Jonas Wood - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session New York Thursday, May 19, 2022 | Phillips
  • "The plant paintings are refined, simplified forms of just shape and color with only a touch of representation." 
    —Jonas Wood
    Executed in 2012, Jonas Wood’s Night Bloom 2 is an exuberant painting on paper that perfectly encapsulates the LA-based artist’s celebrated idiom. Wood is perhaps best known for focusing on the everyday spaces of his studio and garden, and the present work in particular exemplifies his fascination with floral still-lifes. As in the painting Night Bloom Still Life, 2015, which is held in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Wood here depicts a potted plant next to a striped ceramic vessel made by his wife, ceramist Shio Kusaka. Imbued with art historical references ranging from Henri Matisse to David Hockney, Night Bloom 2 above all offers an intimate snapshot–a celebration of the small domestic pleasures. 
    "Mr. Wood paints the artist’s life that happens to be his own. In its broadest outlines the subject has not changed all that much from, say, Vuillard and Matisse to Alex Katz and David Hockney." 
    —Roberta Smith
    Wood began painting plants soon after receiving his MFA in the early 2000s “as a means to paint from life...When I moved to LA I was really taken with the plant life...”.i Reviving the conventional genre of still-life through a contemporary lens, the artist’s depictions of plants transform reality through the filters of his personal memory and reverence for his art historical forebears which, for Wood, were inextricably entwined. Coming from a family of collectors, the artist was introduced to the work of canonical modern masters early in life, which would have a profound influence on his painterly practice.

    As Wood recalled, “Matisse, Picasso, Braque, Calder, Monet, Vuillard, Bonnard, van Gogh, Stuart Davis, and Hockney have all been very real influences to me. When I was a young child, my family would speak about these artists as examples of greatness in painting. I guess even then I took them seriously because these are the artists I ended up fashioning my studio practice after."ii

    Wood found particular inspiration in Henri Matisse and David Hockney, evinced in the artist’s dimensional graphic style. By referencing the artistic language of his predecessors, Night Bloom 2 coalesces a rich history of painterly tradition through Wood’s singular contemporary voice. The work is imbued with an immediacy that is unique to working with the mediums of watercolor and pencil on paper, powerfully demonstrating Wood's remarkable virtuosity both as a colorist and draftsman.  
    "I see these new plant paintings as just an exercise in shape and color balance. Using local color is just a tool like perspective... When color challenges you, and tells you a plant is blue not green, then maybe color can ask you new questions about what you are seeing."
    —Jonas Wood

    i Jonas Wood, quoted in Amanda Law, “Hammer Museum: Q&A with Jonas Wood,” February 16, 2010, online
    ii The artist in conversation with Emma-Louise Tovey, “Jonas Wood,” Dossier Journal, 3 April 2012, online

    • Provenance

      Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner


Night Bloom 2

signed with the artist's initials, titled and dated "NIGHT BLOOM 2 JBRW 2012" on the reverse
gouache and colored pencil on paper
20 1/2 x 20 1/8 in. (52.1 x 51.1 cm)
Executed in 2012.

Full Cataloguing

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $123,480

Contact Specialist

Patrizia Koenig
Specialist, Head of Day Sale, Afternoon Session
+1 212 940 1279

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session

New York Auction 19 May 2022