Luc Tuymans - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Thursday, February 13, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Video

    Luc Tuymans, 'Solitude', Lot 163

    20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, 14 February

  • Provenance

    Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp
    Private Collection
    Christie's, New York, 17 May 2007, lot 449
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Antwerp, Zeno X Gallery, Luc Tuymans, Suspended, 29 November 29 - 23 December 1990, p. 15, n.p. (illustrated)

  • Literature

    Ulrich Loock, Juan Vincente Aliaga, Nancy Spector, Hans Rudolf Reust, Luc Tuymans, London, 1996, p. 63 (illustrated, p. 62)
    Ulrich Loock, Juan Vincente Aliaga, Nancy Spector, Hans Rudolf Reust, Luc Tuymans, London, 2011, pp. 59, 63 (illustrated, p. 62)
    Frank Demaegd, ed., Luc Tuymans: Zeno X Gallery, 25 Years of Collaborations, Antwerp, 2016, pp. 15, 260 (illustrated)
    Eva Meyer-Hermann, ed., Luc Tuymans: Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Volume 1: 1972-1994, New Haven, 2017, no. LTP 91, pp. 210, 426 (illustrated, p. 211)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Painted in 1990, Solitude is an evocative early work by Luc Tuymans that draws the viewer into an enigmatic scene filled with suspension and mystery. A solitary figure is situated within a dislocated landscape, his back turned away from the viewer as he stands next to a yellow bus. Tuymans created Solitude as part of the larger body of work entitled Suspended, a series of intimately scaled paintings exhibited at Zeno X Gallery in Antwerp in 1990. An important turning point in Tuymans' practice, this body of work notably represented the first time human figures began populating Tuymans’s scenes and the artist started using more colour than ever before. Widely regarded as an ode to the work of Edward Hopper, an artist Tuymans greatly admired from an early age on, this seminal series consists of vignettes depicting suburban, everyday scenes in which mannequin-like figures are frozen mid-action.

    The dialogue between Tuymans’ and Hopper’s work was a central focus of a conversation between artists Peter Doig, Chris Ofili, Paulina Olowska and art critic Adrian Searle on the occasion of Tuyman’s celebrated exhibition at Tate Modern, London, in 2004. As Doig put forward, ‘there are similarities between the two artists, but I don’t think Tuymans’ work is as melancholic as Hopper’s. Tuymans’ painting appears to be more about a dissolved memory, rather than a present condition’ (Peter Doig, quoted in ‘Luc Tuymans’, Tate Etc., Issue 1, Summer 2004, online).

    As is typical for his artistic process, Tuymans based Solitude on a pre-existing image that he carefully selected over a lengthy contemplative phase and then reconstructed in a single burst of painting. It is through the act of painting that Tuymans probes the gap between the image and what it represents; his choice of cropping and zooming into the subject renders any straightforward narrative readings impossible, while his distinctive colour palette and expressionistic brushwork imbue the image with a sense of ambiguity and the uncanny. As Ulrich Loock indeed noted speaking of the Suspended series, ‘the representation of suburban idylls are immersed in signs of unnaturalness, of dislocation, of impotence, forelornness…harmlessness and peace are deceptive, imbued’ (Ulrich Loock, Luc Tuymans, Hong Kong, 1996, p. 59). A quintessential example of Tuymans’ Suspended series, Solitude powerfully exemplifies how Tuymans extends Hopper’s existential investigations into themes of solitude and loneliness, while simultaneously probing the very subjectivity of representation.



signed and dated 'Luc Tuymans 1990' on the reverse
oil on canvas
34 x 34 cm (13 3/8 x 13 3/8 in.)
Painted in 1990.

£180,000 - 250,000 ‡♠

Sold for £250,000

Contact Specialist

Tamila Kerimova
Specialist, Head of Day Sale, Director, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

44 20 7318 4065

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 14 February 2020