Marlene Dumas - Contemporary Art London Friday, October 13, 2006 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Monika Sprüth Philomene Magers, Cologne

  • Catalogue Essay

    “At the moment my art is situated between the pornographic tendency to reveal everything and the erotic inclination to hide what it’s all about,” (Marlene Dumas, Suspect , Milan, 2003)

    For Dumas, the female nude is a source of beauty, inspiration, investigation, subsequent interpretation and personal reflection. In previous works Dumas addressed the various roles woman have assumed in culture such as mother, daughter, sinner and saint. As a female artist Dumas is able to reach the soul of the subject while her working method of photographing the subject matter and then painting from the image, creates a vital distance that allows the artist to be honest and even cruel.

    In this present lot, Dumas creates a subtle yet unabashed portrait of the female at extreme close range. She confronts reality with full expression, yet the composition is only suggestive: various narratives are conjured up but one is left to decipher on their own. Dumas often plays on this dual characteristic in her portraits, letting the viewer come to terms with her canvas full on. In her own words: “As the isolation of a recognisable figure increases and the narrative character decreases (contrary to what one might initially assume that this lack of illustrative information would bring about), the interpretative effects are inflamed. The titles re-direct the work, however, they do not eradicate the inherent ambiguity. One cannot interpret the painting… without entangling some of the root metaphors applied not only to the female, but to the idea of portrayal in general.” (Marlene Dumas, 1992)


Wrong Title

Oil on cotton.
15 7/8 x 15 7/8 in. (40.3 x 40.3 cm).
Signed, titled and dated "Marlene Dumas Wrong Title 2002” on the reverse.

£180,000 - 250,000 

Sold for £232,000

Contemporary Art

14 Oct 2006, 7pm