Rudolf Stingel (b. 1956)
signed and dated 'Stingel 2006' (on the reverse)
oil and enamel on canvas
47 ¼ x 39 ⅜ in. (120 x 100 cm.)
Executed in 2006.
Galleria Massimo de Carlo, Milan
Private collection, Los Angeles
Anon. sale; Christie's, New York, 15 November 2012, lot 594
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
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Lot Essay

"Artists have always been accused of being decorators, so I just went to the extreme and painted the wallpaper."

Rudolf Stingel puts pressure on the modernist resistance to decoration, presenting the stylized floral design of a Baroque-inspired wallpaper as a freestanding abstract painting. This particular decorative vocabulary relates to Stingel's roots, as he grew up in the Italian Tyrol and Vienna, and was exposed at an early age to their histories of Baroque and Rococo art. Taking this decorative impulse as a starting point, he creates a large-scale abstraction that engages a Minimalist-like commitment to seriality. The composition stresses tireless repetition but also reveals subtle individuation in the uneven application of the paint. While the familiar pattern might at first appear to be a merely banal fragment of a wall covering, upon closer inspection the painting reveals itself to be spatially ambiguous, as the variations of silver paint tones push and pull against each other to create a scintillating effect. In this way, Stingel's work alludes to the complex spatial interplay of Baroque art, but with a distinctly contemporary twist.

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