Marc Quinn (b. 1964)
This Lot has been sourced from overseas. When au… Read more
Marc Quinn (England, B. 1964)

Spring in the Apennines

Marc Quinn (England, B. 1964)
Spring in the Apennines
signed, titled, and dated 'Spring in the Apennines Marc Quinn 2009' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
169 x 257.5 cm. (66 ½ x 101 3/8 in.)
Painted in 2009
Byblos Art Gallery, Verona.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Verona, Palazzo Forti, Casa di Giulietta, Il Mito Marc Quinn, 2009, p. 95 (illustrated in colour, pp. 96-97; detail illustrated in colour on the front and back covers).
Special notice
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Lot Essay

Marc Quinn’s Spring in the Apennines (2009) effervesces with colour, exploding from the canvas with kaleidoscopic vivacity. A brilliantly lurid still life executed with photorealistic precision, the work depicts a collection of brightly coloured flowers and fruits framed at very close quarters, both accentuating their radiance and de-familiarizing their forms into a glowing mass of colours. Indeed, with the picture plane saturated with tropical pinks and greens, uncanny in their vibrancy and crispness, the space between each object seems compressed, with each petal and glowing skin starkly and evenly lit up, banishing nearly all shadow from the painting while rendering each detail with luminous meticulousness. The snowy ground on which the plants rest only furthers the odd sense of unreality. The work places itself in the long history of flower painting in still life art, yet it uses its flowers neither as ciphers incorporated into complex symbolic schemas, nor as living proof of the passing of time and the transience of the world. Rather, the flowers are realized only as exceptionally colourful surfaces: a version of the natural world eerily and beautifully frozen in a moment that seems never to have existed.

Spring in the Apennines is part of a larger series of works by Quinn entitled ‘Flower Paintings’, carried out between 2005 and 2012, that seemed to spring from his celebrated ‘Flower Sculptures’: blooming flowers, plucked at their healthiest and most beautiful, immersed in a frozen silicone oil that kills them and at the same time preserves them in a perfected state of unchanging beauty. Perhaps Quinn’s most ambitious, and best known, ‘Flower Sculpture’ is his Garden, executed in 2000, in which thousands of flowers and plants were frozen and placed in a large-scale refrigeration unit, allowing the viewer to walk through the installation both immersed in a cornucopia of abundant growth and colour, and held at a distance, peering into this hyper-real idyll from behind glass. Quinn’s collection of preserved plants are placed together irrespective of their seasonality or geographical location, producing a floral tableau that could only be engineered by science and the human imagination, a vision of nature that derives from somewhere beyond the natural world. And like Garden, and indeed the other works in the ‘Flower Paintings’ series, Spring in the Apennines offers a fantastical treatment of the flowers that are its subject, putting together a selection of plants that would never appear in the wild together – and especially not resting in glistening, crystalline snow. Beneath the painting’s lustrous surface, the arranging hand of the artist reflects something more disturbing: mankind’s desire, and ability, to intervene in the processes of the world in which they live, twisting and manipulating them in order to suit their beautiful and destructive whims.

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