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.

    Marcel Duchamp "Bicycle Wheel," 1913, was among the works included in this seminal exhibition that opened on December 14, 1965. For this show, Blum had suggested that Pettibone replicate artworks held in six important Southern California collections. In tongue-in-cheek homage to Duchamp, Pettibone adapted his forebear’s famous Wanted Poster of 1923 to advertise the show with his pseudonym “Lee Enrose.” In addition to works copied from originals of such collections as Frederick Weisman and Betty Asher, Pettibone developed five bicycle wheels for the storefront of the gallery in a masterful loop of appropriation of Duchamp’s iconic readymade. While the works would appear indistinguishable from Duchamp’s readymade in black and white reproductions, each fork was in fact painted in a different primary color in addition to a black and white example. Creating thought-provoking juxtaposition between the original and the variant, these works brilliantly expand upon Duchamp’s critique of the notions of originality and authorship.

    The art critic Fidel Danieli astutely noted that, “From a devotion to Duchamp, Pettibone proceeds to the idea of the relatively non-visual, transmuted from and through reproduction and variation...the polarities—the similarities found in divergency and the differences observable in repetition—are contradictions kept in continuous tension. These reflecting dualities can be found in the modifiable verities of photo-reproduction and an increasing mechanical strictness of craft.”ii


    i Richard Pettibone, quoted in Francis M. Naumann, “Appropriating Duchamp, Appropriately” in Richard Pettibone: A Retrospective, exh. cat., The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, 2005, p. 21
    ii Fidel Danieli, “Los Angeles [Reviews]”, Artnews, March 1966, n.p.

    • Provenance

      Private Collection, California
      Diana Zlotnik, Los Angeles
      Mark Kelman, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1998

    • Exhibited

      Los Angeles, Ferus Gallery, Richard Pettibone, December 14, 1965 - January 1966
      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. 35, p. 171 (another variant exhibited and illustrated, p. 49; four variants from the series illustrated in the artist's studio, p. 20)
      New York, David Nolan Gallery, Richard Pettibone: Paintings and Sculpture 1964 - 2003, July 8 – August 8, 2013

    • Literature

      Ian Berry and Michael Duncan, eds., Richard Pettibone: A Retrospective, exh. cat., Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, 2005, p. 20 (four examples from the series illustrated in artist's 1965 studio view)

Property from a Distinguished Private Collection, New York


Marcel Duchamp "Bicycle Wheel," 1913

stamped with the artist's pseudonym and date "LEE ENROSE 1965" on the underside
stool, bicycle wheel rim and black fork
52 1/2 x 24 x 15 1/5 in. (133.4 x 61 x 38.6 cm)
Executed in 1965, this work is from a series of 5 unique painted variants.

Full Cataloguing

$40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for $63,000

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