Richard Prince - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, October 13, 2015 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Regen Projects, L.A.
    Private Collection, Oslo
    Peder Lund, Oslo

  • Exhibited

    Basel, Museum fur Gegenwartskunst, Richard Prince: Photographs, 8 December 2001 - 24 February 2002
    Wolfsburg, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Richard Prince: Principal. Gemalde un Fotografien 1977-2001, 27 April - 28 July 2002

  • Catalogue Essay

    Richard Prince is a master of appropriation, best known for his ‘re-photography’ technique. Taking pictures of found photographs and subsequently recontextualising them, he asks what it means to author a work. As he repurposes these societal artefacts, he inscribes them with renewed meaning, rejoicing in the surface qualities of the contemporary image from adverts to amateur photographs.

    Prince started to use this technique in the late 1970’s, soon after he arrived in New York City. The artist’s work during this period articulates the confidence he had at the time with the technique and the compositions he was producing. Untitled (Couples) is a re-appropriation of two images, likely lifted form advertisements at the time of conception, inspiring the American dream. Consisting of two well dressed, middle class couples, seemingly happy and in love evident through the close contact between the figures, the work brings the desire to be in a similar situation to the forefront of the viewer’s mind.

    The use of such a traditional image, alluding to the American dream is a recurring theme to Prince’s early re-appropriation works. The present lot being an excellent example of this seminal period of the artist’s career.

  • 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 (Couples)

Ektacolor photographs
each 50.8 x 61 cm (20 x 24 in.)
This work is numbered 1 from an edition 10 and 2 artist's proofs.

£80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for £152,500

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London 14 October 2015 7pm