Create your first list.

A way to share and manage lots.

  •  

  • Painted in 2018, Fort Greene embodies Salman Toor’s signature practice of fusing memory and fantasy through his unique painterly language. Titled after the culturally diverse neighborhood in Brooklyn, the present work depicts a man wearing a fusion of traditional Pakistani clothing and ripped jeans mingling with a fashionable Brooklynite outside of a brownstone in which figures enjoy a moment of intimacy or quiet solitude. Based on his personal or observed experiences as a South Asian-born man living in New York, Toor’s oeuvre was recently celebrated in his first institutional solo exhibition, Salman Toor: How Will I Know, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, from November 2020 to April 2021. The present work featured in Salman Toor: Time After Time at the Aicon Gallery in New York in 2018.

     

    [left] Gustave Courbet, Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet, 1854. Musée Fabre, Montpellier, Image: © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY [right] Édouard Manet, Chez le Père Lathuille, 1879. Musée des Beaux-Arts, Tournai, Image: Erich Lessing / Art Resource, NY

    “All my paintings are imagery, so when I’m painting there aren’t any sources in front of me” Toor explained. “I am thinking of particular memories, people or moods as I’m painting.”i Presenting an amalgamation of his personal experiences and his rigorous studies of the Western art historical canon, Toor masterfully references the Old and Modern Masters as a catalyst for his work that showcase an extraordinary display of pastiche, stylistically and thematically. In the present work, Toor addresses the themes of encounter, love, and friendship as Gustave Courbet and Édouard Manet had done, through the filter of his own subjectivity—resulting in an illuminating and holistic picture of contemporary New York City social life.

     

    [left] Charles Demuth, On “That” Street, 1932. Alfred Stieglitz Collection, Art Institute of Chicago, Image: The Art Institute of Chicago / Art Resource, NY [right] Harvey Dinnerstein, Brownstone, 1958-1960. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., Image:  Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC / Art Resource, NY, Artwork: © Harvey Dinnerstein
    [left] Charles Demuth, On “That” Street, 1932. Alfred Stieglitz Collection, Art Institute of Chicago, Image: The Art Institute of Chicago / Art Resource, NY [right] Harvey Dinnerstein, Brownstone, 1958-1960. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., Image: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC / Art Resource, NY, Artwork: © Harvey Dinnerstein

    Best known for his figurative paintings that fuse academic technique with an expressive graphic style, Toor creates intimate, imagined narratives of young, queer Brown men navigating their place between South Asia and New York. Born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan, and now living between the two cities, Toor constructs his images out of fiction as much as reality, drawing from South Asian literature and contemporary novels as well as his own life. “The pictures are about personal fantasies that define the queer experience,” Toor elucidates.ii “Painting is a process of self-definition for me, as an outsider in multiple worlds which become more and more entangled and complex.”iii A mélange of sensuality, hedonistic leisure, and painterly flamboyance, the present work propounds the protagonist’s identity—a multicultural dandy oscillating between queer boy and Brown transnational man—through Toor’s examination of the self.

    "I grew up drawing and painting and thinking of the body, the body as a tool of meditation, the body as the site of memory, fantasy, and sensuality…"
    —Salman Toor

    Paul Cadmus, Finistere, 1952. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Image: © Whitney Museum of American Art / Licensed by Scala / Art Resource, NY, Artwork: © Estate of Paul Cadmus / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
    Paul Cadmus, Finistere, 1952. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Image: © Whitney Museum of American Art / Licensed by Scala / Art Resource, NY, Artwork: © Estate of Paul Cadmus / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

    For Toor, the body is the site of introspective and artistic exploration. By inserting his queer Brown figure into a mainstream cosmopolitan culture, Ambika Trasi observes, “he counters the persistent invisibility—or reductive and predominantly negative portrays, when they are portrayed—of Brown men in Western media and the art historical canon.”iv In Toor’s words, “It is to enter Brown bodies into the language of the humanities…But I also enjoy being insolent within that, for instance painting Brown bodies that are skinny or hairy in these privileged spaces.”v Like Kerry James Marshall, Toor employs the power of figuration as a mode through which historically absent bodies blossom into visibility within the Western art historical canon. “In New York,” Toor expressed, “I see myself proliferating the stories of brown bodies, of assimilation, of belonging, of rituals that unite and divide us. For brown bodies—faces—just to be presented and to be present in the slipstream of cultural forms and sound bites that come out of New York City is extraordinary.”vi

    "My own positioning between places which we designate East and West is an amusing point from which to look at the world and the histories of both Indian and European painting, both of which are a part of my work."
    —Salman Toor

     

    Oscillating between fiction and autobiography, academicism and illustration, Fort Greene is emblematic of Toor’s ambitious engagement with the painterly vocabulary of the Old Masters through his singular sensibility. On embracing the Old Master technique, Toor explained, “I think that was the result of me, as someone from the Third World, arriving in a museum of the First World, which was filled with an unfathomable number of gorgeous pictures. I was overwhelmed by this experience and felt something akin to rapture, totally inspired by the largely Christian pictures, which made me want to compete with the hundreds of dead aesthetes!”vii In the present work, the artist renders his protagonist with a glowing halo around his head, recalling its longstanding iconographic history in religious imagery, while conjuring the scenes and technical handling of the Impressionist masters. Toor, like his predecessor Nicole Eisenman, amalgamates art historical references with everyday contemporary life to explore new narratives on sexuality and social dynamics, but through a refreshing lens of multicultural empathy. In his words, “I think of the pictures as short stories where the emphasis falls on unexpected places, seemingly mundane situations become illuminating or interesting ones. It’s a way of dealing in clichés and daring to do them well."viii

     

    i Salman Toor, quoted in “I Wanted to be as Good as the White Old Masters,” It’s Nice That, Ayla Angelos, November 7, 2019.

    ii Salman Toor, quoted in “Salman Toor in the Studio,” Luhring Augustine, November 2020, online.

    iii Salman Toor, quoted in, Micah Pegues, “Interview with Salman Toor,” Polychrome Magazine, February 11, 2019, online.

    iv Ambika Trasi, “The Self as Cipher: Salman Toor’s Narrative Paintings,” Salman Toor: How Will I Know, Whitney Museum of American Art, 2020, online.

    v Salman Toor, quoted in Ambika Trasi, “The Self as Cipher: Salman Toor’s Narrative Paintings,” Salman Toor: How Will I Know, Whitney Museum of American Art, 2020, online.

    vi Salman Toor, quoted in, Micah Pegues, “Interview with Salman Toor,” Polychrome Magazine, February 11, 2019, online.

    vii Salman Toor, quoted in “Salman Toor: Q & A with Violet Shuraka,”Cheap & Plastique Magazine, no. 12, n.p.

    viii Salman Toor, quoted in, Micah Pegues, “Interview with Salman Toor,” Polychrome Magazine, February 11, 2019, online.

    • Provenance

      Aicon Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2018

    • Exhibited

      New York, Aicon Gallery, Salman Toor: Time After Time, October 26 - December 1, 2018

Property from the Collection of Edie Campbell

3

Fort Greene

oil on panel
24 x 19 7/8 in. (61 x 50.5 cm)
Painted in 2018.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $478,800

Contact Specialist

Amanda Lo Iacono
Head of Auctions
New York
+1 212 940 1278

[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 23 June 2021