Jonas Wood - 20th C. & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Thursday, November 14, 2019 | Phillips
  • Video

    Jonas Wood, 'Small Green 84', Lot 18

    20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale, 14 October

  • Provenance

    Patrick De Brock Gallery, Knokke-Heist
    Private Collection (acquired from the above)
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Knokke-Heist, Patrick De Brock Gallery, Jonas Wood, August 5 - 29, 2011
    Luxembourg, Zidoun-Bossuyt Gallery, Atmosphères by Jean-Claude Lazard, November 16 - December 17, 2016

  • Catalogue Essay

    “These plant paintings are exploring shape and repetition in the same way as Alexander Calder—through suspension in space.... The plant paintings are refined, simplified forms of just shape and color with only a touch of representation." – Jonas Wood

    Small Green 84, 2011, is a prime example of Jonas Wood’s vivid and textured renderings of foliage that have garnered international acclaim. Depicting a row of four soil-filled pots, three of which hold flourishing green indoor plants, the painting reinterprets the conventional genre of the still-life in a contemporary context. In a manner redolent of Cubist experiments with perspectival spaces, Wood fills his canvases with planes of flat, graphic color onto which he free-hands intricate and textured details. In its singular portrayal of the intimate objects that surround our interiors, Small Green 84 reinvents the everyday through an investigation of color and spatial abstraction.

    Small Green 84 positions Wood in the art historical genealogy of still-life painters, in which he is the heir to renowned masters such as Francisco de Zurbarán, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, and Paul Cézanne. However, Wood’s family also introduced him to modern masterpieces of the Western canon; as the artist himself acknowledged, “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” (Jonas Wood, quoted in Emma-Louise Tovey, “Jonas Wood,” Dossier Journal, April 3, 2012, online). Indeed, the influence of these modernists on Small Green 84 is extremely conspicuous: while the flattened, chromatic planes of the leaves resemble Henri Matisse’s cut-outs, the canvas’s painterly surface is evocative of Vincent van Gogh’s impasto-rich still-lifes. In its reference to the artistic language of his predecessors, Small Green 84 coalesces a rich history of tradition with Wood’s unique contemporary voice.

    Over his career, Wood has developed an idiosyncratic style of composite image-making, originally working from an extensive archive of photographs either taken by the artist or sourced from the internet. After collaging his imagery together into a single arrangement, the artist then reconfigures the composition through a series of drawings which he uses to map out the canvas. “I look to drawing first,” Wood elucidated. “I’ll take a picture of the painting and print it out on drawing paper, get the colored pencils and try to figure some shit out. I’m less of a de Kooning and more like Lichtenstein so it’s a compositional decision, I guess” (Jonas Wood, quoted in Bill Powers, “A Talk with Jonas Wood”, ARTnews, January 6, 2015, online). The final image reveals a combination of multiple perspectives, reminiscent of Cubist papier collé, that jeopardizes any coherent understanding of space. As a result, though Small Green 84 seems undoubtedly figurative at first glance, the foliage and pots appear to dissipate into abstract shapes upon closer inspection.

    By juxtaposing the traditional with a Californian freshness, the modern with the contemporary, and abstraction with figuration, Small Green 84 draws from various sources as a means of arriving at both a graphic and emotive intensity that is unique to Wood’s visual lexicon. “Jonas Wood’s painting continues to mature impressively, gaining pictorial and psychological weight. More than ever his works negotiate an uneasy truce among the abstract, the representational, the photographic and the just plain weird”, art critic Roberta Smith noted. “They achieve this with a dour yet lavish palette, tactile but implacably workmanlike surfaces and a subtly perturbed sense of space in which seemingly flattened planes and shapes undergo shifts in tone and angle that continually declare their constructed, considered, carefully wrought artifice” (Roberta Smith, “Paintings by Jonas Wood”, The New York Times, March 17, 2011, online).

Property of a Private Collector


Small Green 84

signed with the artist's initials, titled and dated "2011 SMALL GREEN 84 JBRW 2011" on the reverse
oil and acrylic on canvas
59 1/4 x 55 in. (150.5 x 139.7 cm.)
Painted in 2011.

$800,000 - 1,200,000 

Sold for $1,340,000

Contact Specialist

Amanda Lo Iacono
Head of Evening Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1278

20th C. & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 14 November 2019