Homage to Art 12

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  • Provenance

    Texas Gallery, Houston
    Dominique de Menil, Houston
    Acquired thence by descent from the above

  • Catalogue Essay

    In the early 1970s, Brice Marden embarked upon a series of drawings which combined postcards of famous artworks with his signature application of monochrome graphite. The resulting works, a series titled Homage to Art, are unique takes on the idea of appropriation, with recognizable images altered and redefined. In the present lot, Homage to Art 12, 1974, Marden incorporates two commercial postcards reproductions of the adoring angel figure from the fresco work of Fra Angelico, pressing them into a shallow cavity created by scraping away a layer of the heavy white paper, resulting in an embossed effect. Of his process in making these works, a few of which were, like the present lot, dedicated to Fra Angelico, Marden said, “I felt that making collage was a bit of a simplified way of creating a space. These also come at the time when I’m thinking very much about plane and image, so I insert a card that has an image on it and I draw immediately up to edge with a black surface, which is my plane image as opposed to Fra Angelico’s, but it’s also my homage to Fra Angelico” (Brice Marden, quoted in “Brice Marden. Homage to Art 14 (Fra Angelico). 1974”, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2006, online audio interview). For the other works in Marden’s Homage to Art series, he appropriated recognizable masterpieces by the artists who most inspired him throughout his career, including Francisco Goya, Piet Mondrian and more, reflecting the artist’s strong interest and respect for the history of art.

    While the true source imagery in Marden’s Homage to Art 12 originates from the famed Renaissance artist’s triptych painted in the mid-1500s for the church of San Domenico in Fiesole, the physical source is a found object—the museum postcard. In utilizing the technique of collage with found images, Marden emphasizes the planarity of the work. By placing the postcards in the upper center of the composition and bordering them perpendicularly with his heavy application of graphite, Marden recalls his earlier drawings of orderly grids from the 1960s and 1970s. And yet in appropriating recognizable imagery, Marden uniquely combines the nostalgic past in the found object with the present in the physicality of the artist’s hand. As Klaus Kertess espouses of the Homage to Art works, “Photo-reproductive memory mirrors drawn memory” (Klaus Kertess, Brice Marden: Paintings and Drawings, New York, 1992, p. 39). Previously housed in the esteemed collection of Dominque de Menil of Houston, the present lot is, as such, both an homage to art of the distant past and also to Marden’s contemporary voice, founded upon planarity, materiality and evidently, upon collective human memory.

  • Artist Bio

    Brice Marden

    American • 1938 - N/A

    Often rejecting the styles of his contemporaries, Marden lives and continues to work in Bronxville, New York. He takes inspiration from Asian art and demonstrates a gestural and organic emotion. He prefers to leave the meaning in his work ambigious and open to interpretation, thus encouraging viewers to associate their own emotions with his art. Expanding internationally after his first solo show at Bykert Gallery, this minimalist has been shown in hundreds of exhibitions and became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1988.

    View More Works

155

Homage to Art 12

signed, titled and dated "HA 12 B. Marden 74" lower right
graphite, beeswax and collage on paper
30 x 22 5/8 in. (76.2 x 57.5 cm.)
Executed in 1974.

Estimate
$250,000 - 350,000 

sold for $312,500

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261
jmccord@phillips.com

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale Morning Session

New York Auction 16 May 2018