Franz West (1947-2012)
Franz West (1947-2012)
Franz West (1947-2012)
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Franz West (1947-2012)
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Beyond the Canvas: Avant-Garde Sculpture and Painting from a Private Collection
Franz West (1947-2012)

Lemurenkopf (Model for Knokke)

Details
Franz West (1947-2012)
Lemurenkopf (Model for Knokke)
Vubonite and steel
76 ¾ x 46 ½ x 46 ½ in. (194.9 x 118.1 x 118.1 cm.)
Executed in 2002.
Provenance
Private collection, Belgium, acquired directly from the artist
Private collection, Belgium
Almine Rech Gallery, Paris
Private collection, 2012
Anon. sale; Sotheby's, London, 28 June 2016, lot 47
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
Exhibited
Madrid, Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte, Salon Number 2: Picasso and His Students, January 2012.
Museo Picasso Málaga, The Grotesque Factor, October 2012-February 2013, p. 328 (illustrated).

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Isabella Lauria
Isabella Lauria Vice President, Specialist

Lot Essay

As a body, you stand or walk around the scultpure. It is almost equivalent to your own corporeality, to taking up space in one's own three-dimensionality in a defined art space. As far as sculpture is concerned, the viewer is more or less obliged to engage in movement.
—Franz West

Beyond the Canvas: Avant-Garde Sculpture and Painting from a Private Collection
Hailing from an important private collection, both George Condo’s Girl with Green Hair and Franz West’s Lemurenkopf (Model for Knokke) epitomize the superior quality and unique boldness behind this collection. Avant-Garde signifies “new and unusual or experimental ideas, especially in the arts, or the people introducing them,” perfectly characterizing this forward-thinking grouping of art. Both the Condo and the West portray a fondness for abstracted figuration, a unifying theme throughout the collection.

A singular figure in the history of the New York art scene, George Condo’s oeuvre exhibits a tense, psychological air that upends the traditional portrait while drawing inspiration from the history of figurative painting. Set against a rich and layered black background, the singular figure in Girl with Green Hair stares out confrontationally, as though daring the viewer to come closer. Condo expertly combines centuries-old portraiture conventions with flattened space, bold colors and distorted faces. Ralph Rugoff has noted about these works, “these figures can be seductive and repulsive at the same time. They embody a position that is simultaneously frightening and appealing. This is something that also comes across in the way that they solicit different kinds of looks from the viewer, and how they often look back at us with eyes that don’t match or don’t even seem to belong to the same face” (R. Rugoff, “The Enigma of Jean Louis: Interview 14 March 2006”, in George Condo: Existential Portraits: Sculpture, Drawings, Paintings 2005/2006, exh. cat., Luhring Augustine, New York, 2006, pp. 8-9).

Similarly, Franz West’s Lemurenkopf (Model for Knokke) combines both abstraction and figuration, brilliantly using elements of painting, sculpture and installation. Placed on top of an iron base, the work exudes elegance and dynamism, emphasized by the rectangular shape of the axis. Lemurenkopf (Model for Knokke) is part of West’s celebrated corpus of Lemurs Heads which is a series that preoccupied the artist during the last two decades of his life. The present work is one of two smaller scale models created for the artist's monumental sculptures Koppen / Lemuren installed in the main public square of the Belgian seaside town of Knokke. Together, these works comprise the only pieces within West’s oeuvre ever executed in Vubonite, making the work a rare and celebrated piece.
Ultimately, Beyond the Canvas: Avant-Garde Sculpture and Painting from a Private Collection is a unique and forward-thinking grouping of artworks, exemplified by both George Condo’s seminal Girl with Green Hair and Franz West’s rare sculpture, Lemurenkopf (Model for Knokke).

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