Rips Tree Stripped Rain
signed and dated 'Elizabeth Neel 2005' (on the reverse) and titled 'RIPS TREE STRIPPED RAIN' (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas
66 x 4418in. (167.5 x 112.2cm.)
Painted in 2005
Klemens Gasser and Tanja Grunert Gallery, New York.
Irena Hochman Fine Art Ltd., New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2005.
London, Saatchi Gallery, Abstract America, 2008, pp. 114-115 (illustrated in colour, p. 115).
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Lot Essay

Elizabeth Neel’s abstract paintings reference figuration and a broad set of cultural associations. Her use of language is both specific and poetic, and her titles often hint to literal content or expand on narrative suggestions made within the paintings. Rips Tree Stripped Rain links to Washington Irving’s 1819 "Rip Van Winkle", the protagonist of which falls asleep under a tree and wakes years after to discover many changes have occurred. The work, as is often the case within her oeuvre, traces excavations of life and explores the ineluctable passage of time, by re-imagining the natural setting of the tale. Neel combines delicate and intimate colours with decisive gestural brush strokes. Her compelling pictorial practice results here in a fresh and harmonious composition strengthened by different tactile perceptions. The material roughness of the browns, the bright smoothness of the greens and airy softness of the pinks and whites characterise this dreamlike yet meditative vision.

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