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oilstick and pencil on paper, in artist's frame
52 ¾ x 38 5⁄8in. (134 x 98cm.)
Executed in 2015
Private Collection, Switzerland.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
H. Ancart and O. Vandervliet (eds.), Harold Ancart: Soft Places, Waregem 2018, p.163 (illustrated in colour, p. 37).


Claudia Schürch
Claudia Schürch Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale


Harold Ancart’s Untitled (2015) is an enlivening shot of energy in the guise of a floral bouquet. The Belgian artist transforms a flowering plant into a riot of colour. His flowers are so bright that they seem beamed from an alien planet. Some have the molten hues of the sun. Others bring together improbably elaborate colour combinations. One, in red, white and blue, even resembles the logo for the soft drink Pepsi, in a wry acknowledgement that this apparent picture of a natural organism is anything but. Ancart’s blooms burst out against soft pink leaves, themselves speckled with lines and patches of different shades. Confetti-like specks of colour surround the plant, as if it has exploded into life. They sprout from an Earth that is itself a primordial blaze of clashing colours, and stand against a cosmic background of black and blue. These are flowers as they might appear on an acid trip.

Untitled was executed using oilstick, with additional marks in pencil. Oilstick dries quickly and produces vivid colours, but makes it harder to achieve precise forms. Ancart welcomes these difficulties, embracing a beautiful chaos. ‘A lot of people focus on what they can control and forget about what they cannot control,’ he explains, ‘but I say, let’s do the opposite’ (H. Ancart, quoted in K. Herriman, ‘Back and Forth with Artist Harold Ancart’, Cultured, 29 April 2019). The layers of oilstick and pencil create a febrile surface, where pigment appears to leap from the picture plane. Ancart contrasts this chromatic depth with a striking flatness of perspective. As a child in Brussels, he copied bandes dessinées and manga, and his work retains the graphic qualities of Belgian comic strip artists like Hergé and Peyo.

Floral bouquets have long been a significant genre of painting, from the refined Dutch still lives of the 17th century to Vincent van Gogh’s lustrous Sunflowers (1887-88). But unlike his Low Countries predecessors, Ancart does not seek to observe the natural world. ‘The flowers in this case,’ he explains, ‘serve as some kind of alibi that allows me to push colour onto the canvas. I do not see myself as a painter of images. I see myself as a painter of colour’ (H. Ancart, quoted in A. Winer, ‘Harold Ancart and Andrew Winer’, Gagosian Quarterly, 22 February 2023). Ancart has lived in New York since 2007, and he cites the American abstract expressionists Clyfford Still and Barnett Newman among his favourite artists. While Untitled ostensibly depicts a figurative subject, Ancart’s fiery squalls of colour evoke the practice of these modern masters. The picture’s ragged, shredded forms in particular echo those of Still. By bringing them into playful dialogue with the representative form of the flower, Ancart encourages us to see the figurative in the abstract and the abstract in the figurative.

更多来自 二十及二十一世纪艺术:伦敦晚间拍卖