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Contemporary Art & Design presents Copley

› Signed CpLy and dated 1962 and numbered 4/6. Fabric and metal eyelets 65 x 84.5 cm. Bukowskis would like to thank the CPLY Archives/William N. Copley Estate for their assistance. Estimate 600 000 – 800 000 SEK.


William N. Copley

”Flag of the USA”





In 1962, the same year in which he created the alternative American flag, Copley and his second wife moved to New York. By that time the start of the shift in which New York replaced Paris as the epicentre of innovative art had started. During this period, Copley created several works linked to Pop Art and works with political and satirical elements.

William N. Copley’s work “Flag for the USA” is one of his first works inspired by national flags, an important element in his art. The work is one of his very first sets of flags, created in 1962 in an edition of 6 different motifs. The suit arose in the turbulent period in which the USA found itself in the 1960s, with the Vietnam war, the Civil Rights Movement and race riots.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has all nine flags in its collection. Besides Flag for the USA, Copley created flags for the following nations: Greece, the UK, Japan, Spain, France, Switzerland, the Soviet Union and Belgium. Ten years later, Copley once more took up his imaginative flags. In 1972, at Documenta 5, he presented a new edition entitled “Imaginary Flags”. This time, he created three new subjects (Egypt, China and Panama) and left out his earlier flags for Greece and Belgium. This meant that the 1972 edition included a total of ten flags.

William Copley’s first retrospective exhibition was held in 1966 at the Stedelijk Museum. The list of exhibitions that followed is extensive and practically includes all the major art institutions around the globe. For example, the Prada Foundation in Milan showed a William Copley retrospective in 2016.

His works are found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Moderna Museet in Stockholm has this motif in its collection in the form of a black and white screen print produced by the artist in 1967.


To be sold at Contemporary Art & Design April 26

Viewing April 21 – 25, Berzelii Park 1, Stockholm
Open Weekdays 11 am – 6 pm, helger 11 am – 5 pm
Auction Live April 26, Arsenalsgatan 2, Stockholm


To the work


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Björn Extergren
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