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Salle, Davidlocked

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 28 September 1952, in Norman (Oklahoma).

Painter (including mixed media), watercolourist, collage artist, draughtsman. Figures, nudes. Stage sets.

Bad Painting, Neo-Conceptual Art, Appropriation Art.

David SALLE: signature or monogram

David Salle studied at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California, where he was taught by John Baldessari. He worked on the American magazine Stag. He appeared on the New York scene in the1980s, with what was, considering the forms of expression of the time, a traditional approach in his paintings on canvas, borrowing iconography from a variety of periods from Flemish painting to Abstraction. He was easily identifiable from his divided-up composition, avoiding perspective, which quickly brought him success. The predominantly dark shades, with artificial colours, are reminiscent of photography, a medium which inspired him in the early days of his career and which he also practices. Works mainly playing with the effects of superimposition and transparency. In his large-format works, usually diptychs and triptychs, he alternates figurative and geometric or gestural abstract areas, and monochrome and polychrome fields. Images of different scales are placed side-by-side or juxtaposed one within another. Each image is 'contained' within the classic frame of the painting - a square, rectangular or oval format, with a generally neutral background. It then becomes one of the components of a strict abstract structure, combining abstract forms, and resembles the work of someone like Hans Hoffman. This composition also bestows a very strong autonomy on each 'component' while revealing the ambiguity of the images brought in contact with each other.

In Salle's works two distinct types of iconographic references continually confront each other: firstly art itself and secondly the media society symbolised by stereotypical images taken from magazines, film, comic strips or advertising. Artistic references include reproductions of pictures, figurative compositions such as still-lifes and landscapes or abstract paintings, by Hobbema, Watteau, Guéricault, Manet, Picabia, Picasso, de Kooning, Rauschenberg, Rosenquist (as in the 1993 series Pre-Fab), Johns, Polke, Warhol (with Ghost Paintings, 1992) or of sculptures, primitive works or artists like Giacometti. Borrowings from the media, especially the erotic press, include the recurrent image of the stylised woman, particularly her legs and breasts, as an object of desire 'ready to be consumed' which he interprets personally alongside references to everyday life, such as furniture (a chair) ( Marking through Weber, 1987) and decoration (vases), pets (a dog), food (bread in Yellow Bread, 1987), fish or vignettes of comic strips. Salle freely associates images and sometimes incorporates words and fragments of texts or mixes styles. He also uses a reduced palette, often predominately ochre and grey, but few pure colours, preferring the black and white photography technique of matching tones, sepia and grey. He photographs bodies, using models, like Karol Armitage, whom he shows in often very unnatural poses - far from conventional pornography. He continues these clichés in painting and grisalle, emphasising brush strokes and thus showing his distance from Hyperrealism, and the exact vision of reality with which he operates. Sexual violence emanates from his female nudes whose powerful contours are counterbalanced by the predominantly faded greyish tint that lends a certain 'neutrality' to the whole work.

In a baroque vein Salle 'composes' with the technique of a musician and plays with the effects of rhythm, alternating the steady state and movement, the calmness off a still-life and the violence of a naked body. He plays with eclecticism and invites the eye to wander over the huge canvas and breach the frontiers of this carefully cloistered world, where each component retains its identity. The work cannot be understood as a whole, and created as it is from free association, it appears elusive with no possible links.

Group Exhibitions

1982, Documenta 7, Kassel

1984, An International Survey of Contemporary Painting and Sculpture, Museum of Modern Art, New York

1985, Nouvelle Biennale de Paris

1986, Europe/America, Ludwig Museum, Cologne

1993, Venice Biennale

1996, Thinking Print: From Books to Billboards, 1980-1995, Museum of Modern Art, New York

1999, The American Century: Art & Culture, 1900-2000 Part 2, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

2001, Mythic Proportions: Painting in the 1980s, Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami

2005, Contemporary Voices: Works from The UBS Art Collection, Museum of Modern Art, New York

2006, Damien Hirst, David Salle and Jenny Saville, Museo Carlo Bilotti, Rome

2007, Not for Sale, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island (an exhibition exploring the relationship between artists and their work in the context of the economy in which they function)

Solo Exhibitions

1976-1980, Fondation de Corps de Garde, Groningen, Netherlands

1977 and 1980, De Apple Foundation, Amsterdam

regularly from 1981, Mary Boone Gallery, New York

1983, Museum Boymans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

regularly from 1985, Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne

1985 to 1993, Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris

1985, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

1986, Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

1988, Caja de Pensiones, Madrid

1996, Galerie Thaddeus Ropac, Paris

1997, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (retrospective)

2000, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico

2004, David Salle: Split Worlds. The Montage Principle, Stella Art Gallery, Moscow

Museum and Gallery Holdings

Chicago (MCA): Din (1984, oil and fabric on canvas with wood attachments)

London (Tate Collection): Satori Three Inches within Your Heart (1988, acrylic and oil on canvas)

Los Angeles (MoCA): View the Author Through Long Telescopes (1981, acrylic on canvas); Brother Animal (1983, oil and acrylic on canvas with wooden chairs)

New York (Solomon R. Guggenheim Mus.): Comedy (1995, oil and acrylic on canvas, 2 panels)

New York (Whitney Mus. of American Art): Sextant in Dogtown (1987, oil and synthetic polymer on canvas)

Paris (MNAM-CCI): Blue Paper (1986, acrylic, vinyl, and fluorescent paint and oil on canvas, triptych)

Richmond (Virginia MFA): Good Bye D (1982, acrylic/canvas)

Santa Monica (Broad Art Foundation): Tragedy (1995, oil and acrylic on canvas, 2 panels)

Auction Records

New York, 12 Nov 1982: Untitled (1981, acrylic/paper, 60 × 42 ins/152.5 × 106.5 cm) USD 4,000

New York, 9 May 1984: The Name Painting (1982, acrylic and oil on canvas, 98 × 196 ins/249 × 497.8 cm) USD 22,000

New York, 1 Nov 1984: Untitled (1983, watercolour, 18 × 24 ins/46 × 61 cm) USD 6,000

New York, 2 Nov 1984: Untitled (airplane and nude) (1978, coloured chalk and graphite, 22 × 30 ins/56 × 76 cm) USD 4,200

New York, 2 May 1985: Untitled (1978, coloured chalk and graphite, 29½ × 41½ ins/75 × 105.5 cm) USD 2,200

New York, 22 Feb 1986: Untitled (1978, pastel/paper, 29½ × 41¼ ins/74.9 × 104.8 cm) USD 4,000

New York, 5 Nov 1987: How Close the Ass of a Horse Was to Actual Glue and Dog Food (1980, acrylic and pencil/canvas, 72¼ × 48 ins/183.2 × 121.9 cm) USD 57,000

New York, 8 Oct 1988: Ordinary Sentences (1982, oil on canvas, 96 × 56 ins/243.8 × 142.3 cm) USD 66,000

New York, 3 May 1989: Shirts (1984, collage of material and oil on canvas, 52 × 72 ins/132 × 183 cm) USD 66,000

New York, 5 Oct 1989: In the Documentary Style (1981, acrylic collage and charcoal /canvas, 86 × 100½ ins/218.5 × 255 cm) USD 77,000

New York, 7 Nov 1989: Tennyson (1983, oil, acrylic and wood, 78 × 117¼ × 5½ ins/198 × 298 × 14 cm) USD 550,000

New York, 5 Oct 1990: Never the Instruments of Love (1979, acrylic/canvas, 42 × 58 ins/106.7 × 147.3 cm) USD 33,000

New York, 1 May 1991: In the Bar (1989, acrylic and oil on canvas, 100 × 130 ins/254 × 330.2 cm) USD 8,525

Paris, 15 Dec 1991: Untitled (1987, watercolour/paper, 23¼ × 30¼ ins/59 × 77 cm) FRF 55,000

New York, 7 May 1992: Embarrassing Page (1984, acrylic, sacking and oil on canvas with wooden objects, 84¼ × 100¼ ins/214 × 254.6 cm) USD 143,000

New York, 17 Nov 1992: Poverty Is No Disgrace (acrylic, chair and oil on canvas, in three panels, 98 × 205 ins/248.9 × 520.7 cm) USD 104,500

New York, 3 May 1993: By Chance I Missed my Cousin Jasper (1980, acrylic/canvas, two panels, 48 × 72 ins/121.9 × 182.9 cm) USD 107,000

New York, 16 Nov 1995: Untitled (1989, acrylic and oil on canvas, 78 × 48 ins/198.1 × 121.9 cm) USD 34,500

London, 30 Nov 1995: False Queen (1992, felt hat, acrylic and oil on canvas, 96 × 72 ins/244 × 183 cm) GBP 51,000

New York, 9 May 1996: An Illustrator was There (acrylic/canvas, 84 × 60 ins/213.4 × 152.4 cm) USD 68,500

New York, 19 Nov 1996: Untitled (1978, graphite and oil on canvas, 34 × 50 ins/86.3 × 127 cm) USD 9,200

New York, 20 Nov 1996: Acrobat (1988, acrylic/canvas, 78 × 192 ins/198.2 × 487.6 cm) USD 189,500

New York, 6 May 1997: Untitled (1982, brush and black ink/paper, 27½ × 39¼ ins/70 × 100 cm) USD 6,325

New York, 8 May 1997: Entertainers (1986, two acrylic and oil on canvas, 60 × 100 ins/152.3 × 254 cm) USD 57,500

London, 23 Oct 1997: Don't Go Home (1988, oil and acrylic/canvas, 41¾ × 61 ins/106 × 155 cm) GBP 19,550

New York, 19 May 1999: Couple of Centuries (1982, oil and acrylic on canvas, diptych, 110 × 160 ins/279 × 407 cm) USD 70,000

New York, 19 May 1999: Lola Remake (1993, oil and acrylic on canvas, 102 × 122 ins/260 × 311 cm) USD 80,000

New York, 17 May 2000: Skintight Worldwide (1983, oil and acrylic on canvas, 88 × 113 ins/224 × 288 cm) USD 210,000

New York, 18 May 2000: Maid of Germany (acrylic on fabric canvas on wood, diptych, 108 × 148 ins/274 × 376 cm) USD 130,000

New York, 17 May 2001: An Agreement (acrylic, oil and graphite on canvas with candle wax, 66 × 90 ins/168 × 229 cm) USD 150,000

New York, 15 Nov 2001: Young Krainer (1989, oil and acrylic on canvas with three inserts, 84 × 85 ins/213 × 216 cm) USD 80,000

New York, 16 May 2002: Untitled (1981, acrylic on canvas, two parts, 70 × 127 ins/178 × 323 cm) USD 50,000

New York, 16 May 2002: Lazy Outer Rings (1984, oil and acrylic fabric on canvas, 52 × 75 ins/132 × 190 cm) USD 80,000

New York, 15 May 2003: Making the Bed (oil, acrylic and wood on canvas, diptych, 120 × 94 ins/305 × 239 cm) USD 80,000

New York, 13 Nov 2003: Smells Burns is Vacant (oil and acrylic on canvas, 66 × 92 ins/168 × 234 cm) USD 42,500

New York, 13 May 2004: We Back Them Up (1979, acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 40 × 58 ins/102 × 147 cm) USD 60,000

Paris, 18 July 2004: Flagrant Eyeball (1987, acrylic, charcoal and oil on canvas, 52 × 106 ins/132 × 268 cm) EUR 65,000

Bibliography

  • David Salle, Works on Paper, exhibition catalogue, Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, 1986.
  • Kardon, J./Phillips, L.: David Salle, exhibition catalogue, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of PA, Philadelphia; Whitney Gallery, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and elsewhere, 1986-1988.
  • David Salle, Vintage Books, New York, 1987 (illustrated book).
  • Vaudey, Marc: ‘De l'ironie, d'une rhétorique neutre, inquiétante et familière: David Salle’ in Artstudio n° 11, periodical, Gal. Templon, Paris, winter 1988.
  • David Salle, exhibition catalogue, Fund. Caja Pensiones, Madrid, 1988 (essays by K. Power and C. Schulz-Hoffmann).
  • Millet, Catherine: ‘Interview: David Salle entre composition et désignation’ in Art Press n° 129, periodical, Paris, October 1988.
  • Jouannais, Jean-Yves: ‘David Salle’ in Art Press n° 171, periodical, Paris, July-August 1992.
  • Liebmann, Lisa: David Salle, Rizzoli, New York, 1994.
  • Cortez, David: David Salle: Early Product Paintings, exhibition catalogue, Gagosian Gallery, New York, 1994.
  • David Salle: Pastoral, exhibition catalogue, Gagosian Gallery, New York, 2001.
  • French, Sarah (ed.): David Salle: Immediate Experience, A. Cetti Serbelloni, Milan, 2003.