Sturtevant - Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Friday, November 14, 2014 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Collection of Ira Sturtevant, circa 1965

  • Catalogue Essay

    When Warhol was questioned regarding the method of production by which he created his stunning silkscreen flowers, he answered "I don't know. Ask Elaine." Elaine Sturtevant created her own “Warhol Flowers” in 1964 utilizing Warhol’s original silkscreens. By re-creating works by artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Jasper Johns, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein and Joseph Beuys, Sturtevant has created “work that has nothing to do with 'appropriation,' the refocusing of history, or the death of art, or the negative questioning of originality. Rather just the opposite. It involves the power and autonomy of originality and the focus and pervasiveness of art." (Elaine Sturtevant, Society for Contemporary Art (SCA) lecture, Art Institute Chicago, September 23, 2009).

    The present lot, Study for Flowers, 1964-65 is an early study depicting four, crisp, yellow Warholian flowers floating up a black canvas of pointed, fresh, green blades of grass. Iconic and at once referential, Sturtevant says her “first Warhol was a flower, and Andy was aware of my work and gave me the silkscreens.” (D. Cameron, A Conversation, A Salon History of Appropriation with Leo Castelli and Elaine Sturtevant, Flash Art, 1988) Through her vast artistic journey into the replication of Pop Art processes Sturtevant has forged an impenetrable dialogue with the artistic masters of the 1960s. Curator Peter Eleey explains that “in order to achieve what she [Sturtevant] was interested in, she would essentially be giving up everything you were told as an artist that you needed to succeed—a recognizable style, et cetera…..She’s somebody who basically adopts style as a medium, and in order to do that she assumed the guise of the artists around her. This is an incredibly powerful and threatening thing to take on.” (Peter Eleey in “Sturtevant: Repeat Offender,” W Magazine, May 8, 2014).

  • 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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Study for Flowers

silkscreen on canvas
22 x 22 in. (55.9 x 55.9 cm)
Signed and titled "study for Warhol flower Sturtevant" on the reverse.

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $125,000

Contact Specialist
Kate Bryan
Head of Day Sale
New York
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Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York Auction 14 November 2014 11am