Sunday, April 1, 2012

There's No Fool Like an Old Fool

Happy April Fools Day! First of all, while I am honoring April Fools Day, this is by no means an April Fools joke. You can click on the aqua links if you don't believe me. I generally don't second-guess auction house results and I'm quite willing to let the market pay as much or as little as it likes for artwork. For myself, if I were to be in the fortunate position of being able to pay almost $8,000,000 for a work of art, I would want something a bit more colorful, perhaps a bit more figurative, but, hey, that's just foolish me. This painting is clearly seen as an important, iconic part of the artist's output, and that's fine by me. Really.

This represents an auction record for American artist Christopoher Wool. I would point out that the word Fool differs from the name Wool by only one letter, so there may be something personal or even self-deprecating in the word choice for this painting. But it should be plain to all now that Christopher Wool is no fool. There, I had to say it.

Christopher Wool (b. 1955) 
signed, inscribed and dated 'WOOL 1990 W11' (on the reverse) enamel on aluminium 108 x 72in. (274.5 x 182.8cm.) 
Executed in 1990 


    £2,500,000 - £3,500,000
  • ($3,945,000 - $5,523,000)

Price Realized 

  • ($7,713,803)
  • Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and do not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits.

14 February 2012 

London, King Street 
Special NoticeOn occasion, Christie’s has a direct financial interest in lots consigned for sale, which may include guaranteeing a minimum price or making an advance to the consignor that is secured solely by consigned property. Christie’s may choose to assume this financial risk on its own or may contract with a third party for such third party to assume all or part of this financial risk. When a third party agrees to finance all or part of Christie’s interest in a lot, it takes on all or part of the risk of the lot not being sold, and will be remunerated in exchange for accepting this risk out of Christie’s revenues from the sale, whether or not the third party is a successful bidder. The third party may bid for the lot and may or may not have knowledge of the reserves. Where it does so, and is the successful bidder, the remuneration may be netted against the final purchase price. If the lot is not sold, the third party may incur a loss. Christie’s guarantee of a minimum price for this lot has been fully financed through third parties
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.


Collection of the artist.Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York.Fredrik Roos Collection, Malmo.Private Collection, Los Angeles.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2006. 
Pre-Lot Text
Christopher Wool, exh. cat., Valencia, Institut Valencià d'Art Modern, 2006 (installation view illustrated, p. 11).
M. Thomas, 'Christopher Wool', in Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 28 November 1998 (illustrated). 
Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Christopher Wool - Cats in Bag, Bags in River, 1991. This exhibition later travelled to Bern, Kunsthalle Bern and Cologne, Kölnischer Kunstverein.

Los Angeles, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Christopher Wool, 1998, p. 288, no. 65 (installation view illustrated, p. 62). This exhibition later travelled to Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art and Basel, Kunsthalle Basel. 

Prior to the sale of this untitled work, the piece by Mr. Wool to achieve the highest price at auction was none other than his somewhat similar Blue Fool.

Christopher Wool (b. 1955) 
Blue Fool 
signed, titled and dated 'WOOL 1990 BLUE FOOL' (on the reverse) 
enamel on aluminumm
108 x 72 in. (274.3 x 182.9 cm.)
Painted in 1990. 

Price Realized 

  • Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and do not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits.
    $1,500,000 - $2,000,000

Sale Information

Sale 2314 Lot 43
Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale 
11 May 2010
New York, Rockefeller Plaza


Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1991 
Saleroom Notice
Please note additional literature for the present lot:
Christopher Wool, exh. cat., Valencia, 2006, p. 55 (illustrated in color). 
B. Ferguson, "Christopher Wool," The Contemporary, Summer 1998, p. 5 (illustrated in color).
M. Thomas, "Christopher Wool Gives Texture, Meaning to Writing on the Wall," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 28 November 1998, p. D-10 (illustrated).
G. Shearling, "Drop Dead," Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 29 November 1998, p. G-2 (illustrated).
Christopher Wool, exh. cat., Valencia, 2006, p. 55 (illustrated in color).
Kunsthalle Wien and Frankfurter Kunstverein, Die Sprache der Kunst, Die Beziehung von Bild und Text in der Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts, September 1993-February 1994, pp. 21 and 355, no. 533 (illustrated).
Glenside, Beaver College of Art, Word for Word, September-October 1995.
New York, Cheim & Read, I Am The Walrus, June-August 2004.
Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art; Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art and Kunsthalle Basel, Christopher Wool, July 1998-May 1999, pp. 54 and 288 (illustrated).
Kunsthaus Graz am Landesmuseum Joanneum Lendkai, Warhol Wool Newman, Painting Real, September 2009-January 2010. 


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