William Nelson Copley - Untitled - image-1
William Nelson Copley - Untitled - image-2
William Nelson Copley - Untitled - image-1William Nelson Copley - Untitled - image-2

Lot 3 Dα

William Nelson Copley - Untitled

Auction 1177 - overview Cologne
17.06.2021, 18:00 - Modern/Contemporary Art - Evening Sale
Estimate: 80.000 € - 90.000 €
Result: 262.500 € (incl. premium)

William Nelson Copley


Acylic on canvas. 81.5 x 102 cm. Framed. Signed and dated 'cply'94'. - Traces of studio and minor traces of age.

The seemingly naïve pictorial worlds of William N. Copley are filled with erotic fantasies in which the artist himself often appears alongside female nudes and fetish-like loaded objects. Colourful, irreverent and full of self-deprecating humour, he makes use of diverse art and cultural historical models. Joie de vivre and subtle wit give his oeuvre an unmistakable cheerfulness and mirror the artist's carefree lifestyle. “Just look at the duets that are sung in these pictures - the dances that are performed here display everything and conceal nothing. It is perfectly clear: this is not a victim that would have entered the arena of the battle of the sexes in torment. Here the perpetrator speaks out of passion; the lust for the erotic act determines life as well as art.” (Carl Haenlein, in: William N. Copley, Works 1948-1983, A German Collection, exhib.cat. Galerie von Braunbehrens, Munich 2012, p. 11).
Tongue-in-cheek, Copley analyses his special preferences in this untitled work from 1994. As a small man in a suit and bowler hat, he portrays himself in the role of Sigmund Freud in consultation with a “patient” on the couch. The reclining unclothed woman, the dog and the accentuated ornamentation of the spatial details are fixed components of his characteristic pictorial programme. The paintings, hanging in lavish gold-frames on the walls are also frequently found in Copley's interiors. They create independent spheres in which he pursues his erotic fantasies or satirizes world-class artworks - here da Vinci's Last Supper in which Jesus and some of his disciples are replaced by female figures.


The present work is registered in the Estate of William N. Copley, New York.


Galerie Lelong, Zurich (adhesive label verso); private collection, North Rhine-Westphalia


Brigitte Reinhardt (ed.), William N. Copley, True Confession, exhib.cat., Ulmer Museum, Ostfildern 1997, p. 24 with ill.


Vienna 2003 (Bawag Foundation), William N. Copley, Easy to Read Storybook, exhib.cat.nr. 36