Marcel Broodthaers - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Thursday, June 29, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Richard Foncke, Ghent
    Galerie Isy Brachot, Brussels
    Private Collection, Europe
    Sotheby's, London, 6 December 1996, lot 178
    Galerie Hauser & Wirth, Zurich
    Private Collection, Switzerland

  • Exhibited

    Strasbourg, Musées de la Ville de Strasbourg, Saturne en Europe, 17 September - 4 December 1988
    Paris, Galerie Isy Brachot; Brussels, Galerie Isy Brachot, Broodthaers, 4 February - 26 June 1987, no. 21 (illustrated on the cover)
    London, Tate Gallery, Marcel Broodthaers, 16 April - 26 May 1980, cat. no. 69 (illustrated)
    Cologne, Museum Ludwig, Marcel Broodthaers, 4 October - 26 November 1980, cat. no. 47. p.69 (illustrated)

  • Literature

    Freddy de Vree, Marcel Broodthaers: Oeuvres 1963 - 1975, Brussels, 1990, p. 147 (illustrated in colour)

  • Catalogue Essay

    We are grateful for Marie-Puck Broodthaers’ assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.

    The iconic shrewdness of Marcel Broodthaers’ pioneering work has cemented his reputation as a skilled champion of language, literature and material form. His diverse oeuvre demonstrates his artistic mastery across a wide array of mediums, utilising techniques of assemblage to create multi-disciplined provocative films, books, word-works, photographs, installations and slides. Having been an antique book dealer, student chemist, museum tour guide and poet, Broodthaers’ work seeks to communicate various factions of Europe’s rich artistic and cultural history through a metonymic visual syntax, whereby the viewer attributes their own cultural memories to that in front of them.
    The present work, Lampe Bleu et Chaise, is exemplary of Broodthaers' layering of mediums and celebration of mixed media. The work was included in Broodthaers’ seminal 1980 Tate exhibition, the artist’s first posthumous retrospective which sought to contextualise and amass works from his larger artistic output, becoming an essential source when examining the work of the artist. Commencing his iconic four-year ‘Musée d’Art Moderne, Départment des Aigles, Section…’ series in 1968, the present work was executed at the end of the sixties, during the artist’s busiest period when he realised some of his most celebrated artistic achievements, which subsequently shaped the cultural landscape of European art for the twentieth century.
    In Lampe Bleu et Chaise the orchestrated scene creates an atmosphere heavy with meaning and loaded with cultural memory, while the objects maintain their formal usage. Despite its presentation as an artwork, the chair remains a simple folding garden chair and the lamp a common household object. The inside of the shade, daubed with letters of the alphabet, rests poised upon the floor, denied its usual suspension, as its electrical cord and redundant socket curl snake-like on the floor. Broodthaers rejected that his array of selected materials were simply ‘objet trouvé’ as celebrated in the works of Marcel Duchamp. Broodthaers’ everyday items were not just found, rather selected for their slick aesthetic quality (Marcel Broodthaers,, Tate, London, 1980, p.18). Instead of propagating that objects should represent or symbolise a particular idea or notion, Broodthaers’ placement of his subjects refers instead to our more general associations with objects; he draws upon collective linguistic and literary European cultural history. For example, a cat may remind us of Alice in Wonderland or the works of Edward Lear, and an egg shell may make us recall childhood or domestic memories and, at the same time, explore the fragility of nature. It is precisely these norms and structures which dictate our decisions and the familiarity which curves our reactions to that in front of us that Broodthaers both challenges and celebrates with a biting wit. Characteristically utilising both language and form, Broodthaers’ Lampe Bleu et Chaise channels the poesy and ambiguity so celebrated in his artistic vocabulary.


Lampe Bleu et Chaise

photographic lamp with blue bulb, metal reflector, chair and black paper
Lamp 40 x 23 cm (15 3/4 x 9 in.)
Chair 82.5 x 38.5 x 51.5 cm (32 1/2 x 15 1/8 x 20 1/4 in.)

Executed circa 1969.

£80,000 - 120,000 Ω ♠

Sold for £118,750

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Tamila Kerimova
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4065
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20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 30 June 2017