Philip Guston - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Tuesday, May 10, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Morton Feldman, New York
    CRG Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Houston, University of St. Thomas Art Department, Six Painters, February 22 - April 2, 1967, pl. 17, p. 38 (illustrated)
    Dublin, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Vertical Thoughts: Morton Feldman and the Visual Arts, March 31 - June 27, 2010

  • Catalogue Essay

    Philip Guston spent the entirety of his career exploring the limits of creative expression. Untitled marks a pivotal moment of transition when the artist was engaging with both Abstract Expressionism and figurative painting in his work. His skillful handling of ink is evident in swooping, dancing forms which flicker in tonality, evoking an expressive quality and proving the artist’s mastery of form. At this point in his career, Guston questioned the notion that an artwork was a precious object and a result of personal expression by relying on basic formal elements– line, shape, use of color (or the absence of color) – to communicate meaning. He was fascinated by working in black-and-white, which allowed him to experiment with the various qualities of gesture and the different responses they elicit from the viewer. As Guston himself explains, "The painting is not on a surface, but on a plane which is imagined. It moves in a mind. It is not there physically at all. It is an illusion, a piece of magic, so what you see is not what you see...Everything means something. Anything in life or in art, any mark you make has meaning and the only question is, 'what kind of meaning?' But then, it may be a matter simply of appetite, what one has a hunger for. There are painters, I almost said aesthetes, who do know what to make and how to make what they know" (Renée McKee, ed., Philip Guston Talking, The University of Minnesota, March, 1978). Here one can sense Guston’s affinity with art history and philosophy, as the work wrestles with dissolving and locating forms, its being and nothingness.



ink on paper
17 3/4 x 24 in. (45.1 x 61 cm)
Signed and dated "Philip Guston '54" lower center.

$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $87,500

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head of Day Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York Auction 10 May 2016