Sigmar Polke, Ohne Titel (Untitled), 1965
Ohne Titel (Untitled) was acquired by the visionary New York-based collectors Emily and Jerry Spiegel in 1988 and has remained in their family’s collection since. The Spiegels were early champions of Sigmar Polke’s work in the United States, and their collection comprised significant works by Polke, as well as artists such as Georg Baselitz, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Philip Guston, Donald Judd, Jeff Koons, Brice Marden, Palermo, Francis Picabia, Gerhard Richter, Robert Ryman, and Andy Warhol.
The painting was included in the 1988 show Aspects of Collage, Assemblage and the Found Object in Twentieth-Century Art, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
Polke’s paintings frequently interrogate aesthetic conventions. The present work is among the first of his paintings to address the theme of modernist abstraction in his signature layered, tongue-in-cheek approach to the history of art.
Painted directly onto children’s fabric printed with Native American motifs, this work is one of the earliest examples of Polke’s use of readymade, commercially produced fabric. The painting speaks to a postwar fascination with the mythology of the American West and its representation in Hollywood Westerns.
Konrad Lueg, Sigmar Polke, Blinky Palermo, and Gerhard Richter in front of Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Cologne, 1967. Photo by Thordis Moeller