William Nelson Copley - Bob it - image-1

Lot 22 D

William Nelson Copley - Bob it

Auction 1187 - overview Cologne
03.12.2021, 18:00 - Evening Sale - Modern and Contemporary Art
Estimate: 80.000 € - 120.000 €
Result: 100.000 € (incl. premium)

William Nelson Copley

Bob it

Acrylic on canvas. 127 x 102 cm. Framed. Signed and dated 'Cply 94'. - Traces of studio and minor traces of age.

Bob it consolidates a large part of William Copley's classic visual vocabulary. In an environment determined by grey blocks of stone and the chequered tiles of a prison cell, he illustrates a scandalous and unlawful story involving a naked couple - the man still wearing the obligatory bowler hat - an accusing priest, a policeman, a guillotine, and a small dog. What transpired here is left to the imagination of the viewer.
'The outstanding aspect of Copley's art is the complete absence of moralism. In view of the prevailing situation, this is a notable achievement from which we should learn. In earlier times, moralism was a feature of the interpretation of art. Paintings were allowed to be pleasing to the eye, but they also had to be uplifting. Mere enjoyment was out of the question. Today, we are largely freed of this form of moralism: It has been replaced by the moralism of style. […] However, many artists of this century have not bothered much about purity. It took most observers some time to recognise their importance as subversive forces against stylistic dogmatism […]. Picabia was one of these subversive artists, especially in his later years, and Bill Copley is another' Rudi Fuchs expounded on the stylistically and thematically singular exceptional artist (Rudi Fuchs, William N. Copley, exhib.cat. Kunsthalle Bern, Centre Pompidou Paris, Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven 1980/1981, p.3)


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


Estate of William N. Copley, New York; Nolan/Eckman Gallery, New York (adhesive label verso); Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich (adhesive label verso); Galerie Onrust, Amsterdam (stamp and adhesive label verso); private collection, Netherlands


Ulm 1997 (Ulmer Museum), William N. Copley, True Confessions, exhib.cat. no.56, p.86 with colour ill.