Harold Ancart (b. 1980)
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Harold Ancart (b. 1980)


Harold Ancart (b. 1980)
oil stick and graphite on paper, in artist's frame
overall: 52 ½ x 37 7/8in. (133.5 x 96cm.)
Executed in 2015
Xavier Hufkens, Brussels.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
H. Ancart & O. Vandervliet (ed.), Harold Ancart: Soft Places, Waregem 2018, no. 32, p. 162 (illustrated in colour, p. 32).
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.


Astral explosions of electric colour fill Harold Ancart’s vibrant and sublime nightscape. Two spikey plants bloom from a marbleised bed of viscous aquamarine and red; on this extra-terrestrial planet, shadows are acid green, and a blazing rainbow moon hovers high in the blackened sky dusted with technicolour confetti flecks. Drawing with oil stick, Ancart fills his canvas with exuberant marks, brisk, tactile and generous; his paintings are wonderfully and notoriously tactile. Within the unfamiliar and fantastical realm of Untitled, the colours ‘ferment a lurid but apparently consistent realm that might be Lilliputian or giant. The disorientation caused by their abstract ruptures on a dark…plane breeds a near-uncanny or folkloric atmosphere’ (I. Whittaker, ‘Review: Harold Ancart, C.L.E.A.R.I.N.G, New York, UK’, Frieze, 21 October 2015, https://frieze.com/article/harold-ancart). In Untitled, Ancart conjures a make-believe land of shattering luminosity and pure cosmic form.
With their jagged and raw chromatic accumulations, Ancart’s work is often compared to that of Clyfford Still, as well as other American Abstract Expressionists. But he has long been inspired by the unruly emotive colour of Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka, and how Frank Auerbach’s paintings accrue meaning through layers of paint. Born in Belgium, Ancart began drawing at a young age. Growing up, he was devoted to Manga and comic books, evidence of which can be seen in his flat, expressive geometries. For Ancart, comics reveal ‘unthinkable universes’ through rudimentary means (H. Ancart quoted in N. Rae, ‘How the Self-Deprecating Belgian Painter Harold Ancart Charmed the Art World’, Artnet, September 2016, http://www.c-l-e-a-r-i-n-g.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Artnet_Harold_Ancart_2019.pdf).
He first gained recognition for his paintings of icebergs and campfires, rendered exotic and mysterious using a Day-Glo colour palette. For the artist, the horizon line is the guiding technical device that unites his paintings; ‘Without a horizon line’, he reflected, ‘one gets lost and eventually dies’ (H. Ancart quoted in N. Rae, ‘How the Self-Deprecating Belgian Painter Harold Ancart Charmed the Art World’, Artnet, September 2016,). For most of his career, Ancart has worked on vertical canvases where he incorporates this transverse demarcation to orient his images. The strict, predetermined framework encourages a wild and unrestricted improvisation: ‘When this super-simple structure repeats, it allows you to mess around as much as you want after that,’ he has said (H. Ancart quoted in N. Rae, ‘How the Self-Deprecating Belgian Painter Harold Ancart Charmed the Art World’). Indeed, as otherworldly as Untitled might appear, the laws of gravity still apply; in this interstellar expanse, the horizon secures all.

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