Christopher Wool - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, October 13, 2015 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Paul Frank McCabe

  • Exhibited

    Stockholm, McCabe Fine Art, Christopher Wool: Selected Paintings, 30 January-14 March 2015

  • Catalogue Essay

    ‘Wool contrives to pack into his painting energy both abstract and concrete. By his reliance on the limits of the painting process, Wool makes impulsiveness and control, doubt and certainty, presence and absence come together in a single space. He captures a moment of oscillation, which is a priori imperceptible and inexpressible. In that moment, nothing and everything, the expert and the outsider, being and non-being all coexist. Here, where the meaning of system, value, and form are temporarily suspended, Wool has found a way to paint.’ (A. Pontégnie, “At the Limits of Painting,” in Wool, Cologne: Taschen, 2012, p. 301).

    During the 1970s Christopher Wool embarked on what was to become a prolific career in art in New York - a city that had become an internationally renowned hub for post-war artistic advances where the multiplying cultural influences flowed through its very streets. Pop Art had superseded Abstract Expressionism by the time Wool began his explorations, however, his interest in the formal qualities of painting distinctly shared much common ground with Pollock, de Kooning and Rauschenberg. Nonetheless, his silkscreen wallpaper works bore heavy links to Warhol’s artistic processes for example, and his stencilled canvases, that prominently incorporate legible text, maintain a Pop Art quality. Thus, the eclecticism of Wool’s works display his inherent understanding of modern art’s stylistic developments but equally, his remarkable ability to challenge the boundaries imposed by the prominent artistic movements of the twentieth century.

    Painted in 1994, Untitled falls under Wool’s most abstract developments and aligns itself with Pollock’s drip paintings and de Kooning’s exuberant mark-making. The manner in which Wool creates his mesh of dark lines that spills across the canvas and out of its borders, places this piece firmly within an action-painting trajectory. Similarly, the lack of depth or recognisable form gives emphasis to the medium itself; the two-dimensional quality of the work is only heightened as our attention is drawn to the spontaneous lines and uncontrolled trickles of alkyd paint. Like Warhol who became intrigued by the inaccuracies arising from the misalignment of his screen-print process, or Pollock who exploited spillages and accidental blotches, so too Wool allowed his paint free reign as external forces have dragged it away from the artist's initial self-inflicted marks. Heavily influenced by the untameable energy of punk music, many of Wool’s works including Untitled are characterised by a similar anarchistic vigour. Compositions such as the present lot embrace a vernacular street culture where graffiti, music, art and fashion merge and culminate in his visual language.

    'Wool offers us access to a world where things are layered to the point of implosion, where iconographic elements are built up only to virtually fall apart. These recent paintings are also his most emphatically "painterly" to date: the more Wool endeavours to blot out, the more complex things get.' (Joshua Decter, "Christopher Wool: Luhring Augustine Gallery", Artforum, No. 34, September 1995, p. 89).

Property from the Estate of Dr. Fredric S. Brandt, Miami



alkyd on aluminum
109 x 76.4 cm (42 7/8 x 30 1/8 in.)
Signed, inscribed and dated 'Wool 1994 S130' on the reverse.

£1,500,000 - 2,500,000 

Sold for £2,266,500

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London 14 October 2015 7pm