Marlene Dumas - Contemporary Art Day Sale London Wednesday, October 16, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Sprueth Magers Lee, London
    Phillips de Pury & Company New York, 'Contemporary Art Part II', 11 November 2005, lot 278
    Acquired from the above sale by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Depletion: Works from the Doron Sebbag Art Collection, ORS Ltd., March - June 2008
    Tel Aviv, Givon Art Forum, Accelerating Toward Apocalypse, March - May 2012
    Berlin, Daimler Art Collection, Private/Corporate VII, The Doron Sebbag Art Collection, ORS Ltd., Tel Aviv and the Daimler Art Collection, Stuttgart/Berlin, 12 October 2012 - 1 April 2013

  • Literature

    Depletion: Works from the Doron Sebbag Art Collection, ORS Ltd., Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 2008, p. 95, no. 2 (illustrated)
    T. Yahas, Accelerating Toward Apocalypse: The Contemporary Art Collection in Present Continuous, Tel Aviv, 2012, p. 48 (illustrated)
    Private/Corporate VII, The Doron Sebbag Art Collection, ORS Ltd., Tel Aviv and the Daimler Art Collection, Daimler Art Collection,Stuttgart/Berlin, 2012 p. 31 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “It seems that it was not the nude I was looking for, nor the posing figure, but the erotic conditions of life that I was after." - Marlene Dumas

    Born in South Africa in 1953 and currently based in Amsterdam, Marlene Dumas has become one of Holland’s most internationally acclaimed artists, with an oeuvre that is mostly characterised by a profound exploration of sexuality as a constituent of the human condition. Her distinctively fluid strokes of watercolours that blur the lines between painting and drawing, perfectly compliment her peculiar subject matters which have altogether led scholars to describe her style as a form of ‘intellectual expressionism’, aligning her body of work with other significant artists such as Edvard Munch and Francis Bacon. Rather than conventionally feeding of of real life moments, the artist deals “with second-hand images and first hand experiences” (Marlene Dumas, Sweet Nothings, ed. Mariska van den Berg, Marlene Dumas/Galerie Paul Andriesse/Uitgeverij De Balie, Amsterdam, 1998, p. 24). Working almost exclusively with photographic sources, often polaroids, that the artist has either taken herself or acquired from outside sources like newspapers, enables Dumas to capture accurate moments that reveal a raw truth.

    As in the present lot, it is clear that Dumas’ works have an undeniable erotic aspect, which is only enhanced by an intense frontal perspective and somewhat confusing ambiguity that reveals its intimacy. Usually depicting women in her compositions, Dumas chooses to exhibit a male figure in Fingers, 1999, transferring her focus from the typical male gaze of a woman to the atypical female gaze of a man. The artist takes this concept a step further by presenting an extremely intimate moment that while relatively descriptive, maintains her signature, hazy atmosphere, with a significant emphasis placed upon the man’s hands, genitals and face with deep black brushstrokes. Immediately, the viewer is thrown directly into the sensual scene, making him or her complicit in this man’s act. Although aware of his surroundings, the man is caught in what appears to be a state of transience that directly involves whoever is looking at him. By making the viewer indispensible for the painting’s purpose, the artist directly questions the way in which art is viewed and our active roles as components of it.




watercolour on paper
99.5 x 55.5 cm. (39 1/8 x 21 7/8 in.)

£70,000 - 90,000 ‡ ♠

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Head of Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061

Contemporary Art Day Sale

London 17 October 2013