Leigh

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  • Condition Report

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  • Provenance

    Galleria Monica De Cardenas, Milan
    Private Collection, Seoul
    Jason Haam Gallery, Seoul
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Milan, Monica de Cardenas Galleria, Alex Katz, 25 November 2005 - 14 February 2006, pp. 14-15 (illustrated, p. 15)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Deceptively simple in their execution, the New York School painter Alex Katz’s famed portraits and landscapes feature immaculate flat planes and clean lines, a technique first developed by the artist in the Fifties. Katz’s minimalistic and defiantly figurative approach arose as a response to Abstract Expressionism and Colour Field Abstraction. From these movements he derives the size and scale of his works, as well as the sense of abstract flatness. His clean, vibrant and graphic visual language is influenced in part by the aesthetics of post-war American billboard advertising and the later Pop Art movement. However, over seven decades of artistic creation, Alex Katz has developed a distinctive visual language inspired by a wide range of sources including cinema, photography, advertising and pop culture in general. He has always remained distinct in his own version of figuration and portraiture that he dubbed ‘totally American’ and therefore holds a unique position between formalism and representation within American art history.

    The present work was unveiled as part of a larger group of pieces that radiated a new sense of energy displayed by the artist in the mid-2000s, painted in bold colours such as pinks and blues, and in particular the lime green of Leigh. In this work, the titular blonde character dons a trench coat with her hands in her pockets, and faces the viewer in the middle of the canvas with a relaxed half-smile so typical of Katz. Against this luminous green field, the subject of the painting becomes the focal point of the work: an intense form of figuration as imagined by the artist. Having previously named Goya amongst key painters influential to his mode of painting, it is perhaps possible to detect in Katz’s work a contemporary rendition of the portraiture for which the 19th century artist was famous. In its minimalist and luminous execution, Leigh is devoid of sentimental attachment and yet capable of communicating a potent and profound psychological connection with its audience. Similar to Goya then perhaps is Katz’s attention not only to the inner monologue conveyed by their models, but utilising cropping and confinement of canvas in order to evoke certain sentiments.

    In Leigh, the protagonist is featured in an almost ‘wide angle’ portrait, with the cropping showing the space just above Leigh’s head, ending our view of her just below her coat. Calling to mind Katz’s signature cut-outs in the sharpness of Leigh’s rendering, a technique he created at the beginning of his career, the present work exudes a sense of starkness in which it is possible to insert oneself into the painting. Furthermore, in aligning his subject parallel to the picture plane, the character takes on an almost confrontational aspect, forcing the audience into acute awareness of her.

  • Catalogue Essay

    紐約畫派藝術家阿歷克斯·卡茨著名的肖像和風景畫,手法貌似簡單,但其完美的平面和簡潔的線條是藝術家早在五十年代便開創的技巧。卡茨的簡約畫風和蓄意的具象手法是對抽象表現主義和色域抽象所做出的回應。他從這些運動中發展出自己作品的大小和尺幅,以及抽象平面感。他簡潔、鮮麗和圖像化的視覺語言在一定程度上是受到戰後美國的廣告牌和之後的波普藝術運動的美學所影響。然而,在超過七十年的藝術創作中,卡茨建立了一種靈感來自包括電影、攝影、廣告和流行文化等廣泛來源的獨特視覺語言。他一直保持了自己「完全美國式」的、鮮明的寫實和肖像畫風格,因此他在美國藝術史上有著在形式主義和表現主義之間另闢蹊徑的獨特地位。

    本件作品為最早於2000年代中期所展示的較大一批散發新能量的作品之一,這批作品運用了許多大膽的色彩,例如粉紅色和藍色,更尤其是《蓮兒》中的檸檬綠。在這件拍品中,金髮女子身穿一件風衣,雙手插在口袋中,臉上是典型的卡茨式的半露微笑表情,在畫面中央輕鬆地面對觀者。在翠綠色田野的背景前,畫中人物成為作品的焦點:一種藝術家想像出的強烈具象形式。曾經提到戈雅是影響他繪畫方式的主要藝術家之一,在卡茨的作品中或許可以發現他對這位19世紀的藝術家著名肖像畫的當代演繹。通過極簡和鮮麗的呈現,《蓮兒》雖然不帶任何情感上的依戀,但仍能夠與觀者建立一種強烈而深刻的心理連結。與戈雅相似,也許卡茨的用意不僅在於傳達畫中人的內心獨白,而且在利用對畫面的切割和限定來喚起某些情緒。

    在《蓮兒》中,主人公出現在近乎「廣角」的直立肖像畫型式中,通過切割僅僅展示了頭部上方的空間,而我們的視線也止於她的風衣以下。對此作利落的處理,讓人想到卡茨標誌性的畫面裁剪,這是在其職業生涯初期所開創的技巧。本作滲透著一種荒蕪感,讓人彷彿可以將自己置身畫面之中。此外,通過將人物與畫的平面平行對齊,主人公帶著直視的角度,迫使觀眾明顯地意識到她的存在。

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4

Alex Katz

Leigh

2005
signed and dated 'Alex Katz 05' on the reverse
oil on canvas
213.4 x 154.4 cm. (84 x 60 3/4 in.)
Painted in 2005.

Estimate
HK$3,000,000 - 5,000,000 
€349,000-581,000
$385,000-641,000

Place Advance Bid
Contact Specialist
Charlotte Raybaud
Head of Evening Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 24 November 2019