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Property from a Private New York Collection

Loose Screw

Loose Screw
signed and dated 'Anna Weyant 2020' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
48 1/8 x 36 in. (122.2 x 91.4 cm.)
Painted in 2020.
Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Acquired from the above by the present owner
D. Zeiba, S. Mitter and C. Okhio, "Painting the World As They See It," W Magazine, 5 March 2021 (installation view illustrated).
B. Powers, "The Credible Image: An Interview of Anna Weyant on the Occasion of her Solo Exhibition Loose Screw," Autre, 5 March 2021 (illustrated).
L. Rees, "Discover Buzzworthy Artist Anna Weyant’s Enigmatic Portraits," Galerie, 23 July 2021 (illustrated).
Harper's Bazaar Art, Women in Art, vol. 6, Japan, 2022 (illustrated on the cover).
Los Angeles, Blum & Poe, Loose Screw, March-May 2021.

Brought to you by

Isabella Lauria
Isabella Lauria Vice President, Senior Specialist, Head of 21st Century Evening Sale

Lot Essay

A striking and sophisticated large-scale painting by one of the art world’s most exciting contemporary painters, Anna Weyant’s Loose Screw offers up a fascinating window into the artist’s world. Painted in 2020, the present work is the titular painting from the 2021 exhibition of the same name, and has been described by the artist as a self-portrait of sorts. Painted during the COVID-19 lockdown, Loose Screw is a testament to the artist’s state of mind at the time, and hints at the “screw loose” in her young protagonist. Here, Weyant creates an exquisite mise-en-scène, where a beautiful young blonde is draped in fur-lined black velvet, and seated at an elegant bar. In this fascinating vignette, nothing is quite as it seems. Marked by its impressive verisimilitude and painted in exquisite detail, Loose Screw testifies to the strength of this talented young artist and the growing momentum behind her work.

Bathed in a warm, amber glow, Loose Screw unveils a striking new heroine in Weyant’s oeuvre. Decked out in pearls and diamonds, Weyant’s protagonist is ravishing. Influenced by the Dutch Old Masters, Weyant’s flair for softly-lit flesh is unrivaled among her peers. Here, she paints her alter-ego lovingly and in sumptuous detail. The viewer is free to revel in the figure’s beauty; her youth, her luminous skin, and the sheen of her hair as it catches the light are all enchanting, hypnotic details. However, as the art critic Noor Brara has written, “The knife edge between sweet and sour, beautiful and foreboding, is where Weyant’s art lives” (N. Brara, “Artist Anna Weyant Paints the Indignities of Being a Young Woman,” Artnet News, September 16, 2021).

Weyant painted Loose Screw in her Upper West Side studio during the pandemic lockdowns of 2020. There, Weyant began working on a larger scale, and concentrating on increasingly complex scenarios. The year after it was painted, Loose Screw provided the inspiration for Weyant’s exhibition of the same name at Blum & Poe in Los Angeles, where it was exhibited alongside other tour-de-force paintings from the same series, including Falling Woman (2020), Cloud Hill (2020) and Unconditional Love (2021). Weyant explained: “The exhibition is named after one of the paintings in the show, Loose Screw, which depicts a lone woman at a bar laughing. She looks somewhat desperate, lonely, and unhinged (and I can say that because it’s kind of a self-portrait). … A lot of the work in the show deals with fear, desperation, isolation, ignorance, and sometimes aggression. Hopefully, there’s humor in places, too” (A. Weyant, quoted in P. Laster, “Anna Weyant Embraces Dark Humor Through Realist Painting,” Art and Object, April 16, 2021).

Often featuring women who closely resemble the artist and her friends, Weyant’s paintings sometimes feel as if they are “different chapters of the same narrative,” as explained by the art historian Camille Okhio. “Weyant’s compositions chart the mischievous self-discovery of someone anxiously sidling through spaces that are half memory, half dream” (C. Okhio, “Painting the World as They See It,” W Magazine, March 5, 2021).

Weyant’s influences are wide-ranging and diverse, from the seventeenth-century Dutch Golden Age painters Franz Hals and Gerrit van Honthorst to Contemporary artists Lisa Yuskavage, Will Cotton and Ellen Berkenblit, and even fairy tales and New Yorker cartoons. The composition of Loose Screw was inspired by an Otto Dix painting Woman With a Red Hat (1921), and the lyrics are from Eminem’s The Real Slim Shady (“I probably got a couple of screws up in my head loose”). But the ingenious flair for subtle intrigue and absolutely photorealist execution are pure Anna Weyant.

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