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Aspen Art Museum


Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe

Oil on Canvas
60 x 72 in
Kindly donated by the artist and Almine Rech
Estimate: $60,000–$100,000

About this Work

The man stares back at us. Not hostile, nor especially friendly. His head tilted to one side, he appears relaxed and confident in himself. Settled on a sumptuous velvet raspberry-colored sofa, casually, yet pristinely dressed in sugar pink trousers and a lilac shirt. The details of the clothing—the creases, the logo on the breast pocket—beautifully depicted. And then the skin: painted in what has become Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe’s trademark grayscale palette. The impact of the grays and blacks of the face and arms, is heightened by the eye-popping colors of his clothing and surroundings. The thick impasto of the light blue wall behind the sofa, is another signature element of Quaicoe’s work: a nod to the architectural textures of homes in his native Ghana.

In 2017, Quaicoe left Accra for the US, settling in Portland, Oregon. The influences of both his roots and his new home are evident in his work, with his paintings marrying African culture with the Black culture of the US, not least in the carefully rendered clothing which draws upon the fashions of both places. Growing up in Ghana, as a child he loved to visit movie theaters to see Westerns—a passion that led him to research the overlooked history of African-Americans in the West, and make a series of large-scale paintings of Stetson wearing Black cowboys; again a coming together of interests from his old and new homes. Quaicoe’s portraits are of real people. Once we look beyond their stylish attire, we cannot help but wonder who they are and what they are thinking. Speaking to Terence Trouillot for an article on Art Sy in 2020, the artist explains: “My work was really inspired by how people look at me. It’s like a sense of wondering: ‘Who is this person?’ What I realized is that people couldn’t tell where I was from by the way I dress. And when they found out, they’d approach me very differently than an African American already living here.”

About the Artist

Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe (b. 1988 Accra, Ghana, lives and works in Portland, Oregon). Quaicoe presents his subjects in the form of portraiture where he engages with ideas of empowerment through his bright and luminous depictions of African men and women. This is embodied in the postures of his sitters, who appear set against bright, vibrant monochromatic backgrounds.

How to Bid:

Bidding on this work takes place at the ArtCrush gala on Friday, August 4th, at 8pm MT. Absentee and telephone bidding available - please contact for more information, including a condition report.

There is no Buyer’s Premium and the difference between the mid-estimate and the winning bid is a tax deductible donation to the museum.