What’s on The Walls at VFA

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Many celebrities have been broadcasting from home because of  shelter-in-place orders, and it’s been interesting to see how they’ve decorated their personal spaces.

Some of the interiors are incredibly extravagant, some just ho-hum and many a mixture of the good, the bad and the ugly. What interests us most is the art that hangs on the walls, especially when it’s done by an artist whose work is in our gallery.

Andy Warhol and Takashi Murakami

When Canadian rapper Drake danced the Toosie Slide through his mansion outside of Toronto, he danced in front of a grand piano with a skull motif designed by Takashi Murakami on the inside lid.

Drake’s piano. Inside lid design by Takashi Murakami.

A few more steps and slides and Drake was in front of Andy Warhol’s Mao, one of the works also available at VFA.

Donald Sultan

CNBC financial news analyst, David Faber, has self-isolated and is broadcasting from home.

It looks comfy and cozy and, best of all, there is a wonderful work by Donal Sultan on the wall behind him.

Julian Opie

If you’ve got to stay at home, secluding in Lyford Cay, an old, established, private community in the Bahamas is one way to go.

A portrait by Julian Opie over the fireplace of Lulu de Kwiatkowski’s home.

Artist Lulu de Kwiatkowski remodeled the old house with a mixture of eclectic furniture and art, including a portrait by Julian Opie hung over the home’s original fireplace.

Richard Estes

Every day we see pictures of the deserted streets of New York, a jarring site now because of the pandemic. But Richard Estes, a founder of photorealist painting, depicted the starkness, and often the solitude, of the city during his long career.

Richard Estes
Madison Square, 1994

A 2019 documentary titled Actually, Iconic: Richard Estes looks at the extraordinary career of the 87-year-old artist, who used the techniques of old masters to create modern masterpieces.

On the Walls at VFA

Please contact us if you would like information about any of the works on the walls at VFA. Take a tour of the gallery  and get to know our favorite artists and their stories on our artist’s pages.

We hope you stay safe and well during this difficult time and that you can take comfort in the beauty that art has to offer.

Interior Designer Critiques the Most Stylish Work From Home Sets of TV Pundits in Self-Isolation. Mediaite. April 8, 2020.
Mieke ten Have. Lulu de Kwiatkowski Crafts an Exuberant Bahamian Home. Architectural Digest. April 18, 2020.
Anjuly Mathai. The art of solitude. The Week. April 26, 2020.

Take Part in Art During the Quarantine

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The quarantine has been a springboard for many of us to learn new skills, study things we never had time for in the past and find gratitude for many of the things that we used to take for granted. The viewing of fine art through virtual museum and gallery tours has greatly increased. Auction houses are reporting that younger, first time art buyers from countries around the world are showing an increased interest in fine art.

There are a lot of DYI sites on line and some great ideas, kooky ideas and terrible (but still interesting) ideas out there. Here are a few of the highlights:

Build a Gallery

Nine-month-old brothers Pandoro and Tiramisù survey London’s newest art institution, The Gerbil Museum (photo courtesy museum trustees Filippo and Marianna)

On a quiet Sunday, a couple of art lovers, quarantined in London, decided to create an art gallery for their gerbils, Pandora and Tiramisu.

Although the original art is very classic, and classy, the gerbils seemed to enjoy the furniture more than the art. They completely ignored the prominently posted Do Not Chew sign.

Do The Toosie Slide

Drake, the Canadian Rapper, posted a video that went viral, when he danced The Tootsie Slide through his 50,000 square foot home outside of Toronto.

What caught our attention was what showed up at the :45 second mark: the Andy Warhol screenprint of Chairman Mao on the wall of Drake’s home, just like one that we have, for sale, on our wall at VFA.

Learn to Screenprint

You probably don’t have photo emulsion at home, but you can still learn the screenprint process by watching the How to Print Like Warhol  video from the Tate Modern.

Artists like Andy Warhol and Alex Katz make screen printing look simple. Knowing the amount of thought and work that goes into a deceptively simple appearing work like Katz’s After Degas or Coca Cola Girl 3, which is a 20-color screenprint, lends a new level of appreciation to the work.

Draw a Picture

Paul Klee wrote, “A drawing is simply a line going for a walk.”

If you’ve got a pencil and paper, there are some great drawing tutorials on line, like the videos done by middle school teacher, Jessica Hopper, who uses ketchup, coffee and other household items in the ‘Quarantine Edition’ of her YouTube art tutorials.

A screenshot from one of Jessica Hopper’s recent “Art Club: Quarantine Edition” videos

Drawing is not as simple for all of us as it was for Paul Klee (or as it is for Julian Opie), but it may be worth a try.

Contact us at VFA

Please phone or connect with us online if you have any questions about the works in the VFA gallery.
We hope you, your friends and family stay safe and well.

Hrag Vartanian. A Couple Made a Mini-Museum for Their Gerbils to Visit During Quarantine. April 6, 2020.
Michael Saponara.  7 Things You Might Have Missed Inside Drake’s House in ‘Toosie Slide’ Video. Billboard. April 3, 2020.

Black Friday: Thinking Outside the Box

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Visitors to our gallery, looking for unusual and inspirational holiday gifts, have inspired us to feature the works of artists who thought outside the box…as many artists do…and whose works are iconic, ironic, sardonic and even a little sentimental.

Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol

Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol were both looking for ways to go beyond Abstract Expressionism and take their work in a different direction. In the early 1960s both Lichtenstein and Warhol were using comics to create paintings and, though Warhol worked as a commercial artist and Lichtenstein as a college professor, their presentations of Pop culture was similar…they presented an objective image and allowed the viewer to decide how to interpret each work.

Roy Lichtenstein. Brushstroke on Canvas and Reflections on Crash

For Lichtenstein, it was using the brushstroke, which Abstract Expressionist painters often wielded with abandon, taking it one step further, and making the brushstroke itself the subject of the painting. Brushstroke on Canvas, available at Vertu, is just one of a series that Lichtenstein did as a nod to Abstract Expressionist painters who liked to show off their brushstrokes.

Reflections on Crash was also part of a series which Lichtenstein was inspired to do when he looked at paintings that were matted, framed and put behind glass for exhibit. He became interested in the way reflections of the light on the glass often obscures part of the painting. Lichtenstein used bars of Ben Day dots and paint stripes to create the effect of reflections on a work of art behind glass. He said that he liked being able to obscure certain parts of the painting with the reflection effect, and pick and choose the parts of the painting that he wanted the viewer to focus on.

Andy Warhol. Mao and Brooklyn Bridge

Warhol did many portraits of Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong, some more bizarre than others, as if Mao was a commercial commodity that could be adapted to fit the propagandizing needs of the advertiser. for the version of Mao that is currently in our gallery, he used a picture of Mao that was on the cover of the 1966 publication Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, also known as the Little Red Book, as a template.

The Brooklyn Bridge screenprint was done for the Brooklyn Bridge Centennial in 1983. Limited editions were sold to help fund the commemoration celebrations. The bridge itself took fourteen years to build and cost the lives of about twenty construction workers. The original signed silkscreens were highly coveted by collectors of Warhol’s work and by New Yorkers who have a fondness for the engineering marvel.

Mel Bochner. BLAH, BLAH, BLAH

The son of a sign painter, Mel Bochner has used words to explore their power, and their limits, and has used paint in much the same way. The process he employs for some of his word paintings is an intricate and unusual one. He etches the letters into a plastic base, fills each letter with paint and then uses a high-powered press to push the paint onto black velvet. The results, due to the differences in the manufacture of oil paints and to the nature of velvet, creates an industrial effect that enhances each letter.

Bochner says that he likes to see how viewers react to his paintings. He says that he has seen a lot of people take pictures of themselves in front of BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. Judging by the many versions he has done and the many ways that is has been used, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH seems to have a universal appeal.

If you’re thinking outside the box this holiday season we invite you to browse through our gallery of extraordinary works.

Andy Warhol $

Summer Selections at Vertu

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Here’s a look at just a few of our Summer favorites, for sale at Vertu.

Frank Stella

Frank Stella said that the protractor created both “stability and instability” in his work. Stella created his Protractor Series between 1967 and 1971. The series consists of large paintings and prints, where the protractor patterns are placed in what he called, Variations l, ll and lll. The variations consist of interlacing, concentric and fan-like patterns.In Bonne Bay the protractor patterns are interlaced, the repeat patterns distinguished by fluorescent ink colors, as refreshing as a day at the beach. In Sinjerli the patterns are contained within a circle of bold colors.

Andy Warhol

A stay at a fabulous hotel, combined with a perfect sunset, was the idea behind Andy’s Warhol’s Sunset. Architect Philip Johnson, a long-time collector of Warhol’s work,  asked Warhol to do a series of prints for the Hotel Marquette, which Johnson was designing in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Johnson furnished the guest rooms with purple vinyl bedspreads, shag carpets and flocked wallpaper. The Sunset prints may have been the most serene objects in the hotel. The prints were done in varying combinations of colors. When the hotel closed, in 1981, the prints were returned to Warhol. This must have made Warhol deliriously happy, since Warhol loved money and painted several series of dollar signs over several decades.

Tom Wesselmann

There is a playfulness of Tom Wesselmann’s, especially in his laser cut drawings, “I anticipated how exciting it would be for me to get a drawing back in steel.” he said, “I could hold it in my hands. I could pick it up by the lines, off the paper. It was so exciting. It was like suddenly I was a whole new artist.” Monica Sitting Undressing and other two and three dimensional works by Tom Wesselmann are available at Vertu.

Alex Katz

Nothing says summer like a bathing suit and a sun hat, two components of Alex Katz’s Ariel-Black/White. In poses reminiscent of an Egyptian mural, Ariel moves across the surface of the print. Katz had also done Ariel in Red. Late Summer Flowers, portraits and other works are available at Vertu.

Robert Mangold

Robert Mangold says he like to present himself, and his viewers, with problems to solve. His visual structures often appear architectural, but with the centers missing, the shapes geometrical, yet askew. Both Ring Image A and Red/Grey Zone are Mangold at his best and most interesting.

Roy Lichtenstein

Lichtenstein created Modern Print for an exhibit at MoMa in 1971, and it was shown alongside works by Frank Stella, Robert Ruscha, Jasper Johns and other artists who were invited to present their work that used the latest printing and computer techniques available at the time.

Chuck Close

We have a number of portraits by Chuck Close available at Vertu, include several self-portraits. One of our favorites is the 203 color screenprint he did in 2007. Typically Close, this self portrait is big and bold, much like the artist himself.

Julian Opie

Julian Opie is a master at showing us how we look now, today, with no frills. His subjects are faceless, moving, restless. Woman with a ponytail wearing dark glasses on top of her head, with a shoulder bag and stripes on her shoes and sweat shirt appears to be standing still, but her posture suggests that she won’t be still for long.

Please come in or contact us if you have any questions about these Summer Selections or any of the other work available at Vertu.

Frank Stella “Das Erdbeben in Chili [N#3]”, (1999)

Frank Stella: Not His First Rodeo

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If you’re lucky enough to be in New York between now and February 7, you’ll be able to see the Frank Stella retrospective at the new Whitney Museum of American Art. If you can’t make it to Manhattan, just keep reading and we’ll tell you how you can see the exhibit without leaving home.

This show is not Stella’s first rodeo. In 1970, at the age of 33, Stella was the youngest artist ever to have a retrospective at MoMA. His second MoMA retrospective was in 1987. Now, at age 79, Stella is the first artist to have a one-person retrospective at the new Whitney.

About sixty pieces of Stella’s work, work that he’s made over a period of nearly sixty years, are on display in the Whitney’s large, fifth floor gallery.

A far cry from his early, reductive, minimal black paintings, that catapulted Stella to fame in the art world, many of the works are wild with color, texture and depth. Some of the pieces are sculptural and architectural. Some look like Stella need only to add an engine and they could take off. Part of the fun for us, at Vertu, is seeing some of the works at the Whitney and similar works that are in our gallery.

When visitors enter the Whitney, they’re presented with the 40 foot long by 12 foot high acrylic on canvas, Das Erdbeben in Chili, done in 1999. (The translation is, The Earthquake in Chili).

Before Das Erdbeben, Stella did a relief etching and aquatint called Egyplosis Relief. Although much smaller in scale, this 1996 work is a glimpse into where the artist was going with the relief work. Best of all, Egyplosis Relief is in our gallery at the present time, and at just 31.5 inches square, you don’t need a 40 foot wall for hanging.

Just to the left of Das Erdbeben in Chili is Pratfall, a ten-foot-square acrylic painting that Stella created in 1974.

Before Pratfall there was Sharpesville. It’s not ten-feet-square, but a 16 X 22 inch offset lithograph, created in 1973, with the same feel as the larger work and is available in our gallery.

Of course, the retrospective includes some of Stella’s black paintings, like, Jill, from 1959.

We’ve got Black Stack in our gallery, a lithograph created in 1970, the year of Stella’s first retrospective at MoMA.

What I see my job as is showing people what the real art world is …”
—James Kalm

To get a tour of the retrospective from the comfort of home, you can follow James Kalm, a Brooklyn artist who takes his video camera to gallery openings around New York, for those of us who can’t make the trip:

The diversity of Stella’s work, over his 57-year-career, is apparent when viewing this retrospective. It also gave us, here at Vertu, an even greater appreciation of the variety of Frank Stella’s work that is in our gallery.

Our Creation: The VFA Experience

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Like many of our clients, at Vertu Fine Art our passion for excellence consumes us and rarely do we take a moment to observe our gallery from the 10,000 feet perspective.  When we do, it looks like this:

No wonder we don’t do it more often, as it induces a bit of vertigo (not to be confused with Vertu-go). But, all kidding aside, recently our gallery director Bill Pugsley and owner Gary Santoro were interviewed by local media and asked about the uniqueness of VFA.

In essence, here is a bit of paraphrasing about what some of what the gallery does best.

Pop, Op and Abstract Expressionism

Our focus is on the Contemporary Art that we find most intriguing – Pop Art, Optical Art and Abstract Expressionism. We feature some of the most famous works by the masters of each category, coupled with rare finds that are equally, and sometimes more, enticing to serious collectors. Pop Art collectors familiar with our gallery may think of our gallery to a Pop shop – featuring so many classic works from the likes of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Indiana, Keith Haring and Tom Wesselmann. Similarly, Op Art collectors know VFA for featuring the works of legendary masters such as Victor Vasarely and Richard Anuszkiewicz. Certainly other collectors know that VFA features a truly fine variety of Abstract Expressionist works from the likes of Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Sam Francis and Helen Frankenthaler. Like many of the artist’s we collect, we find it hard to pigeonhole our gallery. While we are founded on a Pop, Op and Abstract Expressionist foundation, our interests include an array of emerging Contemporary Artists, many who crossover a number of movements and others whose works simply defy any such categories.

Empathetic Match Makers

Our sincere belief is that we excel at what we do because we love every piece that comes through our doors. We speak of our collection as though we’re proud parents of each work, intimately familiar with the qualities that make them endearing and attached to the point of near indulgence. Yet, we want what’s best for each piece, to find its rightful place in this world. From the other angle, there are our clients, who we learn more about with each passing month. Our goals are always to facilitate each client’s ability to obtain the works that best suit his or her current needs, taking into consideration the overarching ambitions related to each collection. We understand that it’s quite possible to fall in love with a work as seen in the gallery and imagine it on wall in dwelling − only to see it differently in the actuality of the light that dances in that space. In such cases, we encourage clients to make an exchange and try once more, as the outcome must nothing less than satisfying.

Realism, Hyperrealism and Photorealism

At VFA, we strive to always keep our fingers on the pulse of what new and what’s different. We take great pleasure in introducing clients and gallery visitors to works that surprise and delight. Marilyn Minter’s provocative images, Chuck Close’s photo mosaic portraits and Carole Feuerman’s lifelike figures are just some of the astounding unique works you’ll see at VFA. In similar fashion, we’ve introduced collectors to the incredible hyperrealism of Ann Halldin-Maule, who’s painstaking works offer insightful social commentary.

Different in a Good Way

Vertu Fine Art is a gallery that’s prideful about our uniqueness. We work hard to demystify the Contemporary Art collecting experience and to educate our clients. Likewise, we never fail to stop learning − from clients, visiting experts and industry professionals. Our desire is for VFA to be a welcoming space, a place to decompress and enjoy the invigorating qualities of fine art. Our gallery director and owner are accessible and attentive to the needs of clients and gallery visitors. We sincerely hope that if you’re in the area, you’ll drop and see what’s new. Always feel free to contact us with any questions or needs. We appreciate your interest in sharing this experience with us!

New Pop Art For Sale at Vertu Fine Art Gallery

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At VFA our Boca Raton gallery continues to acquire and feature some of the finest quality Pop Art prints and originals that can be found in South Florida. Some of the exciting new art for sale is listed here. Our passion leads us to regularly buy and sell the finest quality of Pop Art lithographs, sculptures, paintings and unique objects available, so our inventory changes frequently. Visit our gallery at Boca Center or contact us for prompt attention regarding anything that you may be seeking or to learn more about our most recent acquisitions.

Of the American Pop Art masters that continue to grow in legend and capture the imagination, Roy Lichtenstein’s popularity remains at high pitch. Lichtenstein’s Crak!, a captivating offset lithograph that holds a solid place among those works that launched him into the public eye, is as spectacular now as it was fifty years ago, when the artist created it for a Leo Castelli exhibition in the fall of 1963. The deadpan comic book design contains the Ben-Day dots that Lichtenstein single-handedly transposed from low art into the highest echelons of Contemporary Fine Art. This piece is pure Pop Art, demonstrating clearly how Roy Lichtenstein captured the pubic imagination and earned the reputation of an artist with incredible vision.

Another equally impressive Roy Lichtenstein lithograph now hanging in our Boca Raton gallery is Foot and Hand (Cat. #II 4), also a famous Lichtenstein tribute the popular comic books of the time. For collectors of Roy Lichtenstein, Foot and Hand delivers all that is great about the artist’s works. This popular print shows off the artist’s delight in capturing the campy action of the comics− the dramatic moment rendered by way of Ben-Day dots, primary colors and strong contrasts − as the shaded boot puts emphatic halt to the hand that reaches for the revolver. Roy Lichtenstein’s comic works makes the viewer feel as if they’ve stepped back in time. This quintessential style felt both antiquated and nostalgic in the early sixties when the artist “blew it up” and it’s equally poignant today. If anything, fifty years later, Lichtenstein’s Pop Art slices of life feel as hip as anything that’s been showcased since.

Pop and Abstract Expressionist Art collectors will be pleased to learn of the newly acquired Robert Rauschenberg print L.A. Uncovered #10. Every print from Robert Rauschenberg’s historic L.A. Uncovered series is a piece in high demand, featuring images photographed by the artist himself, from the seat of a car, as he took a peak at the City of Los Angeles’ underbelly. Rauschenberg is frequently credited for the influence of his early works, which paved the way for American Pop Artists, presenting a new sensibility of cultural observation and reflection. In 1998, Rauschenberg was still discovering new methods for finding the most authentic human stories, enabling him to continue creating his famous mash-ups. The artist’s collages artfully illuminate the spectrum of realities that face all beings on the planet at any given moment. L.A. Uncovered #10 gives us pause to explore our own insights, as unique and varied as the iconic images juxtaposed before us.

Moving from American Pop Artists to the U.K’s Young British Artist (YBA) movement – our Boca Raton Art gallery proudly features new works from Michael Craig-Martin – the artist credited for inspiring a number of YBA artists, including Damien Hirst, Ian Davenport, Fiona Rae and others. Craig-Martin is best known for his ability to show us grand elements in even the most mundane of common objects. Catalan Suite II, a series of six objects, each portrayed individually, is a surprisingly powerful group of works and we’re pleased that the complete set hangs currently in our South Florida gallery. It’s a series that must been seen “in person” to fully appreciate the powerful simplicity and eloquence of the works.

We welcome you to visit with us or contact us if there’s anything we can do to assist you in sourcing the very finest Contemporary Art prints and originals.

Victor Vasarely Paintings

Vasarely’s Inspired Optical Art Painting

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Every major art movement has one or more iconic artists whose style is foremost in our minds when we define the genre. In the case of American Pop Art, names like Warhol, Lichtenstein and Johns immediately come to mind. When contemplating Optical Art, or Op Art, no one artist is more closely tied to breathing life into the movement than Hungarian-French artist Victor Vasarely. As early as the 1930’s, it was Vasarely’s explorations of contrast and lines that lead the eye to draw its own conclusions that set the stage for many decades of prolific productions.

The art of tomorrow will be a collective treasure or it will not be ART at all.
-Victor Vasarely, 1953

Victor Vasarely’s paintings, sculptures and prints would not only introduce the world to the Optical Art movement, his body of work would forever inspire new artists to build upon his accomplishments. In the world of art that manipulates the mind’s eye, Vasarely simply set the bar and raised it, time and again, throughout his life. The artist forever changed the possibilities of perceptual dimensions, primarily those that could be rendered within the physical constrains of two dimensional art.

As Warhol had his soup cans, Vasarely had his zebras, the iconic works that would become emblematic of artist’s contributions and the Optical Art movement. Vasarely’s Zebras – which he would complete in variations over the years – are mesmerizing allusions of movement and dimension. Yet, the logical part of our brains can’t help but to quickly reduce them down to their simple lines and shapes. Viewing Zebras is like watching a magician’s trick go from being a mystery to a decoded, “aha, so that’s how it’s done,” only to revert back to a state of unawareness and equal amazement once again moments later.

Victor Vasarely honed his optical illusion-inducing techniques in black and white, allowing the stark contrast to define most basics themes of depth, with the artist investigating how forms could efficiently enter and leave one another. A computer programmer might consider this period of work as Vasarely’s binary phase – mimicking the most basic and reduced understanding of electronic technology – merely the presence or absence of electricity. With Vasarely’s black and white works, there’s even intense intrigue in this most basic use of color, summarized in endless debate over whether white is on and black is off, or vice versa.

Great artists manifest their expressions and thoughts in a manner that’s consumable and able to be experienced by others. What may go unnoticed is the artist’s uncanny ability to perceive and be inspired by their surroundings − the tide beneath the waves. In the case of Victor Vasarely, a 1947 vacation at the Breton coast Bell-Isle-sur-Mer beaches provided such inspiration, as the artist consumed with appreciation what was literally beneath the receding waves, the pebbles and shells whose shapes were “arranged” in appealing formations. For Victor Vasarely, such a subtle experience would nonetheless provide a subject to be deconstructed and rearranged for years to come.

Of the innumerous ways that Victor Vasarely created rich new lands for Optical Art and artists to flourish, perhaps most important was the creation of the “alphabet plastique” – a systemized code for scientifically composing artistic permutations. In developing this codified approach for arranging a myriad of shape alterations matched to varieties of colors (and hues), Vasarely created more than a technique for blending science and art – he introduced the world to a new fine art language.

Like all things Vasarely, the alphabet plastique is gift of massive significant in layers. Developed to organize his own testing, tracking and evaluation of arrangements, the system also signified the artist’s movement toward scaled production. With such a system in place, the artist could produce and organize the creation of new works, and even enlist help to do so. Throughout history, we see this sentiment reintroduce itself among artists who reach a stage of life where they understand that limited time on the planet equals a finite time to produce. This same mindset also leads Vasarely to be an early adopter of technologies that allow for paintings to also be manifested as print reproductions.

Orbs, Cubes and Triangles

At our Contemporary Art gallery in Boca Raton, Victor Vasarely’s paintings and numbered editions have been a staple of our Optical Art diet from day one. Intrigued by works from every phase of the artist’s life, Vasarely’s Vega series of prints are most certainly among those that particularly stop visitors in their tracks…often for a profound pause. So interesting are these compositions that lend the viewer to observe an object, perhaps an orb, protruding from a flat and stable two-dimensional pattern. Almost impossibly so, as the inquisitive nature of the mind begs the question, “How is this possible?”

How perfect it seems that “Responsive Eye” is the title of the 1965 New York Museum of Modern Art exhibit that helped launch Vasarely’s popularity in America. Never has an artist so beautifully tricked and delighted the imagination of the viewer – with images that swell, move and lead us into new dimensions.

If you’re a Vasarely collector, please drop in to our gallery in Boca Center or drop us a line.

Jerry Gotkin | A Retrospective

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Vertu Fine Art is proud to announce that our Boca Raton Contemporary Art Gallery is featuring a retrospective exhibition of masterful works by Jerry Gotkin, December 11 through December 27, 2013.

Please join us for a VIP Reception:

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 5:30-7:00 PM

The gallery will remain open until 10 PM.
Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served during the reception.
Space is limited. Kindly RSVP to Margi at 561-416-5007 by December 9th.

Over the last 50 years, Jerry Gotkin has produced a stunning array of landscapes, dancers, musicians, nudes, still life, florals and more. Employing watercolor, oil, acrylics, gouache, inks, brush, palette knife, his creations have been captured on canvas, board and various papers.

Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1936, Jerry spent the majority of his career working alongside his wife, Marjorie, who was already an established New York artist and teacher when they first met in 1961. Together, they were represented by Panoras Gallery in Manhattan for over 20 years, as well as numerous galleries throughout New York City, Massachusetts and Florida.

In the mid-1970s, Jerry was commissioned for a series of oil paintings for offices at the landmark Sperry-Rand Building in New York City. In 2007 the Smithsonian Institution American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery Library in Washington, DC established the “Marjorie and Jerry Gotkin Collection 1965-2007.” In addition to featuring a catalog of paintings, reproductions, biographies, exhibitions reviews, sales, two portfolios, and art books of the couple’s paintings – the Smithsonian is cross-referencing the Gotkins within, “Artists Couples” – listing them among notable collaborative couples, including Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams, as well as Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

“Each series of works, like each work itself, reaches its own conclusion,” explains Jerry Gotkin during a recent discussion at VFA. “It’s not a conscious decision made by the artist.” When it comes to describing particular categorizations of style, the artist politely declines, suggesting that, “Art is best contemplated by the observer.”

One must always apologize for talking about painting”
– Poet Paul Valery

Over the past decades, Jerry Gotkin has produced a vast assortment of compelling works, seemingly without allowing himself to “fall into” an established niche. Viewing the artist’s decades of productivity, one may be inclined to view Gotkin’s work as subject driven, leading the artist to deploy those processes required to produce his interpretations. As touched upon, every series of works exists in accordance to the lifetime given.

For the upcoming retrospective, Mr. Gotkin has a number of surprises to present. One, which we’ll reveal here, is a series of vintage movie magazine covers from the 1920s. The individual magazine covers are approximately 30 x 40 inches and there are about 50 in the series. The prints, based upon originals produced by the artist with ink brushes and acrylics, will be on display in a unit, each in an archival acrylic sleeve. A compilation of the series will be available in sizes as large to six to eight feet vertically.

We sincerely hope that you’ll join us Wednesday, December 11th for the VIP Reception. Space is limited, so we ask that you kindly RSVP to Margi at 561-416-5007 by December 9th.

gtkn_10 gtkn_05 gtkn_03

In recognition of Hospice by the Sea’s 35th anniversary, 60% of the sales of Mr. Gotkin’s works will be contributed to the not-for-profit organization. Donations are also appreciated. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served compliments of Morton’s The Steakhouse and Shops at Boca Center.

Thank you for your continued interest and support! If you have questions about the works of Jerry Gotkin or any of the Contemporary Artists we feature at Vertu Fine Art, please drop in to our Boca Raton gallery or contact us.

New Artwork for Sale at VFA

New Artwork for Sale at VFA

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Just as autumn ushers in a delightful change of weather in South Florida, so too do we embrace the changes brought by provocative new artwork for sale at our Boca Raton art gallery. Here’s a look at some of the artists and pieces that have visitors buzzing as of late.

When it comes to Optical Art masters, Colombian-born painter Omar Rayo is one of the movement’s pioneers, heralded for his heady geometric multi-dimensional works. Raiz Katia, an acrylic on canvas currently on display, captures the essence of what made Rayo one of the most highly acclaimed Latin Contemporary artists.

Omar Rayo, who suffered a fatal heart attack in 2010, is memorialized in part by the Museum of Rayo de Dibujo y Grabado Latinamericano − founded by the artist in 1981, in Colombia. The museum features over 2,000 Rayo works, as well as hundreds by other Latin artists. Omar Rayo remains an inspiration to many thriving Latin American artists and others, and his works are featured in galleries and museums worldwide.

Another Optical Art master drawing attention at Vertu Fine Art is Richard Anuszkiewicz – best known for his calculated color manipulations that result in marvelous capture and release of illumination. In Orange Family, an acrylic on panel, the artist produced a captivating chromatic exploration that truly must be viewed in person to fully comprehend its illusory effects, which we periodically describe as, “basking in the warm glow.”

Anuszkiewicz, who trained under Bauhaus artist Joseph Albers, helped to launch the American Op Art movement at a time when Victor Vasarely was pioneering the movement in Europe.

Born in Newark, NJ in the mid 1940s, Barbara Kruger is a modern Pop Artist who efficiently worked her way through high level design positions with famous women’s publications, such as Mademoiselle Magazine and House and Garden, prior to developing her own iconic brand. Like Warhol, Lichtenstein and Johns, her commercial design background served to immerse her in the powerful American cultural themes of consumerism and pop iconography.

Kruger is internationally recognized for her particular brand of Pop, with bold text simply stated that commands viewer attention, demands pause for a moment of introspection. Her most highly sought prints consist of the artist’s trademark colors – black, white and red. Culture Vulture, now hanging in our Boca Raton gallery, is emblematic of the artist’s style. Like another popular Kruger statement, “Your body is a battleground,” Culture Vulture causes us to stop to and inquire, simply, “Who?” Only to be flooded with potential answers, while we contemplate.

Also new at VFA, four works in a series from electrifying American artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel. The artist known for his large scale broken ceramic “plate paintings” and perhaps equally so for directing such highly acclaimed films as Before Night Falls, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and Basquiat (about painter Jean-Michel Basquiat). Schnabel rose to fame in the 1980s and is considered a central figure of the Neo-expressionism movement. Living and working in NYC and Montauk, Long Island, the artist is never far from the media spotlight, often garnering attention for his artistic endeavors, brash statements and celebrity status.

Julian Schnabel’s View of Dawn from the Tropics series of hand painted color screenprints with poured resin embody many of the features for which the artist is best known – large scale abstract works employing multiple techniques applied in various layers, with bold lines and intriguing colors.

Charles Hinman, one of the great living American Contemporary Art masters, is another featured artist at VFA. In the 1960s, Hinman began working outside the conventions of a singular rectangular canvass, creating unique three dimensional works consisting of various uniquely shaped canvases united.

The artist’s Sprinter, currently displayed at our Boca Raton gallery, is a must see. True to Charles Hinman’s intention, his sculptured canvases are visually malleable to their surroundings, heavily manipulated by angles of light that strike the exposed surface. In this regard, Hinman’s works provide rather exciting opportunities for collectors to re-imagine the impact of a singular work, based upon its placement and infinite options with regard to the application of natural and artificial light to emphasize different aspects.

If you’re planning to visit us at Vertu Fine Art, feel free to to set an appointment or simply stop by during gallery hours. If you are seeking works from a specific artwork for sale or genre, or have inquiries of any nature, we are always happy to assist.

Nicola Lopez

The Colliding Worlds of Nicola Lopez

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It’s hard not to appreciate a Contemporary Artist who helps us to define and often redefine our environmental perception. Just as young children are given words to describe all that they comprehend, artist Nicola Lopez gifts us images to help better understand all that we feel about our urban world. The fact that Ms. Lopez resides in Brooklyn and teaches at NYC’s Columbia University is helpful for understanding the artists’ daily structural inspirations. Not to say that Nicola Lopez wouldn’t be equally armed to create such pieces from anywhere in the world, and she’d be the first to express that her work is not interpretive of specific physical structures, but rather a fantastic approach to the psychological underpinnings of the urban environment.

In Nicola Lopez’s urban landscapes, objects rise up, fall down, bend, brake, become entangeld and even embrace one another. Steel girders appear stable and statuesque on moment, flimsy and vulnerable the next. If one thing is for certain in the artist’s portrayal of urban life, it’s the uncertainty of it all. Collectors of Lopez’s works appreciate the artist’s commentary about the confusion that often accompanies the wonderment involved in urban planning.

In addition to illuminating the the wild juxapositions of the ultra urban landscape’s disharmonious shapes, Nicola Lopez also shows us just how downright confusing it can all become. In drawings entitled Tough Knot and Large Tangle, the artist is even more direct about it. Pulling in a myriad of materials comprised in building the the city – air conditioning coils, power lines, girders, plastic contruction materials and any number of wires and cubic structures – the viewer is forced to consider just how much can go wrong. Deconstructing the processes of construction, re-construction and destruction all appear as recurring themes, often showcased side by side.

With Lopez’s Earth, Water, Fire and Air, her collaboration of four distinct themes work lovely together. Regardless of the dominant element at play, questions about movement and results are at the forefront of viewer’s mind. Anyone even mildly familiar with any sizable city can appreciate the fact that they’ve witnessed the presence of these elements and the roles they play within the environment. From the upward-gazing wondrous eyes of a child to the equally enthralled eyes of an adult, we’ve all experienced new buildings that rise up from the asphalt, disturbing construction zones and demolitions of abandoned unstable structures.

We’ve also witnessed the falling of the World Trade Center buildings, which is difficult to not see when the artist presents two rather symmetrical abstract skyscrapers burning next to one another. This imagery coupled with our knowledge that Ms. Lopez is a New York City artist leads us to believe that she too must see it, even if the result is unintended.

If one thing is for certain in the artist’s portrayal of urban life, it’s the uncertainty of it all.

Regardless of how you view the work of Nicola Lopez, it’s unlikely that anyone could considered them to be anything less than dramatic, if not exciting. She has most certainly etched her place within the Contemporary Art community. Her fantasy worlds bear no resemblance to, nor do they garner influence from, the Pop Art comic strips of Roy Lichtenstein or others who pay homage in retrospect. In fact, it’s apparent that Ms. Lopez is a bringing wholly new insights into many deep psychological truths about the far-fetched urban landscapes we so happen to inhabit right here on earth.

In just a bit more than a full decade, Nicola Lopez has received much acclaim and experienced tremendous success. In recent years, she has seized a number of opportunities to realize her art manifested in the form of installations, such as Landscape X : Under Construction, a 2011 installation at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

At Vertu Fine Art, Nicola Lopez’s works represents a relatively small but growing number of younger artists who have earned the right to hang in our Boca Raton gallery  − next to Pop, Optical and Abstract Expressionist masters like Andy Warhol, Willem De Kooning and Victor Vasarely. If you too are enthralled by the works of Nicola Lopez, stop in at VFA and have a look around. If you’re searching for a specific work from the artist, let us know and as always we’re happy to assist.

Boynton Beach photographer witnessed the dawn of punk

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This was a typical night for Bobby Grossman in 1976: grab a leather bomber jacket, swipe a Konica point-and-shoot camera from the dresser and hop a taxi to CBGB to take pictures of his closest buddies. His buddies happened to be the Talking Heads, the Sex Pistols,the Ramones, Iggy Pop and dozens of other punk and new wave upstarts.

Grossman never considered himself much of a photographer, with his shoot-from-the-hip, grainy portraits of the New York underground scene in the ’70s and ’80s, when booze-filled bohemians packed dingy Bowery nightclubs such as CBGB, the Mudd Club and Hurrah to hear not-quite mainstream acts experiment with no wave and foster the punk-rock revolution.

“I never really had an agenda going out to CBGB and Mudd. I was living day-to-day, having fun with punk rockers and art elites,” says Grossman, now 57 and living in Boynton Beach. “It just turned out I was documenting history, filled with drugs and alcohol. But to me, it was a period of time with friends and acquaintances. With the no-wave movement, people picked up a musical instrument without formal training and just played. I picked up a camera and just shot.”

Grossman says he doesn’t quite know what possessed him to train his lens on the avant-garde, anti-”Disco Duck” punk scene, then very much in its infancy. But his massive collection of black-and-white candid portraits are now part of a photo exhibit opening this week at Vertu Fine Art, a gallery in Boca Raton.

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The exhibit, “Low Fidelity: The Photographs of Bobby Grossman 1975-1983,” represents nearly a decade of Grossman’s music-club jaunts, at night enraptured by the sweaty, bohemian allure of CBGB’s regular frequenters in Joey Ramone, David Byrne, Patti Smith and Blondie’s Debbie Harry.

“Me, Debbie [Harry] and her boyfriend, Chris Stein, would always go to CBGB pretty routinely, and people got smashed and stoned, and it was always just a heady-as-hell experience,” Grossman says. “There was always something happening, and often always happening at the same time.”

Each of his photographs – some blurry and granular and candid, and some spontaneously staged – has a story, immortalizing an era of musical renaissance, he says, though it was never deliberate. Shots whirl viewers inside CBGB to witness a scrawny Joey Ramone in torn jeans, face buried under a black mop of hair, shouting into the microphone; David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz and Jerry Harrison chumming it up at a recording studio in 1977; the Clash’s Mick Jones looking bewildered as Grossman’s close friend Glenn O’Brien thrusts a snakelike microphone into his face on the set of Manhattan public access show “TV Party”; and even self-portraits, such as the image in which Iggy Pop playfully strangles Grossman.

The Manhattan native says he was introduced to the city’s “underbelly,” of sorts, while at Rhode Island School of Design, where he met Byrne and his clashing noise rock band the Artistics. “David wasn’t so high on the art-school curriculum. He was just kind of a creative thug, slinging hash on campus and doing his party band,” Grossman recalls. “So whenever they went to CBGB to play ‘Psycho Killer’ and ‘1-2-3 Red Light,’ I would come and see them. I fell into the scene that way.”

Grossman originally majored in mixed-media illustrations, even pitching his portfolio to Rolling Stone and New York magazine, but found himself caring less about deadlines than embedding himself in the trenches of the emerging punk scene, which quite often overlapped with New York’s art and literary circles. Slumming with Byrne was a gateway to meeting, at breakneck pace, the likes of David Bowie, grooving to early album cuts of “Coney Island Baby” in Lou Reed’s flat and being buzzed into Andy Warhol’s Factory.

Grossman says his “Cornflakes Series,” which is also on display, depicts musicians such as Harry, Tomata du Plenty of the Screamers and Byrne eating a bowl of the namesake cereal, and was partly inspired by Warhol’s tomato soup cans and his own admiration for the pop aesthetic.

For nearly a decade, Grossman captured the nightlife of the underground, but it was an Iggy Pop concert at the Peppermint Lounge that turned him off photography almost completely. “When you’re out there every night for eight years, and friends are either dying or moving or both, I had to stop. New wave and no wave got too, uh, mainstream,” he says with a laugh. “When the color shot I took of Iggy and Bowie at the Peppermint Lounge shows up on MTV News, and Kurt Loder is talking about it, that’s when you know it’s time to get out. So I got out.”

Low Fidelity: The Photographs of Bobby Grossman 1975-1983

When: Through March 15

Where: Vertu Fine Art Gallery, 5250 Town Center Circle, Suite 128, Boca Raton

Cost: Free of charge

Contact: 561-368-4680 or VertuFineArt.com

Copyright © 2012, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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