Mr Sillyhead Attacked by Abstraction #2, 2009

Mixed Media

Acrylic inkjet print with watercolor and mixed media

26.00 x 20.00 in

66.0 x 50.8 cm

Unique Work

Signed by the artist.

PRICE: $6,000  or as low as LEARN MORE

26.00 x 20.00 in

66.0 x 50.8 cm

Unique Work


    About The Work

    In an interview at Magnolia Editions, Wiley explains that the Sillyhead character is based on a found 19th century image, cast by the artist as a figure from his own past: “My wife, Mary Hull Webster, when she was a little girl, she and the next door neighbor decided they would be married and they would be Mr and Mrs Sillyhead. So she always tells me I’m not her first husband: ‘before you, there was Mr. Sillyhead.'”

    Wiley created his first ink drawing of Mr Sillyhead in 1997, when Bill Clinton began his second term as president of the United States and the Labour Party toppled decades of conservatism in England. The 2009 Sillyhead series, however, finds our dandified hero confronted with a very different political and economic climate. Wiley’s text uses themes of youth and childhood to suggest both a loss of innocence and a newfound pragmatism. The waggish charm of Mr Sillyhead is offset in this new series by a bittersweet awareness of the machinations of the world around him. A resigned, sardonic kind of look he has here, Wiley says of Sillyhead: “he knows what it’s like out on the street.” As such, in addition to their shared love for Mary Hull Webster, Mr Sillyhead now has something else in common with the artist: as John Yau notes in the “What’s It All Mean” catalog, despite Wiley’s success, “[he] is deeply in touch with his times, and how haunting they can be.”

    Courtesy of Magnolia Editions

    About William Wiley

    • Published by Magnolia Editions.

    • Ships in 10 to 14 business days from California.
    • This work is final sale and not eligible for return.
    • Questions about this work?
    • Interested in other works by this artist or other artists? We will source them for you.
    • Want to pay in installments?

    Contact an Artspace Advisor


    a treasure trove of fine art from the world's most renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. We offer exclusive works you can't find anywhere else.


    through exclusive content featuring art news, collecting guides, and interviews with artists, dealers, collectors, curators and influencers.


    authentic artworks from across the globe. Collecting with us means you're helping to sustain creative culture and supporting organizations that are making the world a better place.


    with our art advisors for buying advice or to help you find the art that's perfect for you. We have the resources to find works that suit your needs.


    Artspace offers you authentic, exclusive works from world-renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. Collecting with us helps support creative culture while bringing you art news, interviews and access to global art resources.