Donald Roller Wilson

ROYAL MONKEY
1976
oil on canvas in artist’s frame
23 1/4 x 23 1/4 inches

Donald Roller Wilson lends the same solemnity and artistry found in European court paintings to his imagined scenes of cats, dogs, chimpanzees, and pickles. Fantasy and whimsy permeate his work, though some of his distinguished subjects do not seem in on the joke. Here, a female chimpanzee holds herself proudly in her regalia, surrounded by Wilson’s addition of an over-the-top burled wood frame. In describing the artist’s work, New York Times art critic Ken Johnson said, “Donald Roller Wilson’s goofy, hallucinogenic, Old Master-style paintings of monkeys, dogs, and cats dressed up in antique costumes may be kitsch, but it’s high-quality kitsch, like good beach reading.” Living and working in Arkansas, Wilson’s distinct works are widely represented in private and public collections, including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum, and the Hirschhorn Museum.

estimated retail value: $38,000

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courtesy of the artist and berggruen gallery, san francisco
gallery website: berggruen.com