Sigmar Polke - Contemporary Art Part II New York Tuesday, November 8, 2011 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    A brilliant artist of the Post-War Era, Sigmar Polke was a Renaissance man of his craft, producing photographs, drawings and paintings that reflect his creativity and ingenuity. Polke’s early work has often been characterized as European Pop Art for its depiction of everyday subject matter combined with images from mass media, differentiated by implications of irony and parody of consumerist culture and western commercialism. This early style, dubbed “Capitalist Realism,” allowed Polke to start building upon American Pop Art earlier and more astutely than any other painter of his generation. Mainly, he expanded upon Pop Art’s use of images from popular culture, and further complicated it by adding abstraction and emphasizing a more painterly process. The present lot exhibits the evolution and experimentation of Polke’s later work from Capitalist Realism, in which he produced gestural paintings which combined figurative and abstract imagery. It was in this stage of his career that Polke experimented with materials and chemicals by mixing together traditional pigments with untraditional solvents, varnishes, toxins and resins to produce spontaneous chemical reactions. It is Polke’s bold spontaneity that brings his works to life and gives them a unique appeal. This inventiveness created elaborate abstract paintings, and the physical complexity of such chemical mediums gave Polke’s images a sometimes disturbing and often hallucinatory quality. The inclusion of the mythical creature perceived in the present lot is also in keeping with Polke’s work of this decade, where he combined abstraction with representational imagery such as cartoons, childish scribbles and references to allegory and art history. All of these elements work together in the present lot to create a rich, almost candy coated quality that is both sensual and beautiful. Carol Vogel of the New York Times quotes Polke as saying, “For me the image isn’t important, it’s the human behavior of wanting to touch it that is.”



Oil and lacquer on canvas.
31 x 25 1/2 in. (78.7 x 64.8 cm)
Signed and dated "S. Polke 96" on the overlap.

$250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for $302,500

Contemporary Art Part II

8 November 2011
New York