Brice Marden - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session New York Wednesday, May 16, 2018 | Phillips

Create your first list.

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

  • Provenance

    Texas Gallery, Houston
    Dominique de Menil, Houston
    Acquired thence by descent from the above

  • Catalogue Essay

    In the early 1970s, Brice Marden embarked upon a series of drawings which combined postcards of famous artworks with his signature application of monochrome graphite. The resulting works, a series titled Homage to Art, are unique takes on the idea of appropriation, with recognizable images altered and redefined. In the present lot, Homage to Art 12, 1974, Marden incorporates two commercial postcards reproductions of the adoring angel figure from the fresco work of Fra Angelico, pressing them into a shallow cavity created by scraping away a layer of the heavy white paper, resulting in an embossed effect. Of his process in making these works, a few of which were, like the present lot, dedicated to Fra Angelico, Marden said, “I felt that making collage was a bit of a simplified way of creating a space. These also come at the time when I’m thinking very much about plane and image, so I insert a card that has an image on it and I draw immediately up to edge with a black surface, which is my plane image as opposed to Fra Angelico’s, but it’s also my homage to Fra Angelico” (Brice Marden, quoted in “Brice Marden. Homage to Art 14 (Fra Angelico). 1974”, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2006, online audio interview). For the other works in Marden’s Homage to Art series, he appropriated recognizable masterpieces by the artists who most inspired him throughout his career, including Francisco Goya, Piet Mondrian and more, reflecting the artist’s strong interest and respect for the history of art.

    While the true source imagery in Marden’s Homage to Art 12 originates from the famed Renaissance artist’s triptych painted in the mid-1500s for the church of San Domenico in Fiesole, the physical source is a found object—the museum postcard. In utilizing the technique of collage with found images, Marden emphasizes the planarity of the work. By placing the postcards in the upper center of the composition and bordering them perpendicularly with his heavy application of graphite, Marden recalls his earlier drawings of orderly grids from the 1960s and 1970s. And yet in appropriating recognizable imagery, Marden uniquely combines the nostalgic past in the found object with the present in the physicality of the artist’s hand. As Klaus Kertess espouses of the Homage to Art works, “Photo-reproductive memory mirrors drawn memory” (Klaus Kertess, Brice Marden: Paintings and Drawings, New York, 1992, p. 39). Previously housed in the esteemed collection of Dominque de Menil of Houston, the present lot is, as such, both an homage to art of the distant past and also to Marden’s contemporary voice, founded upon planarity, materiality and evidently, upon collective human memory.

  • Artist Biography

    Brice Marden

    American • 1938 - N/A

    Born in Bronxville and working between New York City, Tivoli, New York, and Hydra, Greece, Brice Marden developed a unique style that departs from his Abstract Expressionist and Minimalist contemporaries. Drawing from his personal experiences and global travels, Marden’s works demonstrate a gestural and organic emotion channeled through the power of color. By the late 1960s, Marden received international recognition as the master of the monochrome panel and, in the late 1970s, began exploring the relationship between horizontal and vertical planes. His practice is deeply informed by his knowledge of classical architecture, world religion, ancient history, and spirituality. Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1998, Marden is represented in notable institutional collections including the Whitney Museum of Art, New York, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

    View More Works


Homage to Art 12

signed, titled and dated "HA 12 B. Marden 74" lower right
graphite, beeswax and collage on paper
30 x 22 5/8 in. (76.2 x 57.5 cm.)
Executed in 1974.

$250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for $312,500

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 16 May 2018