Sigmar Polke - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Thursday, May 15, 2014 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York
    Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London
    Private Collection, 1998
    Sotheby's, New York, Contemporary Art Day Sale, May 11, 2011, lot 411
    Private Collection

  • Exhibited

    Valencià, IVAM Centre del Carme, Sigmar Polke, October 20, 1994 – January 8, 1995

  • Literature

    Sigmar Polke, exh. cat., IVAM Centre del Carme, Valencià, 1994, n.p. (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I like the way that the dots in a magnified picture swim and move about. The way that motifs change from recognizable to unrecognizable, the undecided, ambiguous nature of the situation, the way it remains open.”

    SIGMAR POLKE, 1966

    Sigmar Polke’s Untitled, from 1994, is a masterful composition executed both with careful intention and brilliant error. Provoking the fluidity of pigments in an elaborate chemistry, Polke immerses himself and his compositions in a poetic play of creation. Polke’s pictures envision a universe; while systematic and structural, the reality which emerges is both fragile and transitional. The dots dissolve and re-form in a bright configuration until gradually a motif emerges. Having begun the process in the 1960s, his raster paintings do not mimic print, but radically interpret the perceived world anew. The pictorial effect created by this process seems to both vibrate with energy, but also move and melt across the picture plane. A band of tightly linked dots frame the picture along the left vertical edge, giving way to a looser grid as they dance and meander across the canvas. Eventually, the grid collides beautifully with colorful and viscous pigments which swoon and swirl across the composition. The result is one that hints at a possible narrative, but also embraces countless interpretations.

    In Untitled, beneath a screen of black dots, lies a lyrical form reminiscent of watercolor; brilliant yellows melt into strawberry reds and sky blues. A verdant green path collides with a blue stream, creating an image that appears as a figure in stride. The form glides across the canvas with the grace and elegance of the very pigments from which it is created. The marriage of the viscous pigments, liberal and free, with the strident and dark dispersion above is masterfully contradictory. In the same way that Polke celebrates both rules and chance, this application is conservative and liberal, restrained and free, cheery and obscure. The very effect that printers avoid, is extensively exploited, celebrated and embraced by Polke. The moiré effect, combined with the lush pigments creates a visual wonder - focused and unfocused, chromatic and simple, severe and romantic.



dispersion and pigment on canvas
47 x 39 in. (119.4 x 99.1 cm.)
Signed and dated "S. Polke 94" on the reverse; further signed "S. Polke" on the stretcher.

$300,000 - 500,000 

Sold for $677,000

Contact Specialist
Zach Miner
Head of Sale
+1 212 940 1256

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 15 May 2014 7PM