George Condo - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session New York Thursday, May 10, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Andrea Caratsch, Zurich
    Sprüth Magers, Berlin
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    In this dynamic portrait of American fashion icon Marc Jacobs painted in 2007, George Condo captures a climactic period of the designer’s creativity that mirrored the artist’s own. In the months immediately preceding and during the year 2007, Jacobs’ force in fashion had never been more publically palpable. It was in this year that a documentary feature recording the inside of Jacobs’ studios titled Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton was released, showcasing the depth of his engagement with art and culture. Fascinated by the world of Condo and his contemporaries like Elizabeth Peyton, Ed Ruscha and Richard Prince, Jacobs was connected to the art world at this moment with unparalleled energy – in fact, Jacobs would later come to acquire two of Condo’s paintings for his own collection.

    George Condo’s choice to depict Marc Jacobs in 2007 reflected the artist’s newfound goals in painting. Critics coined Condo’s mid-2000s practices with phrases such as “artificial realism” and “figurative abstraction”, while the artist himself described his process in portraiture as aiming to break into “everyday consciousness”, and imbue his subjects with intense emotional presence by way of dramatic abstraction. This work brilliantly epitomizes these objectives with bold color and form. In its composition, Condo applies techniques storied in the art historical tradition like analytical cubism to present Jacobs with beaming psychological power. The designer’s trademark long hair flows wildly against a fading blue backdrop as an exclamatory cubist open mouth, swirling patterned shirt and sharp, graphic bowtie set forward the upper register of his vividly lit face. With bright eyes wide open and cheeks coated with flushed red, Jacobs’ rich identity is portrayed as sleeplessly devoted to the fierce pace of the fashion industry.

    Around the time the present lot was made, Condo explained that he considers all of his portraits “to be feelings or the inside of [a] person’s private life being visible on the outside” (George Condo, quoted in Ralph Rugoff, George Condo: Existential Portraits, exh. cat., Luhring Augustine, New York, 2006, p. 10). In his portrait of Jacobs, Condo achieved this purpose in earnest, making manifest Jacobs’ radiant persona though his characteristic use of color and composition.

  • 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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Marc Jacobs

signed and dated "Condo 07" on the reverse
oil on canvas
43 x 35 in. (109.2 x 88.9 cm.)
Painted in 2007.

$500,000 - 700,000 

Sold for $591,000

Contact Specialist
Rebekah Bowling
Head of Day Sale, Afternoon Session
New York
+ 1 212 940 1250

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session

New York Auction 16 May 2018