Nathaniel Mary Quinn - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Wednesday, October 2, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Video

    Nathaniel Mary Quinn, 'Over Yonder', Lot 2

    20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale, 2 October 2019

  • Provenance

    Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago
    Private Collection, Texas
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    Sasha Bogojev, 'Nathaniel Mary Quinn And The Family of Man', Juxtapoz, August 2017, p. 87 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Bearing the kind of illusionistic appearance that commands a second look, Nathaniel Mary Quinn’s Over Yonder, 2015, coalesces myriad varying textures without ever breaking into physicality. The work’s controlled surface, composed of sliced visual elements sourced from picture clippings, Google images and his own photo albums, oozes a prodigiously explosive aesthetic that Adam Lehrer has described as ‘discord in perfect harmony’ (Adam Lehrer, ‘Nathaniel Mary Quinn’, Forbes, 25 October 2017, online). Demonstrating Quinn’s infallible hand in creating trompe l’oeil imagery, the portrait brings attention to the artist’s tendency to pair seminal art historical themes with deeply intimate meanderings and an irrepressibly contemporary style. Here, traditional portraiture is conveyed as vividly as René Magritte’s The Son of Man, 1964, Romare Bearden’s deconstructed photographs, and David Hammons’ fleetingly evocative body prints, all the while containing elusive traits of an anonymous face, collated and dispersed throughout the work’s surface. Catapulted to fame in recent years, notably on the occasion of his breakout show Past/Present at Pace Gallery, London, in September 2014, Nathaniel Mary Quinn was bestowed his first institutional solo exhibition at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art in 2019.

    Enamoured with drawing from a young age, it was Quinn’s brother Charles who first took note of his brother’s talent, urging their mother to keep an eye on his proliferating sketches. Soon thereafter, friends, professors, patrons, and critics acquiesced Quinn’s towering practice in unison; and today, his work is held by such eminent institutions as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Yet before experiencing such meteoric ascent, Quinn’s life underwent a number of fractures that left deep wounds within him. His mother passed away when he was just a student, and upon returning home to Chicago from his school shortly after, he found his family apartment empty, with no trace of his father and four brothers. As a result of loss and abandonment, Quinn has said that, ‘Grief was the constant background noise to whatever success I achieved’ (Nathaniel Mary Quinn, ‘Nathaniel Mary Quinn On Painting The Politics Of Race In America’, Vogue, 21 July 2018, online).

    Having grown up in a large family on the South Side of Chicago – Quinn was the youngest of five boys – the artist has stated on many occasions that his youth played a quintessential role within the development of his work. ‘There is no doubt that my work is about family’, Quinn has said (Nathaniel Mary Quinn, quoted in Sasha Bogojev, ‘Nathaniel Mary Quinn and the Family of Man’, Juxtapoz, August 2017, online). Endowed with familiar traits whilst simultaneously being plunged in conflated masses of abstraction, Quinn's complex figures reveal subtle allusions to his family members, namely his brother Charles and his mother Mary. The artist’s relationship with his mother was more than just close; it was, in his own words, woven into his very own identity. ‘I took her name ‘cause she never had a formal education’, he exclaimed. ‘Now all of my degrees say “Nathaniel Mary Quinn” [so] my mom has a college degree and a master’s degree and her name is on the walls of the gallery’ (Nathaniel Mary Quinn, quoted in Sasha Bogojev, ‘Nathaniel Mary Quinn and the Family of Man’, Juxtapoz, August 2017, online).

    The formal aspect of Quinn’s work, formidably skillful and innovative, is matched in intensity only by the profound emotional impact that his subject matters exude. It furthermore shines with the light of a man who has crystallised pain and transformed it into art. ‘We all experience loss, happiness, we go up, we go down, and we have various experiences that impact who we are and what we may become’, the artist remarked. ‘Pain feels the same way to everybody. It's what binds us all together. And I'm interested in exploring that’ (Nathaniel Mary Quinn, quoted in Sasha Bogojev, ‘Nathaniel Mary Quinn and the Family of Man’, Juxtapoz, August 2017, online).

  • Artist Biography

    Nathaniel Mary Quinn

    American • 1977

    Having grown up as the youngest of five boys on the South Side of Chicago, artist Nathaniel Mary Quinn creates work that centers on family and youth. In his paintings and drawings of collaged figures, Quinn slices visual elements sourced from advertisements, Google images and his own photo albums: he takes on art historical themes and imbues them with deeply intimate and personal emotion.

    Quinn was enamored with drawing from a young age. His brother Charles first noticed his talent and urged his mother to pay attention to it. In spite of his meteoric ascent as an artist, Quinn lost his mother while he was a student and, upon returning home to Chicago, discovered his family apartment had been deserted by his father and four brothers. As a result of loss and abandonment, the artist has said, “Grief was the constant background noise to whatever success I achieved.”

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Over Yonder

signed 'Nathaniel MQ' on a label affixed to the reverse; further signed, titled, inscribed and dated 'Nathaniel M. Quinn Love Mom Jesus 2015 "Over Yonder" Baby-Cakes Studio, LLC © 2015' on the reverse
charcoal, soft pastel, oil pastel, oil, paintstick and gouache on Coventry vellum paper
85.8 x 77.5 cm. (33 3/4 x 30 1/2 in.)
Executed in 2015.

£40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for £212,500

Contact Specialist

Olivia Thornton
Senior Director
Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Europe
+44 20 7318 4099


Rosanna Widén
Director, Senior Specialist
+44 20 7318 4060

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 2 October 2019