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Artschwager, Richardlocked

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1923, in Washington DC; died 9 February 2013, in Albany (New York).

Sculptor, installation artist, painter, draughtsman.

Minimal Art.

Richard Artschwager had a German father and a Russian mother. He studied in New Mexico, then at Cornell University in New York. He fought in World War II in England, France, and finally in Vienna. He completed his scientific studies at Cornell University but immediately abandoned this route and entered the studio of Amédée Ozenfant, who had just emigrated to New York. From 1950 to 1957 he worked as a designer, creating furniture in the Constructivist style. He began painting again in 1958, and regularly went to exhibitions. He lives and works in Hudson, in New York State. He has participated in various groups, as his style has constantly evolved.

He was able to make a name for himself almost simultaneously as an Abstract Minimalist sculptor of primary structures and as a figurative Hyperrealist painter. His Hyperrealist works were based on photographs, which he painted on to the canvas in black and white, with architecture the predominant theme. Despite this early recognition, it was his Improbable Furniture that gave Artschwager an eminent position in American contemporary art. When he began making his first objects or assemblages his work was categorised as Pop Art, which was then in its infancy. Critics then noticed the originality of his approach, in which the baroque and humour (or irony) play an important part. Some of his works refer to his past as a designer influenced by Constructivism and his transition through Minimalism, in chairs and tables with no feet or heads. In other works, the wildest of parodies is the dominant feature: fake wood doors more grainy than nature, which open on to nothing at all, or indefinable furniture in fake wood or marble, with extended aerial recesses that serve no purpose.

Group exhibitions: 1966, The Photographic Image, Guggenheim Museum; 1966, Documenta 5, Kassel (as a Hyperrealist); 1972, Primary Structures, Jewish Museum, New York; 1974, American Pop Art, Whitney Museum, New York; 1977, Improbable Furniture, Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art; 1985, New Paris Biennale; 1994, Fondation Cartier, Paris; 2003, Hyperréalismes USA 1965-75, Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg; 2004, The Big Nothing, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (exploring themes of nothing and nothingness in contemporary art); 2006, Magritte and Contemporary Art: The Treachery of Images, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles.

Solo exhibitions: 1965, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York; 1978, Kunstverein, Hamburg (retrospective); 1979, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (first retrospective exhibition in the USA, also presented at the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla, California); 1985, Kunsthalle, Basel (retrospective of his sculptures); 1988, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (an exhibition of his sculptures, also presented at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art); 1988, Whitney Museum, New York (retrospective); 1989, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris (Georges Pompidou Centre); 2002, The Hydraulic Door Check: Skulptur, Malerei, Zeichnung, MAK (Museum für Angewandte Kunst/Gegenwartskunst), Vienna; 2003, Richard Artschwager: Back and Forth/Up and Down, Guggenheim Museum, Berlin; 2003, Richard Artschwager: Zeichnungen, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; 2004, Richard Artschwager: Grafiche e Multipli, Galleria Civica, Palazzo Santa Margherita, Modena.

Museum and Gallery Holdings

Basel (Emanuel Hoffman Foundation, Schaulager)

Basel (Kunstmus.): Polish Rider, IV (1971)

Buffalo (Albright-Knox AG)

Cologne (Mus. Ludwig): Logus (1967)

Épinal (Mus. départemental d'Art ancien et contemporain): Sitting, Sitting (1984-1985)

Limoges (FRAC Limousin): Crate Sculpture (1995)

London (Tate Collection): Table and Chair (1963-1964, melamine laminate and wood, sculpture); Tower II (1979, painted laminate and wood, sculpture); Door/Door II (1984-1985, painted laminate and wood, relief); screen prints, etchings/paper

New York (MoMA)

New York (Whitney Mus. of American Art): The Organ of Cause and Effect (1986)

Nîmes (Carré d'Art, MAC)

Paris (FNAC): Faceted Syndrome (1967)

Paris (MNAM-CCI): Book III (Laocoon) (1981); Triptych II (1964)

Philadelphia (ICA, University of Pennsylvania)

Auction Records

New York, 18 May 1978: Destruction No. 3 (1972, acrylic/Celotex, two paintings, each, 74 × 44 ins/188 × 112 cm) USD 6,750

New York, 16 May 1980: Gene and Margaret (1964, laminated card, 19¾ × 17½ × 5 ins/50.2 × 44.5 × 12.7 cm) USD 1,000

New York, 11 Nov 1982: Bowl of Peaches on a Glass Table (1973, acrylic/Celotex mounted/hardboard, 18 × 23½ ins/45.5 × 59.5 cm) USD 7,200

New York, 21 May 1983: Staircase (1971, acrylic on card, 50¾ × 43½ ins/128.9 × 110.3 cm) USD 8,750

New York, 9 May 1984: Woman (1963, acrylic on card, 48½ × 48 ins/123 × 122 cm) USD 15,000

New York, 3 May 1985: Looking (1969, glued horse hair, 20½ × 20½ × 5½ ins/52 × 52 × 14 cm) USD 1,000

New York, 6 May 1986: Landscape II (1970, acrylic and charcoal on Celotex, 23½ × 23½ ins/59.6 × 59.6 cm) USD 8,000

New York, 11 Nov 1986: Triptych (1964, formica on wood, 42 × 100 × 6 ins/106.7 × 254 × 15.2 cm) USD 21,000

New York, 15 May 1987: Untitled Object (1971, wooden box with five drawers, 11½ × 14¾ × 12¾ ins/29.2 × 37.5 × 32.5 cm) USD 1,300

New York, 2 and 3 May 1988: Interior (1973, acrylic on Celotex, three panels, 44 × 51½ ins/111.8 × 130.8 cm; 31½ × 51½ ins/80 × 130.8 cm; 24 × 51½ ins/61 × 130.8 cm) USD 176,000; Untitled (lignitex on Celotex, 28¼ × 24½ ins/72 × 62 cm) USD 60,500

New York, 8 Oct 1988: Untitled (1967, acrylic on synthetic resin, 17 × 15 ins/43.3 × 38 cm) USD 18,700

New York, 10 Nov 1988: Untitled (1974, Liquitex/Celotex, 22 × 16½ ins/56 × 42.1 cm) USD 28,600

New York, 14 Feb 1989: Chair/Chair/Table (1980, Liquitex/Celotex, 25 × 23¼ ins/63.5 × 59.1 cm) USD 71,500

New York, 3 May 1989: City of Man 2 (1982, acrylic and charcoal on Celotex, 74½ × 55 × 11½ ins/189 × 139.5 × 29 cm) USD 104,500

New York, 7 Nov 1989: Triptych V (Liquitex/Celotex with metal frames, 81½ × 140¼ ins/207 × 356.2 cm) USD 990,000

New York, 7 May 1990: Piano (1965, formica on wood, 32 × 48 × 19 ins/81.3 × 121.9 × 48.3 cm) USD 308,000

New York, 30 April 1991: Painted Mirror (1962, acrylic and Celotex/wood, 59¾ × 31 × 10 ins/151.7 × 78.7 × 25.5 cm) USD 154,000

New York, 27 Feb 1992: Small Picture on South Wall (1974, Liquitex/cellophane, 36¼ × 30¼ ins/92 × 76.8 cm) USD 36,300

New York, 6 May 1992: Book II (Nike) (1981, formica construction, 74 × 45¾ × 46 ins/188 × 116.2 × 116.8 cm) USD 110,000

New York, 17 Nov 1992: Tower III (Confessional) (1980, formica and oak, in all 60 × 47 × 32 ins/152.4 × 119.4 × 81.3 cm) USD 110,000

New York, 18 Nov 1992: Door/Door (1984, formica and acrylic/wood, 74¼ × 135 × 7½ ins/188.9 × 342.9 × 19 cm) USD 46,200

New York, 3 May 1993: Chair (1963, construction in formica and wood, 37 × 22 × 20 ins/94 × 55.9 × 50.8 cm) USD 178,500

New York, 8 Nov 1993: Edge (1977, graphite on paper, 26 × 24 ins/66 × 61 cm) USD 5,750

New York, 9 Nov 1993: Train Derailment (1967, Liquitex/Celotex in a frame by the artist, 46½ × 43 ins/118 × 109.2 cm) USD 222,500

New York, 4 May 1994: Sailors (1964, acrylic/Celotex, 20 × 26 × 8½ ins/50.8 × 66 × 21.6 cm) USD 343,500

Paris, 17 Oct 1994: For the Larder (1981, acrylic/Celotex and formica on wood, 37 × 17 × 4 ins/94 × 43 × 10 cm) FRF 40,000

New York, 3 May 1995: Inside the Rug (1977, ink and graphite/paper, 19¾ × 25 ins/50.2 × 63.5 cm) USD 4,600

New York, 14 Nov 1995: Untitled (1974, Liquitex/synthetic resin, 53½ × 79½ ins/135.8 × 202 cm) USD 88,300

New York, 9 Nov 1996: Hairbox (multiple sculpture, 17½ × 25 ins/44.5 × 63.5 cm) USD 1,495

New York, 19 Nov 1996: Door (1987, formica, ironmongery and wood, 17½ × 25 × 5 ins/44.4 × 63.5 × 12.7 cm) USD 2,760

New York, 20 Nov 1996: Untitled: Triangle (1969, acrylic/Celotex, 10¾ × 13 ins/27.6 × 33 cm) USD 8,625

New York, 7-8 May 1997: Console (1988, acrylic/wood, rubber and steel, 37¼ × 23½ × 12 ins/94.7 × 59.7 × 30.5 cm) USD 32,200

New York, 20 Nov 1997: Chair/Chair (formica and wood, 42 × 5 × 18 ins/106.7 × 11.8 × 45.7 cm) USD 48,875

New York, 6 and 7 March 1998: Interior No. 3 (1977, engraving, 12 × 9¾ ins/30.2 × 25 cm) USD 690

New York, 17 Nov 1999: Hospital Ward (1968, liquitex on celotex, 47 × 25 ins/119 × 63 cm) USD 30,000

New York, 18 Nov 1999: Apartment House (acrylic on masonite, 26 × 25 ins/66 × 63 cm) USD 40,000

New York, 17 May 2000: George Washington (1965, liquitex on celotex, 16 × 20 ins/41 × 52 cm) USD 65,000

New York, 14 Nov 2000: Polish Rider II (1971, acrylic on celotex, 44 × 50 ins/113 × 126 cm) USD 220,000

New York, 20 Feb 2001: Booktable II (1990, plastic laminate on wood, 39 × 42 × 22 ins/100 × 107 × 56 cm) USD 8,500

New York, 14 Nov 2001: Untitled: Interior (1973, acrylic on celotex, 62 × 47 ins/157 × 119 cm) USD 160,000

London, 8 Feb 2002: Prototype for Exclamation Point (cherry wood, 39 × 6 × 6 ins/98 × 16 × 16 cm) GBP 35,000

New York, 16 May 2002: Grotto of Altamirada (1993, acrylic on formica, celotex and wood, 103 × 81 ins/262 × 206 cm) USD 55,000

London, 22 Oct 2003: Tree of Life (acrylic on celotex, 53 × 35 ins/134 × 89 cm) GBP 28,000

New York, 14 Nov 2003: Untitled: Cross Sculpture (1994, wood and metal fasteners, 46 × 42 × 32 ins/116 × 106 × 81 cm) USD 12,000

New York, 13 May 2004: Porch (1971, acrylic on celotex, 41 × 49 ins/103 × 125 cm) USD 65,000

New York, 15 Sept 2004: Picture (1969, rubberized horsehair, 26 × 21 × 5 ins/65 × 54 × 13 cm) USD 38,000

Bibliography

  • Nouvelle Biennale de Paris, exhibition catalogue, Electa, Le Moniteur, Paris, 1985.
  • Armstrong, Richard: Richard Artschwager, exhibition catalogue, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1988.
  • Armstrong, Richard/Blistène, Bernard/Artschwager, Richard: ‘Richard Artschwager’ in coll. Contemporains, exhibition catalogue, Éd. du Centre Georges-Pompidou, Paris, 1989 ( bibliography).
  • Noever, Peter: Richard Artschwager: The Hydraulic Door Check. Skulptur, Malerei, Zeichnung, exhibition catalogue, MAK, Wien, Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern-Ruit, 2002 (text in German and English).
  • Lebensztejn, Jean-Claude, et al.: Hyperréalismes USA 1965-75, group exhibition catalogue, musée d'Art moderne et contemporain, Strasbourg, Hazan, Paris, 2003.
  • Zahm, Olivier (preface), et al.: Trésors publics, 20 ans de création dans les Fonds régionaux d'art contemporain, exhibition catalogue, Flammarion, Paris, 2003 (text in French and English).
  • Schwarz, Dieter (ed.): Richard Artschwager: Texts and Interviews, Richter, Düsseldorf, 2003.