Luc Tuymans - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Wednesday, February 27, 2008 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp

  • Catalogue Essay

    “My paintings are a form of mnemonics – it’s as though they were constantly ‘reconstructing’ themselves, and have their own ‘memories’. As such, they naturally – inevitably – play a part in the history of painting. Which is also why my pictures are of course intrinsically dependent on the powers-that-be, which affects my perceptions, interests, choices, the meanings I am aiming for, even the execution of the work. Which in turn also releases them from the clutches of intimacy, sensitivity and exclusivity. And of course my paintings are not solutions. They’re provocative,” (Luc Tuymans, taken from E. Dexter and J. Heynen, eds., Luc Tuymans, London, 2004, p. 15).

    Luc Tuymans says that the meaning behind his artwork always takes precedence over the image. Yet this in no way precludes us from laying witness to, or even acknowledging, the beauty behind his art and his image. The present lot, Evidence, painted in 2005 is a celebration of the artist’s adeptness at perception and provocation, presenting us with a breathtakingly pure and elegant representation of a photograph discovered by the artist. The staccato, pulsating brushwork scatters ashen embers across an unidentified portrait of a youth – fixed on a sky blue ground which conjures artic landscapes employing monochromatic yet vibrant tones. As is typical with much of Tuymans’ work, the artist chooses deliberately subdued and pale colours, but despite their subversive tonalities the painting gains momentum and a wide array of colors lie testament to the portrait in many ways acting out and belying commonplace theories of reductionism, drawing the work into a latent form of monumentality. In Evidence, Tuymans recalls in style and manner the traditional canons of classical panel portraiture, where the grisaille work of Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael captured Europe’s elite in commissioned portraits intentionally evoking with verisimilitude the exacting beauty and perfection of classical deities.



Oil on canvas.
106.8 x 89 cm. (42 x 35 in).

£300,000 - 400,000 ‡♠

Sold for £378,900

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

28 Feb 2008, 7pm