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signed and dated 'A Katz 2018' (on the reverse)
acrylic and sand on canvas
68 7⁄8 x 49 1⁄8in. (175 x 125cm.)
Executed in 2018
The Approach, London.
Private Collection, Europe.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
K. Bell (et al.), Allison Katz, Geneva 2020, p. 124 (detail illustrated in colour, p. 5; illustrated in colour, p. 127).
London, The Approach, Splendor Solis, 2018.
Leeds, Leeds Art Gallery, Slow Painting, 2019-2020. This exhibition later travelled to Plymouth, The Levinsky Gallery; Bath, The Edge, Andrew Brownsword Gallery; Inverness, Inverness Museum and Art Gallery and Inverness, Thurso Art Gallery.

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Claudia Schürch
Claudia Schürch Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Snowglobe (2018) is a compelling, enigmatic work by the protean painter Allison Katz. In wintry blues and whites, a woman’s disembodied hands and face float before a snowbound city terrace. The painting’s surface, too, is grainy and flecked with white, as if it has itself been left outside—or shaken, like a snowglobe. Created using sand, this textural element breaks the ‘fourth wall’ of conventional realism. Katz has also applied rice to her canvases to similar effect. She is interested in tensions between different modes of visual communication. Her paintings range widely in style and imagery, playing with devices such as mirroring, double entendre and riddle. With a keen linguistic sensibility, she often creates conversations between disparate works, drawing upon an ever-evolving personal lexicon of motifs. Snowglobe was part of the Hayward Gallery touring exhibition Slow Painting, curated by Martin Herbert, which travelled across venues in Leeds, Plymouth and Inverness between 2019 and 2020.

Snowglobe is a sister painting to Slippy (2017), which was part of Diary w/o Dates, Katz’s 2018 exhibition at the Oakville Galleries in Canada and the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Boston. The twelve works shown there were inspired by the months of the French Revolutionary calendar. Their titles came from an 18th-century British satire that ridiculed the new French names. For all its novelty, Katz noted, the calendar ‘still consisted of 12 months as represented by 12 allegorical women that may not look so different from 12 fashion magazine covers’ (A. Katz, quoted in P. Reynolds, ‘Allison Katz—At MIT’s List Center—Plays For Time’, WBUR, 17 May 2018). Both Slippy and Snowglobe derive the woman’s features from an engraving of Nivôse, who roughly corresponds to January. They differ in subtle ways. The granular snow, formed of rice and mostly settled on the ground in Slippy, has been lifted into a blizzard in Snowglobe. The woman’s gaze has shifted downward. In her right hand, where Slippy reproduces the spindle held by Nivôse, is a sphere. Perhaps it is she who has shaken up the world in which we see her.

Based in London, Katz was born in Montreal, Canada, and graduated with an MFA from Columbia University, New York in 2008. Her diverse, complex and mutable practice has risen to great critical acclaim in recent years. Slippy was included in the major group show Mixing It Up: Painting Today at the Hayward Gallery, London in 2021. Artery, Katz’s first UK solo exhibition, followed shortly afterwards at Nottingham Contemporary, later travelling to Camden Art Centre. In 2022 she was included in the 59th Venice Biennale, The Milk of Dreams.

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