Anna Weyant - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Wednesday, May 18, 2022 | Phillips
  • "[The still life paintings] are very meditative and pleasant to make. I can make them alone. I set them up in my apartment, and I light them, and it’s dark and very comfortable...I’d say these are my favorites. I’m very attached and fond of them."
    —Anna Weyant

    Painted in 2021, Buffet II is a seductive example of Anna Weyant’s acclaimed still lifes. Presenting a basket of grapes, a glass of wine, fresh market produce, and eggs on a buffet table that spans beyond the picture plane, the artist draws the viewer into an eerie scene that teeters between striking realism and suggestions of the uncanny—a hallmark of her oeuvre. Offering a contemporary twist on the paintings of Dutch Golden Age masters, the present work showcases the artist’s signature use of dramatic chiaroscuro and scrupulous brushwork in rendering compositions that are at once elegant and unnerving. Buffet II captures the artist’s penchant for “filter[ing] her influences through mental and visual sieves to create charming canvases ripe with dark humor.”i


    René Magritte, Souvenir de voyage, 1951. The Menil Collection, Houston. Artwork: © 2022 C. Herscovici / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

    "I have always loved the line in the children’s book Madeline when Miss Clavel says, ‘Something isn’t right.’"
    —Anna Weyant

    Drawing upon centuries of Western painting from the Dutch Golden Age to modern Surrealism, Weyant is best known for her meticulously rendered still lifes and figurative paintings of women imbued with psychological decadence. In Buffet II, Weyant situates herself within the lineage of her still life predecessors such as Gerrit van Honthorst, Pieter Claesz, and Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin while conjuring the Surrealist sensibility of René Magritte. Exemplifying the signature sepia tone of her compositions, the present work reveals the artist’s aim to avoid the “distraction of color,” focusing on refined handling through a traditional painterly language. This materializes the sense of the uncanny purely through her representational choices, as Magritte did, allowing the viewer to engage with the narrative elements that appear conventional at first glance but reveal their disconcerting nature upon closer observation. Here, a single grape holds up the tablecloth, revealing what appears to be a mattress rather than a dining table, as red liquid eerily streams down the composition to fill a wine glass, its source placed out of the picture plane.


    Pieter Claesz, Still Life, ca. 1625. The Art Institute of Chicago. Image: Art Institute of Chicago, Simeon B. Williams Fund, 1935.300

    "Somewhat concealed and certainly not forced. It's the ‘wrongness’ of the details and/or the overall setup that creates [Weyant’s] tragicomic narratives."
    —Sasha Bogojev

    Weyant’s painterly style ultimately reveals her fascination with tragicomedy that permeates her practice. When asked about this quality that defines her work, Weyant expressed, “Humor can be a way to control discomfort. Mark Twain said something about humor being ‘tragedy plus time.’ If there’s humor in my work, it probably goes hand in hand with some sort of weird misery.”ii In the present work, lighthearted humor is found in the “peek-a-boo” unveil by the single grape and the anthropomorphic envelopes, mitigating the ominous reverb of the red liquid that suggests a violent ending of a horror story and the leek shaped like a pistol. Through this lens, Weyant masterfully translates the theme of vanitas or memento mori—again harkening back to her Dutch still-life predecessors—in Buffet II through her singular sensibility of weaving the sinister with the charming, menacing with the enchanting, dark with the light. Encapsulating the “harsh elegance” of the emerging artist’s alluring oeuvre, the present work embodies Rae Niwa’s words. “[Weyant’s paintings are] laden with a weight that is not to be played with or mistaken as passing novelty...Somewhere between the gentle repose of still lifes adorned with revolvers and irreverent symbols, the viewer is seized and seduced into a world of twisted intrigue...a mystery just out of reach.”iii 


    i Paul Laster, “Anna Weyant Embraces Dark Humor Through Realist Painting,” Art & Object, April 16, 2021, online.
    ii Anna Weyant, quoted in ibid.
    iii Rae Niwa, “Anna Weyant: That Sliver is Painful,” Flaunt Magazine, March 4, 2022.

    • Provenance

      Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Literature

      "Basel is Back: A Review of Art Basel 2021," Juxtapoz Magazine, September 28, 2021 (installation view illustrated)


Buffet II

signed and dated "Anna Weyant 2021 ♥" on the reverse
oil on canvas
48 x 60 1/4 in. (121.9 x 153 cm)
Painted in 2021.

Full Cataloguing

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $730,800

Contact Specialist

Amanda Lo Iacono
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+1 212 940 1278

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+1 212 940 1206

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 18 May 2022