Sale: 540 / Evening Sale, June 09. 2023 in Munich Lot 5


Sean Scully
Samar, 1990.
Oil on canvas
€ 180,000 - 240,000

$ 198,000 - 264,000

Samar. 1990.
Oil on canvas.
Signed, dated, titled and inscribed with the dimensions on the reverse. Additionally signed, dated and titled on the stretcher. 76.5 x 76.5 cm (30.1 x 30.1 in).

• One year before the present work was made, Scully was nominated for the prestigious Turner Prize and the London Tate Gallery acquired a monumental painting in similar colors (1988).
• Signature Piece: With deliberate imperfection and great mastery, the artist gives his work the greatest possible sensuous quality with a chromaticity that is reduced to the max.
• With the matte glossy color, the painterly brushwork and a lively surface appeal, the artist created a painting of an almost sculptural quality

PROVENANCE: Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne (with the typographically inscribed gallery label on the stretcher).
Private collection Great Britain (acquired from the above in 1990).
Ever since family-owned.

Sean Scully in a talk with Kevin Power, quoted from: Kelly Grovier (ed.), Inner, Berlin 2018, p. 104.

Called up: June 9, 2023 - ca. 17.08 h +/- 20 min.

Compositions with vertical and horizontal stripes in varying widths and lengths, as well as rectangular color fields have been characteristic of Scully’s art since the early days in the 1970s. When he works on a new piece of art, he usually begins by dividing and structuring the area that is to be painted, applying a precise arrangement of stripes and color fields. Scully chooses from an almost infinite wealth of compositional possibilities, at first he subdivides the rectangular shape of the picture’s surface into several smaller rectangular elements or strips. However, he succeeds in dissolving the rigidity of the apparently strictly orthogonal or parallel structures by applying the paint with a broad brush in numerous overlapping and sometimes impasto layers. It is precisely this step that makes for the visual strength of Sean Scully's work.

At second glance, the rational, almost architectural composition of geometric, horizontal and vertical forms turns out a masterpiece, a perfect orchestration of a balanced spectacle of harmony and dissonance: the edges of the individual color fields are not drawn with a ruler, instead they are a little irregular, the color strips vary in lengths and widths, they are neither accurately assembled like a mosaic nor are they flush with one another. Here and there they collide with color bars that run in the opposite direction. In addition, each color field shows a very different painterly structure and surface quality. The traces of the broad brush are clearly visible, the paint is not applied evenly everywhere, but very painterly and with varying degrees of opacity, thus creating a fascinating, opulent materiality and a very sensual liveliness that basically needs to be 'curbed' by the depiction’s geometric forms and right angles.

The lack of precision creates narrow spaces between the individual color fields, which eventually reveal the secret of both the painting and of Scully's art: Hidden color layers peek through from under the subtle shiny black and the strongly contrasting light gray, revealing a completely different palette than the first impression suggested. This reduced colorfulness allows the observer to focus on what lies underneath and comes to the fore only at closer inspection: strong red, warm yellow, cool green and blue can be seen and entirely change the picture’s overall effect. In connection with the painterly brushwork, the painting reveals the artist's intensive painting process, the creative energy he invested in the picture. Parts that have already been painted over, the past - so to speak, becomes visible again and a long-gone state reappears. "I think there is a lot of melancholia in my paintings. There is a sense of loss. [..] It seems that one of the worst things about the human condition is that it is not really possible to go back in your life. As you live your life, it is simultaneously being taken away from you, and this is a kind of tyranny that we live under. [..] You never get a second chance to do anything, to even breathe the same breath again. It's gone as soon as you've done it, and somehow this is reflected in my work. The paintings are an attempt to stop that process. They have a lot of process in them, but it's all frozen in time." (Sean Scully in a talk with Hans-Michael Herzog, New York, December 13, 1998)

As is the case so often in his oeuvre, the artist gives the present work a geographical title: "Samar" is the fourth largest island of the Philippines. Owing to supposedly monochrome coloring and the structure of the stripe compositions, the work can be compared to works from the late 1980s and early 1990s, among them the monotype "New York #5" (1989, Museum of Modern Art, New York), and especially the paintings "Durango" (1990, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf), "Hammering" (1990, Kunsthalle Bielefeld) or "White Window" (1988, Tate Gallery, London), which are among the artist's most important works. The time of origin of our work and the years around 1990 follow Scully's breakthrough in the United States and mark the beginning of Scully's rise to fame in Europe. In 1989, the Palacio Velázquez in Madrid and the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in Munich, honored him wit a first solo exhibition in Continental Europe. With works that are very sensual despite their strictly geometric appearance, Sean Scully is one of the most important artists of his generation. His work is in the most prestigious international collections like the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the Tate Gallery in London, the Albertina in Vienna and the Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou. His success of recent years in particular has earned Scully a permanent place in European art history at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century. His creation continues to have a lasting influence on the development of contemporary abstraction. In 2013, he became a member of the Royal Academy of Arts, and in 2014/15, Scully was the first western artist ever to be honored with a comprehensive, retrospective show in China, on display in both Shanghai and Beijing. In the past two years alone, his work has been part of more than a dozen solo exhibitions in Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Croatia, Austria, Poland, and the United States, among them the grand exhibition "Sean Scully. The Shape of Ideas" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, offering an overview of the artist's past 50 creative years. [CH]


Buyer's premium, taxation and resale right compensation for Sean Scully "Samar"
This lot can be subjected to differential taxation plus a 7% import tax levy (saving approx. 5 % compared to regular taxation) or regular taxation, artist‘s resale right compensation is due.

Differential taxation:
Hammer price up to 800,000 €: herefrom 32 % premium.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 800,000 € is subject to a premium of 27 % and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 800,000 €.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 4,000,000 € is subject to a premium of 22 % and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 4,000,000 €.
The buyer's premium contains VAT, however, it is not shown.

Regular taxation:
Hammer price up to 800,000 €: herefrom 27 % premium.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 800,000 € is subject to a premium of 21% and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 800,000 €.
The share of the hammer price exceeding 4,000,000 € is subject to a premium of 15% and is added to the premium of the share of the hammer price up to 4,000,000 €.
The statutory VAT of currently 19 % is levied to the sum of hammer price and premium. As an exception, the reduced VAT of 7 % is added for printed books.

We kindly ask you to notify us before invoicing if you wish to be subject to regular taxation.

Calculation of artist‘s resale right compensation:
For works by living artists, or by artists who died less than 70 years ago, a artist‘s resale right compensation is levied in accordance with Section 26 UrhG:
4 % of hammer price from 400.00 euros up to 50,000 euros,
another 3 % of the hammer price from 50,000.01 to 200,000 euros,
another 1 % for the part of the sales proceeds from 200,000.01 to 350,000 euros,
another 0.5 % for the part of the sale proceeds from 350,000.01 to 500,000 euros and
another 0.25 % of the hammer price over 500,000 euros.
The maximum total of the resale right fee is EUR 12,500.

The artist‘s resale right compensation is VAT-exempt.