Michaël Borremans (b. 1963)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY SOLD TO BENEFIT MUSEUM DHONDT-DHAENENS
Michaël Borremans (b. 1963)

The Banana

Details
Michaël Borremans (b. 1963)
The Banana
signed, titled and dated ''MICHAËL M.C.G. BORREMANS - THE BANANA - 2006 (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
14 3/8 x 11 7/8in. (36.5 x 30.3cm.)
Painted in 2006
Provenance
Donated by the Artist, Courtesy of Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp and David Zwirner Gallery, New York / London.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Rachel Boddington
Rachel Boddington

Lot Essay

Heuer Renko: ‘And what about Diego Vélazquez? You even called him your teacher. Although you’re self-thought. What lessons did you learn from looking at his work?’

Michaël Borremans: ‘He’s definitely the painter I learned the most from. My way of painting, my technique, it’s very much based on the way he worked. [...] These things I learned just from looking at his work, it’s very inspiring – it makes you want to paint.’
(M. Borremans, quoted in Michaël Borremans: Shades of Doubt, exh. cat., Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp, 2012, p. 21-22).

Michaël Borremans captures a fleeting moment in The Banana, 2006 where a character is caught frozen, contemplating a banana which he holds in his hands. The elegant depiction of this mysterious action is strikingly realistic, but beneath the sheer clarity of the image, one discovers an unsettling world that calls for closer examination. In The Banana, the merging of sixteenth and seventeenth century art history and contemporary art forms a captivating dialogue. The scene presents an incongruous scenario, viewed in a silent sealed time-space that is removed from the viewer. Reminiscent of Goya’s atmospheric narratives, Borremans isolates his character emerging from a dark void, the face and hands dramatically illuminated by an warm beam originating from the top left of the composition. The artist treats his subject with a thick and lustrous application of paint, resonating with the techniques of Velazquez, achieving a vividly realistic style. On Velazquez’s influence, Borremans elaborates, ‘He’s definitely the painter I learned the most from. My way of painting, my technique, it’s very much based on the way he worked… he had a very efficient, economical and powerful way to use paint, and in some ways his work is even kind of impressionistic here and there. He creates a lot of atmosphere, because the way he works gives a lot of room to the painting; it’s never flat. And how he sets his highlights… These things I learned just from looking at his work, it’s very inspiring – it makes you want to paint. He is the king of painting, and many of my colleagues also share this opinion’ (M. Borremans, quoted in Michaël Borremans: Shades of Doubt, exh. cat., Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp, 2012, p. 21-22).

The Banana stands as a consummate testament to Borremans’ confident mastery of oil paint, which he has developed into a practice that continues the sophisticated formal language of the Old Masters within a decidedly contemporary context. Borremans’ works confronts the infinite possibilities of painting in the twenty-first century while also displaying a concentrated dialogue with previous art historical epochs, yet their unconventional compositions and curious narratives defy expectations and lend them an inarticulate character. In The Banana, Borremans transforms the apparent triviality of everyday life into something more extraordinary. He mutates the overpowering dreariness of quotidian actions into an alluring and seemingly endless chain of reactions. By deliberately withholds crucial information from the viewer, he creates enigmatic spaces that are open to different levels of interpretation.

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