Mark Grotjahn - Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale New York Wednesday, March 6, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Blum & Poe, Los Angeles

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I started to think about why I got into art in the first place. I was always interested in line and color. I wanted to find a motif that I could experiment with for a while.”

    Enlivening the art-world with his optical art for the past two decades, Mark Grotjahn has distinguished himself as a leading artist amongst members of the modern and contemporary canon. Grotjahn’s adherence to one motif—the buttery of linearity—has remained constant and iconic throughout the past fifteen years. The artist works his particular brand of magic in creating fresh drawings and paintings with every new surface while still remaining loyal to his preferred composition of three-tier perspective. In the present lot, Butterfly (Black, Red, Orange), 2003, Grotjahn elicits a distinct sense of joy in the viewer, mesmerized by the radiating shards of autumnal color. His jet blacks, ripe reds, and varying shades of yellow and orange revolve around a central group of vertices.

    Both the central lines and their outgrowth of triangular color betray the rules of a formal geometry, the vertical beams widening in rebellion at the top of the work, the slivers around them refusing to mirror their counterparts on the other side of the barrier. It is a spiritual exploration of light and color, where Grotjahn invites us to revel in the intentional imperfections of his forms.

    “Mr. Grotjahn’s paintings emanate an otherworldly light. But his use of the butterfly form turns them into a cruciform structure, suggesting, in a literal versus metaphoric way, that God is present in the details”(B. Goodbody. “Art in Review; Mark Grotjahn—Blue Paintings, Light to Dark, One through Ten”, New York Times, February
    16, 2007.)


Butterfly (Black, Red, Orange)

colored pencil on paper
24 x 19 in. (61 x 48.3 cm)
Signed, titled, and dated “Mark Grotjahn 2003 ButterFLY” on the reverse.

$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for $254,500

Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

7 March 2013
New York