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  • Having already established herself as a highly regarded painter, by 2011, Dana Schutz broadened her celebrated oeuvre to include the medium of monotypes with works such as Drowning (2). This work belongs to a series of twelve large-scale monotypes, which illustrate Schutz’s interpretation of Götterdämmerung (The Twilight of Gods) - the final act of Richard Wanger’s Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung), a melodramatic opera narrating a battle between gods and men. Coinciding with the Metropolitan Opera’s debut of this production, in the Spring of 2012, Gallery Met hosted a series of four exhibitions – one for each act of the opera - featuring the work of artists Julie Mehretu, Elizabeth Peyton, Peter Doig and Dana Schutz. 

    In keeping with Schutz’s fictitious subjects and satirical visual lexicon, Drowning (2) depicts a tightly cropped, fragmented figure fully submerged under water using layered color blocks and flattened perspective. In making these works, the artist painted on rough and porous sheets of wood to create a heavily pigmented and textured surface when pressing it on paper. Schutz then applied thick layers of brightly colored watercolor, pastel and crayon. 

    While the work’s brilliant color palette and chaotic aesthetic match the exuberance of the opera’s score, Schutz’s whimsical style purposefully contrasts the show’s weighty narrative. The artist’s utilization of the monotype medium granted her an increased flexibility in reworking ghost images from the printing process to create unique works. Schutz says, “I worked only loosely from the themes in Götterdämmerung ... after drawing for many hours you start to forget the story and focus on the specifics of how to make an image work. I hadn’t seen the production at the Met Opera before I started making the work so that made it easier to imagine what these characters could look like and be doing."1

  • Drowning with Dana Schutz

  • 1.Dana Schutz, quoted in Sarah Kirk Hanley, “Brilliance Under Pressure: Dana Schutz Monotypes at Gallery Met” Art 21 Magazine, April 6, 2012, online

    • Provenance

      Petzel Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Artist Biography

      Dana Schutz

      American • 1976

      Michigan-born artist Dana Schutz is known for presenting chaotic, colorful scenes that often inject humor into awkward or painful situations. Though primarily a painter, her practice expanded to include sculpture in 2019—a natural transition for her dynamic style. Schutz first shot to prominence soon after receiving her MFA from Columbia University with her Self-Eaters series. 

      Schutz is one of just a handful of contemporary female artists whose work can fetch over $1 million at auction. The Brooklyn-based artist has shown her work in museums in both North America and Europe, and her work has been collected by such institutions as the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She is married to fellow artist Ryan Johnson, who she met during her time at Columbia.

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Drowning (2)

signed and dated "Dana Schutz 2011" lower right
monotype with watercolor, pastel, crayon and graphite on paper
59 7/8 x 46 in. (152.1 x 116.8 cm)
Executed in 2011, this work was published by Two Palms, New York.

Full Cataloguing

$60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for $126,000

Contact Specialist

Rebekah Bowling
Head of Day Sale, Afternoon Session
New York

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[email protected]

20th c. and Contemporary Art Day Sale - Afternoon Session

New York 8 December 2020