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Karen Kilimnik (b. 1955)
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price plus buy… Read more Property from a Private American Collection 
Karen Kilimnik (b. 1955)

Rudolph Appearing on Stage in 1999 for Christmas

Karen Kilimnik (b. 1955)
Rudolph Appearing on Stage in 1999 for Christmas
signed, titled and dated 'December 23'99 December 25'99 Rudolph appearing on stage in 1999 for Christmas Karen Kilimnik' (on the reverse)
water soluble oil on canvas
20 x 16in. (50.8 x 40.6cm.)
Painted in 1999
303 Gallery, New York.
P. Frey, Karen Kilimnik Paintings, Zurich 2001 (illustrated in colour, p. 279).
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VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price plus buyer's premium.

Lot Essay

American artist Karen Kilimnik has become well known in recent years for her enchanting portraits which seek to interweave history, popular culture, myth and fantasy. Her artistic process could almost be seen as scavenging, as she scours the depths of our collective modern existence for interesting remnants and reminders of our cultural past. By then interspersing these found elements throughout her work, Kilimnik creates her own magical reality, where the innocence and naïvity of childhood experiences are allowed to enter into the adult domain.

"Kilimnik loves old New York, old television programmes (especially The Avengers and Bewitched) and 18th-century genre painting. She loves eras - the 1960s, the 1890s and the 1780s. She loves Russia, Russian ballet and the Russian Tea Room. She loves sparkly things such as snow and glitter and chandeliers; loves the shadows in empty drawing rooms and the twilight haze in the forest. She loves fairy tales and Leonardo DiCaprio and whatever things offer themselves up to be loved: dogs, ponies and famous pretty faces..." (S. Stern in 'The Uses of Enchantment' in Frieze, issue 81, 2004, p. 66).

The Russian ballet is perhaps one of Kilimnik's greatest loves and influences. For her 2001 exhibition at the 303 Gallery in New York, she lined the gallery walls with black velvet and filled them with ballet-related paintings, mixed-media works on paper and eccentric dioramas. In the "Top Ten" column of the September 1998 issue of Artforum, Kilimnik lists Rudolf Nureyev's performance of La Bayadere at the Paris Opera as her number eight, paying particular attention to the colourful costumes and set designs that Nureyev chose.

In the present lot, Kilimnik presents us with a gentle portrait of Nureyev, considered to be one of the foremost dancers and choreographers of the 20th century.

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