Gilbert & George - 20th C. & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session New York Wednesday, November 13, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    James Cohan Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    Rudi Fuchs, ed., Gilbert & George: The Complete Pictures 1971-2005, Volume 1 1971-1988, London, 2007, p. 216 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    George: In 'Dusty Corners', there is only the fabric of the building and ourselves. No other elements at all.
    Gilbert: And that is how we felt.
    George: Yes, our works are always true, literally. Just lifted from where we were when we made them.
    Gilbert: We never tried to invent anything.
    Gilbert & George, 1997

    Belonging to a discrete series of 21 works, Dusty Corners No. 18, 1975, depicts the celebrated British duo Gilbert & George in their home and studio in Spitalfields Market in London. Four photographs arranged in a grid, the present work highlights the artists’ quintessential use of text and image. In the Dusty Corners series, Gilbert & George allow the viewer entry into 12 Fournier Street, as it is explicitly typed in the fourth image. The address is located in the East End in London, an area historically known for being the home of button-makers, furriers and hat-makers and collectively known as a garment district – an apt location as the artistic duo was renowned not only for their art but also their fashion trademark: perfectly tailored matching suits. The two artists moved into the area in 1968 while they were both studying sculpture at Saint Martin's School of Art, to what they deemed the cheapest flat they could find. Their entire body of work has been and continues to be created in this townhouse, making them true icons of the neighborhood. As George explains, "Nothing happens in the world that doesn't happen in the East End” (George, quoted in Anna van Praagh, “Gilbert and George: ‘Margaret Thatcher did a lot for art’”, Telegraph, July 5, 2009, online).

    Dusty Corners No. 18 depicts the artists enclosed in the wood panel interior of their 18th century home, which upon original purchase was in a state of complete disorder and dilapidation. This raw character only adds intrigue to the dramatic and haunting black and white photographs featured in each of the works from the series. The gloom of this unkempt house is palpable, its dirty windows and screeching floorboards leaving the artists as if floating in what seems to be a timeless place. Art critic Laura Cummings crafts a description of the series which is beautifully poignant: “The marvelous Dusty Corners, haunting checkerboards of interiors in which each artist appears alone in a shadowy room, alternating upstairs and downstairs with the oppressively vacant chambers of their house, the world before, and as it seems after, they were here" (Laura Cummings, "Better Than a Poke in the Eye", The Observer, London, February 18, 2007, online). A testament to their lasting impact, Dusty Corners No. 18 and the setting it depicts typifies the artists’ “Art for All” credo and the duo’s unique power to engage an audience beyond the art world elite.

A Discerning Vision Property from an Important Private Collection

Ο ◆424

Dusty Corners No. 18

signed and partially titled "18 George and Gilbert" center of the fourth print
gelatin silver print, in artist's frame, in 4 parts
each 23 7/8 x 19 7/8 in. (60.6 x 50.5 cm.)
overall 47 7/8 x 39 7/8 in. (121.6 x 101.3 cm.)

Executed in 1975.

$280,000 - 350,000 

Sold for $350,000

Contact Specialist
Rebekah Bowling
Head of Day Sale, Afternoon Session
New York
+ 1 212 940 1250

20th C. & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session

New York Auction 13 November 2019