• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 5389

    20th Century British Art

    16 July 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 84

    Conroy Maddox (1912-2005)

    Téte-á-Téte

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Conroy Maddox (1912-2005)
    Téte-á-Téte
    signed and dated 'CONROY MADDOX/60' (lower left), signed again and dated again 'CONROY MADDOX/1960' (on the reverse), inscribed 'For Eileen/who stepped out of the real/into the surreal/love Conroy/1989' (on a label attached to the back of the mount), signed again, dated again and inscribed again 'Conroy Maddox/1960/Téte-á-Téte' (on a label attached to the back of the mount)
    gouache, unframed
    12½ x 9 in. (31.7 x 22.8 cm.)


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    In the early 1960s Maddox produced many gouache works that incorporate the theme of the table. In this work we see a horizontal surface supported from below on which a collection of small forms appear. Towering over them are two larger forms, one of which forms part of the table. A similar work, entitled 'The Edible Guest', reveals Maddox's thinking: small beings are devoured by larger ones in a form of cannibalistic ritual. The fact that one of the figures is also the table itself reinforces this point: the small forms are simultaneously on the table and inside their devourer's stomach. Metaphorically, Maddox comments on the oppression of the weak. His work was becoming increasingly politicised at this time. He gave a similar work to Desmond Morris.

    We are very grateful to Silvano Levy for providing the catalogue entry for this lot.

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    Provenance

    Gifted directly by the artist to the present owner.