Sigmar Polke - Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale New York Wednesday, March 6, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist
    Private collection, Holland
    Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles
    Private collection, Illinois
    Sale: Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg New York, Contemporary Art Part II, November 14, 2003, lot 169
    Tilton Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    Fascinated with the intricacies of photographic development, Polke’s return to painting in the early 1980s emphasized the transformative properties of chemicals. While his technique varied, the artist typically soaked the canvas in lacquer thinner in order to reach a desired transparency, subsequently employing an unorthodox use of color, both on the reverse of the canvas and the front. Exemplied in Untitled, 1983, Polke would often allow the pigment to flow and settle across the canvas by itself, removing himself to a certain degree and allowing chance to intervene. Here, in the left panel of the diptych, we are immersed in a corrosive explosion of color, yellows and purples burnt into varying shapes and shadows. In the right panel, two cartoonish figures lay below a permeated surface, the lacquer seeping through with poisonous intent. The present lot, Untitled, 1983, is an experimental fusion of the principles of chemical photography and that of conventional painting, demonstrating Polke at one of his most radical stages of creation; one where his remarkably complex technique leads to an equally complex and mystifying piece of work.



acrylic and lacquer on fabric, diptych
36 x 56 in. (91.4 x 142.2 cm)
Signed and dated "S. Polke 83" twice along the stretcher bar.

$400,000 - 600,000 

Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

7 March 2013
New York