Sean Scully - Aruba - image-1
Sean Scully - Aruba - image-2
Sean Scully - Aruba - image-1Sean Scully - Aruba - image-2

Lot 35 R

Sean Scully - Aruba

Auction 1177 - overview Cologne
17.06.2021, 18:00 - Modern/Contemporary Art - Evening Sale
Estimate: 280.000 € - 320.000 €
Result: 387.500 € (incl. premium)

Sean Scully


Oil on canvas on wood. 122 x 109 cm. Signed, dated and titled 'ARUBA Sean Scully '98 ARUBA' on the wood verso and with directional arrows. - Traces of studio.

During 1997 and 1998, Sean Scully worked on a series of paintings which he named after Caribbean islands. In addition to the painting “Aruba” on offer here, there are, among others, “Bonaire”, “Curacao”, and “Anguilla”. The choice of titles remains a mystery in as much as there is no perceptible correlation to the abstract depictions.
Tonal works in a subdued colour scheme play an important role in Scully's pictorial creative activity. “Aruba” exemplifies this colour palette with its blended nuances of black, grey, beige, and grey. The sequences of horizontally and vertically juxtaposed stripes lend the painting a superficial austerity and linearity, however, upon closer inspection, a multi-layered vitality is disclosed. The style of painting is characterised by a certain irregularity; hand-drawn vibrating lines and blurred contours soften and enliven the severity of the composition. The impasto paint, applied in multiple layers, nevertheless allows the deeper layers to partially show through, evoking a pictorial world hidden beneath the surface.
Two so-called insets containing the narrower sequences of stripes disrupt the actual pictorial space visually and physically. Insets, which Scully has been implementing since the 1980s, are small, separately mounted and painted canvases implanted into the larger work. Unlike painted fields of colour, they enable sharp-edged demarcations within the work, which is otherwise executed with irregular application of paint and diffusely iridescent contours. As a kind of interlocking diptych or triptych, they create pictorial harmonies or conflicts, whereby the newly created connections clearly surpass the expressiveness of the individual parts.

Catalogue Raisonné

Sean Scully Online Catalogue Raisonné, cat.rais. no. SSp98 02


Galerie Jamileh Weber, Zurich (adhesive label verso) (1988); private collection, Switzerland


Demetrio Paparoni, Arthur C. Danto, Arte e poststoria, Conversazioni sulla Fine dell’Estetica e Altro, Venice 2020, n.p.

Kelly Grovier (ed.), Sean Scully, Bricklayer of the soul, Reflections in celebration, Ostfildern 2015, p. 120 with col. ill.