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Contemporary art

Western art

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Three men in cravats triptych



Francis Alÿs

Belgium, Mexico

1959 -


Francis Alÿs’ work is at once surreal and anchored in everyday experiences of city life. Much of his work occurs in or directly references urban streets and has a peculiar, awkward charm that highlights the strangeness of the ordinary.

Both ‘New York triptych’ and ‘Three men in cravats triptych’ draw upon the vernacular of Mexican sign painting, blurring the boundaries between commercial and fine art practices. Taking up the themes of repetition and authenticity, these works are collaborative, with Alÿs making a small painting that local sign painters then reproduce on a larger scale, each painter inevitably imbuing the image with their own subtle shifts in style and scale.




Media category


Materials used

oil on board, enamel on metal series consisting of one painting by Francis Alÿs (left) and sign paintings by Juan Garcia (centre) and Emilio Rivera (right)


installation dimensions variable :

a - oil on board, 30 x 21.2 x 1.4 cm

b - enamel on metal, 122 x 92 x 2 cm

c - enamel on metal, 65 x 80.5 x 6 cm

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r. verso panel a, black fibre-tipped pen "Francis Alÿs.../ ...1995".
Signed and dated l.r. verso panel c, black fibre-tipped pen "FRANCIS ALŸS/.../... 1995".
Signed and dated right edge verso panel c, black fibre-tipped pen "...Francis Alÿs... 1995".


John Kaldor Family Collection


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Francis Alÿs

Works in the collection


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 2 publications


Wayne Tunnicliffe (Editor), John Kaldor family collection: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2011, 170, 172-173 (colour illus.).

Adam Free, Journey to now: John Kaldor art projects and collection, Adelaide, 2003, 42 (colour illus.), 60.