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    "My work can be seen as an existential meditation on the act of painting, painting as a marker of time."
    —Matthew Wong

     

    Painted in 2018, Time After Time is a stunning example of Matthew Wong’s interior scenes. Taking its place within the legacy of interior paintings by the Post-Impressionists and Fauvists, the present work demonstrates the artist’s unique sensibility to the genre. Showcasing some of Wong’s most prominent motifs—the table with a bowl of fruit, the flowering tree in a dreamlike, Milton Avery-esque landscape—into a single composition, the work invites viewers directly into the pictorial space, where a door opens to a glimmering room with a pendulum clock. Coalescing interior and exterior, past and present, Time After Time captures the technical and conceptual themes of Wong’s mature works that have bolstered him into widespread critical acclaim.

     

     

    Henri Matisse, Red Interior with Still Life on a Blue Table, 1947. Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Duesseldorf, Germany, Image: bpk Bildagentur / Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen / Walter Klein / Art Resource, NY, Artwork: © Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

    Henri Matisse, Red Interior with Still Life on a Blue Table, 1947. Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Duesseldorf, Germany, Image: Archives Matisse, all rights reserved, Artwork: © Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

     

     

    Redolent of Henri Matisse’s red interior scenes including Red Interior with Still Life on a Blue Table and The Dessert: Harmony in Red, the present composition also conjures the auspicious symbolism of the color red prevalent in Chinese culture. Channeling the host of influences seen throughout Wong’s oeuvre, Time After Time also reveals an important juncture in his stylistic development over the course of his all-too-brief but prolific career. As Roberta Smith observed of Wong’s final series of Blue paintings, “There is less busyness and more areas of solid color, especially in the paintings of interiors. Pointillist textures have become airier or ceded to scaled-up expanses of short, boxy daubs of color, widely used to warp near and far.”i Embodying the shift between the artist’s early oeuvre of chromatically vibrant landscapes with opulent brushstrokes and his last paintings, Time After Time captures the tighter handling of Wong’s mature works and intimate interior scenes he explored through until his death.

     

     

     

     

    "The interior is not just the universe but also the étui of the private individual. To dwell means to leave traces."
    —Walter Benjamin

     

    A prominent subject in Symbolism and Expressionism, the private interior was a visual device for artists such as Edvard Munch to express the interiority of the mind through a physical space. Wong’s mesmerizing interior scenes continue this exploration, “working at the intersection of inner psychology and exterior expression,” Lauren DiGiulio explains. “This collapsing of interior and exterior space is reflected in Wong’s painterly style, in which patterns sit on the surface of domestic interiors.”ii Here, the clock room’s shimmering, Georges Seurat-esque backdrop at once evokes a hypnotic dream and landscape, while the window simultaneously presents a world outdoors and appears as a frame for a painting indoors—a repeating motif in his interiors that “allow Wong to subtly build his own world within the space of his painting.”iii

     

     

    Edvard Munch, Self-Portrait Between the Clock and the Bed, 1940-1942. Munch Museum, Oslo, Image: HIP / Art Resource, NY, Artwork: © 2021 The Munch Museum / The Munch-Ellingsen Group / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

    Edvard Munch, Self-Portrait Between the Clock and the Bed, 1940-1942. Munch Museum, Oslo, Image: HIP / Art Resource, NY, Artwork: © 2021 The Munch Museum / The Munch-Ellingsen Group / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

     

     

    Conceived just a year before Wong’s untimely death, Time After Time further incorporates a striking dialogue with Munch, a master Wong so revered. A visual reference to the work’s title, the pendulum clock is reminiscent of Self-Portrait Between the Clock and the Bed, the Norwegian artist’s late masterpiece from the final years of his life. Perhaps representing the inevitable passing of time, as in Munch’s titular self-portrait, the present work ultimately encapsulates the artist’s words, “I’d like to think of my art practice as an open-ended dialogue between myself and other painters, both living and dead…[I’m] figuring out where I can fit into the greater dialogue between artists throughout time.”iv

     

     

    Collector’s Digest

     

    Concurrent Institutional Show

     

    Art Gallery of Ontario, Matthew Wong: Blue View, August 13, 2021 – April 18, 2022

     

    •    Wong’s works reside in notable public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Dallas Museum of Art, Estée Lauder Collection, New York, and the Aïshti Foundation, Beirut. Continuing the momentum around the artist’s acclaim, the Art Gallery of Ontario is currently hosting the first museum exhibition dedicated to the painter, followed by the forthcoming retrospective, Matthew Wong, at the Dallas Museum of Art in 2022.

     

    •    Phillips achieved the artist’s world record last December, when Wong’s River at Dusk soared over $4,000,000.

     

     

    River at Dusk, 2018 Achieved $4,871,441 in 2020.

    River at Dusk, 2018
    Achieved $4,871,441 in 2020.

     

    i Roberta Smith, “A Final Rhapsody in Blue from Matthew Wong,” The New York Times, December 27, 2019, online.
    ii Lauren DiGiulio, “See You on the Other Side: Matthew Wong’s Vistas of the Mind,” Momus, April 1, 2021, online.
    iii Ibid.
     iv Matthew Wong, quoted in Elaine Wong, “They Are Artists: Matthew Wong,” Altermodernists, October 29, 2014.

    • Provenance

      KARMA, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Artist Biography

      Matthew Wong

      Matthew Wong was a Canadian artist who enjoyed growing acclaim for his lush, dreamlike scenes that play on a rich tradition of art historical precedents. His work depicts the vivid but often melancholy terrain between sleep and wakefulness, lonely landscapes and isolated interiors rendered with a carefree hand and an ebullient palette, yet which contain an ineffable sorrow and a palpable but unnamed longing.  

      Wong spent his childhood between cultures: he was born in Toronto, Canada and at age 7 moved with his family to Hong Kong where he lived until he was 15, at which time the family returned to Canada. Wong began to experiment artistically already well into his adulthood, first with photography, which he pursued at the postgraduate level at the City University of Hong Kong, and then with painting. A self-taught painter, Wong developed his aptitude for the medium by immersing himself in online conversations with other artists and dedicated personal study of the history of art. His paintings attracted almost immediate attention, but Wong tragically passed away in 2019 just as his work was beginning to receive widespread critical praise.  

       
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Property from a New York Private Collection

20

Time After Time

signed, titled and dated "TIME AFTER TIME 王 二零一八" on the reverse
oil on canvas
48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm)
Painted in 2018.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
$800,000 - 1,200,000 

Sold for $1,482,000

Contact Specialist

Amanda Lo Iacono
New York Head of Department & Head of Auctions
+1 212 940 1278
[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 17 November 2021