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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist

  • Catalogue Essay

    It was in the 1980s that George Condo came to prominence with his style of ‘Artificial Realism', a term the artist himself coined, placing his work in a category of its own. Over the years, Condo has introduced his audience to a diverse cast of characters, all with their own multitude of personalities, for their inspiration the artist does not discern between memory, life, truth, or fiction. It is his most successful paintings that expose a powerful psychological intensity, of which this present lot, The Girl with Blue Eye Shadow, is an excellent example; it embodies an almost perfect tension between mockery, pity, satire, and pastiche.
    Executed as part of his Existential Portraits series, The Girl with Blue Eye Shadow is from of an extensive cast of individuals created around the figure of Jean Louis. These characters include his relatives and staff members such as his wife, his girlfriend, his chauffeur and his maid. Set against an isolated background, The Girl with Blue Eye Shadow questions her existence- an existence lived beyond the periphery of consciousness. Staring right back at the viewer, her confrontational gaze draws us in to her world of despair and loneliness. Like an anatomical orgy, her coagulated facial features of displaced body parts are at once frightening and appealing, inviting the viewer to enter her space yet at the same time pushing him away.
    "Condo's portraits ultimately return our attention to the varied responses that they trigger in us. They confront us with the curious fact that we can feel pity and ridicule for something at the same time, or sympathy and revulsion. In the end, these imaginary portraits lead us to wonder at the schizoid and contradictory character of our own natures. And they leave us to revel in what Soberg memorably termed ‘the irresolvable clownishness of being.'" (Ralph Rugoff, The Imaginary Portraits of George Condo, New York, 2002, p. 14).

  • 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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32

Smiling Girl with Blue Eye Shadow

2008
Oil on canvas.
101.6 X 91.4 cm (40 X 36 in).
Signed and dated ‘Condo 08’ upper left.

Estimate
£80,000 - 120,000 

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

13 October 2010
London