George Condo - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Friday, April 16, 2021 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • 'George came to see my play at the Metropolitan and the day after I went to his place as we use to do all the time. We ate at home and had fun- he played the guitar, painted and I sung. This is the story of this special painting that ties me and George in a fantastic friendship. It’s a very special work.' —Vittorio GrigoloExecuted in 2017, Untitled presents the portrait of a woman, Beatrice, who was in a relationship with world famous tenor Vittorio Grigolo at the time of work’s creation.  True to Condo’s distinctive style, Untitled is a melodic arrangement consisting of Cubist-inspired, jewel-toned lines forming a vague assortment of facial features. Hints of recognisable elements – eyes, teeth, nose, breasts, and blonde hair emerge from chaotic three-dimensional geometry. Beatrice, bearing testament to Vittorio and Condo's friendship served as a captivating subject for the artist not only in visual representation but also in her psyche. Condo who is fascinated with the exploration of the human condition was inspired by her protective nature of Vittorio and inscribed 'Beatrice, don't get mad' as accompaniment to the work. Titillating on the verge of abstraction and figuration, Untitled is a wonderful example of Condo’s pioneering vernacular, involving the deconstruction of classic portraiture only to redefine it in his own unique way.

    'Picasso painted a violin from four different perspectives at one moment. I do the same with psychological states. Four of them can occur simultaneously… hysteria, joy, sadness, and desperation.' —George CondoAccording to the artist, his drawings serve as a surface on which to visualise his research rather than to depict specific people, noting ‘They’re really not so much subjects in themselves as they are observations of the emotional content of human nature, so they’re variables in that sense. They’re sort of interchangeable.’1 Through his unique drawing and painting process Condo retains his signature style, claiming, ‘What’s possible with painting that’s not in real life is that you can see two or three sides of a personality at the same time, and you can capture what I call a psychological cubism.’2 ‘Psychological cubism’ and ‘artificial realism’ are terms coined by Condo which define the merging of art historical movements within his own artistic practice, integrating imagery by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Jean Dubuffet, and Diego Velázquez.


    Recognised for his dynamic take on the perpetual genre of portraiture, Condo pushes traditional boundaries, thus focusing on the representation of physical qualities, but also of emotional nuances, fuelling his compositions with dramatic tension. His visual language and postmodern approach to portraiture has established him as the leading figurative artist of the contemporary era.


    1 Ann Binlot, ‘George Condo Creates Portraits in Action,’ T Magazine, 7 November 2014, online

    2 Julie Belcove, ‘George Condo interview’, Financial Times, 21 April 2013, online

    • Provenance

      Gifted by the artist to the present owner

    • 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.

      View More Works


Operatic Abstraction

signed, inscribed, dedicated and dated 'For Vittorio For today Feb. 26, 2017 with so much love Condo' upper left; inscribed 'Beatrice don't get mad' upper right; inscribed 'Sept 25' lower left
coloured pencil and graphite on paper
66.7 x 57.5 cm (26 1/4 x 22 5/8 in.)
Executed in February 2017.

Full Cataloguing

£80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for £94,500

Contact Specialist


Tamila Kerimova
Specialist, Director, Head of Day Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

+ 44 20 7318 4065



20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 16 April 2021