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  • Provenance

    Luhring Augustine, New York
    Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin

  • Exhibited

    Cologne, Galerie Max Hetzler, Christopher Wool, November 3 – November 30, 1993
    Prague, National Gallery, Herbert Brandl, Albert Oehlen, Christopher Wool, September 8 – November 6, 1994

  • Literature

    A. Goldstein, Christopher Wool, Los Angeles, 1998, pp. 87, 141-142 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    If you’re not fearless about changes, then you won’t progress. CHRISTOPHER WOOL

    (Christopher Wool, taken from an interview with Glenn O’Brien and Richard Hell, Interview Magazine, November 18, 2008)

    Christopher Wool has built his artistic reputation upon the reinterpretation and exhilarating exploration of many of the major artistic styles of the latter half of the Twentieth Century. In combining the techniques of Pop Art, Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, among others, Wool rips through the earnestness of each movement’s intention—his resulting paintings show that, while new art owes its existence to its influences, it has a responsibility to transcend them. Many of his silkscreens and paintings trace their roots to Pop Art, but, executed in Wool’s hand, they possess an undeniable signature, and one that perfectly embodies his eclectically voracious eye. Executed over a period of five years, Untitled (P 71), 1988, Untitled (P 63), 1988, and Untitled (P 177), 1993, demonstrate three different stages of Wool’s career; yet they all share a sly, yet reverential, iteration of the New York School.

    Untitled (P 177), 1993, demonstrates Wool’s hand in its devotion to the principle of simple motif and obfuscation of the painting’s surface. His variations on this specific floral theme lend the piece a unique aesthetic complexity, one unlike any of his earlier creations.

    Previously, Wool had used a single decorative motif in order to cover the surface of a painting, but here, he employs images of several different flowers. They vary from an intensely decorative floral representation in the upper right hand corner to a cartoonish sketch in the left-hand center of the picture, but they all riff on the same theme. These pictures seem to be unabashed in showcasing their imperfections, as some exhibit the outlines of their stenciling or the incompletion of their saturation. Wool’s hearkening back to earlier traditions of Pop Art also echo more loudly here, as we can see clear imprints of Warhol’s silkscreened images, specifically Flowers,1964; powerful silhouettes dominate the picture rather than detailed images.

    The present lot demonstrates Wool’s evolving artistic hand in the middle of its most aesthetic period—at some points in the picture, the concentration of floral motifs is so intense that we could mistake it for a veritable garden. But while Wool is busy spoofing a multiplicity of contemporary art movements, he cannot deny the fact that he is the natural inheritor of many traditions: in the 1990s, after the vogue of Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art and the Pictures Generation had all passed into history, Wool takes the simple notion of the image and gives it new life. Somewhat mechanized, somewhat free in its expression, and somewhat working from a commonplace still-life, Wool’s Untitled (P 177), 1993 represents a movement and a hand conscious of its past yet committed to the originality of its future.

PROPERTY OF AN AMERICAN COLLECTION

4

Untitled (P 177)

1993
enamel on aluminum
78 x 60 in. (198.1 x 152.4 cm)
Signed, numbered and dated “Wool, 1993, P 177” on the reverse.

Estimate
$1,200,000 - 1,800,000 

Sold for $2,210,500

Contemporary Art Part I

7 November 2011
New York