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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

    Few artists have dedicated their careers as singularly to one genre as George Condo has to that of portraiture. He is drawn to the endless inquiries posed by the aesthetics and formal considerations of Caravaggio, Rembrandt and the Old Masters. Emerging on the New York art scene in the 1980s alongside contemporaries such as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Condo developed a distinctive visual lexicon that is unmistakably his own. 

    Student to Warhol, friend to Basquiat and collaborator with William S. Burroughs, Condo tracked a different path. The artist frequently cites Picasso as a predominant influence in his contemporary cubist compositions and joyous use of paint. Condo is known for postmodernist compositions staked in wit and the grotesque, which draw the eye into a highly imaginary world. 

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234

The Sculptor

2004

Oil on canvas.

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

Estimate
£100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for £115,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

29 June 2008, 5pm
London