Genieve Figgis - New Now New York Wednesday, March 9, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Belonging to a series of paintings created for a production of Charles Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette at the Metropolitan Opera, Genieve Figgis’s Romeo and Juliet on a Horse, 2016, beautifully captures the artist’s penchant for reinterpreting stories of the past. Though the deep crimson background appears to foreshadow the play’s tragic ending, Figgis depicts the star-crossed lovers embracing each other on horseback “to think of them living on and continuing their romance,” she explained of this work. “Death is not the ending. I wanted them to win in the end.”i


    The present work installed at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, December 8, 2016–January 21, 2017. Artwork: © Genieve Figgis. Courtesy of the Artist and
    Almine Rech

    "I enjoy working with paint that has no guaranteed outcome or shape" —Genieve FiggisShowcasing a lush kaleidoscope of white, yellow, and blue pigment for the figures, Romeo and Juliet on Horseback showcases the bold, expressionist use of color seen in Figgis’s best works. As Roberta Smith observed, “Ms. Figgis favors rich colors that bubble, ooze and marbleize as if alive...”ii Here, the colors bleed into one another other and across the canvas, blurring the distinctions between the three figures that occupy the scene into formal unison. This ambiguity owes in part to Figgis’s unique painterly approach by pouring diluted paint on her canvases, welcoming the element of chance into her final product. While her work is firmly rooted in her love of history, the fluidity of Figgis’s process allows her to reimagine the timeless stories that her work investigates as embodied in Romeo and Juliet on Horseback. “I use my work to explore worlds that are unavailable to me,” in Figgis’ words. “Just to experience the feeling of being somewhere more beautiful.”iii


    i  Genieve Figgis, quoted in Niall MacMonagle, “What Lies Beneath: Balcony Scene by Genieve Figgis,” Independent, December 12, 2016, online.
    ii  Roberta Smith, “Genieve Figgis: ‘Good Morning, Midnight,’” The New York Times, October 24, 2014, online.
    iii Genieve Figgis, quoted in Catarina Vaz, “Interview: Genieve Figgis,” Art Research Map, June 2017, online.

    • Provenance

      Half Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2016

    • Exhibited

      New York, The Metropolitan Opera House, Genieve Figgis: Romeo and Juliet, December 8, 2016⁠–January 21, 2017, no. 8, n.p. (illustrated)

    • Literature

      Allison Gingeras, Genieve Figgis, New York, 2017, pp. 152–153 (New York, The Metropolitan Opera House, 2016–2017 installation view illustrated)


Romeo and Juliet on a Horse

signed and dated "Genieve Figgis 2016" on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
47 x 39 1/2 in. (119.4 x 100.3 cm)
Painted in 2016.

Full Cataloguing

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $163,800

Contact Specialist

Avery Semjen

Head of Sale, New Now

212 940 1207

New Now

New York Auction 9 March 2022