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  • Provenance

    Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles
    Private Collection

  • Catalogue Essay

    In abstractly translating commercially cherished characters, or in directly imprinting them with his mark, KAWS creates his own distinct cartoon universe, filled with characters that are at once familiar, and arresting in their heightened portrayal of human emotion. This effect is uniquely evident in the present lot where the artist depicts the face of Charlie Brown in black and white. Describing his interest in the cartoon’s creator Charles M. Schulz, KAWS states “I’m into Schulz as an artist, a company, 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” (KAWS, quoted in Steff Yotka, “Inside KAWS’s Studio With the Artist—And His Snoopy for Uniqlo Toys”, Vogue, April 27, 2017, online). The present painting is distinctly emblematic of this motivation for KAWS to infuse his strokes with Schulz’s designs, while also maintaining gestural strength and tonal solidity in bold black line. With Charlie Brown as a vehicle to express the iconic joy of American cartoon culture, the present lot interprets the tradition of Pop Art on a singularly contemporary scale.

  • 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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322

Untitled (MBFH4)

signed and dated "KAWS..14" on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
58 1/8 x 48 in. (147.6 x 121.9 cm.)
Painted in 2014.

Estimate
$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $137,500

Contact Specialist
Rebekah Bowling
Head of Day Sale, Afternoon Session
New York
+ 1 212 940 1250
[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session

New York Auction 16 May 2018