Martin Kippenberger’s Untitled, 1988

Sunday, November 2, 2014
Martin Kippenberger’s Untitled, 1988

Christie’s presents the ultimate work from Matin Kippenberger’s self-portrait series to be included in the new york evening sale of post-war and contemporary art

Martin Kippenberger’s Untitled, 1988

Martin Kippenberger (1953-1997)
oil on canvas
95 1/4 x 79 3/8 in. (241.9 x 201.6 cm.)
Painted in 1988.
Estimate: $15,000,000-20,000,000 

Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale Wednesday 12 November 2014 

Christie's highly anticipated Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale will offer collectors a masterwork of the 20th Century by Martin Kippenberger, one of the most complex and controversial artist of the 1980s, now considered to be amongst the most important and influential of his generation. Untitled, from his acclaimed self-portrait series, is widely recognized as the most important painting in the artist’s oeuvre. With an estimate of $15-20 million, Untitled is poised to break Kippenberger’s world auction record of $18 million, which was achieved in May 2014 at Christie’s in New York. The painting will be presented in London before being sold at auction on November 12th. 

Belonging to Martin Kippenberger’s seminal cycle of Picasso portrait executed in 1988, Untitled compellingly approaches the extraordinary and multivalent vicissitudes central to the artist’s defining practice of self-portraiture. Untitled and the x other works from this series emerge as a direct result of Kippenberger's contemplation of the well-known 1962 photograph of Pablo Picasso taken by photojournalist, David Douglas Duncan. Exuding an overwhelming abundance of confident masculinity, Duncan's photograph of the eighty-one year old artist exhibits an esteemed amount of buoyant virility. Parodying his famous antecedent, Kippenberger playfully subverts the machismo associated with the genre of self-portraiture in his fleshy, underwear clad depiction. Conceived while travelling with his friend and fellow artist, Albert Oehlen, in Spain, Kippenberger pictures himself with a visually arresting lack of vanity. This is not a celebration of the beauty of the self, for Kippenberger, the self-portrait was no exercise in hubris, but an intense psychological examination of the decadence of self-destruction by means of excess and the subsequent demise of the corporeal self. 

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