Elizabeth Peyton - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session New York Wednesday, May 15, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Sadie Coles HQ, London
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    London, Royal Academy of Arts, The Galleries Show 2002, Contemporary Art in London, September 14 - October 12, 2002

  • Catalogue Essay

    Executed in 2002, Peconic (Ben) immortalizes the eponymous Ben in a luminous, jewel-like portrait. Elizabeth Peyton is known for her intimate, small-scale portraiture of close friends and family, and the friend depicted here has been rendered numerous times in other works. In the present lot, Ben leans away from the viewer, his long dark hair falling over a thin shoulder. His figure is framed by the blue and gold hues of a beach, while in the distance the deep indigo of the ocean meets the sharp crest of a white sky. Peyton herself describes capturing these moments of vulnerability with touching clarity: "You can feel everything more than you need to see it…familiarity is the best for me, actually knowing them. And a lot of times people will say, 'These men don't look like that. There's no way they have red lips like that, and such skin.' But they do” (Elizabeth Peyton, quoted in “Elizabeth Peyton with Rob Pruitt and Steve Lafreniere”, Index, 2000, online).

    Peyton works from small snapshots, lending her portraits a tender, fleeting sense of temporality. As is characteristic of Peyton’s practice, Peconic (Ben) evokes the 1990s youth culture from which it emerged – from the delicate androgyny of her subject to the close-up, magazine-aesthetic composition, Ben is imbued with the romantic nostalgia associated with a teenage crush. As the critic Ken Johnson noted, “A kind of erotic yearning animates how she sees her subjects and how she makes her pictures. To paint, Ms. Peyton’s works imply, is to be in love: to be in love with certain people and with painting itself” (Ken Johnson, “Beautiful People Caught in Passivity by Peyton and Warhol”, The New York Times, August 18, 2006, online).


Peconic (Ben)

signed, titled and dated "Peconic (Ben) Elizabeth Peyton AUGUST 2002" on the reverse
oil on board
14 1/8 x 11 1/4 in. (36 x 28.5 cm.)
Painted in 2002.

$250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for $450,000

Contact Specialist
Rebekah Bowling
Head of Day Sale, Afternoon Session
New York
+ 1 212 940 1250

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session

New York Auction 15 May | On View at 450 Park Avenue