Max Coyer - New Now Day Sale New York Sunday, February 28, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Harm Bouckaert Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    Active in the New York art scene in the 1980s, Max Coyer developed a unique visual language and a self-coined style he referred to as “synthetic art,” which he described as an amalgamation of both academic and modernist art movements, heavily influenced by both and with neither of their methods. Unlike many of his better-known peers like David Salle and Julian Schnabel, who used borrowed imagery in their works, Coyer made use of his historical references in a much different manner. His most recognizable works were unified in their origins, at once both deconstructing and re-constructing a singular female figure derived from either Picasso’s Dora Maar portraits or the Madames de Sade of Ingres. The present lot, Madame de Sade #4, 1984, is a masterful example of Coyer’s inimitable style, highlighting a virtually unscathed portrait of Madame de Sade, interrupted only by a neon diagonal gesture bisecting the canvas. The faceless figure is surrounded by constantly shifting composition of geometric and organic forms. As Ken Sofer poignantly described in his review of this body of work in ARTnews, Coyer employs, “…shifting planes of perspective, alternating transparency and opacity and flipping both positive and negative space,” resulting in composition that evokes what he refers to as “a jumpy anxiety.” Throughout the mid-1980s, Coyer received a great deal of both critical and curatorial attention before his untimely death from AIDS in 1989. Remembered for his unique style of synthetic portraiture, Coyer’s work feels more relevant than ever at time when a new generation of artists are celebrating and exploring a revived interest in figurative painting.


Madame de Sade #4

oil on canvas
42 x 36 in. (106.7 x 91.4 cm)
Stamped "Max Coyer" lower right. Signed, titled and dated "Max Coyer '84 Madam de Sade #4" on the reverse.

$6,000 - 8,000 

Contact Specialist
Rebekah Bowling
Head of Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1250

New Now Day Sale

New York Auction 29 February 2016 11am