Sigmar Polke

Figure with Hand (I Am Made Dizzy by a Carpet of Rose-Petals...)


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Sigmar Polke 1941–2010
Original title
Figur mit Hand (Es schwindelt mir Teppich von Rosenblättern...)
Lithograph on paper
Image: 626 × 453 mm
Purchased 1988

Catalogue entry

P77259 Figure with Hand (I Am Made Dizzy by a Carpet of Rose-Petals... ) 1973
Figur mit Hand (Es schwindelt mir Teppich von Rosenblättern ...)

Offset lithograph 626 × 453 (24 1/2 × 18) on Walter & Mackh blue ‘lizard skin’ paper, same size; printed by Ferdinand Bahruth, Reinbeck and published by Edition Griffelkunst, Hamburg in an edition of 320
Not inscribed
Purchased from Anthony d'Offay Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1988
Lit: Eberhard Freitag and Carl Vogel (eds.), Sigmar Polke: Gesamtgrafik, exh. cat., Kunsthalle, Kiel 1975, [p.72] no.24a, repr.; René Block, K.P. Brehmer, K.H. Hödicke, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Wolf Vostell: Werkverzeichnisse der Druckgrafik, II, Berlin 1976, p.234 no.P19, repr.

This lithograph depicts a large shadowy hand, a small figure with its arms in the air and continuous text made up of capital letters arranged in a rectangle (the text is given in parentheses in the title). The image and letters are printed in black on blue patterned bookbinding paper. In prints as well as paintings, Polke frequently combines texts and images, and imposes them on patterned backgrounds. His use of photomechanical methods to transfer and overlay the different elements in a work allows him to create images of distinctive scale. Most of his prints, including this one, are based on photographs he himself has taken. Polke made the print while living in Düsseldorf, Germany.

P77259 belongs to a group of six lithographs made in 1973 and printed on bookbinding paper. They were the only prints Polke made with this kind of paper; there are no other links between the six images. Only P77259 is on ‘lizard skin’ paper. Freitag and Vogel described the group (Freitag and Vogel 1975, [p.74] nos.19–24, with information on all six prints next to no.P19):

The work on the sheets began in about January 1972. The basic materials at the beginning were manipulated photos by Polke and commercial book-binding paper. The overlays, with the exception of [P77259], originate from Ernst Mitzka. The contribution of the print workshop was substantial, not only with reference to the realisation of Sigmar Polke's ideas, but still more through the productive offering of possibilities. The commercial printing techniques showed themselves to be highly differentiated. The titles are not from Sigmar Polke, but have been agreed by him. They are composed of the title, which allows the print to be easily recognised, and a text extract in parenthesis which guarantees clarity.

There was an edition of 320 printed on blue paper (unsigned and undated), and a further edition of 100 signed prints printed on brown paper. Several proofs on blue paper printed by the artist himself were imperfectly registered. There are a few trial proofs on both blue and brown paper. Aside from the edition, the artist kept back forty sheets of the blue ‘lizard skin’ paper for possible use in a future edition.

Published in:
Tate Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1986-88, London 1996

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