KAWS - Unbound: Online Auction New York Tuesday, April 9, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Pace Prints, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Entitled Man’s Best Friend, the present lot is a monumental set of 10 black and white screenprints which playfully depict Snoopy, an American Beagle and companion to Charlie Brown in the comic strip Peanuts created by Charles Schulz. However, KAWS’ Snoopy has been playfully renamed by the artist, now known as “Joe KAWS.” From 1950 until his death in 2005, Schulz’s beloved characters appeared in international and national newspapers every day, deeply rooting themselves in generations of globally diverse viewers. KAWS explains, “I’m into Schulz as an artist, a company, and an icon; I got into his stuff just because I liked the looseness of the line work, and I thought that it was just sort of a nice thing to bring into my paintings, even if it’s abstract and unidentifiable” (KAWS in Steff Yotka, “Inside KAWS’s Studio With the Artist—And His Snoopy for Uniqlo Toys,” Vogue, April 27, 2017).

    By extracting minimalist, detailed crops of Charlie Brown, KAWS has left just a hint of the persona being portrayed, yet even with just a dissociated portion the viewer is able to immediately recognize this iconic canine. As the artist comments, “[I] found it weird how infused a cartoon could become in people's lives; the impact it could have, compared to regular politics” (KAWS in Healy & Murray, "Graffiti Artist Turned Gallery Artist Turned Art Toy Maker, KAWS," Pop, February 2007, pp. 260-265). KAWS’ simplistic yet bold images playfully and inventively rework quintessential cartoon imagery while touching on the viewer’s personal, childhood relationship to the ensemble of friendly cartoon faces.

  • Artist Biography


    American • 1974

    To understand the work of KAWS is to understand his roots in the skateboard and graffiti crews of New York City. Brian Donnelly chose KAWS as his moniker to tag city streets beginning in the 1990s, and quickly became a celebrated standout in the scene. Having swapped spray paint for explorations in fine art spanning sculpture, painting and collage, KAWS has maintained a fascination with classic cartoons, including Garfield, SpongeBob SquarePants and The Simpsons, and reconfigured familiar subjects into a world of fantasy. 

    Perhaps he is most known for his larger-than-life fiberglass sculptures that supplant the body of Mickey Mouse onto KAWS' own imagined creatures, often with 'x'-ed out eyes or ultra-animated features. However, KAWS also works frequently in neon and vivid paint, adding animation and depth to contemporary paintings filled with approachable imagination. There is mass appeal to KAWS, who exhibits globally and most frequently in Asia, Europe and the United States.  

    View More Works


Man's Best Friend

each signed, numbered and dated "75/100 KAWS 16" lower edge
The complete set of 10 screenprints in black and white, on Saunders Waterford High White paper, the full sheets, with title page, loose (as issued) contained in the original grey fabric-covered portfolio with printed title
each sheet 35 x 23 in. (89 x 58.5 cm.)
portfolio 36 3/4 x 24 5/8 in. (93.3 x 62.5 cm.)

Executed in 2016, this work is number 75 from an edition of 100 plus 20 artist's proofs, published by Pace Prints, New York.

$40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for $87,500

Contact Specialist
Katherine Lukacher
Associate Specialist, Head of Online Sales
+1 212 940 1215

Unbound: Online Auction

Bidding Closes 18 April 2019