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  • Provenance

    Perrotin, Paris
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Seated with eyes covered, head resting in hands, COMPANION (PASSING THROUGH), 2011, captures KAWS’ signature COMPANION figure in an isolated state of introspection. Conjuring a myriad of emotions ranging from sadness, to fatigue, to complete overwhelm, the figure’s familiar posture invites empathy from its viewers.

    KAWS created his first COMPANION figure in 1999 as a small-scale figurine and, over the next two decades, this character has become a cornerstone of his celebrated oeuvre. Inspired by the enduring celebrity of the iconic cartoon character, Mickey Mouse, COMPANION is replete with white gloves, shorts with buttons, and globular cartoon-shoes. Yet in quintessential KAWS fashion, the artist has replaced Mickey’s head with his signature skull with X’ed out eyes. Of his COMPANIONS, KAWS explains, “Even though I use a comic language, my figures are not always reflecting the idealistic cartoon view that I grew up on… COMPANION is more real in dealing with contemporary human circumstances” (KAWS, quoted in KAWS: WHERE THE END STARTS, exh. cat., Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, 2016, p. 5). Equally personal as it is universal, somber as it is playful, COMPANION (PASSING THROUGH) is a poignant reflection of the modern-day human condition, inviting viewers to ponder the fragility of personal circumstances and the universality of emotion.

    In COMPANION (PASSING THROUGH), KAWS astutely bridges the gap between popular culture and fine art, paying homage to a rich lineage of art historical predecessors. While establishing an instantly recognizable visual lexicon that is uniquely his own, the figure’s seated, contemplative posture is reminiscent of August Rodin’s The Thinker, 1903. Like Rodin’s figure, COMPANION seems lost in thought, introspectively contemplating the very circumstances of his own being. KAWS also cites Jeff Koons and Claes Oldenburg as his artistic idols, whose playful sculptures equally oscillate between kitsch and high art. In recent years, KAWS has claimed his own position amongst the most ambitious and celebrated sculptors of the contemporary age, with works such as COMPANION (PASSING THROUGH) standing as a testament to the strength and breadth of his cultural influence.

  • 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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324

COMPANION (PASSING THROUGH)

signed, numbered and dated "KAWS..11 #8/10" on the underside of the figure's left foot
painted bronze
47 1/8 x 31 3/8 x 28 in. (119.7 x 79.7 x 71.1 cm.)
Executed in 2011, this work is number 8 from an edition of 10 plus 2 artist's proofs and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

Estimate
$300,000 - 400,000 

Sold for $836,000

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

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale Afternoon Session

New York Auction 13 November 2019