Mark Grotjahn - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session New York Thursday, June 24, 2021 | Phillips
  •  "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. I did a group of drawings over a period of six to twelve months. The drawing that I chose was one that resembled the three-tier perspective, and that is what I went with."
    —Mark Grotjahn

    Executed in 2000, Untitled (Three-Tiered Perspective) is a visual delight through which Mark Grotjahn manipulates multi-point perspective to create a playful and conceptually stimulating piece. The artist subverts spatial and atmospheric perspective as he flattens distinct rays of rich and bright color that seemingly recede into an endless distance. A California native, Grotjahn is influenced by the vibrant visual language of Los Angeles parallel to Ed Ruscha’s interpretation of the American landscape. Untitled (Three-Tiered Perspective) not only reflects this predilection for color but also explores the speed and vertiginous vastness of urbanized Southern California.


    © Ed Ruscha, Standard Station, 1966. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., Image: © 2021 Museum Associates / LACMA. Licensed by Art Resource, NY, Artwork: Ed Ruscha. Courtesy of the artist.

    Created one year prior to his Butterfly series, Untitled (Three-Tiered Perspective) marks the start of Grotjahn’s preoccupations with perspective and abstraction. The artist methodically maps out the angles of the piece in pencil, after which he fills in each space from left to right with a pre-planned color palette. Grotjahn complicates the compositional simplicity of one point-perspective–a technique that was first developed in the Renaissance era—by stacking and flipping perceived “horizons.” The present work hovers between an abstracted landscape and an Op-Art piece, hypnotizing the viewer with its powerful diagonals and movement. The horizontal bands that separate the receding lines both stabilize and disrupt the piece, as the viewer attempts to ground the work in a more familiar spatial depth.

    • Provenance

      Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
      Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2000

    • Exhibited

      New York, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, Drawings 2000 (organized by Klaus Kertess), July–August, 2000, p. 40 (illustrated)


Untitled (Three-tiered perspective)

signed and dated "MARK GROTJAHN 2000" on the reverse
colored pencil on paper
26 1/4 x 21 1/4 in. (66.7 x 54 cm)
Executed in 2000.

Full Cataloguing

$150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for $214,200

Contact Specialist

Rebekah Bowling
Head of Day Sale, Afternoon Session
New York

1 212 940 1250


20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session

New York Auction 24 June 2021