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  • Provenance

    Christine König Galerie, Vienna
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I don’t have a theory about color. I don’t want to go on the signs of color. Some people ask me what the color means, or the color does this, the color does that. Whatever the color does is fine. I don’t want to have control over the color”
    Stanley Whitney

    Stanley Whitney’s color grids, recently the subject of the artist’s renowned solo exhibition at The Studio Museum in Harlem in 2015 called Dance the Orange, are both arresting and comforting in their subtleties. The present lot, painted in 2007, engulfs the viewer in a sea of geometric pigments, each border hand-drawn with unpredictable juxtaposition of color. To begin these compositions, Whitney paints a single rectangular block of color in the upper left part of the composition, working row by row to generate interesting dialogues– warm meets cool, while primary meets secondary, and neutral meets vibrant. In the present composition, Whitney creates these relationships not only in the larger building blocks of the composition, but also in the thin bands separating each row, where he runs his brush perpendicularly to produce a balanced and harmonious image. Whitney's expert application of color in his paintings is informed by his appreciation for the artists who came before him and specifically, how painting has evolved over time, as made evident by the present lot's title, Manet's Light, named after the Impressionist master Édouard Manet.

    As Lauren Haynes describes, “Whitney’s work interrogates the connections among colors, how they lead to and away from one another, what memories they are associated with…Whitney’s colors take on lives of their own. They evoke memory and nostalgia. This orange takes you back to your favorite childhood t-shirt; that blue reminds you of your grandmother’s kitchen. Whitney’s paintings remind us, on a universal scale, of the ability of color to trigger feelings and sensations.” (Lauren Haynes, “Orange That Blue”, Stanley Whitney: Dance the Orange, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, 2015, p. 28) The emotional effects of Whitney’s paintings are palpable, and becoming even more central to the discourse of abstract painting in the contemporary era. At age 72, the African American artist has only recently received the critical acclaim he deserves. After moving to New York from Philadelphia at the age of 22, Whitney aligned himself with the Color Field painters, yet sat largely in the background of his contemporaries including Frank Stella and Kenneth Noland. Throughout the decades that followed, however, the artist soon established himself as a key player in 20th century abstraction, traveling the world and gaining recognition not only in the studio, but also in the classroom, where he has taught Painting and Drawing at the Tyler School of Art for over 30 years. As such, Whitney’s influence extends to a crop of new artists exploring the formal tenants of painting today.

  • Artist Biography

    Stanley Whitney

    American • 1946

    Inspired by Renaissance painting, Minimalist sculpture and jazz music, Stanley Whitney’s oeuvre has become central to the current discourse of abstract painting in the contemporary era. Following recent solo exhibitions at the Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, the 72-year-old artist has only just received the critical acclaim he deserves. After moving to New York from Philadelphia at the age of 22, Whitney aligned himself with the Color Field painters, often working in the shadows of his contemporaries including Frank Stella and Kenneth Noland. Throughout the decades that followed, however, the artist soon established himself as a key player in 20th century abstraction, traveling the world and gaining recognition not only in the studio, but also in the classroom, where he has taught Painting and Drawing at the Tyler School of Art for over 30 years. As such, Whitney’s influence extends to a generation of new artists exploring the formal tenants of painting today.

    As Lauren Haynes, curator of Whitney’s solo show at the Studio Museum in 2015, aptly wrote, “Whitney’s work interrogates the connections among colors, how they lead to and away from one another, what memories they are associated with…Whitney’s colors take on lives of their own. They evoke memory and nostalgia. This orange takes you back to your favorite childhood t-shirt; that blue reminds you of your grandmother’s kitchen. Whitney’s paintings remind us, on a universal scale, of the ability of color to trigger feelings and sensations.”

    View More Works

319

Manet's Light

signed and dated "2007 Stanley Whitney" on the reverse
oil on linen
72 x 72 in. (182.9 x 182.9 cm.)
Painted in 2007.

Estimate
$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $200,000

Contact Specialist
Rebekah Bowling
Head of Day Sale, Afternoon Session
New York
+ 1 212 940 1250
[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session

New York Auction 16 May 2018