Grayson Perry - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Wednesday, March 6, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London
    Private Collection
    Sotheby's, London, October 15, 2007, lot 120
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    London, Anthony d'Offay Gallery, Grayson Perry, 13 December 1996 - 15 February 1997
    Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, no. 28 (p. 104, illustrated, pp. 22-23); London, Barbican Art Gallery, Grayson Perry - Guerilla Tactics, 18 May - 2 November 2002

  • Catalogue Essay

    Exemplary of Grayson Perry’s distinctly varied practice, Sunset through Net Curtains, 1996 deftly combines the functional, decorative and aesthetic qualities of the ceramic medium. Having cemented international recognition through film, performance, printmaking, photography, embroidery and ceramics, Perry ceaselessly engages with the contemporary art world in a manner both critical and poetic. Attesting to its importance, the present work was included in the artist’s seminal exhibition Guerrilla Tactics, at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and the Barbican Art Gallery, for which he was awarded the Turner Prize in 2003.

    In Sunset through Net Curtains layers of metallic glaze and natural motifs are interspersed, transposing images from historical paintings and contemporary sporting culture onto a traditionally shaped vessel. While the surface of the object appears innocuous, presenting blooming flowers in a delicate palette, upon closer inspection curious emblems and personal references emerge. Occupying one side of the object, the solemn gaze of an androgynous figure is juxtaposed against architectural images and floral scenes, on another side a heavily delineated silhouette sits hunched over a computer screen projecting a face akin to the artist’s reflection. The entire surface of the vessel, thickly layered with diverse imagery, is filled with differing images of identity and art historical and contemporary ideals occupy the plane. Using the urn as a culturally subversive vehicle through which to materialise a humorous social commentary, Perry activates a dialogue with the viewer on social status, gender politics, sexuality and religion. The glistening lustre and detailed ornamentation are mere distractions to mystify the artist’s satirical discourse; subtle outlines deliver a seemingly graceful surface, whilst concurrently revealing the artist’s wry humour.

    Instilled with Perry’s remarkable imaginative flair, skilled craftsmanship and decorative grandeur, the present work unravels layers of art historical veneration whilst championing both social commentary and fairy-tale fantasy. Technically sophisticated, each of his vases, rich in texture, glaze and imagery, takes months to complete. Remarking on the gravitas of his ceramic creations, the artist noted: ‘My pots always carry with them the intellectual baggage of the history of ceramics, its archaeology, geography and value system. But up close, the content of my work can confound all that’ (Grayson Perry, quoted in Jacky Klein, Grayson Perry, London, 2009, p. 242).


Sunset through Net Curtains

stamped with the artist's monogram and titled 'sunset through net curtains' lower edge
glazed ceramic
52.4 x 28.9 x 26.7 cm (20 5/8 x 11 3/8 x 10 1/2 in.)
Executed in 1996.

£80,000 - 120,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £150,000

Contact Specialist
Rosanna Widén
Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4060

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 7 March 2019