Robert Gober (b. 1954)
wood, pebbles, wallpaper, plastic, ceramic tiles and painted embroidery cloth
29¾ x 36 x 36in. (73.7 x 91.4 x 91.4cm)
Executed in 1978.
Acquired directly from the artist
Private collection, New York
The catalogue states incorrectly that Christie's was informed by the artist that this work was the first dollhouse he made as an art object. Mr. Gober has informed us that the dollhouse was commissioned and made as a work of carpentry and not as a work of art. The following modifications have been made to the dollhouse: striped wallpaper in the lower rear first floor room has been overpainted with white synthetic emulsion paint; wallpaper has been removed from the second floor bathroom; an item of furniture viz. a bidet, has been taken away from the house. These modifications were not accomplished by Mr. Gober.
The artist has told us that this is the first dollhouse that he made as an art object; the wallpapers were made by Gober.
"Here are two biographical facts about Robert Gober that might inform the ritualistically scaled and psychologically attuned presence of his work. He was an altar boy. He once made dollhouses as a source of income (initially they were sold at an Americana shop, but eventually they acquired a self-consciousness that led him to make art objects based on the dollhouse)." (T. Fairbrother, "We are only as sick as the secrets we keep" in Robert Gober, exh. cat., Rotterdam, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, May-July 1990 and Bern, Kunsthalle, September-October 1990, p. 43)
"If in these works the artist negatively mirrors the way the child socializes its attitudes towards the family by playing with miniaturized replicas, so his making by hand...bespeaks not only a deep-seated desire to master the home emotionally and psychologically but also to recreate it differently." (L. Cooke in Robert Gober, exh. cat., Serpentine Gallery, London and Tate Gallery, Liverpool, 1993, p. 19)
fig. 1: Susan P. Meisel, Victorian House, 1976, lithograph.
Gober based the design of his dollhouse on this lithograph.