Elizabeth Peyton - Contemporary Art London Friday, October 13, 2006 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Regen Projects, Los Angeles

  • Exhibited

    Los Angeles, Regen Projects, Elizabeth Peyton, October 28-December 3, 1999

  • Literature

    C. Miles, “Elizabeth Peyton”, Artforum, January 2000

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Peyton indeed has a talent for noticing those moments in which men show themselves to be self-aware, complicated, contradictory, confusing, and confused constructions. Her knack is evident in an oil on linen like Prince William and Harry, September 99, which calls to mind an earlier image in ink Peyton made of John Lydon (aka Jonny Rotten) and John Beverly (aka Sid Vicious). In both works one is privy to a moment in which one male examines another—a fascinating and telling scene, and one rarely focused on.” (C. Miles, “Elizabeth Peyton”, ArtForum, January 2000)

    Peyton’s work, for the large part pictures of people, present subjects whom Peyton has judged to be heroic, noble and inspirational. What her models have in common is that they have all created a world for themselves within Peyton’s mind—they carry with them an inner air of confidence and beauty, charging the artist with a reason to paint from the onset. The artist, typically eschewing the written word, has mentioned however, “I think about how influential some people are in other’s lives. So it doesn’t matter who they are or how famous they are but rather how beautiful is the way they live their lives and how inspiring they are for others. And I find this in people I see frequently as much as in people I never met” (E. Peyton quoted in F. Bonami, “Elizabeth Peyton, We’ve Been Looking at Images for so Long that We’ve forgotten Who We Are”, Flash Art International, vol. XXXIX, No. 187, March – April, 1996, p. 84)

    The present lot, depicting young Princes William and Harry sitting side by side at a formal event, was painted during the two year anniversary marking their mother’s tragic car accident. With the entire world looking on, Princes William and Harry immediately fell into the public eye during this period—paparazzi brought their inner world to us. What Peyton aptly defines in this canvas, however, is the strong humanistic exchange between the two young men. Stoic, relaxed and handsome, Prince William seems to embody the very qualities that Princess Diana made illustrious. At the same time, Prince Harry looks on gazing to his older brother suggesting that he too, feels the compelling qualities we know to be self-evident in the young heir, gravitating our thoughts and emotions to his strong presence of mind.

    Princes William and Harry, September 1999, shows us how Peyton views the two young men: their inner beauty presenting itself to us. As is typical in much of her portraiture, the figures become androgynous archetypes of Peyton’s style—pink shaded lips and a bold Hockney-esque palette heighten the sensation behind the work, the colors dripping off her strokes. The two sit in dapper fashion, Peyton’s brushwork accentuates their strong jaw lines and cheek bones, yet softens their masculinity. In response to an interview question concerning inner beauty Peyton says, “It's almost a nineteenth-century idea that what's on the inside appears on the outside. Balzac was into the curve of your nose or mouth expressing some kind of inner quality, that it could be read on your face.” (E. Peyton quoted in “Elizabeth Peyton”, The Index Magazine, 2000)


Princes William and Harry September 1999

painted in 1999
Oil on linen.
40 x 30 in. (101.6 x 76.2 cm).
Titled and dated “Princes William and Harry September 1999” on the overlap.

£300,000 - 400,000 

Sold for £433,600

Contemporary Art

14 Oct 2006, 7pm