March 1, 2015

MODERN ART & DESIGN AUCTION

Back to Top

Lot 278: Leon Golub

Lot 278: Leon Golub

Head IX

1958
Lacquer on canvas
Signed "Golub" lower right; inscribed in pencil "Head IX/1958" verso; retains Allan Frumkin Gallery label verso; retains Rhona Hoffman Gallery label verso
Canvas: 32" x 28"; Frame: 32.75" x 28.75"
Provenance: The artist;
Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, Illinois (acquired directly from the above);
Private Collection, Chicago, Illinois (acquired directly from the above);
Private Collection, Palm Desert, California (acquired directly from the above)
Exhibited: "Leon Golub: A Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings from 1947 to 1973," Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, September 7-October 20, 1974
Literature: Alloway, Lawrence. Leon Golub: A Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings from 1947 to 1973. Chicago: Museum of Contemporary Art, 1974. N. pag.
Estimate: $18,000 - $25,000
Price Realized: $15,000
Inventory Id: 18177

Have this work or something similar?

Email us today for a free, confidential
market evaluation from one of our specialists.

MORE INFORMATION:


American figurative and humanist painter Leon Golub's (1922-2004) affecting, political canvases ponder the role of man and the state of humanity by portraying contemporary events in a fusion of styles, such as pre-Columbian and African art, classical Greek and Roman sculpture, and the history painting of Jacques-Louis David. Graduating with an MFA in 1950 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in his native city, Golub shunned the prevailing style of postwar Abstract Expressionism, denigrating it as being "non-referential and diffuse." He opted instead for the expressionistic, figurative style practiced by other American artists of the period, including Bay Area Figurative movement leaders such as Richard Diebenkorn, David Park, and Ben Shahn.

Head IX (1958) is an iconic work from Golub's oeuvre of the 1950s and 60s. The blurred male visage has a receding hairline and round face, characteristics common to historical figures ranging from Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, to Communist leader Mao Zedong, to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger—all personalities that would eventually be part of the artist's 1970s series of portraits of world leaders. In answer to a 1966 query regarding the subjects of his head paintings during this period, Golub responded: "Who am I painting? I'm painting the citizens, you see. I am painting the citizens of our society but I am painting them in an irrational frenzy because part of our society has been 'Buchenwald' [a Nazi concentration camp]." The painting collapses the roles of attacker and attacked into one entity, placing mankind as the victim of its own violence and injustices. With their political and historical nature, it is no surprise that Golub's paintings have entered the collections of important international institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Tate Gallery; and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.

Golub, Leon. Leon Golub: A Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings from 1947 to 1973. Chicago: Museum of Contemporary Art, 1974. Print. "Artist Biography: Leon Golub 1922–2004." Art & Artists. Tate Museum, n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2014.

BID AND FOLLOW ON THE LAMA APP