Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Sunday, November 8, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    PaceWildenstein, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Claes Oldenburg: An Anthology, February 12 - May 7, 1995, then traveled to Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art (July 2 - September 3, 1995), New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (October 7, 1995 - January 21, 1996)
    Waddington Galleries, London, Double Vision: The Poetic Focus of Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, October 3 - 27, 2007
    London, Waddington Custot Galleries, Pop Imagery, October 2 - November 2, 2013

  • Literature

    Double Vision: The Poetic Focus of Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, exh. cat., Waddington Galleries, London, 2007, no. 9, p. 27 (illustrated)
    Pop Imagery, exh. cat., Waddington Custot Galleries, London, 2013, no. 15 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    "I am for an art that takes its form from the lines of life itself, that twists and extends and accumulates and spits and drips, and is heavy and coarse and blunt and sweet and stupid as life itself." Claes Oldenburg

    The partnership of Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen, initiated in 1976, has born sculptures that are contemplative of their environs through the artists’ imaginative and singular approach. So fortuitous was their collaboration that in 1978 Van Bruggen relocated to New York where she continued her work with Oldenburg, seeking to expand their influence by creating monumentally scaled urban works. Ultimately, the two would bring the size of their installations to domestic proportions for a more holistic connection with their surroundings. The present lot Leaning Fork with Meatball & Spaghetti III from 1994 is exemplary of sculptural forays into the livable. Their utilization of a readymade, commonplace subject enables their art not only to feel intimate and accessible to their audience, but it also removes any imposed limitations by an overly formal composition. Oldenburg and van Bruggen have imbued infinite possibility into the quotidian through personification of their materials, as the fork rests up against the wall, as if having enjoyed a hearty helping of delectable Italian cuisine.

    The Leaning Fork with Meatball & Spaghetti III seduces us with its aesthetic appeal, the thick yellow noodles drip off the meatball, almost as if submerged in the olive oil base of a marinara sauce. In this vein, the artistic duo has radically altered the object to evoke our collective psychological tendencies. In dismantling the avant-garde segregation of contemporary art from universal approachability, Oldenburg and van Bruggen have effectively reintroduced humor, warmth, and exuberance back into artwork. The present lot emanates with congenial warmth so tangible that it seems the pasta is radiating heat, as if right off the stove. Reflecting on this joyous impulse, Oldenburg has stated, “The important thing about humor is that it opens people. They relax their guard and you can get serious intentions across.” (Barabara Haskel, Claes Oldenburg: Object Into Monument, Pasadena, 1971, p. 8)


Leaning Fork with Meatball & Spaghetti III

polyurethane on cast aluminum
131 1/2 x 51 1/2 x 39 in. (334 x 130.8 x 99.1 cm)

$350,000 - 500,000 

Sold for $365,000

Contact Specialist
Kate Bryan
Head of Evening Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1267

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 8 November 2015 7pm