Neo Rauch - Contemporary Art Part I New York Thursday, May 17, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Eigen + Art, Berlin; Private collection, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    “The visual idiom in which Rauch works evokes numerous possible sources of inspiration, including the surreal images of Paul Delvaux, Rene Magritte, and Luis Bunuel, the ominous urban landscapes of Giorgio de Chirico, the German expressionist works of Max Bechmann, the explosive figures of Francis Bacon, and the socialist propoganda art prevalent throughout the Communist bloc in the period of Rauch’s youth and early maturity. Rauch specializes in bringing several seemingly contradictory realities into being simultaneously, and his art causes us to question the assumptions that underlie the conceptual structures of the world in which we live.
    “His paintings depict spaces and things that exist in worlds between worlds, and explore the tortured boundaries between the man-made industrial urban infrastructure, the natural landscape, and the inner realm of fantasy and dreams. In spaces that are both fragmented and timeless, Rauch has created a vision that embodies enigmatic statements about the phenomenal world in which we exist, and the multiple and hidden layers of significance that lie beyond the superficial surfaces of things. His monumental figures are both of this world and yet strangely alien, and his art is as much about what is seen as what is not seen.” (S. Little, Neo Rauch: Works 1994-2002, Honolulu, 2005, p. VI).

    Neo Rauch’s rich visual vocabulary derives in part from the artist’s own creative stimuli, but also from the historical emblems of Germany’s political legacy. As with much of the artist’s work, the scene in the present lot is that of an interior one: the seemingly mundane qualities at first glance give way to the token vagueness with which he displaces elements of time, assigning ulterior meaning to our preconceived notions of the familiar setting. His work often employs symbols of time passage and “Machine Age” commerce—here the propeller standing upright recalls the industrialization Capitalism yields to, yet its very presence amongst the domestic setting suggests a concrete vagueness, as if to defy interpretation. It is though we are presented with the accumulated memories of one of Rauch’s nocturnal reveries, i.e. his dreams for where else may such seemingly disparate elements combine in such fantastic ways.


Kamin (Fireplace)

Oil on canvas.
39 3/8 x 27 9/16 in. (100 x 70 cm).
Signed and dated “Rauch 00” in lower right.

$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for $712,000

Contemporary Art Part I

17 May 2007
7pm New York