Katherine Bernhardt - Let Loose: Online Auction Hong Kong Thursday, June 29, 2023 | Phillips

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  • Giant Philodendron with Toilet Paper is an exuberant example of Katherine Bernhardt’s unique visual lexicon. Renowned for her widely acclaimed ‘patterned’ works, the present composition notably belongs to this highly distinctive series. Visually captivating and imbued with a graphic quality, the painting features an incongruous juxtaposition of motifs. A fenestrated Philodendron leaf takes centre stage of the canvas with two rolls of toilet paper positioned idly on the top and bottom right corners. Aptly demonstrating the artist’s ever-expanding interest in the visual culture of contemporary society and her individualistic approach to subverting traditional still life paintings, the objects in the present work can be seen as commodities and as a reference to American pop culture.


    When viewed closely, pools of violet and vibrant green coalesce by chance. This reveals Bernhardt’s brisk and improvisational artistic process and her application of diluted acrylics with spray paint. Her working method further recalls the result of Helen Frankenthaler’s iconic soak-stain technique, drawing parallels to the way in which both artists explore the concept of abstraction.


    Born 1975 in St. Louis, Katherine Bernhardt received her BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and her MFA from the School of Visual Arts. She has been honoured with major solo exhibitions around the world and is currently represented by David Zwirner.

    • Provenance

      Venus Over Manhattan, New York
      Private Collection
      Christie's, Hong Kong, 11 July 2020, lot 205
      Acquired from the above sale by the present owner

    • 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. 

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Giant Philodendron with Toilet Paper

acrylic and spray paint on canvas
152.5 x 122 cm. (60 x 48 in.)
Executed in 2016.

Full Cataloguing

HK$300,000 - 400,000 

Sold for HK$571,500

Contact Specialist

Sophia Choi
Associate Specialist, Head of Online Sales
20th Century & Contemporary Art, Hong Kong
+852 2318 2093

Let Loose: Online Auction

29 June - 6 July 2023