Paul McCarthy - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Wednesday, June 23, 2021 | Phillips

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  • "McCarthy’s dwarfs have no Snow White…they are the wreckage, the remains of inspiration metamorphosed into damaged artifacts—a glimpse into the artist’s mind. Paul McCarthy has never been better." 
    —Alfred Mac Adam

    Executed in 2010, Paul McCarthy’s White Snow Dwarf (Doc) is an example from the artist’s celebrated series of works which re-interpret fairy tales, revealing their more macabre antecedents. Renowned for his appropriation and subversion of childhood nostalgia, the present work belongs to the artist’s exploration of the 19th century German folk tale Schneewittchen (Snow White) and its modern interpretation with Disney’s 1937 animated classic film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Begun in 2009, McCarthy’s reinterpretations, place us at a distance from the saccharinity of Disney’s rendition as the more sinister elements of the original fairy tale come to the fore. Typical of an artist whose career has transcended the boundaries of any single medium, McCarthy’s exploration of the Seven Dwarves first manifested in a series of drawings, then through sculptural interrogations, and finally culminated in an epic installation in 2013.


    Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937
    Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937

    The present work in silicone is based on the artist’s initial clay model which were inspired by the small figurines from the Disney film. The clay versions then underwent various degrees of destruction in the process of creating the fiberglass mold for the silicone iterations. Transformed and destructed, these clay models subsequently became the basis for his ultimate iterations in cast bronze. The decay and degradation of his large-scale mediations on the characters acts as a physical manifestation of the dissolution of the purported purity and integrity of his source. McCarthy has noted, “casting… liberates the literal through a kind of unifying monotone, a different representation of the original thing that lets me explore where reality and abstraction intersect.”1



    1 Paul McCarthy, quoted in The Dwarves, The Forest, press release, Hauser & Wirth, New York, 2011.

    • Provenance

      Hauser & Wirth, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Seoul, Kukje Gallery, Paul McCarthy. Nine Dwarves, April 5 - May 12, 2012, pp. 72, 148 (another example exhibited and illustrated, pp. 73-79)
      Lokremise St. Gallen, Paul McCarthy, September 3 - November 13, 2016 (another example exhibited)
      New York, Hauser & Wirth, To Form a More Perfect Union, November 12 - December 31, 2020

Property from a Private Collection, New York


White Snow Dwarf (Doc)

red silicone
66 x 50 x 49 1/2 in. (167.6 x 127 x 125.7 cm)
Executed in 2010, this work is number 3 from an edition of 3 plus 2 artist's proofs and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

Full Cataloguing

$400,000 - 600,000 

Sold for $403,200

Contact Specialist

Amanda Lo Iacono
Head of Auctions
New York
+1 212 940 1278

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 23 June 2021