Romanian painter Adrian Ghenie’s ‘Pie Fight Interior’ has sold for £2.85 million ($3.7 million) at a Sotheby’s auction to a specialist bidding for a client.
The work is part of the Pie Fight series, which the artist started in 2008 and returned to in 2012.
„I’m not a history painter, but I am fascinated by what happened in the 20th century and how it continues to shape today. I don’t feel any obligation to tell this to the world, but for me the twentieth century was a century of humiliation – and through my painting, I’m still trying to understand this,” the artist was quoted as saying in the Sotheby’s catalog.
Sotheby’s auctioneer Oliver Barker appeared openly surprised when the bids at the Oct. 21 auction reached only as high as £2.4 million, a single bid higher than where he opened the sale. He resigned himself to the fact that no more competition was forthcoming and hammered it down, artnet.com reported.
Adrian Ghenie, 43, who has been compared to late British painter Francis Bacon was born in the northwest city of Baia Mare and graduated Art and Design University in the Transylvanian city of Cluj and co-founded Galeria Plan B in Cluj, together with Mihai Pop, a production and exhibition space for contemporary art in 2005.
He lives in Berlin, London and Cluj. His work has been exhibited in group and solo exhibitions, including at the Tate Liverpool, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi in Florence.
Mr. Ghenie He made his name as a major contemporary artist when his The Fake Rothko (2010) was sold by Sotheby’s London for £1.4m.
In the Pie Fight Interior, a canvas of 210 by 160 cm, a stately yellow armchair “interrupts Ghenie’s abstraction; the throne-like form positioned away from the viewer, provides an eerie resting place for the ghostly figure,” the catalog says.
“Here the human form is haunting and largely abstract, yet its most identifiable feature is a short, dark mustache – an undisguised allusion to Adolf Hitler, and indeed to the history of dictatorship in the twentieth Century,” the description reads.
“ When unpacking the imagery of the present work, Ghenie’s plush room begins to transform into the ceremonial interiors of the Nazi regime, an architectural space that recurs throughout the Pie Fight series, and which he visualised with the aid of historical photographic documentation.”
At the same auction, Banksy’s ‘Show me the Monet,’ a scene depicting a bridge at Claude Monet’s famous garden, in the Impressionist master’s style, but with a modern twist of a discarded traffic cone and an overturned shopping cart half submerged in the water.
It sold for £7.5 million ($9.8 million) after it was chased by more than five bidders.