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

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist, circa 1970s

  • Exhibited

    Paris, Galerie J, America America, 1966

  • Literature

    T. Osterwold, et. al., eds. Sturtevant, Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, 1992
    L. Maculan, Sturtevant: Catalogue Raisonné 1964-2004, Frankfurt, 2005, pp. 107-108 (illustration from 1966 Galerie J exhibit)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Adapting freely from the American art critic Alan R. Solomon’s 1964 question ‘Is it a flag, or is it a painting?’ we might ask: Is it a Johns, or is it a Sturtevant? It is interesting to note that, in the 1960s, Sturtevant’s artist colleagues were realizing artworks which also played with existing pictures, images of everyday mass culture bearing attributes of multiplication, reproduction and seriality. One contemporary of Sturtevant’s- Andy Warhol- had already begun questioning the uniqueness and aura of the ‘original work’ by having his silkscreen series produced in his ‘Factory’ by assistants. And it was Warhol as well who recognized the magnitude of Sturtevant’s artistic concept, responding immediately to her request that he place the original silk screen of his now so famous Flowers series at her disposal.
    From the very beginning, Sturtevant’s approach was apparently considered so provocative and subversive, so difficult to pin down, that most art critics and museum curators kept their distance. After all, in each respective aesthetic discourse her work lays claim to validity in a manner which art ideologists find uncomfortably difficult- if not impossible- to objectify. In this connection, Bruce Hainley makes the following observation: ‘Strangely absent from most histories of Pop and Conceptualism, her work has important ramifications for the understanding of both movements. It is as if Sturtevant, with a radical pragmatism, observed and considered so intensely the art of her contemporaries that her gaze burned through its core,”

    U. Kittelmann and M. Kramer, eds., Sturtevant The Brutal Truth, Frankfurt am Main, 2004, pp. 19-20

  • Artist Biography


    Elaine Sturtevant, known professionally as Sturtevant, was an American artist whose practice considered issues of authorship, authenticity, and the nature of reproduction. Her carefully inexact recreations, referred to as “repetitions,” of the work of her contemporaries attracted almost immediate attention as Sturtevant embarked on this practice in 1964, copying the work of fellow artists and friends like Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, and Roy Lichtenstein. Sturtevant mastered several artforms including painting, sculpture, photography, and film in order to faithfully repeat the work of her contemporaries, continually updating her process in order to keep pace with the changing tides of the avant-garde. Many of the artists Sturtevant repeated, often before they became famous, would later be considered the iconic artists of their respective movements and generations. Her late work is concerned with reproduction and repetition in the digital world.  

    Sturtevant’s work has attracted simultaneous acclaim and criticism for its close copying of the work of other artists. Her work has been praised as innovative and insightful, and the artist has been the subject of major retrospectives at institutions such as the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, the Serpentine Galleries, London, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris. Sturtevant received the Golden Lion at the 2011 Venice Biennale for lifetime achievement. She died in 2014 in Paris, where she had been living and working since the 1990s. 

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Lichtenstein, Frighten Girl

Oil and graphite on canvas.
45 1/2 x 63 3/4 in. (115.6 x 161.9 cm)
Signed, titled and dated "'Lichtenstein, Frighten Girl,' E. Sturtevant, Antibes/Paris, 1966" on the reverse.

$250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for $710,500

Contemporary Art Part II

8 November 2011
New York