George Condo (American, born 1957) Untitled 1993

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Lot 24TP
George Condo
(American, born 1957)
Untitled
1993

Sold for £ 62,500 (US$ 83,191) inc. premium
George Condo (American, born 1957)
Untitled
1993

signed, dated 93 and inscribed N.Y.C.
pastel and crayon on paper

202.8 by 214 cm.
79 13/16 by 84 1/4 in.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, Zurich
    Acquired directly from the above by the present owner in 1993



    Celebrated for his integration of art historical references, the present large-scale work on paper from 1993 by George Condo is an elaborate example of his skill of hybridizing disparate figurative traditions.

    Demarcating the end of his Post-Surrealist period, the present work is situated at a crossroads of George Condo's oeuvre. Having appropriated and expanded the unsettling visual repertoire of Surrealism with its metaphysical objects, enigmatically spread out in hypnotizing landscapes, he radically realigned his artistic practice in the early 1990's. Developing further series the self-taught prodigy resorted to inspirational figures, incorporating and exploring the legacy of the past centuries' great masters. Thoroughly at ease referencing an astonishing breadth of aesthetic touchstones, from Mannerism to Cubism, George Condo maintains a compositional liberty though his playful approach merging recognisable traits into his very own configurations. The present work offers the possibility to discern the traces of his influential predecessors, especially the reverberations of Pablo Picasso present throughout George Condo's various stylistic phases.

    The frenzied tension tangible in all of Condo's complex groupings is transported in the present work by the contrast of the boldly executed black outlines and the deliberately airy blanks. With the immediacy of a cartoonist, the audacity of a graffiti artist and yet paying tribute to the poetry of pastels, Condo creates a visceral current that flows through the image. This evokes the lines and symbols recurrent in the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat or Keith Haring who shared an artistic stable with the legendary dealer Bruno Bischofberger. Having been directly acquired at this distinguished gallery's exhibition in 1993, the present work remained in the same private collection for over two decades.

    In this imposing work, the sheer scale of the format only serves to emphasise strongly the impact of the provocative composition. The vivacity of the drafted lines unleashes an arc of suspense between two poles dominating the composition: the wild tonalities of the beast on one side contrast with the softer elements to femininity towards the centre. By choosing a flat view, the absence of perspective counterbalances the two opposed elements to the same level. A peaceful halo surrounding the female figure, embedded in the ornamental patterns is contrasted by the forceful animal. Unlike his more signature depictions of women the female figure is far from being a lascivious, saturnine nude or an eccentric grotesque; rather she is much frailer, gentler and perhaps more reverential. Instead of illustrating an immediately recognizable mythological theme Condo creates a fresh, but timeless legend in its own right. Carefully constructed configurations shape the background and shed an almost magical light onto the scenery.

    George Condo's celebrated role as one of America's leading figurative painters has been affirmed by numerous exhibitions in the world's most prestigious institutions. The announcement of an upcoming retrospective of his drawing at the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C. planned for 2017, is destined to ensure that his significance as a draughtsman is globally proclaimed.
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