Marlene Dumas (b. 1953)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE ITALIAN COLLECTION
Marlene Dumas (b. 1953)

Josephine (not tonight)

Marlene Dumas (b. 1953)
Josephine (not tonight)
signed, titled and dated 'Josephine (not tonight) M Dumas 1997' (lower right)
watercolour on paper
124 x 70 cm.
Executed in 1997
Monica Sprüth Gallery, Cologne.
Le Case d'Arte, Milan.
D.van den Boogerd, B. Bloom & M. Casadio, Marlene Dumas, London/New York 1999 (illustrated, p. 88).
Milan, Palazzo della Triennale, Triennale di Milano - A Noir, March-April 1998.
Paris, Centre Pompidou, Museé National d'art moderne, Galerie d'art graphique, Marlene Dumas. Nom de Personne, 11 October-31 December 2001, 62. This exhibition later travelled to New York, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, 21 February-2 June 2002 and Tilburg, De Pont, 22 June-29 September 2002.
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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.

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Lot Essay

Josephine depicts an enigmatic female figure, a product of Dumas' ongoing investigations into cultural perceptions of blackness; its physiognomies, behavior, sexuality, glamour. () Born and raised in South Africa, Dumas has absorbed, and almost made her task to observe, an awareness of cultures and figures that co-exist and are mutually contrasting. Blackness/whiteness; masculinity/femininity; the intellectual/the sensual; the rational/the sublime, and so on, compete in her work for the right to a reciprocal parity. () Dumas uses painting as a subversive, anti-conventional means of expression. For this reason her models cannot be real, live bodies: they have to belong to a set of definable typologies. () In her work Dumas manifests a markedly feminine relationship to privacy, an intuitively erotic approach to painting. Josephine is among the most developed icons within a language built on sensual tones, hinging on the randomness of meaning and the loss of any frames of reference that would supply irrelevant information. Like the subjects of the Magdalenas and Pin-ups (1996) series, Josephine serves as a pretext to investigate the field of eroticism and seduction.
This Josephine is not only a model but an icon of the mass media. She does not reflect or respond to a single season's tastes; rather she is a timeless prototype of style. She is the phenomenon of an era that has survived beyond its day, becoming an absolute model of glamour. This is Josephine the Parisian legend: Josephine Baker, immortalized in George Hoyningen-Huene's photographic portrait (c. 1929) () As well as being an icon of glamour and success, however, the figure of Josephine Baker evokes the myth of the naked 'savage', conjuring that image of 'otherness' with which Baker knowingly teased her white male audience. () Josephine speaks of the sexual appeal laid bare through clothing. The sensual inhibition of her pose revelas, as it conceals, the most secret aspects of the attributes of femininity. () Through Josephine, Dumas draws two opposites together. She speaks of uniqueness as stylistic aura or overwhelming erotic presence, whilst simultaneously emphasizing the loneliness and existential isolation of a contemporary figure.
(for additional information on Josephine, D.van den Boogerd, B. Bloom & M. Casadio, Marlene Dumas, London/New York 1999 (p. 88-93)

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