PauloAcquired by the present owner from the aboveEXHIBITEDSão Paulo, Galería Camargo Vilaça, Other Peoples' Work, 1995LITERATUREKitty Scott, "Francis Alÿs," Parkett, no. 69, 2003, p. 21, illustrated in color (work in progress)NOTEEl Soplon (The Prompter), was part of the self proclaimed "feasible experiments" by the artist, in which a suited male protagonist engages his surroundings in a surrealistic, but recognizable manner. Alÿs would paint small "originals" and pass them on to rótulistas (sign painters), who would repaint their versions of Alÿs' painting. Further thwarting the idea of collaboration and authorship, Alÿs would then paint a "new" original based on the copies. Thus began the project Self-Portait Made by Others, from which the present work is arguably the most important. He commissioned his most favored rótulistas, Enrique Huerta, Juan García and Emilio Rivera, and requested them to make a likeness of him in front of a background that included a series of portraits based on their particular genre specialty. After modeling for each artist, Alÿs developed his own miniature self-portrait on encaustic, taping a piece of paper over his face in order to disguise his identity. (image a) By design, the realized copies executed by the rótulistas ultimately represent more of the personilty of each sign painter than the actual artist and vice versa.

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ANDY WARHOL

Lot 2: ANDY WARHOL

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Description: PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, NEW YORK1928-1987AIRMAIL STAMPS16 x 20 in. 40.6 x 50.8 cm.acrylic on canvasExecuted in 1962.PROVENANCEStable Gallery, New YorkJoseph Adamec, New YorkBy descent to the present ownerLITERATURERainer Crone, Andy Warhol, New York, 1970, cat. no. 437Rainer Crone, Andy Warhol, New York, 1976, cat. no. 786George Frei and Neil Printz, eds., The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné, Volume 1: Paintings and Sculpture 1961 - 1963, New York, 2002, cat. no. 113, p. 125, illustrated in colorNOTEA mastermind of iconography, Andy Warhol appropriated everyday imagery as the subject matter for his paintings. With his relentlessly repeating compositions, the artist simultaneously intensified and dulled the originally intended impact and meaning of his images whether celebrity portraits, soup cans, dollar bills or stamps. Warhol gave such images new iconic status by changing their context and turning them into art objects. In 1962, Warhol created two series of works based on stamps - the US Airmail Stamp and S&H Green Stamps -- transferred by means of a stamping method. The present work is one of 15 paintings on canvas made using the Airmail Stamp image. The image was taken from an actual airmail stamp that Warhol received on a letter's envelope. He then carved into an art-gum eraser in order to make a rubber stamp. The rubbery stamp was then covered in paint and used to make impressions on canvas. Due to the small scale of the original stamp, these works are smaller in scale than the repeated compositions made with Warhol's famous silk-screening process where the image could be manipulated. In fact, nine of the Airmail Stamp works are made of single impressions and only six, including the present work, have multiple images. As such the present work is a rarity for both its scale and placement within Warhol's developing technique and signature use of repeated imagery. Warhol's sense of play and irony has added a further unique twist to this painting - the artist inverted two of the stamp images to slyly disrupt the regimented order of his serial image.

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JEFF KOONS

Lot 3: JEFF KOONS

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Description: B. 1955LITTLE GIRL63 x 64 1/2 x 3 1/8 in. 160 x 164 x 8 cm.signed, numbered 1/3 and dated ' 88 on the reversemirror and glassThis work is number 1 from an edition of 3 plus one artist's proof.PROVENANCESonnabend Gallery, New YorkPrivate Collection, GermanyEXHIBITEDNew York, Sonnabend Gallery; Chicago, Donald Young Gallery; Cologne, Galerie Max Hetzler, Banality, 1988 (another example)Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum; Aarhus, Kunstmuseum; Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie, Jeff Koons, November 1992 - April 1993, p. 57, illustrated in color (Amsterdam) and pl. no. 44, illustrated in color (Aarhus)San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, Jeff Koons, 1992, cat. no. 42, pl. no. 44, illustrated in colorLITERATUREAngelika Muthesius, ed., Jeff Koons, Cologne, 1992, pl. no. 14, p. 110, illustrated in colorThe Jeff Koons Handbook (with an introduction by Robert Rosenblum), New York, 1992, p. 159

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LUC TUYMANS

Lot 4: LUC TUYMANS

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Description: PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE EAST COAST COLLECTIONB. 1958PREMONITIONdiameter: 28 in. 71.2 cm.oil on canvasExecuted in 1994.PROVENANCEDavid Zwirner Gallery, New YorkAcquired by the present owner from the above circa 1994EXHIBITEDNew York, David Zwirner Gallery, Luc Tuymans: Superstition, October - December 1994NOTELuc Tuymans' pictures compress separate layers of contingent meaning and seek to follow the ambiguous associations of free thought. Thriving on the hidden depths of the seemingly banal, like the sinister history often lurking beneath the polished veneer of Gerhard Richter's photo-paintings, Tuymans presents a partial view of the world that leaves the viewer strangely vulnerable. Freed from modernist commitment through a stylised disinterest in bold colour and grand painterly gesture, Tuymans encodes his compositions with signs of simplicity and instils a feeling of residual foreboding. His passion for cinema during the early 1980s engendered in him a fundamental awareness of the extent to which the meaning of an isolated film image is dependent on those which immediately precede and follow it. In other words, its meaning usually lies elsewhere. This heightened appreciation of narrative context informs the layered meanings of Tuymans' paintings, which exude the ambiguity of an 'interrupted film' as opposed to the conventional frozen drama of a 'charged moment'. As the artist has stated, "pictures, if they are to have effect, must have tremendous intensity of silence~the silence before the storm."Tuymans describes the process of thought and layers of context infused within Premonition. "At that time I was preoccupied with John Casey, a serial killer who murdered several children but who was also a painter. His paintings could be purchased through the mail~. Casey always painted pictures of himself as a clown~. What interested me here was the idea of the clown as a disguise, the nature of friendliness as something deceptive, and of dangerousness, which is connected to anonymity. The stereotype of the clown's face is enhanced by the sunglasses. The tondo, the round form is related to the idea of a lens, of focused perception. This is linked to perceiving something through a keyhole." (The artist discussing Premonition in Exh. Cat., Bern, Kunstmuseum, Premonition: Luc Tuymans, Drawings, 1997, p. 148)

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l - RICHARD PRINCE

Lot 5: l - RICHARD PRINCE

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Description: B. 1949UNTITLED (COWBOYS)48 x 72 in. 121.9 x 182.8 cm.Ektacolor printExecuted in 1993, this work is numbered 2/2 on the backing.PROVENANCEBarbara Gladstone Gallery, New YorkLITERATUREExh. Cat., Hannover, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Richard Prince: Photographs 1977 - 1993, 1994, cat. no. 43, n.p., illustrated in color (another example)NOTEWhile there is no written text calling the viewer to "Come to where the flavor is", one cannot help but feel beckoned into the dusty herd of stallions and cowboys portrayed in Richard Prince's Untitled (Cowboys), 1993. Whether man or woman, adult or child, American or otherwise, this iconic and universal image of a real, red-blooded, all-American leather chap-clad cowboy reaches out to us all as an object of desire. Richard Prince is a collector of images from the world of advertising. As a former employee of Time-Life, the artist poured over the publications, cutting and cataloguing articles, and as we now know, the advertisements as well. Prince has been collecting images from the "Marlboro Man" advertising campaigns since the early 1980s. In his photographs, the familiar images are liberated from their original commercial message and the branding logo of the red and white pack of cigarettes. Through the numerous methodological elements of his photographic process - retouching, cropping, sharpening and softening of focus - Prince's photographs and their images take on a new existence.The appropriation of the "Marlboro Man", the use of this undeniably defining American icon, has led this series to become the artist's most famous body of work. The Cowboy series lets us re-live our heroic past but simultaneously reminds us that it is no longer. The attitudes of the all-American cowboy have been forgotten in this our concrete corporate world, and the industry that this particular cowboy came to symbolize no longer dares to advertise like this. The fact that the "Marlboro Man" was made redundant as an ad-campaign amidst the tremendous negative backlash toward the tobacco industry and the health risks associated with smoking adds another, more sinister dimension to this series.Richard Prince's appropriations and reiterations of images from American culture have been among the most influential and radical formulations since Pop Art. Prince's work follows the lineage of artistic conceptual thought of the great Modern masters Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol. As with Duchamp's ground-breaking use of the ready-made and Andy Warhol's appropriation of popular imagery for his artistic subject matter, Richard Prince's work twists the familiar fabric of popular culture and squeezes it for inspiration. In regard to Warhol, this Pop master also accessed the cowboy myth when he chose a photo still of Elvis in 1960 from his first movie role as a young Western cowboy in Flaming Star. In contrast to his public image as a rebellious yet shy rock and roll singer, the role chosen by Hollywood for the introduction of Presley to movie celebrity was this all-American image. The subversion of celebrity and roles is slyly hinted at by the gunslinger pose -- the more violent version of the cowboy. In similar fashion, Prince's cowboys are to the 80's and 90's what Warhol's Elvis canvases were to the 60's; clean yet dirty, good yet bad, gentle but fierce, tame but wild. Untitled (Cowboys) offers the viewer a glimpse of a dream, a milli-second of freedom, innocence and truth. The cowboy is a mythical figure who symbolizes heroism, solitude, freedom and virility. Prince's cowboys offer us the American dream, and the works resonate with such familiarity that one can almost smell the dust of the prairie and hear the pounding of hooves~.it's a cliché, but it's American.

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