Lynette Yiadom-Boakye - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Wednesday, November 17, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Painted in 2009, Six PM, Malaga depicts a character from Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s own imagination. Inhabiting the full height of the 78-inch canvas, her figure is relaxed and confident, rendered with a poise that recalls such canonical influences as Édouard Manet and Barkley L. Hendricks. Capturing our gaze with a steadfast one of their own, her figures are at once real and figments conjured by her paintbrush—color, form, and physical tactility acting as the ingredients by which she builds her open-ended narratives. Having featured in the 2013 Venice Biennale the same year she was shortlisted for the Turner Prize and representing Ghana for its debut pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2019, Yiadom-Boakye is presently enjoying a major retrospective at Tate, London through February 2023.



    Édouard Manet, Young Man in the Costume of a Majo, 1863. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Image: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource, NY


    “Her titles run parallel to the images...the canvas is the text.” 
    —Zadie Smith

    The present work anticipates a selection of works the artist named by time and place including 8am Cadiz, 2017, Baltimore Museum of Art. These titles add an extra dimension to the scenes that Yiadom-Boakye conceives, infusing her paintings with more mood than specific narrative. Yiadom-Boakye noted, “For me there’s the wider exercise of removing time or trying to, in some was disregard it. I suppose it goes to also thinking about the figures themselves and what they represent and what they stand for…my relationship to time is perhaps that of anyone who’s never felt particularly fixed anywhere.”i


    "For me there’s the wider exercise of removing time or trying to, in some ways, to disregard it. I suppose it goes to also thinking about the figures themselves and what they represent and what they stand for; and what a history is and what a future could be." 
    —Lynette Yiadom-Boakye


    Her subjects are at once imaginary and familiar—emptied of narrative—pieced together in her mind’s eye. In conversation with Nadine Rubin Nathan of New York Times Magazine, the artist describes her fictitious sitters as “suggestions of people...They don’t share our concerns or anxieties. They are somewhere else altogether.”ii  She conceives of her compositions from a diverse range of source imagery including scrapbooks, archival photographs and drawings. When she arrives at the canvas, however, it is without the accompaniment of these aids, instead wielding her paintbrush with an intuitive ease and fluency. What is evident is Yiadom-Boakye’s firm place within the legacy tradition of portraiture. Her figures emerge from a somber half-light reminiscent of Velázquez and Zurbarán, or Manet’s reworkings of those same shadowy old master backgrounds.



    Mark Rothko, Orange and Yellow, 1956. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, Image: Albright-Knox Art Gallery / Art Resource, NY, Artwork: © 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 


    "I learned how to paint from looking at painting and I continue to learn from looking at painting. In that sense, history serves as a resource. But the bigger draw for me is the power that painting can wield across time." 
    —Lynette Yiadom-Boakye


    While recalling the work of Manet, Yiadom-Boakyes practice simultaneously absorbs the monochromatic lessons of the Abstract Expressionists. Her approach is near-scientific, building her composition in accordance with color and form. She notes of her process, “each time I have a particular goal for that work. Whether it’s something to do with color or light or form in some way...[I] build each painting out of almost becomes scientific in that way that there’s this balancing of different colors.”iii The palette in Six PM, Malaga is at once indicative of her first mature period predominately driven by muted, earth-toned colors and anticipates the bolder painterly splashes that would enter her oeuvre in earnest in 2012.


    "Painting for me is the subject. The figures exist only through paint, through color, line, tone and mark-making." 
    —Lynette Yiadom-Boakye


    The present work was executed at a time in her career when her use of canvas still compelled her to complete each painting in a day due to a faster paint drying process. Building her composition through loose, expressive brushstrokes, Yiadom-Boakye deftly builds her complex compositions a giornata (a day's work) in the same tradition as the great Renaissance frescos in order to retain “something in the quality of the mark and in my own mind.”iv 



    i Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, quoted in Isabella Maidment, “The Power of Invention,” Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Fly In League With the Night, exh. cat., Tate, London, 2020, p. 51.
    ii Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, quoted in Nadine Rubin Nathan, “Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s Fashionable Eye,” The New York Times, November 15, 2010.
    iii Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, quoted in “Biennale Arte 2013 - Lynette Yiadom-Boakye”, 11 June 2013, online.

    iv Ibid.

    • Provenance

      Faye Fleming & Partner, Geneva
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2010

    • Exhibited

      Geneva, Gowan Contemporary, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Manifesto, October 1 – November 6, 2009

    • Artist Biography

      Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

      British • 1977

      Lynette Yiadom-Boakye is a British painter who is a leader in the contemporary renaissance of portraiture. Her subjects are typically depicted with loose brushwork, floating against muted, ambiguous backgrounds that contribute to a sense of timelessness. Known for the speed of her work, she often completes a canvas in a single day and considers the physical properties of paint to be at the core of her practice. 

      Yiadom-Boakye was born to Ghanaian parents in London, where she continues to live and work today. In 2013, she was a finalist for the Turner Prize and she was selected for participation in the 55th Venice Biennale. In 2018, the artist won the Carnegie Prize for painting. Her work can be found in the permanent collections at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Studio Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among many others. 

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Property of a Distinguished East Coast Collector


Six PM, Malaga

signed with the artist's initials, titled and dated "LYB 2009 6pm, Malaga" on the reverse
oil on canvas
78 3/4 x 47 1/4 in. (200 x 120 cm)
Painted in 2009.

Full Cataloguing

$500,000 - 700,000 

Sold for $567,000

Contact Specialist

Amanda Lo Iacono
New York Head of Department & Head of Auctions
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20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 17 November 2021