Richard Prince - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Friday, October 17, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York

  • Exhibited

    Basel, Museum fur Gegenwartskunst, Richard Prince, Photographs, 8 December, 2001 - 24 February, 2002 (another from the edition exhibited); Wolfsburg, Kunstmuseum, Richard Prince Principal Gemalde und Fotografien 1977-2001, 27 April - 28 July, 2002 (another from the edition exhibited)

  • Literature

    U.G.B. Riemschneider, ed., Art at the turn of the Millennium, Cologne 1999, p.413 (illustrated); Exhibition catalogue, Gegenwartskunst, Richard Prince, Photographs, Ostfildern-Ruit, 2002, p. 89 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Richard Prince begun the Cowboys series in 1980 after a period in the mid 1970s when he was an aspiring painter employed byTime-Life Inc. clipping articles from magazines, Prince was both fascinated and repulsed by what remained; ubiquitous images of ultra luxury products and impossibly beautiful models. This directly lead Richard Prince toward the action of re-photographing the remaining advertisements and using a repertoire of approaches to further intensify their original artifice (such as blurring, cropping and enlarging).Through this, Prince was able to undermine the seeming naturalness and spontaneity of these images, revealing them as fictions of American culture and society’s desires.
    The simultaneous embrace and critique of mass culture that is at the core of Prince’s art is powerfully articulated in the Cowboys, the series of photographs begun in 1980, appropriated from the long running advertising campaign for Marlboro cigarettes. Elevated in the public imagination from the humble ranch hand to individualistic hero, the cowboy is the ultimate icon of American manhood. The Marlboro men embody this archetype, aided by expansive natural backdrops that draw on both the tradition of American landscape painting and the spectacle of Hollywood Westerns.
    While Prince amplifies the seductive appeal of these stylized images and studiously eschews any overt commentary, the irony of pressing an ideal of rugged health into the service of selling addiction is ever present in the work. (Solomon R. Guggenheim, Press Release, Richard Prince: Spiritual America, 2007)

  • 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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Untitled (cowboy)

Ektacolour print.
76 x 101 cm. (29 7/8 x 39 3/4 in).
Signed, numbered of two plus one artist proof and dated 'R Prince 1980-86' along the lower margin. This work is from an edition of two plus one artist proof.

£100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for £133,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

18 Oct 2008, 7pm