George Rouy - New Now London Thursday, July 13, 2023 | Phillips

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  •  “When I painted 'Vanity' I realised I had really started to find my place. It was very early in the journey. I think within the whole area of work where I started using symbols like the frog and the shell I was very much looking at symbolism, looking at gestures, looking at the meaning of things, like the swan for example, or the bent neck.”
    —George Rouy


    Currently the subject of a solo exhibition of new work with Hannah Barry Gallery in London, British artist George Rouy has captured the attention of critics and collectors alike with his soft, hazy figures who refuse to be contained in their bodies, instead exceeding their boundaries in every direction. Executed in 2018, Vanity speaks powerfully to these themes, the soft palette of pink, mauve and blue tones reinforcing a sense of the fleshy mess of our bodies which is underscored by the drops of blood spilling from the figure’s finger and into the pool below. A recurring motif in Rouy’s work, the bleeding finger here transgresses the boundary between inside and outside, subject and object, the ‘me’ and ‘not me’ so rigorously policed on both an individual and social level.


    Like blood, the pool of water also blurs these boundaries, blending with the figure and further confusing distinctions between the looking self and reflected image. It is this confusion of course which lies at the root of the Narcissus myth – the beautiful boy who fell in love with his own reflection and wasted away, unable as he was to tear himself away from the sight of himself at the water’s edge.


    Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Narciso, 1597-1599, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Rome


    • Provenance

      Cob Gallery, London
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      London, Cob Gallery, New Work Part I: Form, 14 February - 10 March 2018

    • Literature

      Mark Westall, 'FORM: NEW WORK PART ONE', FAD Magazine, 16 February 2018, online (illustrated)
      Emily Dinsdale, 'This exhibition celebrates how our bodies are both repulsive and delightful', Dazed, 2 March 2018, online (illustrated)
      Marco Galvan, 'In Conversation with George Rouy', Figure Figure, October 2020, no. 33, p. 26 (illustrated, p. 27)
      Emily Dinsdale, 'Send/make nudes: How artists are reframing the tradition of the nude', Dazed, 26 March 2021, online (illustrated)

Property From a Private UK Collection



signed with the artist's initials and dated 'GR18' on the turnover edge
acrylic on canvas
56 x 46 cm (22 x 18 1/8 in.)
Painted in 2018.​

Full Cataloguing

£10,000 - 15,000 

Sold for £10,160

Contact Specialist

Charlotte Gibbs
Associate Specialist, Head of New Now
+44 20 7901 7993

New Now

London Auction 13 July 2023