Genieve Figgis - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction Hong Kong Thursday, December 3, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Genieve Figgis is a contemporary Irish painter known for her witty and subversive group portraits which satirise social norms of centuries past. Lampooning Western commercial consumption and the bourgeois tastes of the rich middle-class as dutifully captured by artists of the past, Figgis brings such subjects firmly into the present day with a mixture of satire and poignant real depictions of life.


    Alexi Lubomirski / Courtesy of @KensingtonRoyal
    Alexi Lubomirski / Courtesy of @KensingtonRoyal

    Wedding Party was unveiled at the artist’s 2019 ‘High Society’ exhibition at the Baldwin Gallery, Aspen. It chronicles the wedding celebrations of Britain's Prince Harry and American Meghan Markle in England in 2018, and directly references one of the official family portraits taken by photographer Alexi Lubomirski in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle. Lushly painted textures and playful details, the hallmarks of Figgis’s work, are all present – the rich velvety teal walls, the frothy pink tulle of the bride’s wedding dress and iridescent blooms clutched in her hands, the carefully-rendered frogging of the pageboy outfits, and the bright pink feathered headpiece of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

    Figgis posits herself as a postmodern chronicler of social and cultural norms and anxieties, and the subjects of Wedding Party do not escape this treatment. Figgis’s signature technique of swirling dripped or thickly applied acrylic paints causes her genteel subjects to melt and bleed where they stand. In this surreal, otherworldly tableau the groom is reduced to a puddle of flame-coloured hair and beard, whilst his bride’s face is defined by a raspberry-red gaping mouth and a few delicate white teeth. Meanwhile Prince William is a powdered white visage with bulging eyes and rictus grin, and the little faces of the pageboys and girls at the happy couple’s feet show a range of ghoulish expressions. With her ironic yet incisive commentary on high society, Figgis’s vision perhaps foreshadows the controversies that would dog the marriage in the months and years to come, culminating with the flight of the couple to Canada and then the United States in 2020.


    An unconventional rising star in the art world, Figgis was a relative latecomer to painting but caught the attention of the American visual artist Richard Prince on Twitter, who went on to purchase one of her works and introduced her to the New York art scene. She is represented by Almine Rech Gallery in London and Half Gallery in New York.


    Installation view,High Society at Baldwin Gallery in 2019
    Installation view, High Society at Baldwin Gallery in 2019.
    Left: Genieve Figgis, Arty Party, 2019
    • Provenance

      Baldwin Gallery, Aspen
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Aspen, Baldwin Gallery, High Society, 15 February - 10 March 2019


Wedding Party

signed and dated 'Genieve Figgis 2019' on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
100 x 150 cm. (39 3/8 x 59 in.)
Painted in 2019.

Full Cataloguing

HK$550,000 - 850,000 

Sold for HK$4,410,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction

Hong Kong Auction 4 December 2020