Browse Lots

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
Sean Scully (b. 1945)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Sean Scully (b. 1945)

Wall of Light Blue Blue

Details
Sean Scully (b. 1945)
Wall of Light Blue Blue
signed, titled and dated 'WALL OF LIGHT BLUE BLUE Sean Scully 00' (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas
64 x 84in. (162.6 x 213.4cm.)
Painted in 2000
Provenance
Kneodler & Co., New York.
Marieluise Hessel Collection, New York.
Kneodler & Co., New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Literature
Sean Scully: Wall of Light, exh. cat., Washington, D.C., The Phillips Collection, 2005-2006 (illustrated in colour, p. 42).
Exhibited
Mexico, Museo de Arte Contemporneo, Sean Scully, Wall of Light, 2001-2002, p. 104 (illustrated in colour, p. 105).
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.
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

Brought to you by

Alice de Roquemaurel
Alice de Roquemaurel

Lot Essay

'Abstraction is the art of our age it's a breaking down of certain structures, an opening up. It allows you to think without making obsessively specific references, so that the viewer is free to identify with the work. Abstract art has the possibility of being incredibly generous, really out there for everybody. It's a non-denominational religious art. I think it's the spiritual art of our time' (S. Scully, 'Some Basic Principles,' in B. Kennedy, Sean Scully: The Art of the Stripe, Hanover 2008, p. 13).



The lavish patchwork of painterly brushstrokes that constitutes the richly painted surface of Sean Scully's monumental Wall of Light Blue Blue represents the artist's own unique approach to the greatest themes of Post-War art, namely Abstraction and Minimalism. This ethereal, almost sublime, combination of soft tones of blue, black and grey all composed in tightly coalescing blocks of colour, possess a spiritual quality that is enhanced by the rich and sophisticated painterly nature of the work. Although initially defined by the large blocks of colour, closer inspection is rewarded with a complex surface built up of numerous layers of paint, each comprised of a myriad of distinct marks left by the individual brush filaments covered in paint and applied to the surface of the canvas.

As the name suggests, Wall of Light Blue Blue was painted during a period when the artist was seeking to express the quality of light. As Kleine has noted, in these works the paint surfaces 'radiate an astonishing softness of structure, furnishing evidence of Scully's unwavering positive attitude to life, despite his acknowledgment of the negative and reveal to us how the warm colours sake of their gravity to become even brighter' (S. Kleine, 'The Imagery of Sean Scully,' Constantinople or the Sensual Concealed. The Imagery of Sean Scully, exh. cat., MKM Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst, Duisberg 2009, p. 24). Works from this series have become highly prized and examples can be found in many of the world's foremost museum collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Wall of Light White, 1998) and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (Wall of Light Brown, 2000) becoming the subject of a major retrospective at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., in 2005.

With paintings such as Wall of Light Blue Blue, Scully takes his place in the tradition of Abstraction. He began his career as a figurative painter in the mid-1960s, but it was during a visit to Morocco that he became captivated by the motifs that would eventually morph themselves into his iconic blocks of colour. Enthralled by the geometric patterns of the local, hand-dyed woolen cloth and the faded and fragmented facades of the buildings, he began to investigate the possibilities that he thought were inherent in geometric abstraction. Moving beyond the strict formality of Minimalism that was the pre-eminent form of contemporary art at the time, he began to develop his own unique language that built on the work of the previous generation of Abstract Expressionists. 'Scully was inspired by Rothko's atmospheric use of layered color,' the curator Stephen Bennett Phillips explains, 'the way the separations between his blocks of color revealed the layer underneath. Scully injected Piet Mondrian's strict grid like architecture into Rothko, animating his quiet mediations and giving early body and weight to his vaporous clouds of color' (S.B. Phillips, 'Becoming Sean Scully,' S.B. Phillips (ed.), Wall of Light, exh. cat., Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., 2005, p. 19).

More from Post-War and Contemporary Art (Evening Auction)

View All
View All