George Condo - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Thursday, May 10, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galleria Massimo de Carlo, Milan
    Skarstedt Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Three Graces, 2009, subverts the traditional art historical depiction of the mythological graces by emphasizing exploitational devices and confronting the viewer with a psychological portrait. While the traditional formula for depicting the graces would feature them dancing in a circle, the central grace with her back towards the viewer, here, Condo depicts the group of the mythic women posing; the central figure gazes toward the viewer and she is flanked by two grotesque-faced female forms. Condo’s composition acts as homage to Picasso’s Three Women, 1907-1908; employing a similar color palette and pose, conflating limbs, foreground and background by erasing certain body parts with dark brush strokes of paint while creating dimension on other body parts with white pastel. While Picasso’s interest in African art would influence the mask-like faces of his women, Condo’s dark humor and interest in the grotesque is revealed in the colorful and clownish gargoyle-like rendering of his flanking graces.

    Here, Condo’s Aglaia (Beauty), Euphrosyne (Mirth), and Thalia (Abundance), seem to meld into one another; however, their qualities appear hypersexualized and wonderfully demonic. The flanking graces imply psychological dichotomy, angel and demon, goddess and whore, simultaneously imbued into the central grace; reinforcing Condo’s interest in artificial realism-“the realistic representation of that which is artificial.” The Three Graces, Aphrodite’s handmaids, patrons of pleasure and festivities are in fact, successfully complex representations of the artificial. Adorning hisgraces with thigh-high fish-net stockings and bright red nail polish, Condo’s inclusion of stereotypical sexual imagery emphasizes vulgarity over the natural. In this way, the artist draws our attention to the exploitation of the female form through classicized theme; “In one fell swoop Condo drags his subjects from the gutter and bathes them in a kind of enraged and complicated glory.” (J. Higgie, “Time’s Fool,” Frieze, London, May 2007).

  • 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 Three Graces

acrylic, charcoal, and pastel on linen
72 x 58 in. (182.9 x 147.3 cm)
Signed and dated “George Condo 09” on the reverse.

$350,000 - 450,000 

Sold for $458,500

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

10 May 2012
New York