Rob Pruitt - Contemporary Art Day Sale London Wednesday, October 15, 2014 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Private Collection

  • Catalogue Essay

    Rob Pruitt’s glittering image of a contented giant panda, Sottsass Bear, forms part of the artist’s larger series of paintings depicting the dying species. A master at crafting works that are universally likeable as well as probing, Pruitt has the rare ability to transform low brow kitsch into high brow art. The present lot is an outstanding example of the artist’s Warholian appropriation of subject, style and technique to paint an honest, yet tragic image of the current state of humanity. Pruitt uses the image of the panda—an animal that is blissfully unaware of its impending demise, even resentful of the scientists trying to help it survive—to satirise our own contented lifestyles.

    The artist cites the panda’s inherent duality as his inspiration. Black and white, fierce and docile, the panda becomes the perfect conduit through which to view our own world. The giant panda in Sottsass Bear has one paw on his white belly, the other raised, in an acknowledgement with the viewer. Pruitt uses fields of black and silver glitter, paying homage to Andy Warhol’s “diamond dust” portraits. This glimmering surface is an entrancing, false glamour. The artist happily employs ordinary craft-store glitter in the place of more exalted materials. Imbued with a special irony, Pruitt’s Sottsass Bear is a playful revelation into the irony of the twenty-first century way of life.

    "I found that the panda was a symbol that not only had deep personal relevance but also addressed larger issues. It’s a symbol that teaches us to revere nature, to tread lightly and compassionately." Rob Pruitt


Sottsass Bear

acrylic, enamel and glitter on linen
243.8 x 182.9 cm (95 7/8 x 72 in.)

£80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for £92,500

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Head of Day Sale

+44 207 318 4061

Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 16 October 2014 2pm