Estimate: £400,000 - £600,000
ca. US$629,876 - US$944,814
Price realised: £421,250
15 Cecily Brown Park 2004 Diptych: oil on linen. Overall: 195.6 × 279.4 cm (77 × 110 in). Each signed and dated ‘Cecily Brown 2004’ on the reverse.
Provenance Gagosian Gallery, New York Exhibited New York, Gagosian Gallery, Cecily Brown, 22 January – 26 February 2005 Catalogue Essay Cecily Brown is now one of the most critically acclaimed of the young artists who revived interest in painting at the end of the 1990s. The current lot, entitled Park from 2004, is a particularly strong example of her highly characteristic style that uses loaded vigorous brush strokes, wide-ranging colours, smooth transitions and dense layers of paints. Brown’s inspiration comes from various influences and periods ranging from European Old Master figure painting to Abstract Expressionism, to Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon, whose aggressive study of the human form and blatant distortions made a particular strong impression on her. For Brown, it is impossible, and would make it irrelevant, to put her work in a vacuum and discuss it independent from the history of painting. “I think that painting is a kind of alchemy…the paint is transformed into image, and hopefully paint and image transform themselves into a third and new thing….I want to catch something in the act of becoming something else” (in Cecily Brown, New York: Gagosian Gallery and Rizzoli, 2008, p. 16). In the early 90s, Brown’s work was mainly figurative and overtly sexual but turned to fully abstract all-over compositions by the end of the decade. She began a series of abstract landscapes, of which the present lot is one, with vague horizons, hints of blue sky and subtle green and earthy tones. Nevertheless, the overarching thematic core which informs her work is ‘the sexual’. Brown’s work is driven by bodies, intertwined figures, flesh, lust and emotions, always trying to tempt some sort of tension, contradiction and intensity - be it through colours, forms or the blatant portrayal of a sexual image which is subtly disguised in abstraction. This delicate play of the vague form and explicit content avoids the predictable in her work, turning it into a complex experience of sensations leading to further associations and allusions which forms an integral part of her work. Brown wants to make the viewer stop, look and discover and keep them in until one’s mind and senses are entirely encompassed and get lost in colour and form. Of this, she says “…I want viewers to look for a long time, it isn’t in order to find something…when I discovered that people were treating the more fragmented work as a kind of game of peekaboo – that they were actually looking for these titillating bits – that surprised me. There had been overt sexual imagery then there was less of it, but it wasn’t my intention to conceal it. When the imagery became less clear, it wasn’t that I was painting it and then concealing it with abstract marks”. She further says “I don’t mind the looking at paintings as a game – it should be pleasurable, even a hedonistic experience – but I don’t want the viewer to become frustrated if the parts don’t add up neatly. They add up to a painting, not to an image” (Cecily Brown, 2008 p. 27). Read More
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