This print from John Baldessari’s “Hegel’s Cellar” portfolio juxtaposes two scenes. At top, a bloodied corpse, possibly from a crime scene photograph, contrasts with a serene beachside shot of a man reclining at the beach, while a subtle line of red added along the lower man’s body accentuates an association between the pair. The similar poses yet wildly differing contexts unleash a range of meaning and enliven the work with a startling power.

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About John Baldessari

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It is hard to characterize John Baldessari's (American, b. 1931) varied practice—which includes photomontage, artist’s books, prints, paintings, film, performance, and installation—except through his approach of good-humored irreverence. Baldessari is commonly associated with Conceptual or Minimalist art, though he has called this characterization “a little bit boring.” His two-dimensional works often incorporate found images, composed in layers or presented as distinct pieces with an element of surprise, like a brightly colored geometric shape in the place of a face or a starkly printed sardonic caption. Baldessari has demonstrated a lasting interest in language and semantics, articulating these concerns through the use of puns or the juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated images and words, as in his 1978 work Blasted Allegories. His self-referencing photomontages and use of text have been sources of inspiration for countless artists, including Cindy Sherman, David Salle, and Barbara Kruger. Baldessari identifies his own artistic lineage, saying, "I would prefer to go to the source with Duchamp rather than credit Warhol as an influence."

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Two Figures (One with Shadow) (from the Hegel’s Cellar portfolio), 1986
Lot Number 4
Etching with aquatint on Rives BFK paper
20.5 x 20 in (52.07 x 50.8 cm)
Edition of 35
Signed and numbered in pencil on verso
Estimate $1,500 - $2,500
Ends Feb 20 at 1:03pm ET
2Days Remaining
$1,500 USD
1 bid, Reserve met
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John Baldessari
Two Figures (One with Shadow) (from the Hegel’s Cellar portfolio)
  • Dimensions
    20.5 x 20 in (52.07 x 50.8 cm)