Maria Farrar - 24/7: Online Auction Hong Kong Tuesday, July 20, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Catalogue Essay

    The Sweet Splendor of Wayne Thiebaud's Encased Cakes | Sotheby's Magazine |  Sotheby's
    Wayne Thiebaud, Encased Cakes, 2011, sold at auction in 2019 for 8,464,800 USD

    As if peering into one of the famed counter-top displays of Italian Pasticcerias (pastry shops) and Gelaterias (ice cream shops), Maria Farrar’s Brioche con Gelato entices the viewer’s senses, drawing them into a scrumptious array of decadent desserts. Evoking works of a similar topic by Wayne Thiebaud, the composition was perhaps inspired by Farrar’s residency at the prestigious British School at Rome, awarded through the Derek Hill Foundation Scholarship in 2016. Indeed, Farrar explores moments from everyday life in her work or aspects of her memories, suggesting that this is a portrayal of a scene plucked from her memories of Italy. The title of the work, Brioche con Gelato refers to a traditional Italian dessert from Sicily, in which a soft brioche bun is stuffed with gelato, two of which can be seen at the upper right hand of the painting.


    The counter is covered with delicately placed desserts and pastries, their various pastel colours calling for the viewer to devour the work. Farrar presents a mouthwatering display of custardy yellow layered cakes topped with cherries, rich chocolate-covered squares, exquisite pistachio green rounds, a large iced cake and a selection of six cracked biscuits, perhaps Ricciarelli, an Italian almond biscuit. From the top left corner of the painting we see the baby-blue apron of the figure behind the counter, placing a cup of coffee onto the counter with a lightly sketched hand. In the foreground, Farrar sketches the white and black feathery tail of a dog, and the heeled leg of a woman, indicating to the viewer that they are not alone in surveying this sumptuous array of sweets.


    Brioche con Gelato is a beautiful example of her signature style of applying bright pigments onto a raw linen canvas primarily between 2018 and 2019. Such a technique complements the subject of this work, allowing the desserts to command all attention. Furthermore, her sketched, confident outlines recall the techniques of Asian calligraphy, fusing techniques of the East with elements of the West, such as oil painting.


    The present work was exhibited at Frieze London in 2018 with Mother’s Tankstation gallery, a significant exhibition for the artist. Farrar has also been honoured with several solo shows, including straits at Mother’s Tankstation, Dublin in May 2017, Eaves Deep at their London gallery in June 2018, and Too late to turn back now at OTA Fine Arts, Singapore from 5 October to 9 November 2019. Farrar is an artist on the rise, and in June 2021, Farrar’s Sailor (2016) greatly exceeded its presale estimates, selling for HK$882,000 at Phillips Hong Kong. Maria Farrar was born in the Philippines in 1988, raised in Shimonoseki, Japan, and now lives and works in London.


    Maria Farrar, Sailor, 2016, Sold at Phillips Hong Kong for HK$ 882,000 on 7 June 2021
    • Provenance

      Mother’s Tankstation, Dublin
      Acquired from the above by the present owner


Brioche con Gelato

signed with the artist's initials and dated 'Mf 2018' on the reverse
oil on linen
180 x 130 cm. (70 7/8 x 51 1/8 in.)
Painted in 2018.

Full Cataloguing

HK$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for HK$327,600

Contact Specialist

Hin Hin Wong
Associate Specialist, 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Hong Kong
+852 2318 2013
[email protected]

24/7: Online Auction

Online Auction 21 - 30 July 2021