Mark Grotjahn - Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale New York Thursday, March 6, 2014 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Anton Kern Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Grotjahn's abstractions are, in relation to traditional pictorial modes, a matter of having your cake and eating it too, of experiencing vertiginous spatial illusions only to be brought back to the level ground of modernist flatness-only then to have the picture plane once again yield to the probing eye...” (R. Storr, "La Push-Pull/Po-Mo-Stop-Go," Mark Grotjahn, exh. cat., Gagosian Gallery, London 2009, pp. 4-5).

    For over two decades, Mark Grotjahn has explored the structures of geometric formalism and serial repetition to become one of the leading abstract painters working today. His deceptively simple trademark form consists of radiating lines converging on one or more vanishing points, which he identifies as 'butterflies.' Here the form is rendered in a stark black and white duotone palette imbuing the work with a sort of hypnotic quality. The composition is divided equally by a central axis upon which diagonal lines race outwards from two slightly off-kilter vanishing points. The expansive rays create a mesmerizing optical illusion as they appear to both approach and recede with high-speed momentum. These dynamic lines are halted by the longitudinal bands that bisect and ring the edges of the canvas, bringing it back to the level ground of modernist flatness. "The butterfly has become to Mark Grotjahn what the target is to Kenneth Noland, the zip was to Barnett Newman, and the color white is to Robert Ryman, Grotjahn's abstracted geometric figure is suitably elusive. In fact, the more familiar it becomes, the more he refines its ability to surprise and, perhaps paradoxically, takes it further away from actual butterflyness." (M. N. Holte, “Mark Grotjahn: Blum and Poe,” Artforum, vol. 44, no. 3, November 2005, p. 259)



colored pencil on paper
24 x 19 in. (61 x 48.3 cm.)
Signed and dated "Mark Grotjahn 2004" on the reverse.

$150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for $118,750

Contact Specialist
Zach Miner, Contemporary
Head of Sale
+1 212 940 1256

Alex Heminway, Design
+ 1 212 940 1268

Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

New York Evening Sale 6 March 2014 7pm