Albert Oehlen - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, October 13, 2015 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Patrick Painter Inc., Los Angeles
    McCabe Fine Art

  • Catalogue Essay

    Rebellion, destruction and frantic expression form the basis of much of Albert Oehlen’s style, mirroring the Punk sentiments that dominated the 1970s just as he was completing his artistic training. However, working in Germany and studying with the likes of Sigmar Polke, left an equally profound effect on his style which continues to display his profound awareness of painterly European traditions. At a time when cultural trends started to become a shared international phenomenon with the exportation of American popular culture to Europe during the second half of the 20th century, Oehlen was not short of inspiration. Remaining firmly in the European school of artists, Oehlen amalgamated these wide-reaching sources of inspiration when forming his own very distinctive style that inevitably equally underwent considerable changes – and continues to do so.

    Omegasachen-35 painted in 2002, superbly encapsulates the core values that give strength to Oehlen’s works. Marrying recognisable three-dimensional motifs such as a table and pillar on the left, with wildly energetic splashes of vibrant hues and smeared paint, Oehlen in his typical manner juxtaposes the abstract and the figurative in a crescendo of colour and texture. By doing so the barriers of each binary group are broken up as they cannot, in their very nature, work in conjunction. The allusion of depth created by what appears to be a large landscape in the background is fragmented and negated by the array of symbols and painted marks that erupt onto the surface of the picture plane.

    Thus, Oehlen’s vast canvases, such as Omegasachen-35, create an active discourse with the history of art often uniting recognisable painterly styles like the exuberant Abstract Expressionist brushstroke, with motifs from the everyday - sometimes even in the form of found images from magazines. This thought-provoking merger of such disparate notions and ideas contributes to the constant allure of Oehlen’s paintings. ‘Oehlen terms this approach post-nonrepresentational. It is an approach that exceeds the codified discourse of painting, breaking through the laws of visual language censored by grammar and semantics, as a kind of social and political protest.’ (I. Blazwick in M. Clark, Albert Oehlen: I always Champion Bad Painting, London 2006, p. 8)

    ‘What I intend is to paint a picture in which it doesn’t matter whether anything can be recognized, but which is nonetheless compelling. But compelling doesn’t mean immediately possible to explain.’ (A. Oehlen, Albert Oehlen im Gesprach mit Wilfried Dickhoff und Martin Prinzhorn, Germany 1991, p.42)

Property from the Estate of Dr. Fredric S. Brandt, Miami



oil on canvas
224 x 225.5 cm (88 1/4 x 88 3/4 in.)

£250,000 - 350,000 ‡♠

Sold for £302,500

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London 14 October 2015 7pm