Flash News: William Wegman – Pascale Marthine Tayou – Marlène Dumas



Every fortnight, Artprice provides a short round up of art market news: William Wegman, “Sometimes it’s the dog who makes the picture” – A work from Pascale Marthine Tayou blown up – Marlène Dumas, The Image as Burden.

William Wegman. “Sometimes it’s the dog who makes the picture”
Dogs and beautiful furniture, this is the theme used by the Piasa company (Paris) for its sale of the work of American photographer William WEGMAN, 16 September 2015. The Weimar pointer, the photographer’s favourite species and muse, is honoured with a hundred pictures, on display at Piasa from 11–16 September before the start of the sale, including a series of unique, unpublished prints conceived around the furniture of George NAKASHIMA (which will also be sold at the auction). In the artist’s opinion, the meeting of these two worlds, canine and furniture, will be deliciously familiar: “What strikes me,” he says, “in working with my dogs and the furniture of George Nakashima, is how similar they are.” In France, it’s rare to see so many pictures on offer, especially as most of his works are in the United States. His last photograph sold in France – Puppy (1983) – sold for the equivalent of USD 1,700 (19 May 2015, Paris). Thus, this great name in photography is affordable and nearly 80% of his work sells for less than USD 5,000.
Since adopting his first Weimar pointer, Man Ray, at the start of the 1970s, William Wegman has not stopped photographing dogs of this species, substituting them for humans in offbeat staged scenes, often very humorous. Man Ray and the dogs that followed him were unusual partners feeding his research on perception and behaviour. Getting dogs to pose is no easy feat: they move, they don’t look at the lens…this photographic work required much patience to obtain acclaim, at last, from the vast majority of the public.

A work from Pascale Marthine Tayou blown up
Pascale Marthine TAYOU works in identity contradictions, notably concerning an international African identity within globalisation. Having chosen two first names that he feminised: Pascal(e) and Marthin(e), his own name immediately introduces his work. This self-taught artist participated in two contemporary art biennials in 2005 and the Venice Biennale in 2009. He received an enthusiastic welcome at the 46th edition of Art Basel (17–21 June), inaugurated the Parisian gallery VNH in Paris with the exhibit Gri-gri (25 April-20 June), is being exhibited all summer at the Bozar in Brussels (Boomerang, 24 June-20 September 2015), and will be associated with the awaited reopening of the musée de l’Homme (Museum of Man) in Paris in the fall…he is ever-present, his commitment intense, his work recognised.
But the sunny summer that was primed for him was unfortunately sabotaged in Ukraine on 22 June 2015, when pro-Russian forces blew up one of his works. Make Up was a gigantic work, a 30-metre high chimney in the shape of a tube of red lipstick, dedicated to the women of Donbass, to thank them for their involvement in reconstructing Donetsk after the Second World War. The work was created for the contemporary art centre Izolyatsia (East of Ukraine), whose management reacted by issuing a press release condemning the act carried out by the separatist army group. Unfortunately, it is not the first of his works to be vandalised: 22 April 2011, a 7-metre high column of saucepans – La Colonne pascale (Pascale Column)- was intentionally knocked down in the Saint-Bonaventure Church in Lyon.

The Continua gallery, which represents him, reacted by choosing Pascale Marthine Tayou to do the ad for the group exhibit celebrating the gallery’s 25th anniversary: Follia Continua ! (26 September- 22 November 2015) with leading artists Ai Weiwei, Kader Attia, Daniel Buren, Cai Guo-Qiang, Chen Zhen, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Kendell Geers, Antony Gormley, Subdoh Gupta, Anish Kapoor and many others…

Marlène Dumas. The Image as Burden
The Image as Burden – L’Image comme Fardeau – this is the title of the Marlene DUMAS retrospective currently running at Fondation Beyeler in Basel (31 May–6 September 2015), after having been presented by Stedelijk in Amsterdam and the Tate Modern in London. To advertise this event, Fondation Beyeler is highlighting a canvas titled The Teacher (1987), an iconic work which launched Marlene Dumas as a star of the art market. At the time of the sale at Christie’s London, in February 2005, The Teacher left all predictions far behind, quadrupling its upper estimate, selling for USD 3.3 m including fees. Three years later, another record was set at three million more (USD 6.3 m including fees for The visitor, Sotheby’s London, 1 July 2008). Today, Marlene Dumas is one of the most popular female artists in the world.
Before being recognized as the great artist that she is, the young woman from South Africa arrived in the Netherlands in 1976, the year of the schoolgirl riots in Soweto. At the time she was 23 years old and already working on the human face, with a mixture of cruelty and empathy. Nothing could have predicted the ascension she would have when she started painting her atypical portraits in the 1970s. After a noteworthy exhibit in the mid-1980s in Amsterdam, her career took off when she participated in Documenta IX (1992), then the Venice Biennale in 1995 where she represented the Netherlands. Her painting is very diluted, her bodies and portraits are based on photographs and press clippings, and remain a rare commodity at auction: not one canvas has been presented at auction since the start of 2015.

Listed artists: William WEGMANGeorge NAKASHIMAPascale Marthine TAYOUMarlene DUMASAI WeiweiKader ATTIADaniel BURENCAI GuoqiangCHEN ZhenBerlinde DE BRUYCKEREKendell GEERSAntony GORMLEYSubodh GUPTAAnish KAPOOR