Martin Kippenberger - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Wednesday, February 11, 2009 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Borgmann Capitain, Cologne; Sammlung Benedikt Taschen, Cologne; Private collection, London; Luhring Augustine, New York; Private collection, Boston

  • Literature

    R. Ohrt, Kippenberger, Cologne, 1997, p. 196 (illustrated); A. Götz, Martin Kippenberger: Das 2. Sein, Cologne, 2003, p. 151 (illustrated); Alison Gingeras, ‘John Baldessari, Gisela Capitain, and others on Martin Kippenberger', Tate Ect., 2006, Issue 6/ Spring 2006, p. 55

  • Catalogue Essay

    German born Martin Kippenberger was not only an enfant terrible in the contemporary art scene of his days, but remains one of the most influential all-round artists of the late 20th century. His oeuvre is the manifestation of an artist who constantly grappled with the world and the people surrounding him. Exchange, confrontation, and co-operation are significant keywords when considering the art of Martin Kippenberger. His everyday-life was not only the essential momentum in constructing his identity as an artist, but was also the most important source for his art. The work of Kippenberger shows how close he came to reaching a perfect unity of life and work. All aspects of his life were dedicated to his art and all aspects of his art were intensely linked to his life.
    The impetus for the present painting Portrait of Paul Schreber (designed by himself) stems from a conversation in 1994 with one of his former assistants, Michael Krebber, who called art ‘allotment gardening à la Schreber'. Daniel Gottlob Moritz Schreber was a 19th century physician and university teacher. His name became synonymous with the German phenomenon of allotment gardening, today a term strongly related to petit bourgeois connotations in Germany. Paul Schreber, Moritz Schreber's son, was a Saxonian supreme judge who came to fame after the publication of his book Denkwürdigkeiten eines Nervenkranken (Memories of my Nervous Illness) in 1903. Paul Schreber suffered two major psychological breakdowns, which led to suspension from his duties and compulsory hospitalization. Sigmund Freud read the Memories of my Nervous Illness and since the publication of his paper on the case, Paul Schreber has become one of the most discussed clinical cases of psychiatry. Schreber's book features a sketch of what Schreber supposed his brain would look like. He imagined his brain as split into two: one healthy side and one ill side. Kippenberger used Schreber's drawing as a model for the present lot.
    The present lot is an important work as it shows how Kippenberger, like Paul Schreber, struggled with his position in society. He incorporated other discourses into his work to define and clarify his own status. In the words of his colleague and friend, the artist Werner Büttner, the work of Kippenberger – "sealed a remarkable incidence with ‘art' to keep it from getting lost." (Werner Büttner in Adriani, Götz (ed.) Martin Kippenberger – Das 2. Sein, DuMont,Cologne, 2003, p. 152)


Portrait of Paul Schreber (designed by himself)

Oil, lacquer and silicon on canvas.
240 x 200 cm. (94 1/2 x 78 1/2 in).
Signed and dated 'Martin Kippenberger 94' on the reverse.

£400,000 - 600,000 ≠ †

Sold for £433,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

12 Feb 2009, 7pm