Richard Pettibone - 20th c. and Contemporary Art Day Sale - Morning Session New York Tuesday, December 8, 2020 | Phillips
  • In 1962, Richard Pettibone attended Andy Warhol’s first show at the Ferus Gallery in his hometown of Los Angeles. Just a year later, he visited Marcel Duchamp’s major retrospective curated by Walter Hopps at the Pasadena Art Museum. In the examples of these two pioneering artists, Pettibone found kindred spirits and began to develop his own artistic voice by way of a brilliant conceptual loop of appropriation. As he later explained, these examples suggested, “to me the possibility of using other people’s work as the subject matter for paintings and sculpture.”i

    Approaching the artistic strategy of appropriation vis-à-vis his own penchant for model-making and the miniature, Pettibone initially created pocket-sized shadow box assemblages inspired by Duchamp’s Boîte-en-valise before making small-scale “copies” of works by Warhol and Duchamp. These works impressed both Warhol and his gallerist Leo Castelli to such an extent during Pettibone’s visit to New York in early 1965 that he returned to Los Angeles to an offer for his first ever solo show from Irving Blum, the director of the famed Ferus Gallery where Pettibone admired Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans a few years prior.
    "You don’t often hear about Andy being called an appropriation artist, but he was…I thought about these ideas when I chose artists to work on. In the end, I chose the artists that I was nuts about." —Richard Pettibone

    Created between 1965 and 1967, the grouping of Pettibone paintings coming from the same single New York private collection are early examples of the meticulous replicas the artist made of esteemed works of art. While small-scale, the works are not, in fact, miniature works in the classic sense of the word. Indeed, to create these works Pettibone turned photographic reproductions published in early versions of ArtForum – examining and reproducing their cropping, reversing, discoloring and diminishing scale.

    As Michael Duncan aptly explained, “by reducing such subjects back to more or less their original diminutive sizes, Pettibone emulated how photography and vision itself shrinks the world into digestible images…His works make us see that all art is a kind of miniature, condensing larger experiences into compact spaces.”ii In changing the size but recreating the iconic works of these artists, Pettibone altered the framework of perception and evoked greater intimacy. This is palpable in Andy Warhol, “Liz,” 1963 from 1967 and Jasper Johns, “Grey Rectangles” 1957 from 1967. Appropriating directly from his contemporaries, Pettibone presented the work of Johns and Warhol under a new scope and offered an inventive commentary on 20th century art.

    Richard Pettibone’s criticism of conventional notions of art making continues to spark impactful discourse amongst artists today. In the range of subject matter that Pettibone has looked to throughout his career, one can see the artist’s admiration for key players in the art historical trajectory. And yet, in his quite distinct re-contexualization of their most recognized masterpieces, Pettibone garners his own place alongside them. 

    i Richard Pettibone, quoted in Francis M. Naumann, “Appropriating Duchamp, Appropriately” in Richard Pettibone: A Retrospective, The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, 2005, p. 21
    ii  Michael Duncan, “A Snow Shovel Is Nice” in Richard Pettibone: A Retrospective, exh. cat, The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, 2005, p. 6 

    • Provenance

      Private Collection, New York
      Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2003

    • Exhibited

      Philadelphia, Institute of Contemporary Art; Saratoga Springs, Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College; Laguna Beach, Laguna Art Museum, Richard Pettibone: A Retrospective, April 30, 2005 - May 28, 2006, no. 52, p. 172 (illustrated, p. 58)
      New York, David Nolan Gallery, Richard Pettibone: Paintings and Sculpture 1964 - 2003, July 8 - August 8, 2013

Property from a Distinguished Private Collection, New York


Andy Warhol, "Liz," 1963

signed and dated "Richard Pettibone 1967" on the stretcher
acrylic and silkscreen on canvas, in artist's frame
6 1/4 x 6 1/4 in. (15.9 x 15.9 cm)
Executed in 1967.

Full Cataloguing

$40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for $55,440

Contact Specialist

John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th c. and Contemporary Art Day Sale - Morning Session

New York 8 December 2020