Katherine Bernhardt - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction Hong Kong Sunday, June 6, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Dubbed a 'female bad-boy painter' by the legendary art critic Jerry Saltz, Katherine Bernhardt has been likened to Jean-Michel Basquiat for her paintings that 'exude obsession, endlessness, and germinating optical power'.[1] Executed in 2019, Green is a striking example of Missouri-born, Brooklyn-based Bernhardt's electric and playful aesthetic. Bursting onto the contemporary art scene with her thickly-painted portraits of magazine models, she turned her attention to clashing patterns influenced by African textiles and contemporary Dutch wax fabrics, as well as popular culture icons. One of her most referenced characters is the Pink Panther cartoon, whom she began painting after a surreal trip to Hawaii. Arriving at the Pink Palace Hotel, she noticed an enormous sculpture of King Kamehameha I, the Hawaiian warrior leader, draped in enormous hot pink orchid leis. The hotel offered pink towels, pink sheets, pink sleeping masks, pink carpeting, pink beach chairs, pink beach towels, pink stationery, pink sunsets, pink pancakes, as well as the Pink Panther on TV.


    Roberta Smith praises Bernhardt for how she 'paints with great economy and panache, as Andy Warhol might have without silk-screens'.[2] Unique to Bernhardt, however, is her ability to quickly create spray paint compositions with washes of acrylic that are fluid, thoughtful, and above all, unabashedly fun.


    [1] Jerry Saltz, ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Bad-Boy Artists? There Have Been, of Course. But the Art World Has Refused to Recognize Them.’, New York Magazine, 29 September 2015, online

    [2] Roberta Smith, 'Katherine Bernhardt: Stupid, Crazy, Ridiculous, Funny Patterns’, The New York Times, 20 February 2014, online


    Katherine Bernhardt

    Installation view of Green at Katherine Bernhardt, GOLD, Art OMI, 16 March – 18 May 2019

    • Provenance

      Art Omi, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      New York, Art Omi, Katherine Bernhardt, GOLD, 16 March – 18 May 2019

    • Artist Biography

      Katherine Bernhardt

      American • 1975

      Katherine Bernhardt, whether in her paintings or make-shift Moroccan rugs, is rapt by neons and geometries. The artist, who works in New York, takes an almost hasty-flick of a brushstroke that lands as a jagged architectural form — figures cut in space and in buzzing colors that leave a mental trace.

      Seemingly each month, multiple galleries, museums or art fairs across the world exhibit Bernhardt's large-scale fantasies and rug-centric installations, as seen in 2017 at Art Basel and with a solo retrospective at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth. "I think the best painters don't intellectualize their own art—they just make stuff," she says; but with sharks circling trash in the water in today's climate, as is depicted in Sharks, Toilet Paper and Plantains, it's not hard to see Bernhardt's deeper meanings. 

      View More Works



signed and dated 'Katherine Bernhardt 2019' on the reverse
acrylic and spray paint on canvas
243.8 x 304.8 cm. (95 7/8 x 120 in.)
Executed in 2019.

Full Cataloguing

HK$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for HK$1,071,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction

Hong Kong Auction 7 June 2021