John Stezaker - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Friday, March 4, 2022 | Phillips
  • Portrait IV (2015) joins a select cycle of bridge-portrait collages by John Stezaker. The bridge in depiction at the centre of the composition is commonly known as the Penmachno Roman Bridge on the way to Betws-Y-Coed in Wales (although it is by no way Roman, but rather medieval). Postcards depicting bridges are to be found in some of Stezaker’s most important and iconic works. These offer a potent metaphor to the way one is encouraged to understand the artist’s approach to collage-making as a link between two worlds that are otherwise perceived as foreign to one another. In this particular case, the postcard functions at once as a mask that covers the face of an actress posing for a portrait as part of a film promotion campaign (presumably from the 1940s), as a window to the subconscious of the hidden figure, and an integral part of the missing figure’s face, he bodily features, and her silk dress. The insertion of a landscape postcard into the spatial territory of a larger photograph in Stezaker’s work is used to invert the expected spatial relationship between indoors and outdoors, between the construction of a façade and the creation of pictorial depth and perspective.


    We would like to thank Yuval Etgar for the above note on this work.


    The Warburg Institute is one of the world’s leading institutions for the study of art and culture. The works are donated in support of the Warburg Renaissance, the architectural and intellectual transformation of the Institute. The sales of the works will help to fund the completion of the renovation and expansion of the Institute’s home in the heart of the University of London’s Bloomsbury campus, to create a more open and accessible building and welcome in and educate a wider audience with new and dynamic public spaces for lectures, exhibitions and digital experimentation. They will also provide funding for new programmes for exhibitions, residencies and commissions for contemporary artists, writers and thinkers.

    • Provenance

      Donated by the artist

Sold to support the Warburg Institute


Portrait IV

printed paper collage on printed paper
24.5 x 20.3 cm (9 5/8 x 7 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2015.

Full Cataloguing

£5,000 - 7,000 

Sold for £6,300

Contact Specialist

Simon Tovey

Specialist, Associate Director, Head of Day Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art
+44 20 7318 4084

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 4 March 2022