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  • Provenance

    Galerie Thomas, Munich
    Victoria Miro Gallery, London
    Sotheby's London, 'Contemporary Art Evening Auction', 1 July 2008, lot 13
    Acquired from the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 1997, following her move to the United States – partly to escape being associated with the YBAs – London-born artist Cecily Brown had her frst solo exhibition in New York where she made her mark on the contemporary art scene. Painted in 1998, the present lot is dated from the recent period of the artist’s career during which, while experimenting with painting, she developed her unique ‘hide and seek’ style of which Lured is a perfect example.

    Brown’s paintings are characterized by heavily loaded brushstrokes and overlapping impasto which often reveal the hint of a distinguishable image. In Lured, the outline of a barely sketched tree, whose branches spread through the upper part of the canvas, can be discerned. If the black rounded shapes closer to the tree may be interpreted as apples, this painting suddenly acquires a new meaning and becomes reminiscent of Gustav Klimt’s The Apple Tree – indeed, it is not uncommon for Brownto draw inspiration from the masters of the past such as Hieronymus Bosch and Titian. What at frst seemed to be a gestural work in line with Abstract Expressionism therefore reveals itself to be a more complex exploration of the boundaries between abstraction and fguration. "I am very reluctant to let go of the fgure and to certain erotic or violent content. I always want this confict in the painting" (the artist in Cecily Brown, ed. Ashton Dore, Gagosian Gallery & Rizzoli International Publications, New York, 2008, p. 27).

    Brown’s art is all about fesh. Not only do her paintings often incorporate sexual images, but everything about them, from the sensuous brush marks to the pink-toned palette, seduces the eye. Perhaps, in Lured, we are looking at the Tree of Life and the sin that came from it, as the work draws the viewer into the heart of the painting and into the very corruption of fesh.

150

Lured

1998-99
oil on canvas
71.5 x 61 cm (28 1/8 x 24 in)
Signed, titled and dated 'Cecily Brown LURED 98-99' on the reverse.

Estimate
£180,000 - 220,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £199,250

Contemporary Art Day Sale

15 February 2013
London