Martin Kippenberger (1953-1997)
Martin Kippenberger (1953-1997)
Martin Kippenberger (1953-1997)
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Martin Kippenberger (1953-1997)
5 More
A Century of Art: The Gerald Fineberg Collection
Martin Kippenberger (1953-1997)

Uno di voi, un tedesco in Firenze (One of You, a German in Florence) [Five Works]

Details
Martin Kippenberger (1953-1997)
Uno di voi, un tedesco in Firenze (One of You, a German in Florence) [Five Works]
(i) Untitled
(ii) Metzger [Butcher]
(iii) Aamando
(iv) Artigiano [Artisan]
(v) Große zensierte titten [Big censored tits]
each: oil on canvas
each: 23 5/8 x 19 5/8 in. (60 x 50 cm.)
Painted in 1976-1977.
Provenance
(i-iv)
Paris Bar, Berlin
Private collection, Italy
Anon. sale; Christie's, London, 27 June 2000, lot 21
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York
Private collection, Europe
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2002

(v)
Private collection, Germany, acquired directly from the artist, 1978
Anon. sale; Phillips de Pury & Company, New York, 16 November 2007, lot 263
Private collection, Europe
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2007
Literature
M. Kippenberger, A. Duchow and J. Krüger, al Vostro servizio, Hamburg and Florence, 1977 (all five works illustrated).
G. Stelly, IHR Kippy Kippenberger: Letters - Paintings - Photos - Film 1976-1978, Frankfurt, 2006, pp. 20 (ii), 137 (iii and iv), 148 (ii) and 155 (v) (illustrated).
A. M. Gingeras, "Performing the Self: Martin Kippenberger", ARTFORUM, October 2006.
Further details
These works will be included in the forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, being compiled by the Estate of Martin Kippenberger.

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Lot Essay

The present work is part of Martin Kippenberger’s iconic Uno di voi, un tedesco in Firenze (One of You, a German in Florence)—a group of 84 paintings completed while the artist was residing in Florence, Italy. These paintings are without color, but, not unlike Gerhard Richter’s photo-realist paintings of the same period, they nevertheless elegantly radiate intrigue and passion. Uno di voi is akin to a collection of journal entries, an intimate archive of the minutiae of Kippenberger’s life in Florence. This foundational series would go on to influence the rest of his work, and offers some coherence to a career that was self-consciously impossible to characterize.

Kippenberger left Hamburg for Florence to pursue a career in acting, but when that career path did not work out, he turned to painting as a way to take stock of his life and connect to his adopted city. He found himself documenting his daily life like the flâneur of the nineteenth century. This curated excerpt from Uno di voi is an interesting group; four images look out at us and meet our gaze with warmth, whereas one is secretive and erotic. This is the nature of life—an oscillation between public and private. Kippenberger takes his everyday encounters, which could be considered uninteresting, and transforms them into absorbing, intimate canvases, “For the most part, Kippenberger’s experiences in Florence are quite banal—looking for a room, language difficulties, shopping; encounters with tourists, discos—albeit ennobled by the task he has set himself: to paint a picture every morning and every afternoon” (R. Schmitz, Ihr Kippy Kippenberger: Letters, Paintings, Photos–Film 1976-1978, Frankfurt, 2006, n.p.). The elevation of the unremarkable through painting has a long history, from the interior and domestic scenes of Impressionism to the consumer goods of Pop Art. Uno di voi also takes after the political project of August Sander and his epochal People of the 20th Century (1922-1964).

Curator and scholar Alison Gingeras sees Uno di voi as an instance of Kippenberger’s Warholian humanism or social realism, “There are portraits of local personalities (a milkman, the concierge of the Palazzo Pitti) and of more (in)famous subjects (a wanted criminal, an Italian singer, an archetypal German soldier, a copy of a Botticelli portrait in the Uffizi), as well as architectural details, interiors, street scenes, and fragments of advertisements and public sculptures” (A. Gingeras, “Performing the Self: Martin Kippenberger,” Artforum, vol. 43, no. 2, October 2004, https://www.artforum.com/print/200408/performing-the-self-martin-kippenberger-7656). Given this wide variety of subjects, it is clear that this series is both autobiographical and directed outward as Kippenberger makes an empathetic portrait of Florence. Gingeras goes on, “Uno di voi betrays Kippenberger’s chronic sympathy for the banal and less-than-noble side of the human condition. Even the work’s title, ‘One of You,’ suggests that Kippenberger, unlike Warhol or [Joseph] Beuys, completely implicated himself in life’s wonderful mess. (A. Gingeras, “Performing the Self: Martin Kippenberger,” Artforum, vol. 43, no. 2, October 2004, https://www.artforum.com/print/200408/performing-the-self-martin-kippenberger-7656). Indeed, the best artists do not see themselves as separate from society, but rather as full participants in it.

To approach the breadth of this mess, Kippenberger used a winning combination of skilling and deskilling. Ann Temkin, curator at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, observes of Uno di voi, “Initially he had the idea that he would paint canvases as many as would rise in a stack to equal his own height. He didn’t attain his goal, which is very typical of Kippenberger; he would outline some lofty plan and then quite deliberately fail to achieve it. There are themes in this group of paintings made in Florence that do end up being indicative of his work for the next two decades” (A. Temkin, Audio Guide: Martin Kippenberger. Uno di voi, un tedesco in Firenze 1976-77, Museum of Modern Art, New York, https://www.moma.org/multimedia/embed/audio/134/1150). The present selection represents an essential grouping of the late artist’s humorous, conceptual gesture.

Kippenberger’s influence continues to be admired and emulated. He “is incomprehensible. Accept that, and his career becomes plausible, if not totally coherent. The quintessential artist of the final decades of the twentieth century, Kippenberger was a jack of all trades—and master of all (A. Mac Adam, “Martin Kippenberger: Paintings 1984–1996,” The Brooklyn Rail, April 2023, https://brooklynrail.org/2023/04/artseen/Martin-Kippenberger-Paintings-19841996). Currently the subject of solo exhibition entitled Paintings 1984–1996 in New York open through May 6, Kippenberger’s work is more relevant than ever. Uno di voi sets the stage for the artist’s purposefully post-genre oeuvre, which has always allowed us to look at our surroundings anew.

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