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signed twice, inscribed and dated four times 'R Prince 2014 "OPEN DOOR" R Prince 2018 OPEN DOOR MORE 2014-2018 FRONT DOOR 2018 Aug 5' (on the reverse)
acrylic, oil stick, canvas collage, gel medium and inkjet on canvas
88 ½ x 89 ¾ in. (224.8 x 228 cm.)
Executed in 2014-2018.
Gagosian Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner
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Brought to you by

Ana Maria Celis
Ana Maria Celis Head of Department

Lot Essay

One of the most vibrant artists to emerge from the exploration of authenticity and authorship in the 1980s, Richard Prince’s oeuvre is marked by discrete series and myriad styles. Though widely known for his works that deal with commercial imagery and appropriated imagery from sources like cigarette ads, pulp novels, and Instagram, he has also created several works that deal with painting, collage, and other more traditional media. Untitled is a riotous example of Prince’s ability to cast aside the often austere mantle of conceptual photo-based work and create something more related to the artist’s own hand. He has noted,"Sometimes when I walk into a gallery and I see someone's work, I think to myself, 'Gee, I wish I had done that.' When I have that reaction to something I make, then I think I should stay with it, and go with it. It's not like I have that reaction a lot. Very, very few times do I ever have that reaction." (R. Prince, quoted in "Band Paintings: Kim Gordon interviews Richard Prince," Interview Magazine, June 2012).

Working with mixed media to create compositions like the present example are a way for the artist to translate his creative impulses through his experience of historical artists and expressive mark-making. On a cursory glance, Untitled seems to be referencing everyone from Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring to the frantic brushwork of Willem de Kooning and Pablo Picasso. These visual cues and influences made visible are all in keeping with Prince’s larger conversation about our inability to live in a bubble. We are constantly taking in and consuming information from the culture at large and Prince seeks to highlight and investigate this fact.

Over seven feet on both sides, Untitled is a shocking cacophony of sketchy figures and brilliant colors. The middle of the composition is overtaken by a smirking character with one red hand and one blue hand. The face is askew in a bemused grin that shows a few of the red teeth behind its lips. Around this focal subject are four disembodied heads that similarly bare their teeth in various stages of posing. All of these characters are rendered frontally and exhibit a mixture of shapes, lines, and colors that make them unique from one another. Filling in the gaps on the dark background upon which they are rendered are many other smaller figures, faces, and creatures that bump around the canvas with a chaotic energy. A dog-like being, a lone, floating arm, and a motley crew of elven sprites jostle for attention.
“We are constantly taking in and consuming information from the culture at large and Prince seeks to highlight and investigate this fact.”

Untitled follows in the footsteps of a number of works Prince did in the 2000s that referenced specific historical artists. In the early part of the millennium, he created a series of pieces that took on the oeuvre of Willem de Kooning. Prince joined the painter’s style with collage to create an amalgam that was equal parts of each artist. Compositions like Untitled (de Kooning) (2007) pay tribute to De Kooning’s female figures with collaged insertions by Prince. In a similar vein, for an exhibition at the Museo Picasso in Malaga, the artist created pieces like Woman (2012) that nodded to the influence of Pablo Picasso on Prince’s practice. Again we see a mixture of collage and expressive, figurative mark-making that is similar to the present work. The artist, talking about his efforts in the 2012 Prince/Picasso exhibition, noted, “[Picasso is] who I grew up with. I’ve always made drawings after Picasso” (R. Prince, cited in, Richard Prince, London, Sadie Coles, February 2013, Online). Stemming from these so-called New Figures series, Untitled is a medley of faces and figures that clearly shows the influence of his forefathers. The very fact that so many connections to other artists can be drawn with this example is a testament to the encyclopedic knowledge of visual culture that is Prince’s real strength

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