Manolo Valdés - Modern & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session New York Wednesday, May 15, 2024 | Phillips

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  • Manolo Valdés was a pivotal artist in the development of the Spanish Pop Art movement. In the 1960s, he co-founded the Equipo Crónica with fellow Spanish artists Rafael Solbes and Juan Antonio Toledo—a group which opposed the abstractionism supported by the Franco administration in favor of appropriated and recontextualized art historical imagery. Inspired by politics, irony, humor and social commentary, Valdés’ Reina Mariana works are some of his most well-known, referencing the collective history and identity of Spain through the repetition of simple geometric forms. In these sculptures, Valdés takes direct reference from Diego Velázquez’s portraits of Queen Mariana, the second wife of Spanish King Felipe IV, and imbues this recognizable form with a fresh, sculptural twist.


    Rendered in life-size, measuring over five-feet-tall, Reina Mariana, 2016 is one of Valdés’ large-scale examples carved from wood painted with black epoxy, which evokes a sense of tactility, rawness, and tangibility. While directly referencing the silhouette of Velázquez’s subject, Valdés depicts her faceless and in three dimensions. His queen is a dark and heavy rendition of the symbolic figure, and despite its size, the sculpture suggests an underlying fragility and arresting femininity. The surface presents textural irregularities, showcasing the artist’s unique ability to create expressive sculptures that emphasize the materiality of his chosen mediums.


    Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez, Queen Mariana of Austria, 1952–1653. Image: © Museo Nacional del Prado © Photo MNP / Scala, Florence

    Throughout his career, Valdés has interpreted Reina Mariana in a variety of sizes and compositions. His large format sculptures like the present work have been commissioned as public works since 1999. In recent decades, he has revisited the form for major projects in cities around the world including New York, Munich, Biarritz, Madrid, and concurrently, in St. Mark’s Square in Venice.  

    • Provenance

      Galeria Freites (acquired directly from the artist)
      Private Collection, Miami
      Acquired from the above by the present owner


Reina Mariana

epoxy on wood
70 x 48 x 33 1/2 in. (177.8 x 121.9 x 85.1 cm)
Executed in 2016.

Full Cataloguing

$300,000 - 500,000 

Sold for $444,500

Contact Specialist

Annie Dolan
NY Head of Auctions and Specialist, Head of Sale, Morning Session
212 940 1288

Modern & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 15 May 2024