Jonas Wood - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle Hong Kong Tuesday, November 29, 2022 | Phillips

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  • “You could call [my work] a visual diary or even a personal history. I’m not going to paint something that doesn’t have anything to do with me. Of all of the possible things I could paint, the thing that interests me is something that I can get close enough to in order to paint it honestly.”
    — Jonas Wood


    Born in Boston in 1977, Los-Angeles based contemporary artist Jonas Wood has garnered worldwide acclaim for instantly recognisable, boldly coloured, graphic works. Completed a year after the death of American professional lightweight boxer Diego Corrales, more commonly known as “Chico”, Jonas Wood’s Chico from 2008 is a quintessential embodiment of the artist’s style of portraiture, commemorating the glorified and inspiring boxer in a moment of strength. This work is featured in the artist’s 2008 eponymous exhibition at Anton Kern Gallery, which marked his second solo show in New York. 



    The present work (far right) exhibited at New York, Anton Kern Gallery, Jonas Wood, 20 November – 23 December 2008
    Image Courtesy of Anton Kern Gallery


    Expertly navigating techniques of fragmentation, flattened dimension, and highly stylised geometric abstraction, Wood imbues Chico with an emotional depth that belies the flatness of the composition. Freezing the motion of his protagonist, Wood depicts the boxer with his arm drawn back in preparation for a final punch. Popping off the more pared down background, ‘Chico’ is rendered with vibrant red, pink and yellow accents which serve to heighten the intensity of the boxer’s physique. At the same time, soft tonal variations of grey shadows both enhance the physical strain of his movement and outline the intense, determined demeanour expressed by his face. His bright red gloves, iconic tattoo, and hot pink lettering on his shorts that spell out his name, all work to transport viewers into the audience of a boxing arena, as we watch on in anticipation of the outcome.  




    Working from archival imagery and photographs, the scene in Chico is likely taken from the boxer’s legendary fight with José Luis Castillo for their lightweight title fight on 7 May 2005, where Chico turned the tide of the game against all odds and won the fight in the tenth round, after being knocked down twice in the round. This fight has become an inspiration of persistence, with some regarding him as a modern gladiator. The boxer’s life is just as theatrical as the visual impact of work, as he died on the two-year anniversary of his greatest fight in a tragic motorcycle crash. The present lot is not only a classic example of Wood’s individualised aesthetic, now instantly recognisable within realm of contemporary portraiture, but also his personal homage to this talented and inspirational athlete, whose legacy lives on.


    Chico winning his greatest fight with José Luis Castillo, after coming back from the brink to topple the opponent in 2005

    Video Courtesy of SHOWTIME Sports


    Wood received his BA degree in 1999 from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, majoring in psychology and minoring in studio art, before obtaining an MFA in painting and drawing from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 2002.


    His works are amongst some of the most prestigious institutional collections, including the Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Dallas Museum of Art. Latest gallery solo exhibitions include Plants and Animals at David Kordansky Gallery (22 January–5 March 2022), Jonas Wood at Gagosian Hong Kong (23 November 2021–12 February 2022).

    • Provenance

      Anton Kern Gallery, New York
      Private Collection
      Phillips, New York, November 8, 2015, lot 50
      Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      New York, Anton Kern Gallery, Jonas Wood, November 20 - December 23, 2008



signed with the artist's initials, titled and dated '"CHICO" JBRW 2008' on the reverse
oil on linen
121.9 x 121.9 cm. (47 7/8 x 47 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2008.

Full Cataloguing

HK$900,000 - 1,200,000 

Sold for HK$1,260,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle

Hong Kong Auction 30 November 2022