Francesco Clemente - Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Friday, November 14, 2014 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Collection of Jerry Hall
    Private Collection

  • Catalogue Essay

    "I have an interest for ambiguity and fluidity. The head versus the body, life versus death, self versus others, male versus female. I tend in my paintings to blur the boundaries between all these opposites."
    Francesco Clemente, 2012

    Francesco Clemente’s full-sized portrait of Jerry Hall, measuring two and a half meters across, pronounces the subject’s monolithic presence in the worlds of fashion, film and pop-culture. Clemente shows the model reclined, exuding a suggestive effortlessness. Hall’s head is tilted slightly, allowing blonde locks to tumble casually to her shoulders. The sitter’s limbs are strewn across the canvas, with one arm touching her thigh and her legs seductively crossed. At the left, a nude heel punctuates Clemente’s provocative, figural arrangement. Hall addresses the spectator with her legendary large, piercing blue eyes. The overall effect of the portrait is one of effortless glamour, and its scale declares Hall’s billboard-status fame and beauty.

    In 1997 Clemente executed a similar portrait of his wife Alba. The work served as a starting point for a series of monumental, reclining female portraits. In each of these works, Clemente cramps his subject, pushing the figure to the bounds of the canvas. In the present lot the tip of Hall’s large head is cropped and her left shoulder extends beyond the realm of the frame. The resulting figural contortion calls attention to the constriction inherent in two-dimensional representation. As a result, Hall appears larger-than-life, a monumental icon that cannot be fully captured in painting.

    Clemente’s focus on the figure stands in contrast to the artistic endeavors of his peers. Though Arte Provera and Conceptual Art were coming to full fruition at the time of his artistic development, he concentrated on representational work that would later identify him as a member of the Neo-Expressionist group. The human body, particularly the female form, proved to be a rich subject for Clemente, who maintained longstanding interests in identity, fragmentation, spirituality and sexuality. In an interview, he said of the subject: “We barely understand the body, as we barely understand painting. Our goal is to accept that…what looks like chaos in painting, and in the body, is nothing less than a superior form of order.” (Francesco Clemente, Sotheby’s Interview, February 11 2010). The present lot provides an expressive, monumentalizing portrayal of a muse who still today captivates the American public.


Jerry Hall

oil on canvas
46 1/4 x 92 1/8 in. (117.4 x 234 cm)
Signed and dated "Francesco Clemente 1997" along the overlap.

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $112,500

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

Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York Auction 14 November 2014 11am