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  • "It's the idea of a landscape rather than a real place....And also trying to uncover a mental dimension, a mood, a sensation, a state of mind suspended within the medium of paint." —Lucas ArrudaPainted in 2016, Untitled by Lucas Arruda invites viewers into imaginative states of the mind, depicting what appears to be a vast evening sky over the horizon. Weaving harmony between abstraction and the illusion of figuration, the present work exemplifies Arruda’s virtuousity in depicting the landscape of the imagination rather than identifiable locations. Untitled is part of the artist’s acclaimed Deserto-Modelo series, the title of which was inspired by the writings of Brazilian poet João Cabral de Melo Neto and the subject of Arruda’s first major institutional solo exhibition at the Fridericianum, Kassel, in 2019.

     

    Caspar David Friedrich, Monk by the Sea, 1808-1810. Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen, Berlin, bpk Bildagentur / Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen / Andres Kilger / Art Resource, NY
    Caspar David Friedrich, Monk by the Sea, 1808-1810. Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen, Berlin, bpk Bildagentur / Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen / Andres Kilger / Art Resource, NY

     Arruda’s landscapes and seascapes are painted from memory sans direct sources yet replete with evocations, from the Romantic sublime of Caspar David Friedrich and J.M.W. Turner to the painterly sensibilities of Armando Reveròn and Mark Rothko in light and color. Materializing the faculties of the mind through the medium of paint, Untitled interlaces the abstract dimensions of the mind with atmospheric reverence.


    The scale of Arruda’s landscapes and seascapes is a deliberate choice made by the artist to produce the powerful effect of nature’s universal expanse contained within an intimate composition. “Every aspect of my painting,” Arruda explains, “has been worked out with great precision, including the scale, the choice of paints, the shape of the canvas....It’s more powerful to contain something as immense as a seascape in a tighter scale. It increases and concentrates the radiation, and the surrounding frequency.”i The intimate scale of Untitled beckons us to take a closer look and allows viewers to appreciate the rich painterly gestures of its elaborate craftsmanship.

     

    For his seascapes, Arruda starts by applying dense swathes of paint onto the canvas and proceeds to wipe away the thick layers, “unveiling the nuance of every color,” he elucidates.ii Untitled showcases a remarkable intricacy in its textural demonstration of Arruda’s technique. The visible brushstrokes that thin out the heavily applied paint reveal the subtle gradation of Prussian blue, as well as the shades and tints of brown and cream, to depict a hazy sky over the suggested horizon line. When viewing the painting as a whole, the end result is a twilight sky suffused with light that seems to emanate from the canvas.

     

    Detail of present work.
    Detail of present work.

    The present work stands apart from most of the Deserto-Modelo works in that the representational subject matter reveals itself more subtly: is it a landscape or seascape? It becomes evident upon a closer observation, uncovering the artist’s meticulous process particularly exhibited in his delicate rendering of waves that evoke a gentle tide coming to shore. The ethereal impression of light that emerges from the subtraction of pigment through Arruda’s methodical brushstrokes suggests a transport from the visual experience into a metaphysical realm. Untitled epitomizes Arruda’s artistic vision in physical form, harboring the equivocal nature of imagination’s relationship to memory and the interpretive richness that flows from the eye to the mind.

     

    Collector’s Digest

     

    •    Arruda has received international recognition and critical acclaim for his stunning land- and seascapes since his shows at David Zwirner in London in 2017 and New York in 2019. His works reside in notable institutional collections including the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Fondation Beyeler, Basel; the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo in Brazil; and the Rubell Family Collection, Miami.


    •    Phillips is thrilled to offer Untitled from the rare-to-auction artist after having achieved the world record for the artist twice in 2020, first in February in London and again in December in Hong Kong.


    i, ii Lucas Arruda, quoted in Angeria Rigamonti di Cutò, “Lucas Arruda: ‘The only reason to call my works landscapes is cultural,’” Studio International, September 19, 2017, online.

    • Provenance

      Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Artist Biography

      Lucas Arruda

      Lucas Arruda is a Brazilian contemporary artist who lives and works in São Paolo. Arruda paints diffusive land- and seascapes characterized by faint horizon lines, intense internal light, and a placid expression of the sublime. His paintings recreate the unrelenting violence of nature, blending wisps of clouds and the foam of the sea into the indistinguishable whole of the storm. His works are meditations on memory and loss, created by paradoxically using abstraction as a means to achieve illusory figuration.   

      Arruda’s paintings are marked both by an all-encompassing elusiveness and an immersive turbulence of form. Primarily working on an intimate scale, Arruda co-opts the onerous expressiveness of abstract painting to create scenes of the intense power and beauty of nature. Arruda’s formal experimentations with the temperament of light and the capabilities of tonality align his work with that of James Abbott Whistler and J.M.W. Turner as much as with that of Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still.  

       
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Property from a West Coast Collection

21

Untitled

signed and dated "Lucas Arruda 2016" on the reverse
oil on canvas
13 7/8 x 14 1/2 in. (35.2 x 36.8 cm)
Painted in 2016.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $289,800

Contact Specialist

Patrizia Koenig
Associate Specialist, Head of New Now Sale
20th Century & Contemporary Art [email protected]

New Now

New York Auction 3 March 2021