Anforas

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  • Provenance

    Marlborough Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    Prominent Spanish painter and sculptor Manolo Valdés breathes new life into archetypal art historical tropes, infusing them with humour and irony. Influenced by the political situation in Spain under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, the artist’s early work was directly inspired by predecessors like Picasso and Velázquez. In the 1960s Valdés formed the Spanish pop art group Equipo Crónica, in which he combined well-known images like Velázquez’s Las Meninas with his own quick-witted political commentary. Using a rich visual vocabulary adapted from literature and art, Valdés is a master at suffusing layers of meaning into a single image.

    Anforas shows the artist’s characteristic play with art history, culture and politics. In this lot, the artist turns Classical conventions of artistic beauty on their head, combining a deliberate primitive painting style with visual anachronism. The amphora, an ancient Greek vessel for wine or oil, traditionally depicts images of the ancient gods and goddesses; here Valdés has chosen to replace the conventional figures with camels and pyramids. His intentionally crude application of paint onto hessian provides further juxtaposition to the smooth and stylised lines of Greek vases. The resulting visual confusion is the artist’s playful attempt to re-engage the viewer in our collective cultural history.

161

Anforas

2007
oil, hessian and cloth collage on hessian
233.7 x 215.9 cm (92 x 85 in.)
Signed, titled and dated 'M VALDES ANFORAS 2007' on the reverse.

Estimate
£100,000 - 150,000 ‡ ♠

sold for £146,500

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Head of Day Sale

+44 207 318 4061

Contemporary Art Day

London Auction 16 October 2014 2pm