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  • Provenance

    Zeno X, Antwerp

  • Catalogue Essay

    Belgian painter Michaël Borremans’ rise to prominence has come as a result of his marvelous painterly execution. In keeping with a long tradition of northern European realists, the present lot, Torso, 2009, is composed of a singular style in its brushwork that results in a mesmerizing effect when viewed at a distance. The fgure in Borremans’ piece is a nondescript blonde male, lying prone and efaced to the extent that most of his distinguishing features have been obscured by Borremans’ angle. Horrifyingly, the prone figure appears to have no arms, as mere folds of his suit jacket flank his sides instead. Borremans often employs his own photography as a source image when painting, so one must contemplate whether the armless fgure is a mannequin, a victim of murder, or perhaps even an illusionist who happens to be concealing his arms in order to delight in our horror. As a student of history, Borremans’ choice of subject matter falls in line with several European masters. Death, as a theme, frequently arises in his work (and in the present lot, in particular), and conjures up Velázquez, Jacques-Louis David, and even Édouard Manet. Manet’s 1864 work The Dead Toreador is uniquely similar to Torso, 2009, both thematically and compositionally as well, both artists opting to portray their fgures from a comparable angle. Like Manet, Borremans hovers
    above his fallen fgure, hiding the anguish of the deceased, and leaving the observer with a stinging sense of accountability.

167

Torso

2009
oil on canvas
15 3/4 x 19 5/8 in. (40 x 50 cm.)
Signed, titled and dated "Michaël M.C.G. Borremans -TORSO- 2009" on the reverse.

Estimate
$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for $341,000

Contact Specialist
Amanda Stoffel
Head of Day Sale
[email protected]
+1 212 940 1261

Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York 12 November 2013 11AM