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

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  • Ann Craven’s Little Hit Song, 2002, vibrantly exemplifies both the artist’s established aesthetic and her reflective creative process. Known for her exuberant depictions of wildlife, Craven has been creating paintings of birds since the late 1990s. While originally inspired by her grandmother’s ornithological books and often painting from references such as postcards, Craven’s style is more atmospheric than veristic. Her propensity for confident brushstrokes in lieu of minute details recalls the work of Alex Katz – unsurprising considering that Craven was once his studio assistant.


    Craven’s style is often described as diaristic, as she meticulously dates and keeps records of each of her works. The sense of temporality within her work is further reinforced by her recurring use of certain motifs, such as birds. Often depictions of specific songbirds in foliage, there is a striking similarity across many of her works. For Craven, these works represent a revisitation to a specific memory. The slight variations in her compositions and colors reflect the imperfection of human memory with the passage of time. The artist acknowledges this nostalgic mood at the crux of her oeuvre, saying, “I like to think that my work is memory or that I can paint something and I can always revisit that and I don’t have to remember it, I can always remember it if I need to go back to it.”i The link between present and past forged in Craven’s paintings is, Craven’s own words, her “acknowledging the passage of time.”ii



    i Ann Craven, quoted in Ashley Garrett, “Interview with Ann Craven,” Figure/Ground, November 28, 2014, online.

    ii Ibid.

    • Provenance

      Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert, Inc., New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner


Study for Hit Songbird

incised with the artist's signature and date "A Craven '02" lower right; signed and dated "A Craven 2002" on the overlap
oil on linen
18 x 14 in. (45.7 x 35.6 cm)
Painted in 2002.

Full Cataloguing

$18,000 - 25,000 

Sold for $22,860

Contact Specialist

Katerina Blackwood
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20th Century & Contemporary Art
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20th Century & Contemporary Art: Online Auction

26 September - 5 October 2023