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Frau (Woman)

Frau (Woman)
signed 'A. Butzer' (lower right); signed, titled and dated 'A. Butzer '02 "Frau"' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
98 3/8 x 78 7/8in. (250 x 200.5cm.)
Painted in 2002
Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin.
Collection of Günther Förg, Switzerland (acquired from the above in 2003).
Anon. sale, Ketterer Kunst GmbH & Co KG Munich, 17 July 2020, lot 255.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
C. Malycha, Sein und Bild: André Butzer 1994-2014, Bielefeld 2017 (illustrated, p. 141).
C. Malycha, Being and Image: André Butzer, 1994-2014, Bielefeld 2018, p. 122, no. 37 (illustrated in colour, p. 125).
H.W. Holzwarth (ed.), Günther Förg: Werke in der Sammlung Friedrichs / Works from the Friedrichs Collection, Berlin 2019, p. 83.
H. W. Holzwarth (ed.), André Butzer, Cologne 2021, p. 58 (illustrated in colour, p. 59).
Galerie Max Hetzler (ed.), André Butzer: Exhibitions / Galerie Max Hetzler / 2003-2022, Berlin 2022 (illustrated, p. 15).
Berlin, Galerie Max Hetzler, André Butzer: Chips und Pepsi und Medizin, 2003 (illustrated, p. 22).
Vienna, MUMOK Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Bad Painting good art, 2008, p. 247, no. 28 (illustrated in colour, p. 37).
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. This lot will be removed to our storage facility at Momart. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. Our removal and storage of the lot is subject to the terms and conditions of storage which can be found at and our fees for storage are set out in the table below - these will apply whether the lot remains with Christie’s or is removed elsewhere. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Momart. All collections from Momart will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: If the lot remains at Christie’s it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends. This lot has 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.
Further details
The work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonnée of André Butzer.

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Tessa Lord
Tessa Lord Director, Senior Specialist

Lot Essay

A psychedelic figure with a beaming, mask-like face rears up from the vast canvas of André Butzer’s Frau (Woman) (2002). She wears green shoes and a fiery-hued dress, and raises one club-like arm against a whirling backdrop of magenta brushstrokes. Monumental in scale and saturated in colour, she seems to collapse the languages of cartoons, Die Brücke and Willem de Kooning’s Women into a single explosive presence. Her exuberant, apocalyptic life-force is typical of Butzer’s early-2000s work, which he has described as a sort of ‘science-fiction Expressionism’—plunging into the raging id of painting, and imagining what an alien might paint if they had the medium’s entire history described to them. Testament to its quality, the work was previously in the collection of Günther Förg: one of the most important German painters of the generation before Butzer, whose work also engaged in a postmodern critique of the painterly canon.

For Butzer, each painting has a volatile mind of its own, throwing up figures and images of its own accord. He handles proceedings, however, with a remarkable colourist’s eye that has won him widespread acclaim over the past three decades. Having once assisted in the studio of Albert Oehlen—who was also an early collector of his work—he can be understood in the riotous lineage of ‘bad painting’ that Oehlen, Martin Kippenberger and Werner Büttner championed during the 1980s and 1990s. While less politically driven than some of his elder compatriots, Butzer conceived his artistic practice partly in opposition to the industry and order that defined his childhood in Stuttgart, Germany’s automotive capital. His paintings have ranged widely from figuration to abstraction as he explores the medium’s freedoms, forging his own wild, ever-changing universe in the process. ‘I think of painting as the origin of life’, he says. ‘We’re always inheriting, but you can’t just take on influence for free. There has to be some thankfulness’ (A. Butzer, quoted in M. Slenske, ‘Expressionism, Now with Added Black’, Garage Magazine, 11 September 2017).

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