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Suddenly Last Summer
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Suddenly Last Summer
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About the item

The paintings are like doors flung open suddenly to reveal something shocking. Because they are so energetic they might also be viewed as moments of a movie whose sudden arrest causes the minds eye to trip over itself in its own voracity, tangling in dense webs of coloured light, striving to make order of intense and disordered sensations (Robert Evrén in: Exh. Cat., Rome, Gagosian Gallery, Cecily Brown, 2011, p. 1). \nImmersing the viewer in an utterly tantalizing frenzy of enflamed painterly gestures, Cecily Browns Suddenly Last Summer is a luscious fusion of painterly abstraction laced with hints at representation. Browns feverish brushstrokes, characteristic of her distinct style, engage the vernacular of painting itself, capitalizing on the sensuality of the medium and its ability to playfully manipulate the viewers perception through descriptive possibilities. Although abstract, Suddenly Last Summer presents Browns supreme mastery of paint in its commanding and elusive power of suggestion. Executed in 1999, Suddenly Last Summer represents one of Browns earliest forays into tackling the human figure in her paintings and draws judiciously upon art historical precedent, incorporating influences of Baroque Classicism, Impressionism, Proto-Cubism, and Abstract Expressionism.\nTaking its title from a popular romance mystery film of the late 1950s, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Katharine Hepburn, Suddenly Last Summer is deeply rooted in contemporary culture while also paying homage to its forbearers in a splendid collusion of art historical references. Evoking Peter Paul Rubens' The Judgement of Paris (c. 1606), Edouard Manets Dejeuner sur lHerbe (1863), and Paul Cézannes Large Bathers (1898), the present work overwhelms the viewer in a beautifully balanced and rich composition. As Johanna Drucker writes, The higher order of compositional organization in Browns work references the grand tradition of theatrical landscapes filled with figures allegorical, historical, or observed. [] She engages with her sources as if in a lovers provocation to another touch, another exchange, excitement rising with response at the level of the mark, swatch, line of the brush drawn through the wet paint. (Johanna Drucker, Erotic Method, in Cecily Brown: Paintings 2003-2006, New York, 2005, p. 9) Perhaps most evidently, Browns visual language and handling of pigment and paint is informed by the gestural mark-making of American Abstract Expressionists. Indeed, Browns tenacious and tantalizing brushwork and sensual pinks are an affirmation of de Koonings famous mantra that "flesh was the reason oil paint was invented," and Brown herself described the medium as "sensual, it moves, it catches the light, its great for skin and flesh and heft and meat I wanted to make something that you couldnt tear your eyes away from." (Cecily Brown, in D. Peck, "New York Minute: Cecily Brown," Another, September 14, 2012) While she certainly looked to de Koonings luscious and fleshy paintings of the late 1960s and 1970s, Browns handling of paint and figuration in Suddenly Last Summer also pays distinct homage to de Koonings early 1950 masterpiece Excavation.\nPlayfully challenging traditionally perceived boundaries of abstraction and figuration, Suddenly Last Summer illuminates the extraordinary potential of paint to unpack the admixture of sensorial faculties that makes up our human experience of seeing. In a cacophony of pale fleshy pinks, verdant greens, bright reds, and vigorously deep blues and purples, Brown capitalizes on the unpredictability of paint, hinting at figuration in unexpected places while ultimately embracing painterly abstraction.\nSigned, titled and dated 1999 on the reverse
US
NY, US
US

medium

Oil on canvas

creator

Brown, Cecily

condition

This work is in excellent condition. Please contact the Contemporary Art Department at +1 (212) 606-7254 for the report prepared by Terrence Mahon. The canvas is unframed. In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

dimensions

100 by 110 1/4 in. 254 by 280 cm.

exhibition

New York, Gagosian Gallery, Cecily Brown, January - February 2000, no. 23, illustrated in color Des Moines, Des Moines Art Center; and Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Cecily Brown, August 2006 - January 2007, p. 17, no. 5, illustrated in color, and p. 50 (text) London, Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, Visible Invisible: Against the Security of the Real, November 2009 - February 2010, pp. 16-17, no. 16, illustrated in color

literature

Ealan Wingate, Ed., Cecily Brown: Paintings 1988-2000, New York, 2000, no. 23, illustrated Roberta Smith, "Art in Review: Cecily Brown," The New York Times, January 20, 2000, pp. E2 and E42 D. Hunt, "Going for Baroque," Time Out New York, 2000, p. 57, illustrated J. Fleming, Cecily Brown, Des Moines, 2006, p. 17, illustrated Ealan Wingate, Ed., Cecily Brown, New York, 2008, p. 95, illustrated in color

provenance

Gagosian Gallery, New York Jon Weaver, Bloomfield Hills Phillips de Pury & Company, New York, May 14, 2009, Lot 14 Private Collection, Europe (acquired from the above) Sotheby's, New York, May 12, 2010, Lot 38 (consigned by the above) Acquired by the present owner from the above

signedDate

Signed, titled and dated 1999 on the reverse

artist_range_end

1969

artist_range_start

1969

consignmentDesignation

Property from a Private Collection, France

creator_nationality_dates

B.1969


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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