2024 Gala Auction - Live Lot

Harold Ancart | George Condo | Ann Craven | Reggie Burrows Hodges
Kylie Manning | Harland Miller | Anna Weyant

Harold Ancart

Belgian, born 1980

Telescope Tree, 2021

Oil stick and pencil on canvas in artist’s frame

26 x 22 in. (66 x 55.9 cm)

Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery

Estimate: $75,000 - $100,000

Condition: Excellent. For more information, please email [email protected].

This lot will be auctioned live at the Gala on February 3, 2024. To register an absentee or phone bid, please email [email protected] by January 31.

About the Artist:

Harold Ancart’s paintings, sculptures, and installations explore our experience of natural landscapes and built environments. Alluding to a range of art historical sources and often characterized by abstract passages of color, they are sometimes arranged into multipart tableaux.

Ancart was born in Brussels in 1980. After starting out studying political science, he changed paths and graduated with an MFA from École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels de La Cambre, Brussels, in 2007. He now lives and works in New York. As a child, he was a fan of comic books and manga, and was inspired by Belgian pioneers Hergé, creator of Tintin, and Peyo, originator of the Smurfs. He later discovered others in the field such as Katsuhiro Otomo and Frank Miller, and to artists including Frank Auerbach, James Ensor, Oskar Kokoschka, and Léon Spilliaert. A 2014 road trip across the United States was a critical energizing event for Ancart, and a 2016 exhibition at the Menil Collection in Houston of the drawings he produced in his mobile studio during the journey marked a turning point in his career.

Despite having been raised and educated in Belgium, Ancart developed a practice rooted in the history of American painting and abstraction, showing the influence of such artists as Richard Diebenkorn, Helen Frankenthaler, Brice Marden, and Wayne Thiebaud. Focusing on recognizable subjects, he isolates moments of poetry in everyday surroundings. Working serially, he moves beyond simple representation to emphasize the process of painting. And, straddling abstraction and representation, he experiments with color and composition, allowing the operation of chance to help determine a work’s final form.

Ancart’s paintings of trees blur the boundaries between figure and ground while echoing elements of the work of Gustav Klimt, René Magritte, Piet Mondrian, Egon Schiele, and—in a sequence of immersive multi-panel canvases—Swiss-born painter Gottardo Piazzoni (1872–1945). In his seascapes, Ancart employs simplified compositions to focus on vivid, almost psychedelic color combinations. And in a series of paintings of icebergs—begun in January 2018 in response to a severe New York winter—he continues to exhibit a fascination with elemental subjects that prompt sustained contemplation. Ancart often works at a very large scale; in 2018, he exhibited Untitled (the great night), a 15-by-44-foot site-specific painting, in the front window of the Shigeru Ban–designed Centre Pompidou-Metz, France, as part of the group exhibition; Painting the Night.

Ancart also explores his themes and ideas in three dimensions. In a set of floor-based pigmented concrete sculptures from 2014, for instance, he presents a series of fragile-looking, quasi-organic forms suggestive of simple boats or troughs. The works’ titles, which include Black Caviar and Grand Flaneur, refer to famous racehorses, stressing the motif of movement and rest. His pool sculptures, begun in 2017, are cast concrete reliefs laid flat on pedestals and painted in colors reminiscent of his work on canvas. In these pared-down structures, he again toys with painterly oppositions of surface and depth, abstraction and figuration. By changing the scale of a familiar feature, he renders it uncanny, even surreal. And in 2019, with the support of Public Art Fund, he produced Subliminal Standard, a 16-foot-high freestanding concrete sculpture paying tribute to the incidental patterns generated by players on the walls of New York City’s handball courts, for Brooklyn’s Cadman Plaza."