Manolo Valdés - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Friday, March 3, 2023 | Phillips
  • “I first saw Matisse's work very early on. It was during my first trips to Paris when I was 16 years old. My love for his work has accompanied me until today and I've been 'commenting' on it my entire career, every time my heart has inspired me to do so.”
    —Manolo Valdés

    La doble imagen (Odalisca) is a 2010 work by Spanish-born painter and sculptor, Manolo Valdés. Often considered one of the most important artists in the development of Spanish Pop Art, Valdés spent the early period of his career as part of the political-artistic group ‘Equipo Crónica’. Known for their bold, graphic pieces that frequently referenced Spanish culture and the history of art itself, the group produced politically charged works that protested the Francoist dictatorship. Following the untimely death of fellow member Rafael Solbes (1940-1981) and the end of Franco’s regime in 1975, the group disbanded, and Valdés began to refocus his work on the appropriation, distortion, and reinterpretation of traditional art-historical references.I


    La doble imagen (Odalisca) features two striking female busts, formed by Valdés’ use of bold, gestural black lines. Blocks of white and pink, juxtaposed with bursts of vibrant blue, add dimension to the work, whilst also referencing the use of colour by fellow Spanish painter Pablo Picasso. Valdés has carefully manipulated the burlap to emphasise the rough, expressive nature of the piece, using these abrupt changes in texture to elevate his work into one that enters the realm of 3-dimensional space.


    The title of the piece immediately situates it within the framework of art-historical reference that Valdés works so frequently with. The word ‘odalisque’ denotes the idea of a vaguely exotic-looking woman, often pictured erotically reclining nude. A subject that grew in popularity throughout the colonial period of nineteenth and twentieth century art, the odalisque has been depicted by countless artists, such as Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Eugène Delacroix. In the case of Valdés’ work, these women are not just reminiscent, but intentionally appropriated from Henri Matisse’s many depictions of his Odalisque, such as Odalisque in Gray Trousers (1927). Matisse’s signature use of simple, graphic black lines has been captured and enlarged by Valdés to create a face of striking similarity. 


    Henri Matisse, Odalisque with Gray Trousers, 1927. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Image: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Art Resource/Scala, Florence, Artwork: © Succession H. Matisse / DACS 2023

    In discussing the method of creating his work, Valdés has described how he often picks a ‘fragment’ of a work – usually a head – and removes it from the sphere of its original art-historical context, before reimagining it for a contemporary audience.II This interplay between old and new, is something which fuels Valdés’ artistic process, and thus the viewer is invited to reflect upon familiar features of art history within a contemporary environment. In La doble imagen (Odalisca), the removal of a frequently sexualised female figure reappropriates a traditionally seductive subject to one which is fresh and powerful; strengthened by the artist’s dynamic use of colour, texture and medium. 



    i ‘Portrait of a Woman’, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, online.

    ii Anna McNay, ‘Manolo Valdés: I only like apples if they look like Cezanne’s apples!’, Studio International, 21 August 2016, online.

    • Provenance

      Marlborough Gallery, London
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2011


La doble imagen (Odalisca)

signed, titled and dated 'La doble imagen (Odalisca) M. Valdés 2010' on the reverse
oil, thread, staples and burlap collage on burlap
171.7 x 228.4 cm (67 5/8 x 89 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2010.

Full Cataloguing

£150,000 - 200,000 ‡♠

Sold for £266,700

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20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 3 March 2023