Janet Fish - Unbound: Online Auction New York Monday, October 21, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Robert Miller Gallery, New York
    Private Collection (acquired from the above)
    Christie's, New York, February 22, 1996, lot 80
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    The realist painter Janet Fish has been creating her lush still-lives for over two decades. Often depicting an array of common house hold objects she is drawn to translucent and reflective materials like glassware and in this case a wrinkled, clear plastic bag which holds dark red apples. The preset lot comes from a series of works she created which depict supermarket items wrapped and tangled up in cellophane bags. The folds of the plastic bag are rendered so elegantly that they call to mind the thick and lush drapery of ancient Grecian sculptures which seem to fall with such depth allowing them to hold pockets of light and shadow. “The plastic wrap” as the artist explained, “catches the light and creates fascinating reflections.”

    Her interest in light is also expressed through her common depiction of vessels holding liquid such as the coffee cup in the present lot. The cup with its thick glaze seems to serve as a light source for the entire composition though through the window one can make out a bright and sunny city street scene below. Her interest in how these simple, everyday objects refract light is evident and pay homage to the 17th century still-lives painted by the Dutch master’s like Abraham van Beijeren and Johannes van der Beeck, even the tulips make reference to the Dutch tradition of still life painting. Her brushwork however calls to mind a more abstract touch adding movement to her seemingly still paintings, she could not fully embrace abstraction and says she “preferred the physical presence of objects” which in this still life is tulips, a coffee cup and apples juxtaposed again a seemingly never still, outside world.


Tulips and Coffee Cup

signed and dated "Janet Fish 1982 ©" lower right
pastel on paper
36 x 26 in. (91.4 x 66 cm.)
Executed in 1982.

$18,000 - 22,000 

Contact Specialist

Katherine Lukacher
Head of Online Sales, 20th Century & Contemporary Art
+1 212 940 1215

Unbound: Online Auction

Online 21 - 30 October 2019 | Bidding closes October 30th, 2pm EDT