RAYMOND HAINS (1926-2005)
signed and titled 'SAFFA Raymond Hains' (on the reverse)
acrylic on wood and sandpaper
39⅝ x 37¼ x 4½in. (100 x 94.7 x 11.5cm.)
Executed in 1971

Galleria L'Elefante, Treviso.
Studio d'Arte Eremitani, Padua.
Anon. sale, Farsettiarte Prato, 26 May 2012, lot 617.
Private Collection, Monaco.
Anon. sale, Sotheby's Paris, 5 December 2012, lot 145.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Arte Contemporanea, no. 5, Milan 2007 (illustrated in colour on the cover).
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
Brought to you by

Lot Essay

‘My works existed before me, but nobody had seen them, because they were blindingly obvious’

-Raymond Hains

On its surface, Raymond Hains’ Saffa, 1971, appears to be simply an enlarged matchbook, but in fact extends an interrogation into linguistic analogy, double play, and puns that he began in 1964. That year, Hains was in Venice to participate in the 32nd Biennale and while there, he created the fictional personas Saffa and Seita, whose names were derived from Italy’s state-run companies that sold matches and tobacco, respectively. Working as the ‘agent’ for these two ‘artists’, Hains created absurdly oversized versions of the commercial matchbooks these two companies circulated as advertisements. So much of Hains’ practice was rooted in exaggerating the everyday; as the artist himself said, ‘‘I’m not so much the creator, encounters are more my thing’ (R. Hains, interviewed by O. Hahn, Beaux-Arts Magazine, April 1986, n. p.). The amplified proportions of Saffa are reminiscent of works by Claes Oldenburg, whose Pop sculptures drew upon the vernacular world. Certainly Hains’ practice existed at the nexus of Pop and Surrealism, where the possibilities of language could be explored and exploited, where the commonplace could be made monumental.
Post Lot Text
Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot. You must pay us an extra amount equal to the resale royalty and we will pay the royalty to the appropriate authority. Please see the Conditions of Sale for further information.

Related Articles

More from
First Open | Online
Place your bid Condition report

A Christie's specialist may contact you to discuss this lot or to notify you if the condition changes prior to the sale.

I confirm that I have read this Important Notice regarding Condition Reports and agree to its terms. View Condition Report