George Condo - Contemporary Art Part I New York Wednesday, November 11, 2009 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Patrick Painter Inc., Santa Monica; Pace Wildenstein, New York

  • Exhibited

    Los Angeles, Patrick Painter, Mental States, December 2, 2000 - January 27, 2001

  • Literature

    C. Knight, “Paintings Take a Serious Look at Cartoonish Human Nature,” LA Times, December 15, 2000, p. E4 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    One of the most influential American artists on the international art scene today, George Condo’s work synthesizes Cubism, Expressionism and Classicism in a supreme and iconic way. Condo investigates and challenges the nature of portraiture, introducing the language of the Old Masters into Contemporary Art, influencing all generations thereafter. His work provokes through its controversial subject matter guised in classic style. The characters of his subjects are depicted so that their souls are reflected in their features and circumstances. Condo depicts mental states, imagining combinations of features to describe the unconsidered inner life.
    The present lot, Mental States (Hiding and Finding), 2000, is from a series of semi-abstracted paintings that explore the appearance and physicality of figurative references in a free gestural mode. They depict the aforementioned introspective nature of the human condition, as felt and observed by the artist. Condo explores the mental states of his subjects and moves through the emotions in rhythmic lines that hypnotize the viewers and force them to consider their own inner state. The paintings are both light and dark, peaceful and maddening. The paintings appear as thought processes, as if Condo is working out the complexities of his own condition through an abstracted experience. Mental States (Hiding and Finding) is a kind of inner portrait. Faces suddenly appear in the abstracted lines and are caught between cartoonish and classical representations only to disappear and reappear again through a continuous metamorphosis. The characters endure the chaos of the lines and resurface from the journey, changed by the madness they defeated. The chaotic culture in which the portraits are caught challenges not only the subjects, but also the viewers to question which world is real and which portrait is theirs.

  • 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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Mental States (Hiding and Finding)


Oil and acrylic on canvas.

60 x 100 in. (152.4 x 254 cm).

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $290,500

Contemporary Art Part I

12 Nov 2009
New York