Kent Monkman - Modern & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Tuesday, May 14, 2024 | Phillips

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  • Pierre-Auguste Cot, The Storm, 1880. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Image: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Bequest of Catharine Lorillard Wolfe, 1887, 87.15.134 

    The Storm

     

    The Mountie as a romanticized symbol has promoted Canadian values of fairness and equality internationally for over a century. To the Indigenous people of Canada, the Mountie is the enforcer of the brutal colonial project that dispossessed Indigenous peoples of their lands and cultures. In a scene inspired by Pierre Auguste Cot’s painting The Storm, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle confronts this idealized stereotype and complicates the narrative with a seductive twist. Ensnaring a Mountie in the folds of a gossamer sash, she steals through the forests of Turtle Island, eyeing the gathering storm clouds above. She knows what the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are capable of when it comes to enforcing Western settlement and forced Indigenous assimilation. Miss Chief will go all the way to stop the impending storm of colonization.

     

    Kent Monkman, Death of Adonis, 2009. Art Bridges Foundation, Arkansas. Image/Artwork: Courtesy of the artist

     Miss Chief and The Mounties

     

    Canada is well-known for its Royal Canadian Mounted Police or “Mounties”, a masculine, upright, scarlet-clad organization of law enforcers that endures as a nationalist symbol of ostensible Canadian values: peace, equality, and fairness. To the Indigenous people of Canada, the Mountie represents the brutal enforcer of the colonial project that continues to dispossess Indigenous peoples of their lands and cultures.

     

    Canada’s First Prime Minister John A. Macdonald established the RCMP in the 1870s to enforce settlement on Indigenous lands in the west. The Mounties were present when the Canadian government forced Indigenous nations into unfair agreements known as the Numbered Treaties. Since the 19th century, the RCMP upheld the goals of the settler state by confining Indigenous peoples onto reservations and into jails and residential schools.

     

    Kent Monkman has explored the dynamics between Indigenous people and settler law enforcement in his art for over twenty years. He returns to the figure of the Mountie in a series of paintings that focus on his alter ego Miss Chief Eagle Testickle’s complicated relationship with representatives of colonial power. Taking inspiration from works such as Pierre Auguste Cot’s painting The Storm (1880, oil on canvas, 92 1/4 in. x 61 3/4 in.), entries in Monkman’s series such as The Storm (2020, acrylic on canvas, 116 in. x 72 in.) and Section 69 of the Indian Act (2021, acrylic on canvas, 24 in. x 18 in.) use encounters between Miss Chief and Mounties to confront issues of sovereignty currently being played out on Turtle Island. Canada uses the symbol of the clean-cut Mountie to promote itself internationally as a multicultural nation of equality and inclusion while it continues to subjugate Indigenous people. Drawing on her own anticolonial techniques, Miss Chief challenges what the Mounties stand for and upholds her people’s resistance.

     

    —Text Contributed by Kent Monkman, April 2024

     

    Kent Monkman, The Impending Storm, From the Trilogy of St. Thomas, 2004. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Quebec. Image/Artwork: Courtesy of the artist

     Collector’s Digest

     

    • Kent Monkman (b. 1965) is an interdisciplinary Cree visual artist. A member of Fisher River Cree Nation in Treaty 5 Territory (Manitoba), he lives and works in New York City and Toronto.

    • Monkman was recently featured in New Terrains, Phillips’ landmark exhibition in January 2024 tracing the evolution of Indigenous art from the 1950s to the present moment.

    • His monumental painting, Death of Adonis, 2009, one of two works by the Cree artist to appear in New Terrains, was subsequently acquired by the Art Bridges Foundation. 

    • Monkman’s painting and installation works have been exhibited at institutions such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal; Musée d’artcontemporain de Montréal; The Royal Ontario Museum; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Arkansas; Hayward Gallery, London; Philbrook Museum of Art, Oklahoma; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; and numerous others. 

    • Provenance

      Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

    • Literature

      Kent Monkman and Gisèle Gordon, The Memoirs of Miss Chief Eagle Testickle: A True and Exact Accounting of the History of Turtle Island, vol. II, Toronto, 2023, p. 48 (illustrated)

25

The Storm

signed and dated "MONKMAN 2020" lower right
acrylic on canvas
116 x 72 in. (294.6 x 182.9 cm)
Painted in 2020.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
$300,000 - 500,000 

Sold for $381,000

Contact Specialist

Carolyn Kolberg
Associate Specialist, Head of Evening Sale, New York
+1 212 940 1206
CKolberg@phillips.com

Modern & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 14 May 2024