Thomas Schütte - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, October 4, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Akinci Gallery, Amsterdam
    Private Collection
    London, Christie's, 17 October 2014, lot 241
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    From his days as a student under Gerhard Richter, Thomas Schütte has learned to experiment with alternative methods of painting, and went on to produce a wide range of works in different media. In this Kleine Geist, executed in 1995, we see the creative materiality that characterises much of the artist’s oeuvre and is paradigmatic of the sculptures that form his definitive series of Geister works.

    Throughout his vastly varied oeuvre, Thomas Schütte has instilled an enormous amount of personality into each of his anthropomorphic sculptures – from his pairs of grotesque figures wrapped in fabric in his United Enemies series to his ceramic Große Kopfe (large heads), the artist creates immense expressiveness in the figures’ facial expressions, at once comical and stern. In this present lot we are drawn to connect with the emotions on the subject’s face and to wonder whether it is surprise we see, or horror, and what has incited such strong emotion.

    This sculpture is a great example of the contrast within the figures of both the Kleine and the Grosse Geister (Small and Large Spirits) series – it is as if the masterly fluidity of motion is arguing with the solid nature of the material with which this moment is captured. Despite its impactfully distorted facial expression, the figure’s smooth, almost disintegrating appearance, with the greenish yellow PVC reminiscent of melting wax, creates an impression of harmlessness and perishability. By exploring these contrasts in his sculpture, the artist urges us to consider our own emotional and physical incongruities.


Kleiner Geist (Little Spirit) (Yellow)

signed 'Th. Schütte' on the underside of the left foot and dated '1995' on the underside of the right foot
47 x 21 x 14 cm (18 1/2 x 8 1/4 x 5 1/2 in.)
Executed in 1995.

£120,000 - 180,000 

Sold for £125,000

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

Henry Highley
Head of Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 5 October 2016