Thierry Noir - Wired: Online Auction London Wednesday, May 11, 2022 | Phillips

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  • In 1982, at the age of 24, Thierry Noir decided to make a radical change in his life. Inspired by the music of the New Wave scene, he travelled to Berlin, where he moved into a squat in Kreuzberg called the Georg von Rauch-Haus.


    The window in Noir’s small room overlooked the Berlin Wall into East Berlin. Every day, Noir would look out of his window and watch the Grepos of the GDR patrol the Death Strip on the border between East and West. Then one day in 1984 Noir decided spontaneously to perform one real revolutionary act: to paint the Wall, to transform it, to make it ridiculous, and to help destroy it.


    Scavenging leftover paint and materials from the renovation of houses in Kreuzberg, Noir began to paint the Wall. For five years he painted the Wall every day right up to its eventual fall in November 1989, in the process covering more than five kilometres with bright, vivid murals in his now signature style.


    During this period, to earn a little money, Noir would fashion smaller scale paintings in his room at the Georg von Rauch-Haus using the same scavenged materials employed on the Wall. Then, once a week Noir would travel around to restaurants around Savigny Platz in Charlottenburg and offer his artworks table to table to diners for a few Deutsche Mark here and there. This was enough for Noir to survive in the beginning.


    Thierry Noir in the Georg von Rauch-Haus, 1980s


    Indeed, it was during one of these nocturnal jaunts that Noir would come to meet and befriend the filmmaker Wim Wenders and would later appear as himself in Wenders’ seminal 1987 film The Wings of Desire. Noir also once encountered Francis Bacon dining at the Greek Foffi Estatorio restaurant. Noir would meet and chat with diners and tell them about his work on the Berlin Wall as well as listening to their stories. Through these conversations Noir would collect recollections and anecdotes here and there that he would recycle into the titles for his latest paintings. 


    This lot present lot comprising a 1986 painting titled Fred cherche un bar sympathique as sold by Noir in a Berlin restaurant that same year is the first work from this early phase of Noir’s career to be offered at auction. 


    Noir’s motif of a character holding a three petalled flower emerged from 1985 onwards in response to the artist seeing rose sellers who like Noir would frequent the West Berlin restaurants. The ‘flower guy’ has become one of Noir’s most recognised hallmarks from his four-decade long career having been regularly revisited by the artist over the years, most recently in the form of monumental public murals in the United States.



    Phillips would like to thank the Thierry Noir Studio with their kind assistance in the preparation of this catalogue entry.

    • Condition Report

    • Description

      View our Conditions of Sale.

    • Provenance

      Private Collection, Germany
      Acquired from the above by the present owner


Fred cherche un bar sympathique

signed 'NOIR' upper left; signed, titled and dated 'Thierry NOIR Samedi 22 Novembre 1986 Fred cherche un bar symphatique' on the reverse
acrylic on board
38 x 28.2 cm (14 7/8 x 11 1/8 in.)
Painted in November 1986.

Full Cataloguing

£3,000 - 5,000 ‡ ♠

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Wired: Online Auction

Online Auction 11 - 18 May 2022