Auction | China Guardian (HK) Auctions Co., Ltd.
2024 Spring Auctions > Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art
Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art

Katherine Bradford (b.1942)
Swimmers and Palm Tree(Painted in 2022)

Acrylic on canvas

40.6 × 50.8 cm. 16 × 20 in.

Signed in English and dated on the reverse
Haverkampf Leistenschneider Gallery, Berlin
Private Collection, Asia

Note: a label from Haverkampf Leistenschneider Gallery, Berlin is affixed on the reverse

Thousand Faces, Rebellious Life
Bradford's Pool Kaleidoscope

"It wasn't a leap to be an artist. It was one step after another."
——Katherine Bradford

The artistic journey of American artist Bradford is truly unique: born into a literary family, she graduated from the prestigious Bryn Mawr College in 1965, married into a banking family, and followed what seemed like a smooth path. Later, she moved to Maine with her husband, a professor at the University of Vermont. There, she immersed herself in the local art community, and began creating art. She actively participated in the Maine Art Collective, wrote art critiques for the Maine Times. In 1979, Bradford courageously moved to New York and became a full-time artist. She earned a Master of Fine Arts from the State University of New York in 1987, held solo exhibitions in New York, Chicago, and Boston, and had her works exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Prospect New Orleans Biennial, her works are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum. Despite her unconventional path, she also taught at institutions like the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and Yale University. Bradford received recognition from prestigious foundations and academies, embodying the rebellious spirit of a middle-class woman leaving a mark in the contemporary art world.

Humour and Solitude: the Classic Swimming Series Emerges

In 2015, Bradford showcased an exhibition titled Fear of Waves, where the contrast between tiny swimmers and massive waves expressed the profound and humorous perspective on the unpredictable nature. This successful exhibition led her to focus on creating the Swimming series. The featured work, Swimmers and Palm Tree is a standout piece from this series.

Paying Tribute to Classics: Dramatic Poolside Scenes

The composition of this artwork divides the scene into the blue of the sea and the green of palm trees. On the left, a man in black swim trunks leaps into the pool with outstretched arms, displaying a dynamic beauty. On the right, a woman in red sits by the pool, contemplating whether to take the plunge, accompanied by palm trees. This composition evokes thoughts of David Hockney's masterpiece, Pool with Two Figures. However, unlike Hockney's detailed narrative scenes, Bradford uses simple and deliberately vague strokes to render subtle emotional fluctuations between the characters. With one character decisively leaping and the other hesitating, she subtly portrays the variability and vulnerability of human nature. The scene is depicted with pure colour blocks reminiscent of Mark Rothko, where the green palm trees symbolize vitality, echoing the deep blue pool water like the night, symbolizing the fluidity of human emotions and creating a sense of resonance.

As Bradford, continues to create tirelessly, each small yet resolute character she paints is both universal and unique, fearlessly defending their inner order. Just like the diverse reflections in the urban kaleidoscope, each of us is leading our own splendid lives.

Price estimate:
HKD: 100,000 - 150,000
USD: 12,800 - 19,200

Auction Result:
HKD: 96,000



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