Christie's /Nov 15, 2012
€62,764.79 - €94,147.18
Find artworks, auction results, sale prices and pictures of John Currin at auctions worldwide.Go to the complete price list of works
Artworks in Arcadja101
Some works of John CurrinExtracted between 101 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Auction: Christie's -May 16, 2013 - New YorkLot number: 490
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Lot Description John Currin (b. 1962) Girl in Bed signed and dated 'Currin 93' (on the overlap) oil on linen 24¼ x 30¼ in. (61.5 x 77cm.) Painted in 1993. Provenance Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner Literature H. Papadopoulos, 'John Currin,' Arti (Athens), vol. 22, November-December 1994, p. 131 (illustrated). K. Vander Weg, ed., John Currin, New York, 2006, p. 123 (illustrated). Exhibited New York, Andrea Rosen Gallery, John Currin, January-March 1994. View Lot Notes > "I wanted to make a totally passive subjectI wanted to get away from the duality of the repressed woman and the repressed abstract painting behind her, and make the isolation of the figure more benign. So she's been isolated by being put in bed. She's awake-she's not sleeping, she's not sick, she's just a completely passive isolated watcher or spectator She just looks at things. It's an allegory of what you're doing when you look at the painting. She can't sleep because you're looking at the painting" (John Currin discussing Girl in Bed, interviewed by Rochelle Steiner, John Currin, exh. cat., New York, 2003, p. 77).
Auction: Christie's -May 15, 2013 - New YorkLot number: 13
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Lot Description John Currin (B. 1962) Bea Arthur Naked signed and dated 'John Currin 91' (on the overlap) oil on canvas 38¼ x 32 in. (97.1 x 81.2 cm.) Painted in 1991. Provenance Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner Literature B. D'Amato, "John Currin: Girls Camp," Flash Art, summer 1992, p. 105 (illustrated in color). H. Papadopoulos, "John Currin," Arti, November-December 1994, p. 128 (illustrated in color). K. Seward, "John Currin: The Weirdest of the Weird," Flash Art, November-December 1995, p. 78 (illustrated in color). J. Hall, "That's Why the Lady Has a Beard," The Guardian, January 1996, p. 13 (illustrated in color). S. Morgan, "A Can of Worms," Frieze, March-April 1996, p. 50 (illustrated). K. Seward, "Currin's Nudes/Currins Akte," Parkett, no. 65, 2002, p. 29 (illustrated in color). D. Rimanelli, "John Currin: Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago," Artforum International, September 2003, pp. 218-219 (illustrated in color and on the cover). P. Schjeldahl, "Irresistible: John Currin at the Whitney," The New Yorker, December 2003, p. 105. S. Bayliss, "Bea Arthur Comes Out on Top," ARTnews, February 2004, p. 33 (illustrated in color). D. Rimanelli, "The Nude Stripped Bare," Tate Etc., autumn 2005, pp. 30-31 and 37 (illustrated in color). K. Vander Weg and R. Dergan, eds., John Currin, New York, 2006, pp. 74-75 (illustrated in color). Exhibited New York, Andrea Rosen Gallery, John Currin, March-May 1992. Antwerp, Ado Gallery, Critical Distance: John Currin, August-September 1993, p. 5 (illustrated in color). Limoges, Fonds Regional d'Art Contemporian du Limousin; London, Institute of Contemporary Art, John Currin, July 1995-February 1996. Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art; London, Serpentine Gallery; New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, John Currin, May 2003-February 2004, p. 29 (illustrated in color). Montreal, DHC Foundation, John Currin, June-November 2011. View Lot Notes > Beautiful in its execution, infamous in the press, and simultaneously nostalgic and repelling with its subject matter, Bea Arthur Naked is among John Currin's early master works. Following his depictions of high school and college teenagers, Currin produced a series of portraits of adult women, from which Bea Arthur emerges. Resulting in a variety of subject matters, this unusual series yielded a lexicon of middle-aged personalities, from a thin regal woman with grey hair, to a serious looking guitar player, and two paintings of twin sisters. Yet, within the series, Bea Arthur Naked has been celebrated as the most sensational and the best. Derived from a photograph, and stripped bare, the artist depicts the star of Maude, the 1970s sitcom about an upper-middle-class, women's activist and suburban wit-rather than Arthur's later incarnation in The Golden Girls. Here, the muted palette of warm earth tones, allows the viewer to focus on the sitter's gaze, her smooth skin tone, that enigmatic smile, together with her wonderfully full and expressive eyes. We are familiar with the subject matter but not in the way in which it is handled; Currin mixes nostalgia with provocation. Recognized as one of the leading figurative painters in contemporary art, Currin's ability to synthesize historical and contemporary styles is unsurpassed. He creates provocative images that examine the tradition of painting and the role of the female nude in art. In Bea Arthur Naked, Currin subtly blends past representational styles with a seductive subject and surface quality that is inarguably of the moment. As Jerry Saltz writes of Currin's work, "The technique brings you in, the historical references get you going, but the opacity keeps you at arm's length" (J. Saltz, "The Redemption of a Breast Man", Village Voice, November 1999, p. 32). Here, the flat precise linear style recalls the rigidness of Otto Dix or Christian Schad, with intimations of Hans Holbein and Albrecht Dürer, and yet her strong, piercing gaze and dark eyes are reminiscent of the confidence of ©Edouard Manet's iconic Olympia. A vastly important work in the artist's oeuvre, Currin decided to create a picture of Arthur in the late 1980s, when he first graduated from art school and she was a vivacious member of the Golden Girls. "[The] Bea Arthur painting is from Maude," Currin explains, "which I used to watch as a kid. In the eighties, I didn't have TV for, like, a whole decade. When I started watching again in the nineties, The Golden Girls was in syndication. When I had a loft with Sean and Kevin Landers, we'd always take a break in the afternoon and watch The Golden Girls. When I made the painting, I was living in Hoboken and still making abstract paintings, and I was very frustrated (J. Currin in interview with K. Rosenberg, New York Magazine, 25 November 2007). "One day," he recalls, "I was hearing voices in my head rant about how bad my paintings were and I thought, 'I might as well paint a picture of Bea Arthur, instead of these masculine abstract pieces'" (J. Currin, quoted in S. Bayliss 'Bea Arthur Comes Out on Top,' ARTnews, February 2004, p. 33). He made a small drawing of Arthur, but didn't complete the painting until a few years later, when he was working on his acclaimed series of middle-aged women. "I had a vision in my head of Bea Arthur, and I found a picture of her. I was going to put a scarf ensemble on her like that from her Maude days, and I drew the body just to drape it. It was then that I realized that the painting was fantastic as it was. I loved being repelled by those two black eyes and falling back into these wonderful, soft breasts, which draw you back in. I thought about the personae of the middle-aged women that were pictured in this series, and I imagined them as being divorced and cast out, like harlequins wandering the beach. They are all self-portraits in a sense" (J. Currin, quoted in K. Vander Weg and R. Dergan (eds.), John Currin, New York, 2006, p. 74). Drawing a parallel between the vulnerable, naked exposure of an American Pop icon and that of the artist who presents his work for the ruthlessly critical review of the public, Currin's own susceptibilities are reflected. Creating a bold statement, Currin chose to strip his unwilling sitter of her garb-in an act reminiscent of Francisco de Goya's La maja vestida and La maja desnuda. Causing a stir among the contemporary female community, Arthur herself surmised, "Maybe he was attracted to the feminist movement of the 1970s," Bea Arthur speculated regarding her portrait, "because of Maude, I was the Joan of Arc of feminism. He certainly couldn't have done anything with Marlo Thomas of That Girl" (B. Arthur, quoted in op. cit., p. 33). Currin, however, has stated that he always considered Arthur "more of a maternal figure than a feminist icon. I watched Maude all the time when I was a kid," he recalled. "She's a genius. She's funny because she's so much smarter than everyone around her" (J. Currin, quoted in ibid.) Drawing attention to the female nude, Currin is not simply re-writing history, instead his naked heroine, unabashedly focused, gives the impression of one battling her own internal demons and prevailing. Conceived from the synthesis of all these factors, Bea Arthur Naked emerges not as a figure frozen in art history but a woman from the artist's clearly contemporary surroundings.
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
JOHN CURRIN Milestones portfolio, 2006 The complete portfolio of seven etchings with aquatint and drypoint, on Kochi NB paper, with full margins, also with title and colophon pages and original portfolio box, various sizes (six vertical and one horizontal) largest I. 12 5/8 x 8 7/8 in (32 x 22.5 cm) largest S. 17 7/8 x 14 1/2 in (45.7 x 36.8 cm) signed and numbered 10/45 in pencil on the colophon (there were also 5 artist's proofs and 2 printer's proofs), published by Gagosian Gallery and Sadie Coles HQ, London, all generally in very good condition, all framed.
Auction: Christie's -Nov 15, 2012 - New YorkLot number: 411
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Lot Description John Currin (b. 1962) Anita Joy signed and dated 'John Currin 2001' (on the reverse) colored chalks, charcoal and wash on paper 17 7/8 x 14 in. (45.4 x 35.5 cm.) Executed in 2001. Provenance Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner Pre-Lot Text Works from the Douglas S. Cramer Collection Literature K. Vander Weg and R. Dergan, eds., John Currin, New York, 2006, p. 276 (illustrated). Exhibited Des Moines Art Center; Aspen Art Museum and Milwaukee Art Museum, John Currin: Works on Paper, February 2003-January 2004.
Auction: Christie's -Nov 14, 2012 - New YorkLot number: 50
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Lot Description John Currin (b. 1962) Gezellig signed and dated 'John Currin 2006' (on the overlap) oil on canvas 36 x 28¼ in. (91.4 x 71.8 cm.) Painted in 2006. Provenance Gagosian Gallery, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner Pre-Lot Text Works from the Douglas S. Cramer Collection Literature W. Tower, J. Currin and A.Cook, John Currin, New York, 2011, pp. 49 and 141 (illustrated in color). Exhibited New York, Gagosian Gallery, John Currin, November 2006-December 2007. View Lot Notes › John Currin's Gezellig is an important painting that forms part of his recent series inspired by pornographic imagery. The dramtatic foreshortening of this composition is designed to challenge the viewer to look up at the figure's face, the usual first point of call in observing humans in real life or representations. Yet the eye is continually confronted with the figure's nakedness and undulating expanse of creamy white flesh that eventually leads to a detached expression. In this delightfully perverse painting, Currin cunningly recruits the viewer into this perspective, which is at once shocking and arousing. We are left unsure whether this reclining nude is alone, perhaps relaxing into a pre- or post-coital reverie. As she sprawls out on rumpled sheets reading an unidentified book, her posture certainly suggests a kind of invitation that will stir her in to action. She is a passive creature; complying with the demands of a sexualized gaze, and depicted in a way that signals her availability for consumption. Controversial and driven by his own unique vision, Currin has been heralded as one of the most important artists of his generation and in the powerful position of re-directing people back to discussions of painting's relevance. With Gezellig he appears to play on the idea of painting as fetish object, doomed to be a victim of the lustful, objectifying male voyeur, while humorously re-casting the subject of Gustav Courbet's erotic masterpiece L'Origine du monde as a slightly bored, middle-class intellectual. Courbet is one of Currin's all-time heroes and art historical quotation abounds in this painting where the artist seeks to perfect methods gleaned from his observation of old master paintings. For all the gender politics that seem to simmer in his work, Currin is primarily interested in painting, and he dares the viewer into transcending content to focus on process. He revisits classical techniques of modeling, perspective, coloring and light, building up the canvas surface with the utmost care and deliberation. His painstaking methods involve numerous preparatory drawings and a slow, traditional studio practice that only permits him to create up to ten paintings a year. Traces of this painting's dark imprimatura can be seen around edges of the compositional forms, upon which layers of transparent colors are gradually built up to create a deep and luminous surface. As the artist has suggested, "the overt political part [of my work] is no longer a primary motivation any more. It is getting technically really good at it that makes me more uncomfortable. That is where I am going. In a way, I guess that today is a political act--to get good at painting" (J. Currin interview with A. Gingeras, "John Currin: Pictor Vulgaris", K. Vander Weg and R. Dergan, (eds.), John Currin, New York, 2006, p. 43). Despite this statement about his increasingly virtuosic technique, Currin has not lost his ambition or his ability to shock. Gezellig was created for Currin's first exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery, in which more explicit content was presented than in any other images created by the politically incorrect provocateur. The painting was exhibited with several scenes of group sex and climaxing couples based on both vintage porn and the Venus' of centuries old paintings. This is the inverse of the portraits of dowdy menopausal women that first brought Currin attention in the early 1990s. Currin retains much of the figure's charm and physical beauty in this painting, somehow sidestepping his typical exaggeration of the body to preserve her sexual allure. A further clue to understanding Currin's fusion of serious painterly concerns with imagery that courts the absurd lies in the titles of his works. Many of the porn inspired paintings are named after the places and people of Northern Europe, including Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Malmö, and The Danes. Gezellig itself takes its title from a Dutch word meaning cozy, friendly, or relaxing. Such references draw a connection to the stereotype of permissive sexual attitudes in these countries. They also hint at a kernel of the idea that prompted Currin to begin the series in the first place, namely the Muhammad cartoon controversy that was unfolding in Northern Europe at the time they were painted. Currin's reaction to the debate about free expression was to present a kind of satire of a libertine socialist Europe through the medium of pornography. But ultimately this complex argument was put aside as an excuse to make beautiful paintings full of animation and the delicate textures and hues of warm, naked skin. "I had a revelation that these porn paintings could be related to the Danish Muhammad cartoons," Currin explains "That seemed like the justification at the time. But as I explained the idea to people after the paintings were done, the political allegory started meaning less and less to me. It meant the most when it motivated me to make pictorial decisions to keep things on theme, almost like the person who's in charge of continuity in the movies. But it's not really as meaningful now, which is why I also imagine these works having concurrent subplots. I thought, "Oh, this was about 9/11," but it's also about being married or--not to compare the two--about my life and having children. Or it's about sex. Or it's about the way I wanted to paint. Those things can run together at the same time." (J. Currin quoted in A. Cook, "Interview with John Currin," John Currin, exh. cat., Gagosian Gallery, New York, 2011, p. 13). Currin recognizes that porn as a subject matter is loaded with cliché: from its tired photographic conventions, to the standard condemnation of its sexist values, to its frequent use in art as a symbol of personal liberation. Currin's conceptual program involves assimilating the inherent corruption of this visual system and re-presenting it in a traditionally elevated form to not only disturb society's, and more specifically the art world's, established taboos, but also to reinvigorate his medium and the genre of figurative painting in general. When questioned about his problematic female figures Currin replies with characteristically self-effacing humor: "I always find myself in this position of Spinal Tap guitarist Nigel Tufnel. People say, 'Do you think you're sexist?' and he says, 'What's wrong with sexy?' Obviously, I have a pretty sexist effect, I don't know if it's an intention, but it's what happens and I guess I am that way. I don't say it's a good thing to be, but it's not controllable. If I shut that down I would shut down a whole bunch of other stuff. If I became very concerned about sexist imagery I would have no source of energy anymore" (J. Currin interview with D. Goggins, "Perverse Beauty", Artnet, 19 September 2011).