Kenny Scharf - Modern & Contemporary Art Day Sale Hong Kong Saturday, June 1, 2024 | Phillips
  • Rendered in a dazzling array of fluorescent colours, the present work is a significant painting by the American artist Kenny Scharf, hailing from his celebrated Flintstones series. Painted in 2004, Coffee Klatch places centre focus on a familiar scene in the lower left quadrant, where the Flintstone characters Wilma and Betty are gathered together, engrossed in a conversation whilst sipping on their steaming cups of coffee. Derived from the German word “coffee gossip”, the title of the present work directly reflects the social culture of the 1950s. Coffee klatches have historically been popular amongst friends, neighbours, and community members as they serve as a way to build and maintain connections. As they are spontaneous and informal, these social gatherings are associated with a sense of warmth, camaraderie, and a relaxed atmosphere, as brilliantly illustrated by the artist in the present work.


    Upon closer inspection, Coffee Klatch presents a visual snapshot of a busy domestic scene – from the volcano eruption in the background as seen through the window and the sizzling pot on the kitchen counter to Pebbles snacking in her own crib. Rendered in precise detail, Coffee Klatch deviates from Scharf’s early style and raw energy, typically associated with graffiti and street art. Embodying a more refined aesthetic, this composition stands as a mature work from the artist’s oeuvre, solidifying what has become his own unique and fantastical style.


    “I early on became really into these two cartoons, which was The Flintstones and The Jetsons. They’re really about the kind of environment that I grew up in, which is like a typical American suburban lifestyle. One was set in the past and one was set in the future. And I just responded to the idea of the past in the future and how it related to the present day lifestyle.”
    Kenny Scharf


    In 2009, Coffee Klatch was featured as part of Scharf’s solo exhibition Kenny Scharf: Outer Limits at Patrick Painter Gallery. Four years later, the artist held a blockbuster show titled, Barberadise at Honor Fraser Gallery in Los Angeles, which encompassed a series of works with the combined elements of the stone-age Flintstones and futuristic Jetsons. This stemmed from the advice that Scharf had received from a close friend, which was to paint what he loved. What he loved were the cartoons of Hanna Barbera and he did exactly that. By incorporating these primitive icons into his artistic practice, Scharf imparts a sense of nostalgia and timelessness through his works.


    Works by the artist that consist of this subject matter are highly coveted and seldomly appear on the market, which marks Coffee Klatch as a rare and unique painting to be offered at Phillips. Born in Los Angeles in 1958, Kenny Scharf is a legendary American artist who was a pioneer in the iconic 1980s East Village street art scene in New York. Together with artists such as Keith Haring, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Scharf helped spearhead the aesthetics of the era, co-authoring arguably the most essential chapter in street art history by positioning it as an equal player on the contemporary art world’s main stage. Today, the Californian is widely recognised as one of the most important figures in the ‘Lowbrow Pop Surrealism’ art movement, which is characterised by abstract imagery merging with dreamy cartoon characters, and is rooted in comics, punk music, and graffiti and street culture.


    Collector’s Digest


    • After graduating from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1980, Kenny Scharf embarked on his artistic journey in the East Village of New York. He became renowned for his participation in the interdisciplinary East Village art scene of the decade.

    • Scharf is a widely recognised artist who has made a significant impact on the contemporary pop art scene. He is a versatile artist who has worked in different mediums such as painting, sculpture, mural, performance art, video art, and other special projects.

    • His artwork has been displayed across the globe in renowned museums including the NSU Art Museum, Florida; Lotte Museum of Art, Seoul; Urban Nation Museum, Berlin; Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Portland Art Museum, Portland; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; The Dali Museum, Florida; MOCA, Los Angeles; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Tucson Museum of Art, Arizona.

    • 4 of the artist’s top 5 results at auction were achieved in the past 2 years, which is demonstrative of the ongoing strength of Scharf’s market. 

    • Provenance

      Patrick Painter Gallery, Los Angeles
      Private Collection, Los Angeles
      Private Collection, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Los Angeles, Patrick Painter Gallery, Kenny Scharf: Outer Limits, 2005


Coffee Klatch

signed, titled and dated 'Kenny Scharf '04 "Coffee Klatch"' on the stretcher
acrylic on canvas, in artist’s frame
work 60.9 x 91.4 cm. (23 7/8 x 35 7/8 in.)
frame 82 x 112.5 cm. (32 1/4 x 44 1/4 in.)

Painted in 2004.

Full Cataloguing

HK$400,000 - 600,000 

Sold for HK$2,159,000

Contact Specialist

Anastasia Salnikoff
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2014

Modern & Contemporary Art Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 1 June 2024