Amy Sillman - 20th Century & Contemporary Art: Online Auction New York Tuesday, September 26, 2023 | Phillips

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  • Amy Sillman’s work is defined by her enduring confrontation of conventional art historical concepts related to power and authority. Rather than emphasizing certainty, she embraces uncertainty, the unknown, and a sense of closeness as essential aspects of the creative process. As a result, her works often toe the line between figurative and abstract, using this liminal space as a stage to explore the intricacies of the human experience. Sillman’s involvement in the feminist and counterculture movements in New York in the latter decades of the 20th century is mirrored by the powerful symbolism and imagery within her oeuvre.


    In Untitled (Triptych), 2000, Sillman depicts several figures in isolated settings. Human forms of varying opacities layer over one another, appearing to be linked by their loneliness. The blank space between the figures is expansive, heightening the solitary, contemplative aura of the work. Many of the figures are nude women without heads, perhaps touching on the homogenization and sexualization that arises from historic and present-day female beauty standards. This theme of objectification is further reinforced by Sillman’s only depiction of a group in the triptych: five heads, all with the same stark white face, look down at another headless nude female body. The power dynamic embroiled within this image exemplifies the artist’s ability to convey meaning with fragments of a scene.


    By combining her airy figures and portions of architectural reference, such as fountains and windows, as well as the aforementioned blank space, Sillman creates an ethereal atmosphere within Untitled (Triptych). It is within the framework of this otherworldly aura that Sillman is able to expound her challenges of societal power structures, creating scenes where time and place are unknown. This temporal ambiguity serves to exemplify how several of the issues Sillman addresses are not only rooted in history, but remain present in the modern world.

    • Provenance

      Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
      Private Collection, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner


Untitled (Triptych)

each signed with the artist's initials and dated "AS '00" on the reverse
watercolor and ink on paper
each 19 5/8 x 27 7/8 in. (49.8 x 70.8 cm)
Executed in 2000.

Full Cataloguing

$10,000 - 15,000 

Sold for $11,430

Contact Specialist

Katerina Blackwood
Associate Specialist, Head of Online Sales, New York
20th Century & Contemporary Art
T +1 212 940 1248

20th Century & Contemporary Art: Online Auction

26 September - 5 October 2023