October 12, 2014


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Lot 467: Anton Henning

Lot 467: Anton Henning

Icon in Bed

Oil, cloth, and fabric on canvas
Signed with artist's initials and dated lower right
Canvas: 71" x 63";
Frame: 76" x 67.5"
Literature: Hanson, Alan J. Anton Henning: Neue Arbeiten 1990. Exhibition Catalogue. Frankfurt/Main: Galerie Hilger, #15 for similar example.
Estimate: $5,000 - $7,000
Price Realized: $2,750
Inventory Id: 16466

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To review Anton Henning's (b. 1964) body of work to date is like flipping through a modern art history reference book or walking through the contemporary wing of a museum. With a penchant for pastiche, Henning's hand at times resembles the cubism of Pablo Picasso, the wry humor of Marcel Duchamp, or the phantasmagoria of the Surrealists. The artist explains: "I don't like being pinned down. […] I challenge myself to contradict myself." Using art history as source material, the artist moves swiftly and deftly between genres with no prescribed order. He reinterprets artworks and artists that have come before him, and in the process prompts questions regarding style, art history, and the role of the artist as a creative force. The feeble paint drippings, pasted photo clippings, and fabric strips in Henning's Icon in Bed (1989) have the unmistakable appearance of a Robert Rauschenberg collage. The title refers to one of Rauschenberg's most iconic works, Bed (1955), in which Rauschenberg splattered paint on his own bed and hung it up as a work of art. Coveredin large blocks of gray, Henning's Portrait of a Mother (1988) alludes to Rauschenberg's lover, friend, and collaborator, Jasper Johns, who was famous for his prolific use of the dark shade. The nonsensical, mismatched title is typical of Henning—a cue to the viewer to look and think again. Unfettered by categorization, Henning repeats and remixes art history so that we may re-experience it, and, perhaps, reconsider entrenched meanings.

Anton Henning: Stillfragen/Questions of Style. Berlin: ARNDT, 2011. Web. 25 Aug. 2014.
Bader, Joerg. Little Henning Reader, A-Z. Düsseldorf: Richter Verlag, 2008. Web. 22 Aug. 2014.