Richard Prince - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Thursday, October 13, 2022 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • "He takes what we already know…and gives it back relatively unaltered, but forever changed. Prince refocuses us on the ordinary; he gives it to us repeatedly, in serial form, until it becomes… – ‘extra-ordinary’."i
    —Nancy Spector
    Executed in 2017, Untitled is part of Richard Prince’s High Time series produced between 2017 and 2018. This body of work presents a selection of large-scale canvases that depict an unusual array of trippy cartoon-like characters and graffiti style scribbles, highlighted with a vivid and bold colour palette choice. Influence from iconic artists such as Jean Dubuffet, Willem de Kooning and Jean-Michel Basquiat are ever present not only within Prince’s choice of subject matter, but also in his artistic process. 

    Jean Michel Basquiat, Dustheads, 1982.
    Jean Michel Basquiat, Dustheads, 1982.Image: © Christie's Images / Bridgeman Images, Artwork: © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat / ADAGP, Paris / DACS, London 2022

    The present mixed media collage provides the viewer with a combination of cartoon characters in the form of cut-outs that have been adhered onto the black background, and figures that have been directly created on the canvas. Prince embraces the naïve drawing technique, in a large, almost life size scale. By incorporating an array of mediums to depict this composition, Prince is able to provide the viewer with textural differences that create a contrasting depth between the background and the seemingly flat representation of the 2D characters. The utilisation of bold colours such as yellow, red, and white on a black background provides for an illuminating and attention-grabbing quality.


    Richard Prince being notorious for taking significant inspiration, and even at times appropriating the work of other artists, presents before us an amalgamation of drawings which he had previously published in a book in 2005, titled Hippie Drawings. Originally, he took inspiration from the drawings of his young children for both this series and the book on which this series is based. The black background in the present work is redolent of a school blackboard, further enhanced by the white outlines of the figures, much like a child’s use of chalk. Prince was fascinated by his children’s approach to creating drawings, mentioning in an interview ‘I started imitating, as I usually do, other people. I was trying to imitate or channel what my kids were doing, because, you know, I can draw. But what I was interested in was the way they were drawing.’ii


    Alongside his children, Prince is greatly inspired by the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Willem de Kooning, with the present work encompassing stylistic elements from both artists. A friend and ex-band member of Prince’s, Joan Katz, recalls that a year after having published Hippie Drawings, Prince received a de Kooning catalogue from LA MOCA. Some of de Kooning’s drawings reminded Prince of his own works, and he began drawing directly within the catalogue, creating distorted genderless figures that encompassed the ‘Hippie Drawing’ motif and de Kooning’s iconic style.


    The similarities between de Kooning’s Woman I, executed between 1950-1952, and the present work are increasingly apparent, and can be seen not only within the distortion of the somewhat demonic features, but also in the dark, impenetrable and indecipherable background. Within Untitled, Prince depicts similar psychedelic monsters, reminiscent of those used by both de Kooning and Basquiat, that interrogate the viewer with their wide-eyed stares, but simultaneously allow for a childlike nature to appear through the inclusion of colour in the composition. 


    Willem de Kooning, Woman I, 1950 – 1952. Image: The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence, Artwork: © Willem de Kooning Revocable Trust/Artists Rights Society, New York and DACS, London 2022
    Willem de Kooning, Woman I, 1950 – 1952. Image: The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence, Artwork: © Willem de Kooning Revocable Trust/Artists Rights Society, New York and DACS, London 2022

    Richard Prince, born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1949, was part of a generation that challenged authority and embraced rebellion as a way of life. Growing up during a time of constant protests, race riots and anti-war marches, laid the foundation for Prince’s artistic journey. The notion of challenging authority is clearly present within the artist’s incredibly varied oeuvre which continuously questions the concept of appropriation. When asked to elaborate on this notion, Prince stated that he never liked his own works and therefore decided to rework material created by other people. Having been accustomed to ready-mades, this concept of reworking materials created by others should not come as a surprise, it simply reflects on the ongoing question about anything truly ever being original.

    "Each new body of works – is a cultural provocation, an invitation to think anew of an already accepted reality. This is the fiber that binds his various and overlapping series of works together."iii
    —Nancy Spector

    i Nancy Spector, 'Nowhere Man', in Richard Prince, Nancy Spector, ed., New York, 2007, p. 23

    ii Richard Hell, Richard Prince, Gagosian, Winter 2018 Issue, online.

    iii Nancy Spector, 'Nowhere Man', in Richard Prince, Nancy Spector, ed., New York, 2007, p. 22

    • Provenance

      Gagosian, Hong Kong
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • 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.

      View More Works



signed, inscribed and dated 'Richard Prince HIGH TIMES 2017' on the reverse
collage, inkjet, oil crayon, pastel, charcoal and graphite on unstretched canvas
138.5 x 137.5 cm (54 1/2 x 54 1/8 in.)
Executed in 2017.

Full Cataloguing

£350,000 - 550,000 

Sold for £403,200

Contact Specialist

Simon Tovey

Specialist, Associate Director, Head of Day Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art
+44 20 7318 4084

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 13 October 2022