George Condo - Contemporary Art Part I New York Wednesday, May 11, 2011 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private collection, New York; Private collection, Miami

  • Catalogue Essay

    Condo once told me that what he cared about most was for his work to hold up in the company of the artist he admires- Velásquez, Manet, Picasso, Duchamp, Warhol, and all others. “If my work were hanging in a museum, and it didn’t look like it belonged with theirs, I’d be heartbroken, I’m not saying it’s as good as theirs. It’s not about competition. It’s about coexistence with the artist’s you respect. That’s my main goal. (C. Tompkins, The New Yorker, January 17, 2011, p. 65)

    Recently exhibiting a mid-career retrospective at the New Museum in New York, the work of George Condo transports the viewer into a modern day world of old master painting. In The Housekeeper’s Diary, Condo demonstrates a classic example of his signature style of portraiture. This particular work beautifully combines drawing and painting with lines and brushstrokes capturing the many faces of his imaginary subjects onto canvas. With its old master palette of burnt gray, this work evokes the memories of artists such as Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, and Wifredo Lam and as the title suggests, reveals hidden secrets and emotions from the past.

    In addition, Condo demonstrates the “psychological cubism” often depicted in his portraits. “This ‘psychological cubism’, as he calls it, parallels our ability to channel-hop through increasingly fractured visual information and ‘exploits our own imperfections – the private, off-moments or unseen aspects of humanity – that often give way to some of painting’s most beautiful moments’” (O. Ward, “George Condo: interview,” Time Out, February, 6 2007). The present work is a prime example of Condo’s unique style and visually opens a hybrid of subjects within one canvas, allowing the viewer to admire Condo’s painterly process.

  • 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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The Housekeeper’s Diary

Acrylic and charcoal on canvas.
53 1/8 x 46 in. (134.9 x 116.8 cm.)
Signed and dated “Condo 07” upper left.

$200,000 - 250,000 

Sold for $302,500

Contemporary Art Part I

12 May 2011
New York