PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE AMERICAN COLLECTION
George Condo (American, born 1957)
Simon Bar Sinister, 2009 signed, titled and dated 'George Condo 2009 Simon Bar Sinister' (on the reverse) acrylic on linen 52 x 42 in. 132 x 106.7 cm.
ProvenanceGalerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris Acquired directly from the above by the present owner ExhibitedParis, Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, George Condo – Cartoon Abstractions, 31 March-26 May 2010, p. 15, illustrated in colorGeorge Condo initially rose to prominence in the 1980s, alongside the dynamic East Village art scene together with Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. After time spent working as a studio assistant in Andy Warhol's 'Factory', Condo emerged with his own distinct practice and visual language, which he named 'Artificial Realism'. Condo has explained this as 'the realistic representation of that which is artificial' (the artist quoted in: Emily Nathan, 'artnet Asks: George Condo Sees Faces and Screaming Heads Everywhere', artnet.com, 14th October 2015), encapsulating his practice of using traditional representational methods to deconstruct figuration within painting and sculpture. Condo's exploration of portraiture was intrinsic to the revival of figurative painting that emerged in the 1980s, and he has continued to investigate this throughout his career through various mediums. His oeuvre draws on a rich tapestry of historical genres, traditions and movements, the most prominent being the influence of Old Master portraiture. Condo weaves these stories with elements of American Pop Art to create his distinctive visual language and distinguishing cast of characters within a uniquely contemporary discourse.The present work is from Condo's series Cartoon Abstractions that he created in 2009 and 2010. Focusing on cartoon characters from the 1950s and 1960s, the series marked a development in Condo's practice as he strove to create a new lexicon of American imagery. The protagonist of Simon Bar Sinister, (2009), is the villain from the popular cartoon Underdog that ran on American television from 1964 to 1973. A mad scientist bent on taking over the world, Simon Bar Sinister is the archetypal satirical villain. His appearance, with his small stature and laboratory gloves, is both wickedly funny and instantly familiar. In the present work, Condo combines American pop culture with traditional portraiture, juxtaposing a new artistic language with historical composition. The parallel between consumer pop culture and fine art was noted by Condo himself when he remarked that "in the late fifties and early sixties, the art of Abstract Expressionism was running parallel to animation; these paintings (the Cartoon Abstractions) capture the spirit of both movements" (the artist in: 'George Condo, Cartoon Abstractions', noirmontartproduction.com, May 2010). Highlighting both the influence of the media on today's modern audiences together with the ubiquity of pop culture within the American subconscious, the present work is a superb example of Condo's unique creative language. George Condo's work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Tate Modern, London, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and the Broad Art Foundation, Los Angeles. His work has been the subject of major retrospectives at the New Museum, New York, the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C and Hayward Gallery, London.