Allan Kaprow (1927-2006)
Sunset Blvd.
titled 'SUNSET BLVD.' (on the frame); signed and inscribed 'ALLAN KAPROW HANSA GALLERY 201 Central Park So NY' (on the stretcher); signed twice, inscribed, titled and dated 'Kaprow 791 Glen Cove Ave Glen Head, N.Y. SUNSET BLVD. 1955 - Allan Kaprow' (on a label affixed to the reverse)
oil on canvas, in artist's frame
framed: 1058 x 1114in. (27 x 28.5cm.)
Painted in 1955
Hansa Gallery, New York.
Steven Leiber Collection, San Francisco.
Tom Patchett Collection, Los Angeles.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
San Diego, Museum of Contemporary Art, Double Trouble: The Patchett Collection vol. 2, 1998-2000, p. 267. This exhibition later travelled to Guadalajara, Museo de las Artes and Instituto Cultural Cabañas; Monterrey, Museo de Monterrey; Mexico City, Museo Universitario Contemporáneo de Art; Santiago de Compostela, Auditorio de Galicia and Iglesia San Domingos de Bonaval and Logroño, Sala Amós Salvador.
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Lot Essay

Executed in 1955, Sunset a rare painting by American artist Allan Kaprow, in which tactile streaks of ochre, peach and brown swirl joyfully. Kaprow is legendary for his canonical Happenings, participatory events during which the artist engaged directly with the viewer in order to bring art into everyday life, but he began his career as a painter. Although he studied with the celebrated Abstract Expressionist Hans Hoffman, with their vivid colours and flattened forms these early works reveal the influence of artists such as Pierre Bonnard, Georges Braque and Paul Klee among others. Like his predecessors, the materiality of paint was of central importance to Kaprow, and in painting, he was ‘searching for something beyond the paint’ (T. Micchelli, ‘Allan Kaprow, Before the Happenings’, Hyperallergic, 3 March 2018). Inspired by this concept, Kaprow and his contemporaries co-founded an artist-run cooperative gallery, Hansa, which similarly sought to advance new and creative attitudes toward painting. Sunset Blvd. was exhibited at Hansa, and created while Kaprow was teaching at Rutgers University in New Jersey, pivotal years for the artist during which he helped to co-found the Fluxus group. The dynamism of this work foreshadows the artist’s growing interest in movement and performative interventions, later formalised in the highly choreographed actions of the Happenings. Sunset Blvd. forms a bridge between Kaprow’s early interests and the work that would bring him international recognition. In this painting, his nascent investigation into action, enacted here on the canvas, ferments and expands.

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