KAWS, ‘Untitled (MBFH4)’, 2014, Phillips

From the Catalogue:
In abstractly translating commercially cherished characters, or in directly imprinting them with his mark, KAWS creates his own distinct cartoon universe, filled with characters that are at once familiar, and arresting in their heightened portrayal of human emotion. This effect is uniquely evident in the present lot where the artist depicts the face of Charlie Brown in black and white. Describing his interest in the cartoon’s creator Charles M. Schulz, KAWS states “I’m into Schulz as an artist, a company, an icon; I got into his stuff just because I liked the looseness of the line work, and I thought that it was just sort of a nice thing to bring into my paintings” (KAWS, quoted in Steff Yotka, “Inside KAWS’s Studio With the Artist—And His Snoopy for Uniqlo Toys”, Vogue, April 27, 2017, online). The present painting is distinctly emblematic of this motivation for KAWS to infuse his strokes with Schulz’s designs, while also maintaining gestural strength and tonal solidity in bold black line. With Charlie Brown as a vehicle to express the iconic joy of American cartoon culture, the present lot interprets the tradition of Pop Art on a singularly contemporary scale.
Courtesy of Phillips

Signature: signed and dated "KAWS..14" on the reverse

Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles
Private Collection

About KAWS

“KAWS” is a graffiti artist, illustrator, painter, sculptor, product designer, and toymaker. His cartoonish style—including his best-known characters with X-ed out eyes—has its roots in his early career as a street artist, when he began replacing advertisements with his own, masterful acrylic paintings in the early 1990s. Since, KAWS has embraced the commercialist spirit of Claes Oldenburg and Takashi Murakami, designing everything from Kanye West album covers to Nike sneakers. Avoiding the distinction between products and art objects, KAWS has shown his work increasingly in galleries and museums over the past decade; some of his most famous images are reimagined versions of pop characters like Mickey Mouse and the Michelin Man.

American, b. 1974, Jersey City, New Jersey, based in Brooklyn, New York