Genieve Figgis - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Thursday, July 9, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Half Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2015

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Down through the history of art, the ‘stars’ were mostly men. Women artists are in the ring now.” Genieve Figgis
    Quoted in in Olivia Parkes, “The Irish Artist Attacking the Female Figure with Paint”, Vice, 23 October 2015, online.

    The Irish painter Genieve Figgis often references works of the art historical canon as a starting point for her work. Instantly recognisable from Figgis’ composition is Pablo Picasso’s controversial brothel-inspired 1907 painting, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, depicting masked prostitutes in jagged geometric shapes. The work marks a radical break from the ruling principles of composition and perspective, by flattening and compressing the picture plane to bring forward the female protagonists.

    This painting suggestively places the viewer in the red light district of Barcelona. Rendered in Figgis’ signature macabre, psychedelic technique, she successfully creates a dialogue with the past by imbuing the canvas with a similar sense of mystery. The contours of the bodies and faces melt into each other, balancing against tightly controlled and expressive gestures to retain a dream-like quality. Praised by the renowned art critic Roberta Smith as ‘nastily entertaining’, the present work is a ‘deliriously kitschy’ twist to Picasso’s masterpiece that continues to convey a disturbing sense of lust and desire. (Roberta Smith, “Good Morning, Midnight”, New York Times, 23 October 2014, online).

    The drips and swirls created from acrylic paint - a material Figgis values for its ability to surprise -conjure up characters that transport the viewer to the past. Yet in true contemporary fashion, Figgis’ career began when the celebrated American artist Richard Prince discovered her on Twitter. Citing Jenny Saville, Marlene Dumas, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye as her inspirations, Figgis is equally respected for her take on modern feminism by subverting the narratives of the male-dominated historical works she references. She is represented by Almine Rech Gallery in London and Half Gallery in New York.


Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (After Picasso)

signed, titled and dated 'Genieve Figgis 2015 "(After Picasso)"' on the reverse
acrylic on paper
22.5 x 20.5 cm. (8 7/8 x 8 1/8 in.)
Executed in 2015.

HK$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for HK$362,500

Contact Specialist
Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 9 July 2020