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

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  • Provenance

    John McWhinnie @ Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, New York

  • Exhibited

    New York, Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Cowboys and Nurses (Untitled Originals), May 10 - August 5, 2006
    New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Minneapolis, The Walker Art Center, Richard Prince: Spiritual America, September 28, 2007 - June 15, 2008, p. 222 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    "I don't see any difference now between what I collect and what I make." — Richard Prince

    Richard Prince has been pushing the boundaries of appropriation for decades and shows no sign of slowing down. The act of appropriation, that of choosing, sorting, and using source material, reveals a deeply personal logic and provides the viewer a window into Prince's studio practice. The present lot Untitled (Almost Original) is a perfect example of the artist challenging authorship all while veiled under his characteristic cheeky sense of humor. Here we see Prince's own taxonomical way of thinking by pairing two images: the adult novel Nurse Felicity with the original painting used for the book's cover art. Prince has long been fascinated with the notion that an image reverberates with a viewer's own desires, ideas, and experience within their own social and cultural lexicon. Nurses are a recurring and prevalent theme in Prince's late work, and indeed the fetishization of nurses is nothing new. The source material for the present work was gleaned from Prince's own collection of retro pulp fiction novels from the 1950s and 1960s. Here we see Prince presenting nurses in a similar manner to his iconic cowboys, confronting ingrained stereotypes and examining forbidden or restrained sensuality as seen through the male gaze. As a bibliophile and avid book collector himself, Prince often examines and incorporates his role as a collector in his artwork. The present work is not unlike a scrapbook or museum display case, in which a passionate hand paired the two objects after years of searching for them. The fact that Prince assumes authorship of this "diptych" as his own artwork is an act that interrogates the relationship between, and challenges the perceptions of, "creator" and "collector." Prince’s signature in the present lot, appearing alongside that of the original illustrator, “MACFADDEN”, and “LAURA DERN”, the boldly credited author of NURSE FELICITY, cheekily hijacks both image and narrative, and formally stamps the work with Prince’s approval and authorship of the rec-ontextualized object.

  • Artist Biography

    Richard Prince

    American • 1947

    For more than three decades, Prince's universally celebrated practice has pursued the subversive strategy of appropriating commonplace imagery and themes – such as photographs of quintessential Western cowboys and "biker chicks," the front covers of nurse romance novellas, and jokes and cartoons – to deconstruct singular notions of authorship, authenticity and identity.

    Starting his career as a member of the Pictures Generation in the 1970s alongside such contemporaries as Cindy Sherman, Robert Longo and Sherrie Levine, Prince is widely acknowledged as having expanded the accepted parameters of art-making with his so-called "re-photography" technique – a revolutionary appropriation strategy of photographing pre-existing images from magazine ads and presenting them as his own. Prince's practice of appropriating familiar subject matter exposes the inner mechanics of desire and power pervading the media and our cultural consciousness at large, particularly as they relate to identity and gender constructs.

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Property from an Important New York Collection


Untitled (Almost Original)

original illustration with intervention and paperback book, in artist's frame
41 x 37 in. (104.1 x 94 cm)
Signed and dated "Richard Prince 2006" lower right on the illustrated element. Further signed and dated "Richard Prince 2006" on the backing board.

$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for $341,000

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