• Post-War and Contemporary Art  auction at Christies

    Sale 1106

    Post-War and Contemporary Art (Evening Auction)

    13 February 2013, London, King Street

  • Lot 33

    Allen Jones (b. 1937)

    Hatstand, Table and Chair

    (i) Hatstand
    (ii) Table
    (iii) Chair

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Allen Jones (b. 1937)
    Hatstand, Table and Chair

    (i) Hatstand
    (ii) Table
    (iii) Chair
    (i) painted fibreglass, resin, mixed media and tailor made accessories (ii) painted fibreglass, resin, mixed media, glass and tailor made accessories
    (iii) painted fibreglass, resin, Plexiglas, mixed media and tailor made accessories
    (i) 73¼ x 42 1/8 x 13in. (190.5 x 107 x 33cm.)
    (ii) 24 x 51 x 30in. (61 x 130 x 76cm.)
    (iii) 30¾ x 37¾ x 22½.in. (78 x 96 x 57cm.)
    Executed in 1969, this work is from an edition of six plus one artist's proof (3)


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    Standing Lady: If my appearance creates a political or social stir, it's worth it, as long as the emotional energies are directed towards the real problem. But unfortunately, a small minority prefer to sully my image, while all I want to do is give pleasure

    Allen Jones: What's the alternative for this minority?

    Standing Lady: To direct that energy towards the inequalities in everyday life, education, unemployment. I must say that even for a woman with long hair, a sensual mouth and shapely legs, it's the same battle
    (A. Jones, 'Interview avec un dessin', Le Petit Journal de Vogue, March 1974, unpaged).


    Some observations about the table
    1.With the care normally accorded to Works of Art, the table should last a lifetime-and more.
    2.The sculpture is built to withstand the inevitable urge to use her as a table, but do not abuse this privilege with the use of very heavy objects.
    3.She is painted with Rowney Cryla Colour and made of fibre-glass. A soft damp cloth may be used to wipe the figure, if necessary.
    4.Her clothing has been custom made and is not strengthened in the normal manner for human usage.
    5.The real-hair wig has been set and kiln dried. When the wig is removed from the box, brush out in the normal manner.
    6. Reverse selo-tape is recommended for fixing the wig to the skull.
    7. A key has been provided for screwing the glass onto the figure. Do not screw too tightly as refraction of light through the glass gives the impression of paint loss.
    Allen Jones 1969




    Some observations about the chair
    1.With the care normally accorded to Art Works, the chair should last a lifetime-and more.
    2.She is built to withstand the inevitable urge to sit on her, but do not abuse this privilege. Rather be content to contemplate this radical contribution to sculpture.
    3.The sculpture is made of fibre-glass and painted with Rowney Cryla Colour and may be wiped with a soft damp cloth if necessary.
    4.Her clothing has been custom made and is not strengthened in the normal manner for human usage.
    5.The real-hair wig has been set and kiln dried and it should need no special attention. When the wig is removed from its box, brush out in the normal manner.
    6.Reverse selo-tape is recommended for fixing the wig to the skull.
    7.A key is provided for screwing down the base onto the figure. Do not screw too tightly as refraction of light through the Perspex gives the impression of paint loss.
    Allen Jones 1969



    Some observations about the hatstand
    1. With the care normally accorded to Works of Art, the hatstand should last a lifetime-and more.
    2. The sculpture will hold hats and light clothing accessories only. Do not use for supporting heavy coats, furs, etc.
    3. She is built of fibre-glass and painted with Rowney Cryla colour and may be wiped gently with a soft, damp cloth, if necessary
    4. Her clothing is custom made and is not strengthened in the normal manner for human usage.
    5. The real-hair wig has been set and kiln dried and should need no special attention. When the wig is removed from the box, brush out in the normal manner.
    6. Reverse selo-tape is recommended for fixing the wig to the skull.
    7. It is recommended that a small mat or animal skin be used to cover the base plate. Pierce on hole and make sure both feet are firmly on the ground be twisting the figure slightly.
    Allen Jones 1969


    Executed in 1969, Allen Jones's Table, Chair, Hatstand is a gleefully subversive ménage of sculptures carried out at the height of the British artist's career; they are quite simply icons of Pop. Exaggerated figures of femininity, Jones has contorted his models into subservient postures, their outstretched palms, steadied backs and sturdy thighs providing purposefully provocative and sensational household furniture. Master of irony, Jones illuminates the undercurrent that runs through commercial advertising: the comic books, beauty queens and Playboy bunnies that suggest 'sex sells'. In Table, Chair, Hatstand, the lithe serpentines of the females' bodies recall the sinched waists and buxom busts of contemporary female icons such as Marilyn Monroe. With their ashblond coifs, doe eyes shrouded in thick false lashes and thigh-high leather boots, these women might at first glance be mistaken for real, living figures. Upon closer inspection, their improbable features show themselves to be pure fantasy, first modeled in clay by the artist and later cast in fibreglass, coated in acrylic paint and clad with leather accessories. Soft, white, shag pile rugs form the resting ground for these bridled femmes fatales. Jones grew out of the wave of Pop art that was growing across Britain and the United States during the 'swinging sixties'. The 1960s was a period of sexual liberation with artists adopting images, not only of mass produced commercial goods, but of pop culture's female icons. Just as Tom Wesselmann celebrated the Great American Nude, Warhol his heroines (Marilyn, Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor), Mel Ramos his sun-drenched California Venus, so Jones created his own unique comment on the iconography of women and a new Post-War generation's material desires. These three are as sensational today as they have ever been, courting controversy and delight in equal measure.

    The 1960s was a decade of radical change on both sides of the Atlantic, attitudes dramatically evolving towards sexuality and gender. These themes emerged as a new axis around which social movements could be mobilised. In Britain, the decade began with the publication of D.H. Lawrence's erotic, highly charged and previously outlawed novel Lady Chatterley's Lover following the well-documented trial of Penguin Books under the Obscene Publications Act 1959. In America, the new availability of birth control fundamentally changed attitudes towards women's sexuality and by the end of the decade John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their famous Bed-Ins for Peace. What would have been scandalous only a few years before suddenly became mainstream and permissible, providing a new context for Allen Jones's wry appropriations of the female form. Schooled by Richard Hamilton at the Royal College of Art, Jones was one of a new generation of British artists including David Hockney challenging conventions and embracing their sexuality. Hamilton's Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing? (1956) had already brought the buff imagery of American men's physique magazines and semi-clad sirens into the domestic realm and this startling step was arguably to inform Jones's Table, Chair, Hatstand.

    Like his contemporary David Hockney, Jones had spent time traveling around the United States in the mid-60s, living in New York during the height of American Pop. It was here that Jones became bowled over by the range of vivid, often racy imagery in advertising and magazines; so much more bracing and immersive than the more staid ads and illustrations in Britain. Cognisant of his American contemporaries and inspired by the subject matter of Roy Lichtenstein's Girls and Tom Wesselmann's Great American Nudes, Jones turned to similar sources for his paintings, adopting a bright, brazen, frontal manner akin to his colleagues. Looking to popular imagery, Jones sought to destabilise the banal and kitsch elements of consumer culture, and exhume the tabooed depictions of the body. Contextualising this investigation within Jungian and Freudian philosophy of self-discovery through creativity, these topics would come to inform his oeuvre for the next two decades. Focusing on the ways in which women were depicted and viewed in society, Jones launched an intriguing artistic probe that would later come to wide and controversial attention particularly amongst the contemporary feminist movement with these iconic sculptures.

    Following his trip, Jones returned to his native Great Britain and began to embark on his series of sculptures, making a dramatic departure from the painting which had dominated his practice up until that moment. In the late 1960s the artist recalled that his 'paintings were becoming more visually hard and precise that...it did occur to me that maybe the paint surface was redundant...' (A. Jones, quoted in M. Livingstone, Sheer Magic by Allen Jones, exh. cat., Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 1979, p. 48). In the late 1960s, Jones began adding shelves and steps to the bottom of his paintings, inviting the viewer to enter the pictorial space and become more closely acquainted with his glossy figures. Suddenly it occurred to Jones that through a sculptural practice, he could invite his women to walk out of the canvas and into his own real, lived space. Using a commercial sculptor for shop window mannequins and wax works, Jones created the first of his triumvirate of women. With Hatstand, Jones produced a woman whose arms appear outstretched, ready to greet the artist. He had originally intended to clad her figure in ordinary clothes, finding a resonance with Duchamp and the surreal, but later turned to the fantasy costumes of the circus and adult theatre. In doing so, the artist was trying to free the work from the world of art, giving the semi-clad figure a banal, domestic function and thrusting it to some fanfare and consternation, into the real world.

    Special Notice

    Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.


    Provenance

    (i) Private Collection, Belgium.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in the 1980s.
    (ii) Ivor Braka, London.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in the early 1990s.
    (iii) Private Collection, Belgium.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in the 1980s.


    Saleroom Notice

    Please note that this work is from an edition of six plus one artist's proof


    Literature

    (i) A. Jones, Allen Jones Figures, Milan 1969 (another from the edition illustrated in colour, p. 75).
    A. Jones and M. Livingston, Allen Jones, Sheer Magic, London 1979 (another from the edition illustrated in colour, p. 71).
    Allen Jones, exh. cat., Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, 1979, no. 35 (another from the edition illustrated, unpaged).
    N. Hodges & N. Robertson (eds.), Allen Jones, London 1993 (another from the edition illustrated in colour, pp. 28-29).
    J. Heuman, Material Matters: The Conservation of Modern Sculpture, London 1999, no. 78 (another from the edition, illustrated in colour, p. 72-81).
    T. Osterwald, Pop Art, Cologne 1999 (another from the edition illustrated, p. 48).
    A. Lambirth, Allen Jones: Works, London 2005, no. 11 (another from the edition illustrated in colour, p. 22-23).

    (ii) A. Jones, Allen Jones Figures, Milan 1969 (another from the edition illustrated in colour, p. 71).
    A. Jones and M. Livingston, Allen Jones: Sheer Magic, London 1979 (another from the edition illustrated in colour, pp. 70-71).
    L. Romain and D. Bluemler, Allen Jones, Künstler Kritisches Lexikon der Gegenwartskunst, Munich 1993, no. 7, pl. 6 (another from the edition, illustrated in colour, p. 8).
    N. Hodges & N. Robertson (eds.), Allen Jones, London 1993 (another from the edition illustrated in colour, pp. 31 and 41). T. Osterwald, Pop Art, Cologne 1999 (another from the edition illustrated, p. 48, illustrated in colour, p. 49).
    A. Lambirth, Allen Jones: Works, London 2005, no. 14 (another from the edition illustrated in colour, on the cover, pp. 25-27, and on the back cover).
    G. Sachs, Mein Leben, Munich 2005 (another from the edition illustrated in colour, p. 385).
    (iii) M. Livingstone, Pop Art: A Continuing History, New York 1990, no. 247 (another from the edition illustrated in colour, p. 175).
    N. Hodges & N. Robertson (eds.), Allen Jones, London 1993 (another from the edition illustrated in colour, p. 30).
    J. Heuman, Material Matters: The Conservation of Modern Sculpture, London 1999, no. 77 (another from the edition illustrated in colour, p. 72-81).
    T. Osterwald, Pop Art, Cologne 1999 (another from the edition illustrated, p. 48, illustrated in colour, p. 49).
    A. Lambirth, Allen Jones: Works, London 2005 (another from the edition illustrated in colour, pp. 11 and 25).
    G. Sachs, Mein Leben, Munich 2005 (another from the edition illustrated in colour, p. 385).


    Exhibited

    (i) Montreal, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Pop Art, 1992-1993, no. 90, pl. 178, p. 277 (illustrated in colour, p. 213).
    Hamburg, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Gunter Sachs - Retrospektive, 2003 (another from the edition exhibited).
    Leipzig, Museum der Bildenden Künste, Gunter Sachs, 2008 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated in colour, pp. 182-183).

    (ii) London, Royal Academy, Pop Art, 1991-1992, no. 136, pl. 157 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated in colour, p. 206). This exhibition later travelled to Cologne, Ludwig Museum and Madrid, Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
    Montreal, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Pop Art, 1992-1993, no. 91, pl. 180, p. 277 (illustrated in colour, p. 213).
    Hamburg, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Gunter Sachs - Retrospektive, 2003 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated in colour, unpaged).
    Den Haag, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Sixties! Art, fashion, design, film and photography, 2007. Leipzig, Museum der Bildenden Künste, Gunter Sachs, 2008 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated in colour, pp. 75).
    Moscow, Museum Tsaritsyno, Gunter Sachs, 2009 (another from the edition illustrated in colour, unpaged).

    (iii) Tokyo, The National Museum of Modern Art, Contemporary British Art, 1970 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated, unpaged). Montreal, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Pop Art, 1992-1993, no. 89, pl. 179, p. 277 (illustrated in colour, p. 213).
    Hamburg, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Gunter Sachs - Retrospektive, 2003 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated in colour, unpaged).
    Leipzig, Museum der Bildenden Künste, Gunter Sachs, 2008 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated in colour, pp. 74).
    Moscow, Museum Tsaritsyno, Gunter Sachs, 2009 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated in colour, unpaged).