Lucas Arruda - New Now New York Tuesday, September 28, 2021 | Phillips

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  • "I felt a kind of vertigo, as if I were merely plunging from one world to another, and in each I arrived shortly after the end of the world had taken place." —Italo Calvino

    Painted in 2014, Untitled by Lucas Arruda invites viewers into the eternal as it depicts a vast gilded sky over an imagined sea. Achieving harmony between abstraction and illusory figuration, the present work exemplifies Arruda’s acclaimed poetic inventions as he depicts a fictional landscape, cut off from sources in reality, but which nevertheless mirrors the ungraspable beauty of the natural world. The present work comprises part of Arruda’s acclaimed Deserto-Modelo series and was shown in his first major institutional solo exhibition at the Fridericianum in Kassel, Germany in 2019.


    Detail of the present work



    Arruda’s land- and seascapes convey the incomprehensible might of nature. His works, often seascapes with horizon lines that lurk very near the lower edge of the canvas, are overwhelmed by powerful skies and bathed in shimmering light as they present mysterious glimpses into worlds imagined and unknown. Despite their invented sources, however, Arruda’s paintings belong to a long lineage of acclaimed landscape painting. His work is most often associated with Romantic landscape painters such as Caspar David Friedrich, and J.M.W. Turner, whose paintings captured the sublime majesty of the natural world. Arruda’s work shares significant conceptual similarities with that of Thomas Cole, who espoused a form of landscape painting that pursued the essence of the natural world rather than its mimesis. Cole believed that to best capture the beauty of nature, one should immerse themselves in the landscape and only render that which was experienced through the hazy veil of memory. Through this method he argued, one can achieve idealized archetypes of the transcendent splendor of the environment and most accurately recreate its might. Cole was not interested in accurately recreating the specifics of nature, but rather sought to render its intense dramatic essence.


    Thomas Cole, View Across Frenchman’s Bay from Mt. Desert Island, after a Squall, 1845. Cincinatti Museum of Art. Gift of Alice Scarborough.

    Arruda similarly paints archetypal scenes that borrow from memory and the imagination. Using the idea of the landscape as his source material rather than the landscape itself, Arruda creates scenes that are distinguished by their intricate detailing of the violent force and resplendent beauty of the natural world. His engagement with the imagined, however, indicates an embrace of abstraction and marks his departure from antecedents such as Cole. In this sense, the disparate, floating forms of his canvasses fall apart and take on forms akin to the glowing voids of Mark Rothko’s mature work, raw fields of color that offer glimpses of the sublime. Using nature’s own abstract forms, Arruda blurs the lines between the artistic distinctions of abstraction and figuration and establishes a balance between the two painterly poles as he filters the awesome violence and incredible beauty of the natural world through a nonrepresentational lens. By painting illusory scenes of the ineffable beauty of the sublime, Arruda creates metaphysical meditations on life lived and imagined.

    • Provenance

      VeneKlasen/Werner, Berlin
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Berlin, VeneKlasen/Werner, Lucas Arruda: Deserto-Modelo, November 14, 2014–January 10, 2015
      Kassel, Fridericianum, Lucas Arruda: Deserto-Modelo, June 6–September 8, 2019

    • Literature

      "Lucas Arruda "Deserto-Modelo" at VeneKlasen/Werner, Berlin," MOUSSE Magazine, December 9, 2014, online (VeneKlasen/Werner, Berlin, 2014, installation view illustrated)

    • 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.  

      View More Works



signed and dated "Lucas Arruda 2014" on the reverse
oil on canvas
9 1/2 x 11 3/4 in. (24.1 x 29.8 cm)
Painted in 2014.

Full Cataloguing

$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $176,400

Contact Specialist

Patrizia Koenig

Head of New Now Sale

212 940 1279

New Now

New York Auction 28 September 2021