Harold Ancart's Untitled Leads Christie's Post-War to Present

Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Harold Ancart's Untitled Leads Christie's Post-War to Present

Harold Ancart (b. 1980) Untitled oilstick and graphite on paper mounted on panel 42 x 52 in. (106.7 x 132.1 cm.) Executed in 2016. Provenance Xavier Hufkens, Brussels Acquired from the above by the present owner

Image: Harold Ancart's Untitled, photo courtesy to @christiesinc


 "To paint in the trunk of a car is special because the situation forces you to give absolutely no fucks at all, and that is great, This attitude allows you to navigate more freely, and to dare doing things that you otherwise could not. Giving zero fucks keeps you away from vanity. The back of the car keeps you away from vanity; so does the cold.” - Harold Ancart

This sublime Harold Ancart, Untitled, is a triumphant and majestic work for a young artist whose star is currently on the rise. The central thrust of the painting, three mountains with delicately frosted snowy peaks, softens as the eye traverses down the canvas into a veritable force of color. The mountains seem almost carved out of the sky, their cragged peaks scraping the deep inky black of the sky, which is whimsically punctuated by luminous yellow streaks to give the impression of shooting stars, while others seem hung into the night sky close to the crested peaks. The sides of the mountains sharply dip into a horizon point, before a kaleidoscopic landscape roars forward, the colors sliding together increscendo. The reverberation of the color in the lower half of the canvas is perfectly balanced by the delicate stars in the sky, as well as the gentle hints of this colorful symphony which is sprinkled into the snowy peaks.


Harold Ancart's Untitled, photo courtesy to @christiesinc

A once aspiring diplomat, Ancart’s fascination with place and space began with a childhood love of comics, where the brightly colored worlds could transport him to far-flung and imaginative destinations. He moved to New York in late 2000s, and in 2014, embarked on a cross-country road trip across the United States, transforming the back of his car into a makeshift studio so as to be able to stop and capture the wild and rambunctious American landscape he was passing through. The artist’s first major installation in an American Museum, the Menil’s Untitled (There is No There There) in 2016, celebrated drawings made on this journey, presenting America as an almost moon-like world with a brightly colored earth against a consistently dark sky.

The bright pastel is achieved through the artist’s signature use of oil stick, which creates searing colors and a textural fluidity against the imposing mountain form. The play between figurative and abstract is constantly at the heart of Ancart’s work, and here the naturalistically rendered mountain peaks provide sharp boundaries, between which color can flow seamlessly. The silky color softens the jagged edges of his shapes, creating dreamlike spaces where the psychedelic colors morph landscape into a place unreachable, evocative of vibrant German-Expressionist landscapes most celebrated in art history. For this reason, Ancart often chooses subjects which are contemplative: mountains, icebergs and seascapes serve as a jumping off point to explore the abstract and the unknown. The innate familiarity of landscape provides a connection which is later undone by Ancart’s exploration into outlandish palettes and intangible form, at once stripping away the identifiable shapes of landscape and pushing into viewer into the mind. According to the artist, “subject matter serves as an alibi for paint to be pushed into the canvas” by which inner worlds can be unlocked


Post-War to Present, 27 September, 2019, Christie's

Lot 311

Harold Ancart (b. 1980)


oilstick and graphite on paper mounted on panel
42 x 52 in. (106.7 x 132.1 cm.)
Executed in 2016.

Estimate: USD 200,000 - USD 300,000


Xavier Hufkens, Brussels
Acquired from the above by the present owner

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