Marlene Dumas - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Thursday, June 27, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in 2001

  • Exhibited

    Essen, Museum Folkwang, Rockers Island - Olbricht Collection, 5 May - 1 July 2007, no.133, p. 269
    Weserburg, Museum for Modern Art, Go for It! Olbricht Collection (a Sequel), 10 May 2008 – 31 October 2009, p. 136
    Berlin, me Collectors Room; Museum Arnhem, Queensize – Female Artists from the Olbricht Collection, 7 December 2014 – 22 May 2016, n.p (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    In Strobe Lights + Flash Lights, executed in 2000, Marlene Dumas subtly evokes man-made light, rendered by the white paper that Dumas leaves unpainted which shines through the dark strokes of metallic paint, glimmering as they catch the light. Depicting a female form at the centre of the portrait’s composition, Dumas’ gestural painting style places an emphasis on the surface of the paper, invoking bleeding pools of paint which outline the figure in motion. Discussing her characterisation of her subjects, Dumas states ‘…it’s a stripping down to that melancholy sex appeal that makes surnames disappear and first names fictional’ (the artist, quoted in ‘Live Acts, Silent Studios’, strippinggirls, exh. cat., Theatermuseum, Amsterdam, 2000, n.p.).

    Throughout her prolific oeuvre, the human form has been a key preoccupation of Marlene Dumas. From the dancing central figure, to the flare of light in the lower right of the composition, Dumas’ public scene feels emotive and intimate. For strippinggirls, the project produced with photographer Anton Corbijn between 1998 through 2000, Dumas visited the red-light district of her adopted home Amsterdam, taking Polaroids of the working women who became her painterly subject matter. This method of working partly from life was a departure from her process of painting from found pornographic images, producing a greater sense of intimacy and understanding of her subject. Dumas’ adroit handling of paint enables her to expertly animate the female figure with a few thin washes of metallic acrylic and ink.

  • Artist Biography

    Marlene Dumas

    South African • 1953

    Marlene Dumas was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and raised on her family’s vineyard in the countryside. After beginning her art degree at the University of Cape Town, she decided to continue her studies in the Netherlands: the country where she’d build her career as an artist, and still lives today. In 1995, she represented the Netherlands at the Venice Biennale. 

    Dumas is best known as a painter, using both oil and watercolor. She typically works from a reference photograph, which could be purchased, from her own camera roll or collected from print media. Her work focuses on the human body, and though figurative, she often distorts her subjects with loose, painterly brushstrokes to make plain their emotional state. Deeply influenced by growing up during Apartheid, Dumas’ work centers around themes of repression, misogyny, violence and sexuality. Today, Dumas is one of the most expensive living female artists at auction, with her work first selling for over $1 million in 2004. 

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Strobe Lights + Flash Lights

signed with the artist's initials, titled and dated 'Strobe lights + flash lights M D. 2000' lower left; signed 'Marlene Dumas' on the reverse
Indian ink, metallic acrylic, paper collage and crayon on paper
66.5 x 22.5 cm (26 1/8 x 8 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2000.

£80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for £68,750

Contact Specialist

Tamila Kerimova

Director, Specialist
Head of Day Sale
44 20 7318 4065

[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 28 June 2019