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Christopher Wool (American, b.1955)
LOT ID: 95660
Untitled, 2002

Screenprint, on Japon paper
50.1 х 35 in. (127.25 x 88.9 cm.)
Signed, dated and numbered 'PP 3/5' in pencil
A printer's proof aside from the edition of 80
Lot description
As one of the most important abstract artists of his generation, confirmed by his eponymous retrospective at the Guggenheim and his record-setting painting Apocalypse Now, which recently achieved $26.5M at auction, New York artist Christopher Wool (b. 1955) has carefully defined a style picked sparingly from the art and culture around him. From Minimalist painting and Conceptual art to appropriation art and street graffiti, Wool’s gestural language spans a very diverse body of works: stenciled word and rollered paintings, spray gun works effaced by turpentine (“gray paintings”), digital prints glued to canvas and splatter and drip-pour works. Strangely, his ever-evolving style has not slowed nor dissuaded the demand for his work; in fact, over the past few years it has only increased from public institutions and private collectors alike. The present work Untitled affords such a rare and unique opportunity to collect his work.
Based mostly on his “9th Street Rundown” drawings, Untitled impresses with its sheer size and gestural control. Measuring nearly five feet in height and over three feet across Wool immediately recalls his Abstract Expressionist forebears who eschewed intimacy for expansiveness and scale. Their exhibition of power and raw emotion is here translated and tempered, generations later, by a more controlled and seemingly slowed drip of ink down the sheet. Although not symmetrical, the inchoate central form almost shares the suggestive ambiguity of a Rorschach inkblot test. As an artist who relies heavily on the silkscreen in his mark-making, Wool is able to mechanically reproduce gestures, that appear deliberate, meditative and cool.
This departure from Abstract Expressionism is perhaps quite subtle, but so too is his process and selection of materials that further emphasize the physical and imperfect qualities he seeks to capture. As an application of silkscreen ink on paper Wool purposefully chose a transparent and fibrous Japanese paper; the transparent and non-uniform fibers of the paper cause an uneven application of ink across the surface, recalling a more spontaneous and uneven acceptance of ink. This may well remind Wool of graffiti across concrete surfaces that he often encountered in his East Village environs.
As an artist who has come to define an eclectic time and whose popularity will only continue to rise, Christopher Wool’s Untitled offers one of the few opportunities to acquire his work, and is among the very few of his rarely available splatter and drip-pour works of the past decade. Attesting to this is the recent offering on November 12, 2013, of a similar work at Phillips auction house. Entitled Untitled (Sonic Youth) and published just last year, the screenprint realized $27,500.
The present work is one of five proofs reserved for the printers. The full sheet measures 53 7/8 x 38 3/8 in.
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Untitled by Christopher Wool
  • Untitled by Christopher Wool
  • Untitled by Christopher Wool
  • Untitled by Christopher Wool
  • Untitled by Christopher Wool
  • Untitled by Christopher Wool
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