Manolo Valdés - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session New York Wednesday, May 15, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galería Freites, Caracas
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Rostro sobre fondo turquesa is an iconic example of Manolo Valdés’ vibrant paintings on burlap. Executed in 2002, the present work displays the full maturity of a vigorous group of works which the artist developed in the early 1980s that are centered around the appropriation and reinterpretation of art history. Channeling the portraits of Henri Matisse, Valdés’ figure is constructed from layers of stitched burlap rendered in rich color, lending the composition a vibrant energy.

    Indeed, Valdés’ daring choices of materials is pivotal to his practice, as they breathe new life into the appropriated imagery by liberating them from their original support. Inspired by Rauschenberg’s Canyon from 1959, Valdes began questioning the hierarchy in artistic materials – experimenting with unconventional materials to disrupt the century-old tradition of figurative painting. In Rostro sobre fondo turquesa, the coarse fabric plays an essential role in creating a rich texture on an otherwise flat composition. The disjointed remnants are stitched together, with the edges of roughly cut fabric erupting at the seams and adding depth to the figure’s cheeks and nose. This stitching also brings the creative process to the forefront, with the collage method serving as a metaphor for his practice, wherein the new is created by piecing together and transforming the old.

Property from a Distinguished Private Collection


Rostro sobre fondo turquesa

signed and inscribed "M VALDES NY" on the reverse
oil and burlap collage on canvas
52 1/4 x 60 in. (132.8 x 152.5 cm.)
Executed in 2002.

$180,000 - 250,000 

Sold for $225,000

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 15 May | On View at 432 and 450 Park Avenue