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  • Provenance

    Kent Fine Art, New York
    Sothebys, New York, 10 November 2004, lot 566
    Private Collection
    Ben Brown Fine Arts, London
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2006

  • Catalogue Essay

    This playfully provocative painting typifies Sigmar Polke’s exploratory and genre-bending work from the 1970s, a period in which the artist was experimenting with new styles and media. The couple in Untitled appear deeply involved and yet the female gazes to the side in a conspiratorial manner, turning her body slightly away from her companion. This establishes a visual connection with the viewer and implicates them in the knowledge of her erotic activity, also lending a potentially performative aspect to the scene.

    Polke’s careful figuration and use of sparse clean lines forms a contrast with the blurred stretches of coloured ink which spread across the paper. This interest in multi-layered compositions and translucency can be traced back to the artist’s early training in glass painting, and here serves to create a number of filters through which the work can be perceived and understood. His continual innovations cemented his position as a leading artistic figure in the 1960s, studying under Joseph Beuys and exhibiting alongside Richter, with whom he developed the theory of capital realism. Polke intentionally circumvents conventions and flaunts formal pictorial rules, thus creating a subtle sense of satire through the confluence of his subject matter and chosen techniques.

138

Untitled

signed and dated 'S. Polke 73' lower left
gouache and ink stamp on paper
69.9 x 99.7 cm (27 1/2 x 39 1/4 in.)
Executed in 1973.

Estimate
£120,000 - 180,000 ‡ ♠

Contact Specialist
Tamila Kerimova
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4065

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 10 March 2017