Six Paintings by Radiohead’s Cover Artist Are Going Up for Sale at Christie’s London—See Them Here

They were made by Stanley Donwood, the English artist responsible for the band’s covers since 1994.

Stanley Donwood, Hole (2001). Courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd.
Stanley Donwood, Hole (2001). Courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd.

The artist behind the cover of Radiohead’s album Kid A is partnering with Christie’s to sell off six paintings he completed as prospective images for the album.

The artworks, which depict jagged winter landscapes that match the tone of the record, were made between 1999 and 2001 by Stanley Donwood, the English artist who has been behind the band’s covers since 1994. They’ll be offered up in the auction house’s “First Open: Post-War and Contemporary Art” online sale, set to run from October 5 to 19. 

Each painting is estimated to fetch £10,000 to £15,000 ($13,600 to $20,400), a Christie’s spokesperson confirmed. None of the works carry a guarantee.

Prior to the final sale, the paintings will go on view in an exhibition at Christie’s London headquarters curated by Donwood and Thom Yorke. Also included in the show—titled “How to Disappear Completely,” after the fourth song on Kid A—will be lyric sheets, drawings, and digital art related to the record. It will be on view October 9 to 15.

Stanley Donwood, Hotels and a Swimming Pool (1999). Courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd.

Stanley Donwood, Hotels and a Swimming Pool (1999). Courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd.

Donwood, who met Yorke when they were at the University of Exeter together, recalled the process of making the paintings in the band’s barn-turned-studio, and finally settling on the one used for the album.

“Very late one night Thom and I were alone in the vast wastes of Oxfordshire, surrounded by darkness and trying to finish the artwork,” the artist said in a statement. “It was impossible—we had made too much, too many pictures, and it was like being in a storm of ideas and drawings, paintings, and texts. We were exhausted and could no longer think clearly.” 

Donwood explained that he and Yorke “had lots of versions of the front cover, all with different pictures and different titles in different typefaces,” but they couldn’t decide on the right one. 

“So we took them all downstairs and used tape to stick them to the cupboards and the fridge in the kitchen, hoping that in the morning the right cover and the right title would be obvious. And it was, and it was called Kid A.”

The sale and concomitant exhibition loosely mark the 21st anniversary of the record, originally released October 2, 2000, and now widely considered to be among the greatest albums of the 21st century. 

See more of Donwood’s Kid A paintings below.

Stanley Donwood, <i>Get Out Before Saturday</i> (2000). Courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd.

Stanley Donwood, Get Out Before Saturday (2000). Courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd.

Stanley Donwood, <i>Residential Nemesis</i> (1999). Courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd.

Stanley Donwood, Residential Nemesis (1999). Courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd.

Stanley Donwood, <i>Trade Center</i> (1999). Courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd.

Stanley Donwood, Trade Center (1999). Courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd.

Stanley Donwood, <i>Minos Wall I</i> (2000). Courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd.

Stanley Donwood, Minos Wall I (2000). Courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd.

 


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