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  • Provenance

    Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin; The Pierre Huber Collection, Geneva

  • Exhibited

    Essen, Museum Folkwang, Werner Büttner, Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen, February 4 – March 11, 1984; Geneva, Art & Public, Albert Oehlen, February 2 – March 3, 2000; Lausanne, Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, June 18-September 5, 2004; Salamanca, Domus Artium 2002, December 9, 2004 – January 30, 2005; and Kunsthalle Nurnberg, April 28 – June 26, 2005 ; Albert Oehlen: Peintures/Maleriei, 1980-2004: Self Portrait at 50 million times the speed of light, June 2004 – June 2005; Lausanne, Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Private View 1980 – 2000: Collection Pierre Huber, June 14 – September 11, 2005

  • Literature

    W. Buttner, M. Kippenberger, and A. Oehlen, Werner Büttner, Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen, Essen, 1984, p. 80 (illustrated); Taschen, ed., Albert Oehlen, Cologne, 1995, p. 18 (illustrated); M. Prinzhorn and S. Schmidt-Wulfen, Albert Oehlen: Gemälde Paintings, 1980 – 1982, Berlin, 2002, p. 31 (illustrated); R. Biel, Albert Oehlen: Peintures/Maleriei, 1980 – 2004, Zurich, 2004, p. 51 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    In the 1980s, German artist Albert Oehlen executed work that was thematically in sync with the Neo-Expressionist painting movement, then active in Europe and the United States. His work was characterized by heroic poses highlighting an amplified self-superiority complex. Oehlen’s early figurative paintings, exemplified by the present lot, Grazie, emphasize a theme of grandeur associated with religions or history, while simultaneously undercutting the idea of grandeur with stylistic and tonal choices more akin to banal human existence. Gracing the line between spiritual bliss and earthly despair, the indistinct figural expression and fragmentation depicted in the current lot provokes a Modernist ideal of artistic transcendence.

  • Artist Biography

    Albert Oehlen

    Albert Oehlen is a German contemporary artist whose work explores the capabilities and failures of painting in the age of postmodernism. His deconstructed artworks reduce painting to a discordant mixture of its constituent elements—color, gesture, motion, and duration—and celebrate the resulting disharmony as an artistic expedition to the frontiers of the abilities of painting. Oehlen began his career in the art scenes of Cologne and Berlin, becoming associated with the Junge Wilde artists who sought to create works that defied classification and disrupted the artistic status quo. He has carried this sense of rebelliousness into his mature career with works that incorporate digital technologies as well as more traditional media. Oehlen’s paintings are marked by inherent, gleeful contradictions, always wielded with a cavalier confidence in the artist’s prowess – his uncooperative fusions of abstraction and figuration, for example, expose the inefficiencies of each art mode and explore the function of painting as much as its meaning.

    Oehlen has attracted critical praise befitting the innovative nature of his work, and he has been the subject of several major exhibitions at institutions such as the Mumok, Vienna and the New Museum, New York. He lives and works between Bühler, Switzerland.

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Oil and lacquer on canvas.
67 x 59 ¼ in. (170.2 x 150.5 cm).
Signed and dated “A. Oehlen 82” on the reverse.

$150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for $176,500

Contemporary Art Part I

13 Nov 2008, 7pm
New York