Mark Grotjahn - Under the Influence New York Friday, March 7, 2014 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Hamburg Kennedy Photographs, New York
    Private Collection

  • Catalogue Essay

    Mark Grotjahn is one of the most significant artists to emerge from the west coast in the last decade and a half. His iconic, highly graphic practice of painting and drawing owes a clear debit to the high priests of early modernism specifically Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Mondrian. However, Grotjahan infuses this history with a visceral energy that lends his work an almost bawdy energy.

    Grotjahn’s renowned butterfly drawings—as evinced in the present, perfectly representative lot, Untitled (Butterfly)—gently unify geometric abstraction and the natural world. The butterfly motif is based around a central line that runs vertically down the composition; the open wings rendered in primary colors emanate outward with a heavy sense of applied force and rigorous execution. Grotjahn utilizes two-point perspective to create the semblance of depth allowing the butterfly to float off the page. As Grotjahn states, “You can see in my butterfly works that they are very obsessive.” (Mark Grotjahn in M. Gnyp, Mark Grotjahn, Zoo Magazine #38) They illustrate an intensive and pre-planned geometric scheme. The rational form and perspective of the drawing is balanced by the playful bright hues of red, green, orange and yellow butterfly wings.


Untitled (Butterfly)

colored pencil on paper
17 x 14 in. (43.2 x 35.6 cm.)
Initialed "MG 03" lower right; further signed and dated "Mark Grotjahn 2003," and dedicated on the reverse.

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $137,000

Contact Specialist
Benjamin Godsill
Head of Sale
+1 212 940 1256

Under the Influence

New York Auction 7 March 2014 2pm