George Condo - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Saturday, June 28, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Luhring Augustine, New York; Leo Koenig, Inc., New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    Known for his references to art history and a use of modern abstract-figurative painting, George Condo's portrait figuration incorporate historical archetypes into a unique morphology. Using painterly cues and a variation of compositional devices sourced from Cubism and Surrealism through to painters such as Raphael, Rembrandt and Velazquez, his work recalls their historical antecedents whilst subverting the exact matter they hint at. The theatre that unfolds, however, belies the artist's interest solely in the external, for Condo's portraits rely heavily upon the revelatory nature of something far more disturbing and deeply rooted in the private domain of his subjects. Like many of Condo's paintings The Sculptor's subject matter challenges the user to decipher an artificial realism, here making reference to capes, bottles, and an underlying surreal context positioned in front of a swooping blue sky.
    "...‘The way I paint', he has said, ‘in technical terms is very traditional: I start with a ground on the canvas; then I make drawings. I make sketches and sometimes I'm involving a number of images from different paintings, with slight variations at times. I think of them as themes and variations, composites of various psychological states painted in different ways.'" (R. Rugoff, ‘The Enigma of Jean Louis', in George Condo, Existential Portraits, Holzwarth Publications, Berlin, 2006, p.8)

  • 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 Sculptor


Oil on canvas.

122 x 91.5 cm. (48 x 36 in).

£100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for £115,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

29 June 2008, 5pm