Manolo Valdés - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Thursday, November 17, 2016 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in 1993

  • Catalogue Essay

    Executed in the 1990s, Reina Mariana is a unique work comprised of expressive thick olive wood boards, an exemplary rendition from Manolo Valdés’s most prominent sculptural series. The artist re-contextualizes Diego Velázquez’s Queen Mariana (1652-1653), a highly recognizable portrait of the second wife of Felipe IV, a queen who notoriously lived an unhappy life in the Spanish court. Taking on the role of historian as he compiles visual information from the past, Valdés has developed an identifying and daring language achieved through the act of iconic reactivation. “The shadow of Velázquez came over Valdés work in an obsessive manner” (A. E. Perez Sanchez, “Manolo Valdés, Miracle Worker,” in Manolo Valdés 1981-2006, Madrid, 2006, p. 43). The artist begins with individual fragments of great masters’ paintings and translates these details into his own concrete vision.

    Standing autonomously without a pedestal, measuring over 5 feet tall, the stoic Reina Mariana confronts viewers directly, commanding onlookers to participate in a fully immersive experience with the work. The robust form –its accumulating inlaying, fissures, engravings and deliberate appearance of disintegration set against the smooth gleaming wooden surface—emphasizes the sensations of an invitingly organic materiality. Though faceless, at odds with the very concept of a portrait, and compressed into a mere silhouette of the famed queen, Reina Mariana reclaims its art historical significance and yet possesses a life of its own. In doing so, Valdés virtually reconfigures canonical images to set forth a bold new perspective on the history of western art. This sculpture joins the body of monumental works rendered in different mediums exploring this favorited subject of the artist, including a Reina Mariana (installed in 2000) in the rotunda of the Boulevard Salvador Allende, Madrid.


Reina Mariana

olive wood
64 x 47 x 29 in. (162.6 x 119.4 x 73.7 cm.)
Executed circa 1990s.

$400,000 - 600,000 

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20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York Auction 17 November 2016