KAWS - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, March 7, 2017 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Galerie Perrotin, Paris
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Hong Kong, Galerie Perrotin, KAWS: The Nature of Need, 15 May – 30 June, 2012

  • Catalogue Essay

    T.N.O.N. - L is the epitome of KAWS’ masterful talent at lifting visual pop culture into fine art. This 7 panel work depicts some of KAWS’ distinguished X-eyed monsters. Popping in between each vertical fragment of canvas, these cartoonish characters create a hide and seek interplay, generating an intricate and playful interaction with the viewer. Based on digital renders developed by the Brooklyn-based artist, these figures are created with a freehand graffiti-like technique directly applied on canvas. The black background is sprawled by vibrant patches of colour and shading techniques, deepening space and creating a weaving of forms.

    These characters were developed by KAWS during his early career, when he began altering high street commercials with his own imagery. Through a refined and distinct graphic language, KAWS has turned his signature characters, such as his soft skull with crossbones and his reimagined Michelin Man into omnipresent iconography in popular culture. Following a vast number of acclaimed projects and collaborations across art, music and fashion KAWS has established himself as one of the most relevant artists of his generation. Straddling the line between fine art and merchandising, KAWS redefines the boundaries of the art market with sophisticated and wry humour.

  • 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.  

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T.N.O.N. - L

each titled and consecutively numbered '"T. N. O. N. - L" of 7 parts' on the reverse
acrylic on canvas, in 7 parts
each 213.7 x 30.5 cm (84 1/8 x 12 in.)
overall 213.7 x 396.5 cm (84 1/8 x 156 1/8 in.)

Painted in 2012.

£120,000 - 180,000 

Sold for £233,000

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 8 March 2017 5pm GMT