Sigmar Polke - 20th c. and Contemporary Art Day Sale - Morning Session New York Tuesday, December 8, 2020 | Phillips
  • Known for his wit and endless inventiveness, Sigmar Polke is widely celebrated as one of the most influential artist of the postwar era. His mastery of alchemy and experimentation with optical effects is evident in the present set of Cibachrome prints, which belongs to Polke's pioneering series of photographic works he produced in 1982, 1992 and 2000. These works are photographs of the remarkable visual effects Polke achieved by exposing photosensitive sheets to irradiated uranium, resulting in amorphous, cloud-like forms that emanate across the dark expanse.
    "In this case Polke has sensitized the paper by placing radioactive rocks in the vicinity of the emulsion. It is a record of the forces that bind the universe and the trace of these forces in the substance of the earth." —Anthony Bond, Director, Curatorial at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

    Polke first began exploring the effects of uranium in 1982, having brought back a piece back from a trip to Australia. Polke's interest in radioactivity reflects his broader fascination with the invisible, metaphysical forces of the world, as well as his radical experimentation with different media. Photographic work such as the present one highlight the far-reaching influence of his oeuvre, presenting an important precursor to the work of contemporary artists such as Wolfgang Tillmans or James Welling. 

    • Provenance

      Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, The Boundary Rider, 9th Sydney Biennale: Beuys, Kiefer, Richter and Polke, January 20 - March 14, 1993, p. 43 (other unique variants exhibited and illustrated)
      Los Angeles, The Museum of Contemporary Art; Site Santa Fe; Washington, D.C., Corcoran Gallery of Art, Sigmar Polke, Photoworks: When Pictures Vanish, December 3, 1995 - January 6, 1997, no. 133, pp. 214-215 (other unique variants exhibited and illustrated)



each signed with the artist's initials and consecutively numbered "S.P. T 1 -14" on the reverse
unique Cibachrome prints, in 14 parts
each 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm)
Executed in 1992.

Full Cataloguing

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $75,600

Contact Specialist

John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th c. and Contemporary Art Day Sale - Morning Session

New York 8 December 2020