Anna Weyant - 20th Century to Now London Friday, June 30, 2023 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • “I definitely have a complicated relationship with these girls who are non-existent, but I spend most of my time with them, so they've certainly become real. I would love for my audience to share a relationship with this pathetic and sympathetic character. I think there's humour in that, and I hope people can feel it.”
    —Anna Weyant

    The youngest artist to be globally represented by Gagosian Gallery, Anna Weyant has quickly risen to prominence, captivating the public and collectors alike with highly finished, timeless canvases filled with poignance. While her lucid still lifes engender everyday objects with a crackling sense of unease, Weyant’s portraits explore the compelling complexity of adolescent girlhood. Drawn from her imagination and gleaning certain physical features from the artist’s close group of friends, Weyant’s young female protagonists have a certain equivocality to them, an off-beat air of disquiet that charges her compositions with an atmospheric ambiguity.


    Painted in 2020, Cloud Hill testifies to Weyant’s studied engagement with portraiture as a genre, especially evident in her exquisite handling of light and signatory muted palette which, in the artist’s own words, allows her not to become ‘distracted by colour’.i Although the work is almost monochromatic in its creamy, flesh-toned hues and the black, velvety expanse of her dress, Weyant distinguishes the central figure from the lightly patterned background through a deft, painterly touch that reproduces the soft sensation of flesh through barely perceptible gradations in tone. Subtle modulations of light and shadow highlight Weyant’s painterly skill with regards to modelling and texture while also introducing an air of drama and contradiction as the women seems at once delicate and strident, coy and self-confident.


    Petrus Christus, Portrait of young girl, 1470 AD, Gemaldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Germany. Image: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie / Christoph Schmidt


    Weyant’s use of a restricted palette alongside her employment of sfumato tones for understated, physiological effect draws her work into close dialogue with that of Early Netherlandish painters. Such effects are particularly evident in a work such as Petrus Christus’s Portrait of a young girl, where dramatic use of darker tones are contrasted with more luminous passages - echoed in the play of light and shadow in the present work. Both closely focused on the head and shoulders of enigmatic and beautiful female subjects, the two works possess a remarkable visual clarity, with a special emphasis given to texture and the inner luminosity that seems to radiate from both figures.


    Whilst historically the transition from girlhood to adult maturity was swift - apparent in the restraint and composure of the young subject of Christus’ painting, still unsure of herself in the more extravagant and restrictive dress appropriate for a young woman of her station - Weyant appeals to the more complex, conflicting emotions surrounding adolescence. Interested in what she has memorably dubbed the ‘low-stakes trauma’ of girlhood and fascinated by ‘tweens and being in between childhood and adulthood’, Weyant’s portraits characterise this vacillating stage of womanhood which can be ‘traumatic, dramatic, devastating and hilarious’ at the same time.ii

    We are drawn to the figure in Cloud Hill by her glossy appearance; she is doll-like with her neat hair and silken skin, but something is off as she stands frontally and stiff, ill at ease. Her expression is ambiguous: imploring and inviting as she seems to hold something back. The pressure concentrated around the figure’s mouth and expressed through dimpled cheeks and tightly pressed lips suggest a psyche marked by worry and self-doubt as much as playfulness and mischief – as if she could break down in tears or burst out into hysterical laughter in the next moment. It is into this ambiguous and tragicomic atmosphere that Weyant invites us.  Realising, in the artist’s own words, that something ‘is not quite right in the image, something that doesn’t fit’, we are still unable to precisely locate the cause of the sensation, instead ourselves experiencing the very sentiments to which Weyant is inspired; apprehension, unease, self-doubt, all underpinned by a sense of restless, almost comedic anxiety.



    i Anna Weyant quoted in, Bill Powers ‘The Credible Image: An Interview of Anna Weyant on the occasion of her Solo Exhibition Loose Screw’, Autre, 2021, online.

    ii Anna Weyant quoted in, Sasha Bogojev, ‘Anna Weyant: Welcome to the Dollhouse’, Juxtapoz: Art & Culture, online.

    • Provenance

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

    • Exhibited

      Los Angeles, Blum & Poe, Loose Screw, 23 March - 1 May 2021
      Dallas, The Warehouse, Out of Body, Out of Mind, 8 April - 28 May 2022

    • Literature

      Bill Powers, 'The Credible Image: An Interview of Anna Weyant on the Occasion of her Solo Exhibition Loose Screw' Autre, 5 March 2021, online (illustrated)
      Lucy Rees, 'Discover Buzzworthy Artist Anna Weyant's Enigmatic Portraits', Galerie Magazine, 23 July 2021, online (illustrated)


Cloud Hill

signed and dated 'Anna Weyant 2020' on the reverse
oil on linen
121.9 x 91.4 cm (47 7/8 x 35 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2020.

Full Cataloguing

£250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for £285,750

Contact Specialist

Leonor de Osma
Head of Sale, 20th Century to Now
T +44 20 7901 7912
M +44 7584 086 052

20th Century to Now

London Auction 30 June 2023