Mark Grotjahn - Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Monday, November 11, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Blum & Poe, Los Angeles

  • Catalogue Essay

    A delicate balance of lines and colors, this untitled drawing is a breathtaking example of American artist Mark Grotjahn’s most virtuosic experiments with geometric abstraction. By using his signature butterfly motif and playing with eye-catching contrasts of vibrant hues, Grotjahn updates the Renaissance inventions of one point and two-point perspective. Two wing-like planes of color expand from the central axis of the work out towards the edges of the piece, thus creating a visual dynamism reminiscent of Op Art and of Russian Suprematism. The beauty of this drawing lies in the transparency and logic of its forms. Grotjahn explains that all his butterfy works “follow a rational line of development that is easily grasped; they communicate their process in a relatively straightforward manner” (Mark Grotjahn in, Flash Art, no. 252, January – February 2007). But although carefully executed and rational, these works nevertheless invite and embrace imperfections. Grotjahn’s openness to chance and overall handmade aesthetic subverts the hard-edge precision usually associated with high modernism’s abstract forms.

    In the present lot, a kaleidoscope of colors radiates from two focal points, creating a brilliant winged display of dazzling hues that pulsate as they expand across the page. The oranges, pinks, yellows and greens vibrate from the central axis, displaying every facet of the palette in which they are rendered. The painstaking detail of each line is broken apart by whimsical dashes and nebulous smudges reminiscent of the artistic process. However, as we gaze intently at the gradually disappearing lines, we find that their vanishing points are elusive. Grotjahn’s piece is as much a perpetual search for the viewer as it is a wonderful display of dazzling color. He inspires us to both scrutinize and be transfixed by his art.


Untitled (2 Wings)

colored pencil on Strathmore paper
30 x 22 in. (76.2 x 55.9 cm.)
Signed and dated "Mark Grotjahn 2004" on the reverse.

$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for $389,000

Contact Specialist
Amanda Stoffel
Head of Day Sale
[email protected]
+1 212 940 1261

Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York 12 November 2013 11AM