Katharina Grosse - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Wednesday, February 12, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Video

    Katharina Grosse, 'Untitled', Lot 5

    20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale, 13 February

  • Provenance

    Gagosian Gallery, London
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    London, Gagosian Gallery, Katharina Grosse: Prototypes of Imagination, 16 May - 27 July 2018

  • Catalogue Essay

    ‘The painting process is a curious coincidence of thinking and acting. It is the continuous flux of visual intelligence constituting reality in every moment. Aggression is the energy that enables you to bear the loss of what has to go. It feeds and sustains that process’ – Katharina Grosse

    Punctuating uncompromising colour with patches of white and unmodulated transitional hues, Katharina Grosse’s Untitled, 2018, is at once luxuriously plentiful and enigmatically gestural, mimicking an experience of simultaneous presence and absence. Irreducibly engrossed with the act of painting, the artist indeed asserted that when she paints, she feels like she is at once ‘there and not there’, propelled in a realm devoid of earthly constrictions (Katharina Grosse, in conversation with Emily Wasik, 'Katharina Grosse Sticks to Her Guns', Interview Magazine, November 2014, online). With its energetic swathes of electric blue, neon yellow, leafy green and carmine red, as well as its vacant spaces akin to erasures, the present work composes a landscape of winding forms that eludes any kind of realistic scenery, revealing the painterly process with which Grosse evolves. The pictorial elements that constitute the final image, heavily informed by Grosse’s proclivity to embrace events and incidents, function like ‘the residue of my thinking’, she says; they are proof that her art is honest and instinctive, unfolding alongside her gestural impulses (Katharina Grosse, in conversation with Emily Wasik, 'Katharina Grosse Sticks to Her Guns', Interview Magazine, November 2014, online).

    Born in Freiburg, Germany, in 1961, Grosse studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where she later became a professor from 2010 to 2018. As a student there, Grosse learned unconventional methods of painting that solicited both her body and new tools of predilection, including the spray gun and the stencil. As a result, her distinctive canvases elicit bodily and psychedelic sensations rather than mere two-dimensional impressions. They are achieved over an elongated period of time, as the placement of the stencils necessitates extended pauses to let the colour dry. ‘If you’re imagining someone standing, pensively, in front of a blank canvas with a paintbrush and palette at hand—think again’, Caroline Goldstein once wrote. ‘Grosse is just as likely be found elbow-deep in raw pigments and strange three-dimensional materials, or armed with a spray-gun used to apply her fluorescent, otherworldly colors onto large-scale installations and paintings’ (Caroline Goldstein, ‘”There Is No Subject-Object Relations Anymore”: Watch Katharina Grosse Explain Her Dynamic Painting Process’, ArtNews, 5 December 2019, online). Oscillating between vandalism and philosophical painting, free-flowing dynamism and rigorous pattern construction, Untitled attests to the new aesthetic Grosse forged, and encapsulates the verve with which she has built her groundbreaking oeuvre.

    A household name in her native Germany, Grosse has transcended national borders and reached international recognition. Today, her works are housed in such eminent institutions as the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Kunsthaus Zürich, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, among others. Last July, she was commissioned by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to create a work that would be erected alongside Jackson Pollock’s iconic six-metre Mural, 1943. A large scale and site-specific installation, Grosse’s immense work vividly responds to its eminent counterpart in a celebration of movement and colour, and will be on view until February 2020. The present work, as a recent iteration of Grosse’s successful formula, similarly feasts upon the possibility of colour.



signed, numbered and dated '2018 Katharina Grosse 2018/1028' on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
219.9 x 150.2 cm (86 5/8 x 59 1/8 in.)
Executed in 2018.

£80,000 - 120,000 ‡♠

Sold for £137,500

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Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Europe
+44 20 7318 4099


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Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+44 20 7318 4060

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 13 February 2020