Llyn  Foulkes (B. 1934) Post Card #2, 1964

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Lot 44
Llyn Foulkes
(B. 1934)
Post Card #2, 1964

Sold for US$ 60,075 inc. premium
Property from the Denman Collection, Seattle
Llyn Foulkes (B. 1934)
Post Card #2, 1964

signed, inscribed and dated 'This Painting is dedicated to the American -L. Foulkes 1964' (center left)
oil on canvas

65 x 65 1/2 in.
165.1 x 166.4 cm.


  • Provenance
    Rolf Nelson Gallery, Los Angeles
    Acquired directly from the above by the present owner

    Champaign, Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting and Sculpture, 7 March-11 April 1965
    Washington DC, Washington Gallery of Modern Art, Twentieth Century Painting from the Collections in the State of Washington, 1966
    Biennale de Paris, 1967
    Newport Beach, Newport Harbor Art Museum, L.A. Pop in the Sixties, 23 April-19 August 1990, p. 102, no. 57, illustrated (this exhibition later traveled to the Newport Harbor Art Museum, 20 April - 9 July 1989, Seattle, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, 20 September-5 November 1989, Palm Springs Desert Museum, 17 November 1989-14 January 1990, Purchase, Nueberger Museum, State Museum of New York, 8 April-17 June, 1990, Phoenix Art Museum, 6 July-19 August 1990)
    Laguna Beach, Laguna Art Museum, Llyn Foulkes: Between a Rock and a Hard Place, 28 October 1995-21 January 1996, p. 45, illustrated (this exhibition later traveled to Cincinnati, The Contemporary Art Center, 3 February-31 March 1996, The Oakland Museum, 19 November 1996-29 January 1997, Purchase, Nueberger Museum, State University of New York, 23 February-20 April 1997, Palm Springs Desert Museum, 16 December 1997-1 March 1998)
    Los Angeles, Hammer Museum, Llyn Foulkes, 2 February-19 May 2013, p.49, illustrated (this exhibition later traveled to New York, New Museum, June-September 2013, Kleve, Germany, Museum Kurhaus Kleve, November 2013-March 2014)

    Llyn Foulkes was born in Washington State during the Great Depression. As a child, he spent much of his free time drawing cartoons inspired by his favorite characters, including Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. His interest in pop culture cartoons and music, which has been a constant area of creativity in his life, are an enormous influence on his artistic practice, as is his formative experience in the military. In 1954 Foulkes was drafted into the U.S. Army and served two years in post-war Germany. This experience with scarred citizens in a country still devastated by war would deeply affect him.

    After returning to the States, he moved to Los Angeles to attend the Chouinard Art Institute from 1957-1959 where he studied alongside Ed Ruscha, Larry Bell and Joe Goode. Foulkes showed at Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles with his contemporaries, but he didn't stay long with the gallery, finding his aesthetic divergent to the program there. Although often critical in content, Foulkes' paintings have a pop sensibility, that draw from the cartoons of his youth and American consumerist culture. This rebellion in the face of jolly Americana can be readily seen in the Post Card paintings. Foulkes utilizes the composition and iconography of the postcard to hold a subversive mirror up to economic property and the hollowness of the American dream.

    In Post Card #2, Foulkes uses a painting technique he developed in the early 1960s that has become a signature. He uses a rag to add and remove paint from the canvas, which leaves a textured surface that he has employed in creating his famous rock paintings, as well as illustrating human flesh. Foulkes' use of this method to depict both the rocky landscapes of the American west and something as ephemeral and delicate as human skin imbues his figures with a weighty monumentality. The position of the body in Post Card #2 resembles art historical depictions of Christ on a cross and the treatment of the flesh with the rag technique adds a sense of death and eternality. 'Even before he encountered the haunting images of a devastated Germany and the inhumanity of the Holocaust, Foulkes had a fascination with death, but death that was aged or patinated: he was more interested in mummies than blood and guts.' (A. Subotnick, "Lone Star", Llyn Foulkes, Hammer Museum, 2013, p. 80). This mummified cross-like figure is next to horizontal stripes that bring to mind the American flag. The present painting is an important early work that exemplifies everything that Foulkes' art is at its most gripping - raw, immediate, visceral, emotionally powerful. It is both a work of pop art and a painting about the struggle to maintain one's humanity in a cruel and manipulative world.

    Foulkes has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prize for painting at the 1967 Paris Biennial, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Fellowship in 1977, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in 2008, and the Artists' Legacy Foundation Award in 2009. His solo shows include the Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, 1978; Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, 1984; Cincinnati, Contemporary Arts Center, 1995; Laguna Beach, Laguna Art Museum, 1995; and a major traveling retrospective originating at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and traveling to the New Museum, New York, and Museum Kurhaus Kleve, Germany (2013–14). Foulkes participated the Venice Biennale (2011) and Documenta, Kassel, Germany (2012).
Llyn  Foulkes (B. 1934) Post Card #2, 1964
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