Chase Hall - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session New York Wednesday, November 15, 2023 | Phillips

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  • Chase Hall is one of the most closely followed new voices in contemporary painting, widely praised for his nuanced confrontation of the histories and present realities of race in the United States. A crucial early painting, Jocko Where Grandpa Would Sit comes from Hall’s body of work You Can Lead a Horse to Water. First exhibited together in 2018, the works critically respond to representations of race in American visual culture. Throughout the series Hall also draws upon the historic relationships between Black Americans and horses, acknowledging the animal as a symbol of strength and liberation. Painted in 2018, the present example was created at an important juncture in the young artist’s career and is among the works Antwaun Sargent included in the 2019 exhibition Then & Now at Jenkins Johnson Projects. 


    Horses are an implicit presence in the present example, which features an image of Jocko Graves, most widely recognized as the racist Black jockey caricature featured in lawn ornaments. According to a likely fictional legend, Graves was an enslaved 12-year-old boy who guarded George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate during the 1776 Battle of Trenton by tending horses and holding a lantern that successfully guided troops back to safety. As the story goes, the young boy froze to death in his gallant pursuit, which was memorialized by Washington with a commissioned statue called The Faithful Groomsman. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, the figure “Jocko” became prevalent in the American cultural lexicon as a lawn ornament that often features derogatory physical features. Hall, the son of a horse trainer mother, frequently encountered the examples of the statue during his youth. 

    “I am focused on filling these voids of our racial literacy and proving that we are not only brave and brilliant but worthy of a new understanding of our past”
    —Chase Hall

    Revisiting this difficult and often misrepresented figure, Hall has come to reclaim the story of Jocko meanwhile acknowledging the damage his image has caused to society. In Jocko Where Grandpa Would Sit Hall elevates him beyond the realm of bigoted memorabilia into a reinvigorated reminder of Black contributions to American history, painting him as a symbol of sacrifice crouching stoically on a weathered bench. Hall’s use of historic iconography is unsettling, but strategically and intelligently invites a reevaluation of our response to Jocko’s image.


    Hall lives and works in New York. He was the subject of a solo exhibition at Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art earlier this year. In 2022 he was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera, New York to create the monumental diptych Midea Act I & II. His works are included in major institutional collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Foundation Louis Vuitton, Paris; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

    • Provenance

      Jenkins Johnson Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      New York, Jenkins Johnson Gallery, Then & Now: Chase Hall and Cameron Welch, September 7–November 2, 2019

    • Literature

      Ashleigh Kane, "Chase Hall reclaims racist memorabilia and painful pasts in new art show," Dazed, September 26, 2018, online (illustrated)


Jocko Where Grandpa Would Sit

signed and dated "Chase Hall 18" on the reverse
acrylic and oilstick on canvas
56 x 38 in. (142.2 x 96.5 cm)
Executed in 2018.

Full Cataloguing

$15,000 - 20,000 

Sold for $38,100

Contact Specialist

Patrizia Koenig 
Specialist, Head of Sale, Afternoon Session
+1 212 940 1279 

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session

New York Auction 15 November 2023