Rudolf Stingel - Carte Blanche New York Sunday, November 7, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist

  • Literature

    F. Bonami, ed., Rudolf Stingel: Paintings 1987– 2007, exhibition catalogue, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York 2006 (illustrated on front cover)

  • Catalogue Essay

    This series of self-portraits is an autobiographical study of both the artist and of painting. Over the past twenty years, Rudolf Stingel’s art has both seduced and attempted to inform the viewer. He calls every piece he creates a painting, for the very reason that many of his works do not appear to be traditional paintings based on the classical definition. To Stingel, a true painting is not simply the result of moving a brush over a piece of canvas, however well it does so, but the result of careful observation. Painting should be used as a means of observing reality in order to fashion a different reality. This elevated notion is both difficult to grasp and profoundly simple.
    This essential theory of the artist’s work is perhaps never invoked as poignantly as it is in the present series of photo-realist canvases. The reality that Stingel is both examining and revealing in the present piece is the role of the artist. There are no false pretenses in his work and he does not attempt to hide either his process or his intention. The title of this series, Untitled (After Sam), acknowledges both the photograph upon which hese paintings are based and the photographer, Sam Samore. Stingel remade the black-and-white projection of the photograph into a mirror-imaged painting swathed in shades of black, ivory and charcoal. We must not forget that these works are very deliberate — he staged the scene for Sam and then meticulously recreated it on canvas. In doing so, Stingel questions both the authenticity of the painting and his role in creating it. This series is a psychological study of self-doubt and raises far more questions than it can answer. Stingel’s attempt to demystify the art object and his purpose in creating it has only served to confound both himself and the viewer more.
    In Untitled (After Sam), Stingel looks brooding and rather world-weary as he reclines on a hotel bed with eyes averted. His physical presence is undeniable, filling up the majority of the picture plane. However, his emotional presence is more subtle: as with any self-portrait, he, the artist, is the subject of the painting yet Stingel also makes himself the object of this painting. The pensive and uncertain look on his face, evidenced by the crease in his forehead, shows that he has not yet answered his own questions.
    Stingel’s paintings are, without a doubt, shockingly beautiful, and the present work adds a new (and quite personal) psychological element of examination to what he has offered us before. Instead of trying to address or answer questions as he has sought to do in the past, he reclines and rests, letting the questions and doubt speak for themselves.

  • Artist Biography

    Rudolf Stingel

    Italian • 1956

    Rudolf Stingel came to prominence in the late 1980s for his insistence on the conceptual act of painting in a context in which it had been famously declared dead. Despite the prevailing minimalist and conceptual narrative of the time, the Italian-born artist sought to confront the fundamental aspirations and failures of Modernist painting through the very medium of painting itself. While his works do not always conform to the traditional definitions of painting, their attention to surface, space, color and image provide new and expanded ways of thinking about the process and "idea" of painting. Central to his multifarious and prolific oeuvre is an examination of the passage of time and the probing of the fundamental questions of authenticity, meaning, hierarchy, authorship and context by dislocating painting both internally and in time and space. Stingel is best known for his wall-to-wall installations, constructed of fabric or malleable Celotex sheets, as well as his seemingly more traditional oil-on-canvas paintings.

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Untitled (after Sam)

Painted in 2005
Oil on canvas.
15 1/4 x 21 in. (38.7 x 53.3 cm).

$300,000 - 400,000 

Sold for $902,500

Carte Blanche

8 November 2010  6pm
New York