In 1988, Kippenberger is activist, ambitious and worldly. Coming to Vienna for business, he unintentionally arrives in a grubby hotel because all the others are full. He stages himself in Picasso pants and looks in the mirror. He sees how much he is ugly.
Kippenberger's self-portraits in Picasso underwears display an unpleasant bearded man with a beer belly. He is 35 years old. This series not only shows the beginning of the inexorable physical decline of the artist, but it mostly questions the future of artistic expression in the classis form of painting.
On November 12 in New York, Christie's sells an oil on canvas 242 x 202 cm, lot 40 estimated 15M. In an arrogant attitude opposite to Picasso's, the man without legs is placed on a shelf as if he were a pottery.
Another painting of same size was sold for $ 18.6M including premium by Christie's on May 12, 2014. The man is seen through a buttocks-shaped keyhole. His attitude is so abject that he prefers hiding his head in a blue drop.
Another one, sold for $ 4.1M including premium by Sotheby's on May 12, 2009, had been discussed in this column. Showing the man bending as for vomiting, it is the most realistic of these three artworks.