George Condo - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle Hong Kong Tuesday, November 29, 2022 | Phillips

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  • George Condo is positioned as one of the few artists to have commanded ceaseless relevance throughout their career. From starting out as an important cog in the machine that was Warhol’s Factory (who would later purchase several works from his first show), to designing the album art for the defining album of the 2010s – Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Condo stands head and shoulders above the crowd as one of the world’s great creatives, and one of its most influential. 



    George Condo and Andy Warhol
    Photo by Andy Warhol


    Condo’s distinctive style is one that he has labelled ‘psychological cubism’, a humorous table-turning on Picasso’s infamous dictum that ‘good artists borrow, great artists steal’. On this vinculum he elaborates: “I'm exaggerating and personifying some of their extreme emotional vicissitudes [...] And I love the freedom to capture that in painting, where it’s like, these are the limits of hysteria, these are the limits of humanity, this is how far people really take it, and how far I see them take it. And I guess that was the other thing I got from Picasso. It’s the idea of Cubism —but rather than seeing and depicting this coffee cup, say, from four different angles simultaneously, I’m seeing a personality from multiple angles at once. Instead of space being my subject, I’m painting all of someone’s emotional potentialities at once, and that’s what I’d call Psychological Cubism.” 


    In Femme au chapeau, the artist renders a confluence of emotion in the portrait: hysteria, joy, sadness and desperation. These temperaments fight each other for prominence, an impossible feat as they are swallowed into their own contortions – a quite literal, whirlpool of emotions. The woman’s monstrous expression is juxtaposed by her gentile clothing, more fitting of a Jane Austen afternoon stroll than the Lynchian fever dream in which she finds herself. With a white Victorian collar and a wide brimmed green hat, she reminds us of Gustave Courbet’s Young Ladies on the Banks of the Seine.



    Gustave Courbet, Young Ladies on the Banks of the Seine (fragment), 1856
    National Gallery, Prague



    Though Condo’s practice is not merely an inquiry into the multifaceted essence of the human psyche, but so too a reflection of the polycrisis world in which modern society finds itself enveloped. This search for truth within the realm of an opulent madness is something that Condo has been developing since an art student in the 80s, a genre that he titles ‘Artificial Realism’: “I see today’s world as it is! Absurd and exaggerated—and I need to turn it into something truthful. As an artist you are a mirror, but simply reflecting today’s culture is not enough, it has to come through as a visual correction.”.


    Born in New Hampshire in 1957, Condo is one of the most celebrated artists today. He studied Art History and Music Theory at the University of Massachusetts, and he received his first major award in 1999— the Academy Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, followed by further accolades including the Francis J. Greenberger Award in 2005.


    Over the years, Condo has been honoured in a myriad of shows and retrospectives, many of which have been toured internationally. In 2021, Condo’s largest Asian solo exhibition, George Condo: The Picture Gallery, was held at the Long Museum, Shanghai. This exhibition brought together more than 200 paintings, sculptures and drawings made throughout his career. Condo’s work was also included in the 58th Venice Biennale, May You Live In Interesting Times in 2019 — six years after he first participated in the Biennale in 2013. 


    Condo’s work has been extensively collected by prestigious institutions in New York City, including The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum,  The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. His work can also be found in renowned public collections internationally, such as Tate Modern, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo; Museu d’Art Contemporani, Barcelona; The Broad Collection, Los Angeles; and The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, amongst numerous others.

    • Provenance

      Galerie Andrea Caratsch, Zurich
      Private Collection
      Christie’s, New York, 16 November 2018, lot 876
      Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

    • 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.

      View More Works


Femme au chapeau

signed and dated 'Condo 07' on the reverse
oil on canvas
50.8 x 40.6 cm. (20 x 15 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2007.

Full Cataloguing

HK$2,200,000 - 3,800,000 

Sold for HK$2,016,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle

Hong Kong Auction 30 November 2022