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  • Provenance

    Foster Goldstrom, Dallas
    7-ELEVEN, Inc., Dallas
    Sotheby's, New York, November 15, 2006, lot 464
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    "So I realized, ‘Holy shit, it’s not just decoration. It’s presenting the illusion. The painting has to have a frame.’ So suddenly, I’m back in the sculpture business again. I guess I’m really a sculptor at heart." Neil Jenney

    An active rejection of photorealism combined with loosely-inspired landscapes of the 19th-century Hudson River School bear the visionary apertures of Neil Jenney, with refreshing intellectual directness and deft painterly skill. Audaciously rejecting the ephemeral nature of what is trendy, the artist has all but branded a homegrown verisimilitude, absent of technology or photographic means, of which the present lot Atmosphere is exemplary. In a career spanning over forty years, Jenney has progressively achieved a technique harkening back to the hazy film of Old Master paintings, with sophisticated brushwork, chromatic accuracy, and the illustration of pure space and an opaque atmosphere. However, in his ever-present attempt to foil any intimation of traditional realism, Jenney’s paintings reveal a singular perception of idealized nature that is impassible and seen only in glimpses and impressions.

    Presented in a thick black frame, Atmosphere is a slice of a colossal, backlit sky which might suggest a specific environment but rather is a scrupulously rendered universal composite. Elegantly lit and exquisitely smooth, we experience not just the presence but acutely feel the effects of atmosphere, inflected by the alabaster glow and the azure blue sky of an afternoon sun. The title functions as a legend, stenciled in grey block letters, allowing our eyes to come to terms with the vista before us. Not quite painting, resolutely not photography, the present lot functions primarily as a three-dimensional wall structure characterized by a custom-built, spacious frame essential to the work it encompasses. Reminiscent of the density and austerity of 16th century Dutch frames, Jenney often prepares his canvases to fit the frame openings, as opposed to retroactively adding a frame to the painting for sheer embellishment. The idiosyncratic result is a style in which narrative truths are cultivated in the most simple of relationships existing between objects. Atmosphere is Jenney’s answer to a world glorifying both the matter-of-fact and the conceptual.

19

Atmosphere

1977-85
oil on panel, in artist's frame
33 3/16 x 79 5/16 in. (84.3 x 201.5 cm)
Signed and dated "Neil Jenney 1977" on the reverse; further signed and dated "Neil Jenney 1985" on the reverse of the frame.

Estimate
$70,000 - 90,000 

Sold for $100,000

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

New Now Evening Sale

New York Auction 29 February 2016 6pm