Ana Benaroya - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle Hong Kong Tuesday, November 29, 2022 | Phillips

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  • “When I create an image, I am funnelling all the pent up anger I have about being a woman in this world. I extend, expand, and distort the human figure to my will to depict power dynamics that I believe are in play within society. The bodies I paint and draw are an extension of my own body. They are my alter-ego, my inner desires, fantasies, and nightmares. With each image I create, the aim is to make myself laugh, to feel better, it is a cathartic release.”
    — Ana Benaroya


    Self-assured and uninhibited, Ana Benaroya’s (often nude, or scantily clad) female figures resemble bulging fleshy masses and dominate the visual planes which she creates. At once reminiscent of Jenny Saville’s tantalisingly grotesque bodies—though rendered in neon and pastel hues—Benaroya is known for her powerful portraits of women made in eye-popping Fauvist tones. Drawing influence from sources as variated as comic books, Greek sculptures, images of athletes including bodybuilders, Michelangelo and pop culture caricature, the artist’s oeuvre aims to depict women beyond the idealised and conservative confines of a perhaps misogynist artistic canon. Instead, Benaroya’s female figures play dominant and active roles within her creations.  



    Gustave Courbet, The Origin of the World, 1866
    Collection of Musée d'Orsay, Paris


    The present work pays conspicuous homage to Gustave Courbet’s The Origin of the World (1866), a provocative icon of modern art depicting an anonymous woman’s open thighs and reclining torso, her genitals centrally displayed. Ostensibly a mirror to the Courbet original in its positioning of the female genitals, Benaroya’s protagonist is no longer a passive and faceless figure. Rather than reclining, she stands tall and proud and towers over the viewer with a coy smile on her lips. We are forced to turn our heads up towards her—to confront the very depths of her womanhood—in a show of reverence and admiration as the male gaze dissipates to give way to a subversive female lens.


    Phillips presented Be My Baby (2019) as the artist’s auction debut in New York in September 2022, where the painting achieved a remarkable US$115,920 against pre-sale estimates of US$20,000 –30,000. Offered in the Hong Kong Day Sale, the present work marks the artist’s debut at auction in Asia.


    • Provenance

      Richard Heller Gallery, Los Angeles
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Los Angeles, Richard Heller Gallery, Ana Benaroya: Teach Me Tonight, 15 February – 28 March 2020


Origins Of The World

signed, titled and dated '"ORIGINS OF THE WORLD" ANA BENAROYA 2019' on the reverse
spray paint, acrylic and oil on canvas
120.4 x 100.2 cm. (47 3/8 x 39 1/2 in.)
Executed in 2019.

Full Cataloguing

HK$120,000 - 160,000 

Sold for HK$120,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle

Hong Kong Auction 30 November 2022