Richard Artschwager (b. 1923)
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more PROPERTY FROM AN AMERICAN COLLECTION
Richard Artschwager (b. 1923)

Interior with Sideboard I

Richard Artschwager (b. 1923)
Interior with Sideboard I
signed, titled and dated 'Interior with Sideboard I R. Artschwager '74' (on the backing board)
acrylic on celotex
50 x 63¾ in. (127 x 162 cm.)
Painted in 1974.
Leo Castelli Gallery, New York
Texas Gallery, Houston
Mary Boone Gallery, New York
Private collection
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1985
Houston, Texas Gallery, Richard Artschwager, 1978.
Special notice
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. This is such a lot.

Lot Essay

For over forty years, Richard Artschwager has sought to impart a sculptural and dimensional aspect to his paintings. Interior with Sideboard I engages concepts of movement and time, challenging viewers to navigate its complicated space. Although Artschwager admired the work of Franz Kline and lived in New York in the 1950s and 1960s, he was not tempted to take up Abstract Expressionism. In later years he was affiliated with Pop and Conceptual Art, but remains-- by his own admission-- mostly a chameleon.

In 1953, he began making furniture commercially, producing simple, modern, and well-constructed forms. After a fire destroyed the contents of his workshop, Artschwager retreated to New Mexico to seek solace in drawing, and the intimate and expressive medium laid the foundation for his future work. Many of his drawings were created with charcoal, and his paintings are accordingly often limited to gray tones. In this work, nostalgia pervades an image of a sophisticated New York City apartment: the elegant mahogany dining room set, ornate chandelier, and rich drapery recall the formal interior design favored by the upper-class.

The exaggerated, fibrous weave of Celotex proved the perfect support for Artschwager's paintings of elite interiors. This inexpensive paper product (used for sheathing in mobile homes) has a hairy surface whose tactility offered an alternative to the modernists preference for flat canvases.

Although Artschwager's heavily textured paint might recall Vincent Van Gogh, he works in a slow, deliberate manner. Using a series of tiny dots, dashes, and X's to cover the surface of the Celotex, he works on one square inch at a time, a meticulous method which was later employed by Photo-Realists such as Malcolm Morley. The paradox lies in how chaotic waves of paint are used to render a seemingly orderly, visually pleasing interior.

The artist's care in framing his paintings further reflects his concern for the context in which his work is shown. In 1965, he began to use commercially manufactured metal frames, whose shiny, reflective surfaces at once declared the material independence of the enclosed paintings and simultaneously integrated the images into their environments. That we as viewers are able to see ourselves moving in the frame complements the implied motion in the image created by Artschwager's brushwork.

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