Richard Prince - Contemporary Art London Thursday, June 21, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York; Private Collection

  • Exhibited

    New York, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, Richard Prince: Nurse Paintings, September 20-October 25, 2003

  • Literature

    R. Prince, M. Collings and Barbara Gladstone Gallery, Richard Prince: Nurse Paintings, London, 2003, pp.48-49 (illustrated); W. Cash, “The Great Art Bubble”, The Spectator, December 10, 2005

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I'm painting nurses. I like their hats. Their aprons. Their shoes. My mother was a nurse. My sister was a nurse. My grandmother and two cousins were nurses. I collect 'nurse' books. Paperbacks. You can't miss them. They're all over the airport. I like the words 'nurse', 'nurses', 'nursing'. I'm recovering.” (Richard Prince in an interview conducted for “Like a Beautiful Scar On Your Head”, Modern Painters Special American Issue, Autumn, 2002, Volume 15, No. 3).

    The artist, a self-proclaimed bibliophile, took covers from his own collection of 1950’s and 1960’s pulp fiction novels celebrating the role of the archetypal female nurse, and developed the Nurse Painting completed in 2002-2003. The actual book covers lay the foundation for his highly worked canvases in acrylic and silkscreen patterns. Subverting inkjet reproductions onto the canvas, the book covers lie vanished behind the artist’s many layers of brushwork and drip; the intention, of course, is to present a visually consumptive narration, one in which the original and the new are deeply intertwines. They serve as vestiges from the past, masked by Prince’s vivid brushwork, and provide two narratives to the well-worn image.

    In the present lot, Bachelor Nurse, from 2003, the nurse’s expression lies hidden from our view by her masked countenance, but her body adapts a demure appearance by nature of her delicate posture and quiet refrain. She’s caught in a moment of respite and the artist accentuates the grace of her pose by altering bands of magenta, rose and pink, adding a discernible femininity and elegance to the work as a whole.

  • 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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Bachelor Nurse

Ink-jet print and acrylic on canvas.
40 x 28 in. (101.6 x 71.1 cm).
Signed, titled and dated “R. Prince 2003 Bachelor Nurse” on the reverse.

£300,000 - 400,000 

Sold for £580,000

Contemporary Art

22 June 2007, 4pm & 5pm