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Stanley Whitney (b. 1946)
Property from a Prominent Private Collection
Stanley Whitney (b. 1946)

Lush Life

Stanley Whitney (b. 1946) Lush Life signed, titled and dated '"Lush Life" Stanley Whitney 2014' (on the reverse) oil on linen 96 x 96 in. (243.8 x 243.8 cm.) Painted in 2014.
Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin
Acquired from the above by the present owner
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Kathryn Widing
Kathryn Widing

Lot Essay

"I have to let the color take me wherever it takes me…The idea is that color cannot be controlled and that it has total freedom. One color can’t overpower another color, you know. It’s very democratic, very New York." – Stanley Whitney

Painted in 2014, Stanley Whitney’s Lush Life encapsulates themes that have defined the artist’s career since the 1970s. The present lot is an example of Whitney’s signature stacked composition of numerous saturated color fields, delineated by horizontal bands running the length of a square-formatted canvas. Whitney works thinly and opaquely with saturated and under-saturated oils. Referencing cues ranging from early Minimalism to color theory painters, jazz music to Egyptian hieroglyphs, the artist interestingly curates brushy blocks of rich colors which complement or clash against one another. Much like jazz, the work’s subtle improvisatory structure is derived directly from his chosen color happenings, and their relationships to one another; an interesting departure from structuralist processes of the minimalists of the 1960s and 70s. Stanley’s use of improvisation and variation alludes to an intimate, and even playful game of discovery with the viewer. Ultimately, the cumulative effect of Whitney’s palette not only becomes that of fine pictorial balance, but also that of the formal sensations caused by internal conflicts and resolutions of color.

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