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    Description

    Roger Brown (1941-1997)
    All Night Stand, 1969
    Acrylic on canvas
    30 x 36 inches (76.2 x 91.4 cm)
    Signed, dated, and titled on the reverse: ALL NIGHT STAND Roger Brown 69

    NOTE:
    Affiliated with the late 1960s Chicago Imagists, whose narrative and surrealistic paintings countered the prevailing Minimalism of the day, Roger Brown developed a distinctive visual vocabulary of streamlined architecture and silhouetted figures in stylized cityscapes or landscapes to comment on social and political issues. The influences on Brown's aesthetic were numerous, starting in his Church-of-Christ childhood in Hamilton, Alabama: his woodworker father taught him the beauty of hand-made objects and vernacular architecture; his mother, on long road trips, the importance of family narratives and the American landscape; and his brother, an appreciation for comics and the Art Deco architecture of their local movie theater. While studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) from 1962-1970, Brown developed an art historical foundation, gravitating to the work of Pre-Renaissance Italian artists, Surrealists Rene Magritte and Giorgio de Chirico, and American Regionalists Edward Hopper, Grant Wood, and Georgia O'Keeffe. Two SAIC professors, in particular, inspired Brown to become a voracious collector: art historian Whitney Halstead introduced him to local self-taught artists, and painter Ray Yoshida took him to the legendary Maxwell Street flea market. These formative experiences prompted Brown to amass during his lifetime over 1500 art and decorative objects, which he assembled in four house-studios in Chicago, Illinois, New Buffalo, Michigan, La Conchita, California, and Beulah, Alabama. Other major influences on Brown were his dealer Phyllis Kind, who represented him for 26 years beginning in 1970, and his love partner of 12 years, the architect George Veronda, both of whom encouraged Brown's later themes addressing political events and male sexuality.

    Brown's 1969 All Night Stand epitomizes his early work from his SAIC period, presenting many of his hallmark forms, themes, and techniques: cartoon-like cityscapes with deserted streets, Art Deco theaters and other mysterious buildings, and silhouettes of people and cars; spotlights and eerie background lighting, creating graphic shadows; and a predominantly black-grey-white palette punctuated with primary-colored accents. James Connolly, Collection Manager, Roger Brown Study Collection, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, writes,

    "[All Night Stand] is such a great painting and an interesting example of a transitional phase where Roger moved from paintings of theater interiors in 1968-1969 to roadside attractions in 1970. I consider All Night Stand to be part of a series of works in between these two bodies of work, where he left the theater interior and went out to the city streets surrounding the theater. . . . Roger often showed Edward Hopper-like figures in public who appear to be isolated and alienated from the world around him (he would have seen Nighthawks at the Art Institute, and he directly referenced this Hopper painting in at least one of his works). I've always pictured Roger as a young man in college walking the streets alone, feeling alienated by the big new city after moving there from Alabama when I think of him making these works. . . . I do think the figures are lining up at a theater, which Roger depicted often, and the figures in the box make me think of his many Edward Hopper allusions though it's an oddly small building. Many of his scenes from this period are very surreal and dreamlike, containing impossible/nonsensical spaces. The obelisk is another recurring image Roger used throughout his life, so it's interesting to see here. Another interesting detail is the cars peaking up in the background. This, combined with the road barrier detail, alludes to Roger's roadside attraction paintings that were made in the following years" (email to Mary Adair Dockery, Heritage Auctions).

    Brown, who had an extensive vinyl record collection and was known to reference songs in his paintings, possibly titled the present lot after the 1965 popular song "All Night Stand" by The Kinks. The lyrics describe the difficulty of life on the road for a performer, easily serving as a metaphor for the urban alienation that fascinated Brown:

    All night stand,
    Been around seen a thousand places.
    All night stand,
    Seen a good half a million faces.

    Because I've lived this life,
    And I made it for myself.
    If you scandalize my name,
    Then you scandalize yourself.

    Because I'm not to blame,
    For the things that I've been doing.
    You all say that I'm bad,
    And I'll only end in ruin.

    All night stand,
    With a different girl each night.
    All night stand,
    With two hundred miles to ride.

    But I won't give it up,
    As long as I can make the bread.
    When I do, I shall stop,
    Close my eyes and go to bed.

    And forget all this night,
    And all the people on my back.
    Once I'm free from these chains,
    I ain't never looking back. . . .

    We wish to thank James Connolly, Collection Manager, Roger Brown Study Collection, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, for his contribution to this essay. A page from Roger Brown's 1968-1970 sketchbook from this collection shows preliminary studies for this painting.




    Condition Report*: Unlined canvas. Horizontal craquelure at center; areas of inpainting; small repair lower left.
    This work was conserved by Las Negras Studio, LLC. Please refer to the department for a copy of the Condition Report.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2020
    19th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,590

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