RELEASE: POST-WAR & CONTEMPORARY ART AUCTIONS - Christie's 14-15 October. Richard Prince

Richard Prince All American Idol


Four outstanding works by Richard Prince (B. 1949) will be offered at Christie's London on 14 October, forming highlights of the Post-War & Contemporary Art evening auction. Spanning the course of the artist’s rich career they include Untitled (Fashion) (1983-1984), Untitled (Cowboy) (1999), Nurse Forrester’s Secret (2002-2003) and Untitled (de Kooning) (2007).

Dina Amin, Head of the Sale; Director of Post War and Contemporary Art, Christie's London: “In October we are delighted to unite two masterpieces from the course of Richard Prince’s rich career including the iconic photograph, Untitled (Cowboy) (1999) and the painterly Nurse Forrester’s Secret (2002-2003.) Richard Prince is a master of Appropriation art. One of the first of a group of artists emerging in the 1970s including Cindy Sherman and Louise Lawler, who came to be known as the ‘pictures generation’, he has transformed some of the most enduring and iconic popular images in America. Fundamentally challenging notions of authorship, ownership and aura, he has radically reinvented the work of art, creating his own unique signature.

A key highlight of the Prince section is the large scale, dramatically executed Untitled (Cowboy), presenting a denim-clad lonesome American ranger. Created in 1999, this is a magnificent example of Richard Prince’s most celebrated series, exploring the American idol ‘par excellence’: the cowboy. Elevated in the popular imagination through the practice of Philip Morris’s cigarette brand management, as well as Hollywood luminaries such as William S. Hart, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, the cowboy came to stand in the 1950s for the ultimate alpha male. Prince uses this imagined figure of exaggerated masculinity as grounds for deconstructing society’s own ingrained preconceptions. In the process, he reveals the extent to which our thoughts and choices are determined by a pre-prescribed set of visual codes, desires, fears, genders and cultural stereotypes. Widely shown in international museums such as the Kunstmuseum in Basel, the Zurich Kunsthalle and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, this work is unique and it is estimated at £1,000,000-1,500,000 / US$1,600,000-2,300,000.

Nurse Forrester’s Secret is an exceptionally rich and painterly example of Richard Prince’s internationally acclaimed Nurse Paintings. Created in 2002-2003, it marks one of the first large-scale works from this series that stunningly reinvigorated and re-launched the artist’s work to a whole new generation. Appropriated from the front cover of a pulp romance novella, Prince’s blonde nurse in uniform has a certain ‘push-pull’ allure to her. She seems the archetype of the feminine, fantasy caretaker but on closer inspection however, her veiled expression and curiously streaked attire smacks of some dastardly misdeed plucked from a B-rated horror movie. Painted with a unique raw and visceral energy, Nurse Forrester’s Secret offers a playful subversion of the indulgent, painterly predilections of the Abstract Expressionists. The work is estimated at £2,100,000-3,000,000 / US$3,200,000-4,700,000.

Untitled (Fashion) is an elegant re-photograph created by Richard Prince in 1983-1984  Reminiscent of Man Ray’s sleek black and white photography of the 1930s, the image is derived from a contemporary 1980s advertisement in which a fashion model holds up a comb, ready to pass it through her hair. Instead of black and white however, Prince’s colour film gives the original monochrome source image a special tint. In Untitled (Fashion), Prince’s strategy highlights the tactics employed by advertising companies in the 1980s. In translating the commercial images into a new context – framing and exhibiting them like fine art paintings – he fundamentally questions the veneer of ‘normalcy’ presented to the public by the originals. Other editions of this work have been widely exhibited in major international museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Dusseldorf’s Kunstverein with Kunsthalle, San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam (estimate: £70,000-100,000 / US$110,000-150,000).


Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Auction

Christie’s London, 8 King Street
Friday 14 October 2011                at 6.30 pm
followed by The Italian Sale


Christie’s London, 8 King Street
Sunday 9th October                      12 noon-5pm
Monday 10th October                   9am-8pm
Tuesday 11th October                   9am-5pm
Wednesday 12th October                          9am-5pm
Thursday 13th October                 9am-6pm
Friday 14th October                     9am-3.30pm 

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Christie‘s, the world's leading art business had global auction and private sales in the first half of 2011 that totaled £2.0 billion/$3.2 billion. In 2010 it achieved global auction and private sales of £3.3 billion/$5.0 billion. Christie‘s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and expertise, as well as international glamour. Founded in 1766 by James Christie, Christie's conducted the greatest auctions of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and today remains a popular showcase for the unique and the beautiful. Christie‘s offers over 450 sales annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie‘s has 53 offices in 32 countries and 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai and Hong Kong. More recently, Christie‘s has led the market with expanded initiatives in emerging and new markets such as Russia, China, India and the United Arab Emirates, with successful sales and exhibitions in Beijing, Mumbai and Dubai.


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