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  • Provenance

    Galerie Andrea Caratsch, Zurich

  • Catalogue Essay

    In his career’s second sculptural phase, George Condo abandons his idiosyncratic style of figurative grotesques by incorporating formalistic tenets of Greco-Roman sculpture. Condo’s frequent visits to the sculpture wings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art prompted him to use mythological figures as his subjects, and giving them a classicist edge by employing traditional principles of composition and proportion. Yet, Condo’s subjects hint at their psychological complexity through bestial shapes and bizarre features typical of his distinctive style.

    Composite Figure No.1, 2003, recalls the goddess Aphrodite (Venus) from the Greek myth “Judgment of Paris”; after being chosen by young Paris as the fairest among her competitors, including Athena and Helen, Aphrodite clutches the prized golden apple in her right hand. Condo’s chosen medium accentuates her smooth voluptuous curves; the shimmering effect of the gilded surface adds to the sensual elevation of the goddess of beauty. Yet, Condo’s Aphrodite, in her hollow cheeks and truncated lower visage, evokes the withered face of a wicked hag. Her focused gaze and hint of a smile, betray a scheming face. Incidentally, we must wonder whether the purpose of the apple is nourishment or death. Stripped of her divine serenity by an unbecoming face, Condo’s Composite Figure No. 1, 2003, exhibits both sensual beauty and grotesque vulgarity.

  • 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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42

Composite Figure No. 1

2003
gilded bronze
45 1/4 x 16 1/8 x 14 in. (114.9 x 41.1 x 35.6 cm)
Stamped “GC, 2003” and numbered of three on the base.
This work is from an edition of three.

Estimate
$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for $230,500

Contemporary Art Part I

7 November 2011
New York