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  • The PACKAGE PAINTINGS were my way of getting my imagery onto canvas. I had been painting nearly all my life, but not with these forms on this material. After making them, I dropped the packaging and began to paint on larger canvases.” —KAWS

    The PACKAGE PAINTINGS marked a pivotal point in KAWS’s career as it signaled his move from street art and design into the world of fine art, catapulting his work to worldwide fame.

     

    KAWS purposefully opted not to invent new symbols in his art, feeling that modern society was already inundated with a blitz of imagery. Instead, he chose to rework established, universally-recognised emblems. Drawing inspiration from Pop Artists such Andy Warhol who appropriated mass culture imagery (most notoriously Coca-Cola bottles and Campbell soup cans) and Roy Lichtenstein, whose work emulated the artistic style of comic book illustrations, KAWS skilfully utilized the public’s familiarity with popular visual culture to convey his artistic message.

     

    KAWS encased his canvas, featuring his take on The Simpsons’ Krusty the Clown modified with the signature ‘X’ eyes, in a blister pack together with triangular cutout for hanging merchandise on pegboards, and affixed it to a cardstock backing with modified character silhouettes derived from his trademark skulls and crossbones. The character is depicted in a freeze-action vignette, reminiscent of animation cells. By presenting his painted canvas in the same commercial packaging format used by toy manufacturers, KAWS bridged the opposing worlds of commerce and fine art by merging their incongruent materials. [1]

     

    Andy Warhol Coca Cola
    Andy Warhol, Green Coca-Cola Bottles, 1962
    Collection of Whitney Museum of American Art
    © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

     [1] Andrea Karnes, “Pop in the Expanded Field”, WHERE THE END STARTS, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, 2016, pp. 46-47

    • Provenance

      Elms Lesters Painting Rooms, London
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2001

    • Artist Biography

      KAWS

      American • 1974

      KAWS (b. 1974, Jersey City, New Jersey; lives and works in Brooklyn, New York) is renowned for his prolific body of work that straddles the worlds of art and design to include paintings, murals, graphic and product design, street art, and large-scale sculptures. Over the last two decades KAWS has built a successful career with work that consistently shows his formal agility as an artist, as well as his underlying wit, irreverence, and affection for our times. His refined graphic language revitalizes figuration with both big, bold gestures and playful intricacies.  

      KAWS often appropriates and draws inspiration from pop culture animations, forming a unique artistic vocabulary across mediums. Admired for his larger-than-life sculptures and hardedge paintings that emphasize line and color, KAWS’s cast of hybrid cartoon characters are the strongest examples of his exploration of humanity. As seen in his collaborations with global brands, the artist’s imagery possesses a sophisticated humor and reveals a thoughtful interplay with consumer products. With their broad appeal, KAWS’s artworks are highly sought-after by collectors inside and outside of the art world, establishing him as a uniquely prominent artist and influence in today’s culture.  

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132

Lot offered with No Reserve

UNTITLED (KIMPSONS), PACKAGE PAINTING SERIES

signed and dated 'KAWS.. 01' on the reverse of the canvas
acrylic on canvas in blister package
canvas 40.8 x 40.8 cm. (16 1/8 x 16 1/8 in.)
overall 58 x 47 x 7 cm. (22 7/8 x 18 1/2 x 2 3/4 in.)

Executed in 2001.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
HK$800,000 - 1,200,000 
€84,200-126,000
$103,000-154,000

Sold for HK$1,890,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale
[email protected]

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

Hong Kong Auction 7 June 2021