George Condo - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Sunday, November 25, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Xavier Hufkens, Brussels
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Clowns began appearing in George Condo’s oeuvre in the early eighties, a subject matter that showcased the artist’s subversion of portraiture, basing his characters on memory and imagination rather than mere appropriation. Son of Bozo comes from a group of paintings that began in 2006, showing clown-like figures in costumes adorned with multi-coloured polka-dots. Condo’s imaginary, pantomimic ‘Pierrot’ figures derive from the sixteenth century Italian theatre tradition of Commedia dell’Arte, where the stock character of the harlequin was easily recognised by his checked garb and sagacious humour. In Son of Bozo—hailing from the American television sensation ‘Bozo the Clown’ from the forties to sixties—one sees that the innocent Pierrot has been coyly subverted by Condo. Replaced by mismatching eyes and bared teeth, Condo’s Frankenstein departs from his namesake—clown-wig removed to reveal a balding scalp, an ear pierced by a giant push-pin, and make up haphazardly smeared. Indeed, in its marriage and subversion of both the traditional and contemporary, Son of Bozo is an eloquent example of Condo’s ability to depict that which ‘goes between a scream and a smile.’ (George Condo, quoted in Ossian Ward, ‘George Condo: Interview’, Time Out, 6 Feb 2007, reproduced at

  • Artist Biography

    George Condo

    American • 1957

    Picasso once said, "Good artists borrow, great artists steal." Indeed, American artist George Condo frequently cites Picasso as an explicit source in his contemporary cubist compositions and joyous use of paint. Condo is known for neo-Modernist compositions staked in wit and the grotesque, which draw the eye into a highly imaginary world. 

    Condo came up in the New York art world at a time when art favored brazen innuendo and shock. Student to Warhol, best friend to Basquiat and collaborator with William S. Burroughs, Condo tracked a different path. He was drawn to the endless inquiries posed by the aesthetics and formal considerations of Caravaggio, Rembrandt and the Old Masters.

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Son of Bozo

signed and dated, 'Condo 09' on the reverse
oil on linen
20.3 x 15.2 cm. (7 7/8 x 5 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2008-09.

HK$900,000 - 1,200,000 

Sold for HK$1,375,000

Contact Specialist
Jonathan Crockett
Deputy Chairman, Asia and Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Asia
+852 2318 2023

Isaure de Viel Castel
Head of Department
+852 2318 2011

Charlotte Raybaud
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2026

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 26 November 2018