Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more


signed and dated 'Stingel 92' (on the reverse)
oil and enamel on canvas
59 1⁄8 x 39 3⁄8in. (150.2 x 100cm.)
Executed in 1992
Private Collection (acquired directly from the artist).
Anon. sale, Sotheby's London, 12 February 2014, lot 59.
Private Collection, London.
Private Collection.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
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.
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Lot Essay

With its shimmering, variegated surface, Untitled by Rudolf Stingel presents a poetics of the sublime. Through a veil of opulent silver, varying in opacity from a misty haze to dense swathes, flashes of green and black cavort. The surface is sumptuous and lavish, yet any potential aesthetic gratification is but a lure which Stingel deploys to ensnare his viewer in a complicated conceptual conceit: the aim of these works is not pictorial but rather to demystify the process of creation itself. Painted in 1992, this is an early example of Stingel’s 'silver paintings', a series he began in 1987 shortly after moving from Italy to New York. Casting aside the supremacy of the ‘aura’, Stingel disclosed the methods behind these works in Instructions, published in 1989In the manual, he laid out how exactly to create a monochrome painting: first spray silver enamel through tulle onto a previously primed canvas, and only when the entire surface is coated, should the fabric be removed. The traces left behind—the stipples, wrinkles, and creases, both weighty and sheer—are an indexical mark of the now-absent tulle and a reminder of the artist’s hand.

In visually manifesting the process of a painting’s making, Stingel grapples with traditional understandings of the medium. Moving away from representation, his interrogations over the past three decades probe the tension between the physical and the illusory. His interest in the flat surface links his practice to those of the European avant garde, including artists such as Piero Manzoni and Yves Klein. Yet unlike his predecessors, Stingel remains suspicious of painting and its possibilities: as much as he may be the inheritor of Modernist traditions, in his quest to topple the authentic image, he is also Andy Warhol’s successor. As Roberta Smith observed, Stingel ‘has made work that seduces the eye while also upending most notions of what, exactly, constitutes a painting, how it should be made and by whom … He combines a love of painting with the postmodern suspicion of it, and often achieves a near-perfect balance between the visual and the conceptual’ (R. Smith, ‘DIY Art: Walk on It, Write on It, Stroke It’, New York Times, 29 June 2007).

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