Amy Sillman - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session New York Wednesday, November 16, 2022 | Phillips

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  • “Color as object is earthly material stuff. Color as subject arches over everything like a rainbow, from cosmic rays to the minerals in the earth to what happens inside your eyes, from religious symbology to philosophical problems, from phenomena to noumena...”
    — Amy Sillman

    Painted in 2001, Amy Sillman’s Cart showcases her signature mode of painting, combining thick impasto with sweeping gestural strokes in a pastel palette gone rogue. Weaving an optical tapestry of color and form, Sillman draws the viewer into a painterly world of ochre, crimson and laurel green, coalesced into an arching horizon.


    At the heart of Sillman’s practice lies in the role of color. Often preferring jarring combinations that produce aesthetic tension, the artist employs color as the genre to survey the range of expressive possibilities in painting. For Sillman, color is foregrounded as “her thick and intense layering of color balances spontaneity with struggle, intense form with loose improvisation, and childlike imagery with loaded psychological implications.”i In the artist’s own words, "I am more interested in color as an engine of ongoing change and metamorphosis than as a static theory....Color is a primary tool for negation in my work—colors that block each other out or contradict each other, and are mixed in an archeologico-dialectic of continual deconstruction and reconstruction."ii


    Likened to the work of Willem de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, and Philip Guston, Sillman’s paintings hover at the boundaries of figuration and abstraction. The present work exemplifies how the artist “explores gesture and movement in the context of an “irrational landscape,” a space that may not make spatial sense but is defined by stacking, cutaways, and multi-tiered horizons.”iii As Max Henry observes, “Like a DJ sampling, she is cross-referencing as if she was a postmodern Fauve. Cézanne, Chagall, late Guston and Carroll Dunham are distilled in a lyrical remix hinting at landscapes and interiors derived from instant memory.”iv



    “Amy Sillman: The Other One, April 2 – May 7, 2005” Vielmetter Los Angeles, press release, online

    ii  Amy Sillman, quoted in Isabelle Graw and Ewa Lajer-Burcharth, eds., Painting Beyond Itself: The Medium in the Postmedium Condition, New York, 2016, p. 115

    iii  “Amy Sillman: The Other One, April 2 – May 7, 2005” Vielmetter Los Angeles, press release, online

    iv  Max Henry, “The New Atlantis: Abstract America,” in Abstract America, exh. cat., Saatchi Gallery, London, 2008, p. 8

    • Provenance

      Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
      Private Collection (acquired from the above in 2004)
      Sotheby’s, New York, September 24, 2009, lot 85
      Private Collection
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      New York, Brooklyn Museum, Open House: Working in Brooklyn, April 16–August 15, 2004, p. 185 (illustrated with flipped orientation, erroneously dated 2002)
      San Francisco, John Berggruen Gallery, Selected Works, November 5–December 5, 2009



signed, titled and dated "AMY SILLMAN 01 "CART"" on the overlap
oil on canvas over panel
50 x 60 in. (127 x 152.4 cm)
Painted in 2001.

Full Cataloguing

$100,000 - 150,000 

Contact Specialist

Patrizia Koenig
Specialist, Head of Day Sale, Afternoon Session
+1 212 940 1279

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session

New York Auction 16 November 2022