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Auction: Contemporary Art Part II
was auctioned on: 18 May 2007
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Mel Ramos

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Estimate: US$400,000 - US$600,000
Price realised:  n. a.
Lot number 189, Views: 63

Mel Ramos Gnu 1973 Oil on canvas. 40 x 30 in. (101.6 x 76.2 cm). Signed and dated “Mel ramos 73” on the reverse.
Provenance Galleria Pasquale Trisorio, Naples Literature D. Kuspit and L. K. Meisel, Mel Ramos Pop Art Fantasies : The Complete Paintings, New York, 2004, p. 146 (illustrated) Catalogue Essay Mel Ramos is best-known for his paintings of nude women, pulled from pages of pin-ups and depicted with ketchup bottles, cigars and other commercial products which are easily read as phallic objects. His paintings represent a collective fantasy reflected through art history and mass media.The nudes themselves are Playboy Magazine meets Madame Tussauds; seductive and erotic with a certain Surrealistic and overly-perfect appeal. “Ramos renders the glamour girl in all her physical, theatrical beauty and at the same time subverts her glamour by pairing it with a consumer product that has its own peculiar seductiveness, theatricality, and transcendence. Ramos in effect reverses the classical priorities: the female nude becomes the attribute of the consumer product, symbolizing its power and ‘Sex’ appeal while it continues to symbolize her consumability.” (D. Kuspuit, Mel Ramos Pop Art Fantasies, The Complete Paintings, NewYork 2004, p. 17) In addition to the nudes depicted with commercial objects Mel Ramos completed an extensive series of works which incorporated images of nude women interacting with wild animals. These paintings allude to the age-old myth of beauty and the beast; a myth which has been depicted in painted form since ancient times. In Gnu, 1973, the nude brunette straddles a wildebeest while both she and the animal glance back at the viewer in a manner which might suggest the viewer’s gaze is not entirely welcome. We have stumbled across a scene where beauty has once again tamed the wild beast. “Combining his lovely ladies with jungle animals could be rather grotesque and disturbing; however, with Ramos’s vast sense of humor it brings nothing but smiles. Despite how big and dangerous the beasts may be in life, in Ramos’ hands they are nothing more than cuddly bears, and some say they are the artist’s depiction of himself.” (D. Kuspuit, Mel Ramos Pop Art Fantasies, The Complete Paintings, NewYork 2004, p. 126) Read More

Informations about the auction
Auction house: Phillips
Title: Contemporary Art Part II
Date of the auction: 18 May 2007
Address: Phillips
18 May 2007 10am 2pm New York