Per Kirkeby, ‘Bezzo’, 1990, Koller Auctions

Per Kirkeby is a Danish painter, sculptor, film maker and poet and is considered one of the most important contemporary artists in Scandinavia. Born in 1938 in Copenhagen, a trained geologist, in 1962 he began his studies at the Experimental Art School in Copenhagen, which he completed in 1964. His first important solo show abroad took place in 1977 at the Museum Folkwang in Essen. His works were later shown throughout Europe and the US.

As an artist, Kirkeby is very open to experimentation and works in various media and techniques. When he started out he was a member of the Fluxus group, in the 1960s he was influenced by Pop Art and later by Tachisme and Art Informel. These different influences are revealed in the changes of style in his art. By the 1970s he had left behind the eye-catching stylistic devices of Pop Art, and turned increasingly from representational art towards abstraction. The power and flow of his brushwork led to a sensual modelling and a dramatic, poetic character in his works. These are not spontaneous and emotional gestures however, but in fact controlled and well-considered compositions and forms of expression.

Signature: Monogrammed, dated and titled lower right: Bezzo 30-9-90 PK. On the reverse with the archive number: GMW Pkz 1542.

Image rights: Courtesy of Koller Auktionen

Zurich 1991, Per Kirkeby. Ohne Titel, Galerie Lelong, April-May 1991.

Galerie Michael Werner.

Acquired from Galerie Lelong, Zurich, by the present owner in 1990 (with the label on the reverse). Since then privately owned Switzerland.

About Per Kirkeby

Originally trained as a geologist, Per Kirkeby is one of Scandinavia’s most celebrated living artists. Influenced by his scientific roots as well as the gestural works of the Abstract Expressionists, Kirkeby creates expressive, heavily layered paintings, which can resemble geological strata, the Danish landscape, and even the female form. “The role of art is to accept that things break down,” he says, “That’s the only way to get something new to emerge.” Known for being uncategorizable, Kirkeby works across media—including architecture, poetry, film, and sculpture—as well as traverses art historical movements, having begun his career as a member of the Fluxus group.

Danish, 1938-2018, Copenhagen, Denmark