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PETER SAUL (B. 1934)
These lots have been imported from outside of the … Read more PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED EUROPEAN COLLECTION
PETER SAUL (B. 1934)


PETER SAUL (B. 1934)
signed and dated '2000 SAUL' (lower right)
acrylic on canvas
62 x 72 1⁄8in. (157.5 x 183.2cm.)
Painted in 2000
George Adams Gallery, New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2017.
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Lot Essay

A phantasmagoria of fantastic imagery and colour fills Peter Saul’s Yikes. Against a balmy sky, a flying sandwich soars, while a muscular arm emerges from its white dough. A slice of cholate cake and a broken plate float through an opening in a brick wall. Here, fish fly and cigarettes cross daintily like legs. Saul’s worlds are rich and evocative—the symbols of consumption viewed through a Surrealist lens—and his colours no less so: magenta, royal purple, butter yellow, teal. The artist’s subject matter, writes critic Max Lakin, ‘is nothing so complicated as the brutal underbelly of American excess—it’s as if he’s turning over a rock in the woods and seeing what neon horror crawls out’ (M. Lakin, ‘Peter Saul Doesn’t Want Any Advice’, T Magazine, 13 July 2021). Painted in 2000, Yikes marks an exciting moment in Saul’s career during which his work was featured in exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Centre Pompidou, Paris and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Born in San Francisco, Saul relocated to Europe to live first in Amsterdam, then Paris and Rome, after receiving his BFA. His raucous visual idiom, which renders pop culture and historical images in striking vibrancy, developed during his years in Europe where, living in relative isolation, he voraciously consumed American magazines and comic books. In reaction to the solemnity of Abstract Expressionism, he began to paint the quotidian in a garish palette. Describing his paintings, Peter Schjeldahl writes, ‘Saul’s cartoony style … suggests the gall of an adolescent allowed to run amok. It takes tie to become aware of how well Saul paints, with lyrically kinetic, intertwined forms and an improbably approximate of chiaroscuro, manged with neon-toned Day-Glo acrylics’ (P. Schjeldahl, ‘Goings on About Town: Art’, The New Yorker, 9 March 2020).

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