Kai Althoff German

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 915

Known as much for his performance and installation-based practice as for his lush paintings and drawings, Althoff references the complex art history of Europe in his work. The artist often looks to the Expressionists, Nabis, and Post-Impressionist artists of France and Germany, particularly, Edouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard, Paul Gauguin, and Franz Marc. While the era and location of the interior depicted in Untitled are ambiguous, the clothing and hairstyles of the three figures, alongside the careful facture and moody tonality of the work itself, indicate perhaps a scene from the beginning of the twentieth century. Although the artist seems ambivalent about the past he often represents, there always remains, as in this picture, a vague sense of menace, lived trauma, or damaging history.

Untitled, Kai Althoff (German, born Cologne, 1966), Oil on wool in artist-made frame

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© The Artist. Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London. Photo: Mark Woods.