Helen Frankenthaler: An AbEx Heroine

Helen Frankenthaler was just 23 years old in 1952 when she painted Mountains and Sea. It wasn’t well received when it was first exhibited and she had to take the 7 x 10 foot painting back to her studio.

Today it hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington and is considered one of the most seminal works of American Art.

Abstract expressionist painter Morris Louis, a contemporary of Frankenthaler, described the painting as, “a bridge between Pollock and what was possible.”

Ninth Street Women

Franz Kline
9th Street Exhibit Poster, 1951

Helen Frankenthaler sent abstract painting in a new direction. She was very much a part of the avant-garde New York art scene and through her relationship with influential art critic Clement Greenberg, Frankenthaler became part of the art crowd known as the New York School.

Mary Gabriel’s book Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art, describes the impact that these women had on art in mid-century America.

Gabriel writes about what Frankenthaler called her “beautiful trauma” when she saw an exhibit of Jackson Pollock’s works. Pollock’s paintings inspired Frankenthaler to put away her easel and spread large canvasses on her studio floor in the style of Pollock.

Instead of the heavy gestures that defined Pollock’s work, Frankenthaler used thinned oil paint on unprimed canvas. She called her technique soak-stain. It was her soak-stain technique that influenced Color Field painting a form-inspired, rather than emotional-inspired works.

Frankenthaler was one of the few women who were included in the ground-breaking 1951 Ninth Street Show, curated by Leo Castelli. The artists rented a downtown storefront and basement space at 60 9th Street for $70, far from Manhattan’s upscale galleries.

MoMA director, Alfred Barr attended the opening and was amazed by the development of the New York School artists.

It wasn’t long after the 9th Street Show that many of the artists, including Helen Frankenthaler, were showing their works uptown.

Helen Frankenthaler’s Work at the Baker Museum Opening

The Baker Museum in Naples has been closed since the damage done by Hurricane Irma in 2017. After two years of renovation, the museum will re-open to the public on December 1, 2019.

Visitors will be greeted by an exhibit called 100 Iconic Works from the Permanent Collection which includes work by American artists such as Helen Frankenthaler, Alexander Calder, Robert Motherwell and other fine artists. The exhibition will run from December 1, 2019 through July 25, 2020.

Heroines of Abstract Expressionism

The current exhibit at the Fenimore Museum in Cooperstown, New York, features the work of Helen Frankenthaler and other female artists who contributed to the Abstract Expressionist movement.

The museum’s website says that the acclaim these artists deserve is long overdue: “For more than sixty years the contributions these women made to the movement were all but forgotten while works by men such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning have been canonized in the history of American art. It has taken the dedication of scholars and museum curators—and the commitment of a handful of prescient collectors like Friedman and Wakefield—to restore these women artists to their rightful place in the history of American art.”

Heroines of Abstract Expressionism will run through December 31, 2019.

Helen Frankenthaler Fine Art Prints at VFA

Helen Frankenthaler created her first prints in 1961. She was reluctant to try printmaking and was coaxed by fellow artist Larry Rivers to visit  Universal Limited Art Editions, a print studio set up by Russian immigrants Tanya and Maurice Grosman in their Long Island Garage in 1957.

Frankenthaler mastered lithography, etching and woodblock and became a masterful printmaker. Her skill allowed her to create the same beautiful, painterly feeling in print that she was able to achieve with her paintings.

She began working with master printmaker Kenneth Tyler around 1974, and was able to create prints, like Geisha (available at VFA) that equaled, and often exceeded, the elegance of her paintings.

Please contact us if you would like more information about Geisha, the Cleveland Orchestra Print or any of the other fine works available at VFA.

See More Helen Frankenthaler for Sale

Shepard Fairey: Celebrating 30 Years of Dissent

Shepard Fairey has been one of the world’s most admired, and outspoken, artists of the past thirty years.

To celebrate his career, Fairey has been traveling to major cities around the world with a tour called Facing the Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent.

The tour, which will travel through New York, Providence, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Paris, Grenoble, Seoul and London, will showcase many of his finest works.

Fairey took the tour  to Providence last month to commemorate the start of his career and to paint his 1ooth mural.

Where It All Began

Shepard Fairey moved to Providence in 1988 to attend the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). At 2:30 one morning, in the fall of 1990, Fairey climbed up a billboard on the corner of North Main and Steeple Streets, and graffitied over a campaign billboard to reelect former mayor, Buddy Cianci, who had been forced to resign after pleading “no contest” to an assault on a man Cianci claimed was dating his estranged wife.

Cinch won the 1991 election, but ultimately spent four years in prison after he was indicted in 2001 on federal criminal charges of racketeering, conspiracy, extortion, witness tampering and mail fraud.

Fairey was a 20-year-old student in 1990, and it was more mischief than politics that motivated him to alter the sign. He said at the time he thought, “This billboard is dumb and needs to be made fun of.”

He replaced Cianci’s face with an Andre the Giant sticker, added a sign that read, “Join the Posse” and changed the slogan Cianci never stopped caring about Providence to read Andre never stopped caring about Providence.

The billboard got a lot of attention and so did Shepard Fairey. Cianci’s daughter knew a skateboarding friend of Fairey’s and he was summoned to Cianci’s home soon after the graffiti was discovered.

In a recent interview in the Providence Journal, Fairey said that Cianci issued a press release, saying that he wasn’t going to punish Fairey, but would see that he used his talents to teach screen printing to underprivileged youth…something that Cianci never followed up on.

Shepard Fairey went on to earn his his BFA in Illustration, open the Alternate Graphics print shop in Providence and become a world renown artist, whose work is included in the collections of  The Smithsonian, MoMA, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and other major venues around the world.

He also worked closely with AS220, a group in Providence that offers affordable artists’ studios and youth outreach to the community. Fairey’s 100th mural is an homage to Anjel Newmann, a young woman who took hip-hop dance classes at AS220 as a kid and went on to become the youth director for the organization.

Shepard Fairey Prints at VFA

At the time Shepard Fairey was plastering Andre the Giant stickers around Providence, he also worked as a teaching assistant in screen printing classes at RISD. His passion for his art, as well as his empathy, has led to his becoming  a master printmaker, whose meticulous work has a universal appeal.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the prints by Shepard Fairey available at VFA.

See More Shepard Fairey for Sale

References:
Kerri Tallman. Shepard Fairey to Paint 100th Mural in Providence. The Rhode Island Monthly. October 3, 2019.
Madeline List. Providence welcomes back renowned street artist Shepard Fairey. Providence Journal. October 21, 2019.
SAL. Interviews: Shepard Fairey. arrestedmotion. October 2, 2019.
Shepard Fairey Brings His 30th Anniversary Show to Beyond The Streets New York. June 6, 2019.
https://as220.org/facing-the-giant-in-providence-october-21-25/

Donald Sultan at the Asheville Art Museum Grand Reopening

The more one makes a definitive statement the more abstract it becomes. I try to pare down the images to their essence and capture the fleeting aspect of reality pitting the gesture against the geometric, the gesture being the fluidity of the human against the geometry of the object. – Donald Sultan

Donald Sultan at the Asheville Art Museum

Donald Sultan was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina. His works are a part of the Asheville Art Museum’s permanent collection, and will be on exhibit when the museum reopens on November 14, 2019. The museum has been under construction for three years, a remodel that exceeded the $24 million original estimated cost.

Donald Sultan’s work is part of Intersections in American Art, an exhibit that was put together by a team of scholars, artists and museum professionals from Western North Carolina and around the country. In 2017, the team began to examine the more than 5,000 works in the museum’s permanent collection, to choose the finest works for the opening exhibit.

The exhibit focuses on the art and artists of North Carolina and its relationship to and national impact on the art world. Included art works by some of the artists of Black Mountain College, whose students, like Josef Albers and Robert Rauschenberg, changed the focus of art in America.

The oldest work in the exhibit is a North Carolina landscape painted around 1860 by Belgian artist William Frerichs. The most recent in the exhibit is Donald Sultan’s Four Lemons, a set of screenprints in enamel ink, done in 2018.

Intersections in American Art opens on November 14, 2019, the day after the Ribbon Cutting and ceremony to initiate Asheville Art Museum’s completed renovation.

Donald Sultan’s Work at VFA

Donald Sultan had a major retrospective of his work this summer at the Huxley-Parlour Gallery in London. Dark Objects: Works 1977–2019 included some of the Disaster Paintings that toured the Smithsonian and other major venues around the country in 2017.

His use of industrial materials, like tar, to create texture in his work, and his pared-down style, makes his work instantly recognizable.

As a printmaker, and as a sculptor,  Sultan has been able to keep both the simplicity of design and textural quality in his work. He uses flocking, enamel inks and diamond dust in his prints, and Cor-Ten Steel for his sculptures.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the fine art prints and sculptures of Donald Sultan available at VFA.

See More Donald Sultan for Sale

References:
Arnold Wengrow. Asheville Art Museum readies for its grand reopening. The Mountain Express. October 11, 2019.
Interview/Donald Sultan. The London Magazine. June 5, 2019.
https://www.ashevilleart.org/exhibitions/intersections-in-american-art/

Featured Art at VFA

Here’s a look at some recent acquisitions and the work of a few of our favorite artists.

Alex Katz-Coca-Cola Girl

Alex Katz, 2019

In the 1950s, when abstract painters were showing in all the galleries, Alex Katz was creating figurative paintings. “When I had an opening,” he said in a recent interview, “the Abstract Expressionist friends of mine wouldn’t go into the gallery. They just stopped in to say, “We’ll see you later at the bar.”

Nearly seventy years have passed since the start of Katz’s career and he has become one of the world’s most notable figurative artists. This year Katz had solo exhibitions in New York, South Korea, Germany and France and his 2019 Coca-Cola Girl series is as fresh and inspired as anything he has done before.

“That’s Coca-Cola red, from the company’s outdoor signs in the fifties” he said, “… you know, the blond girl in the red convertible, laughing with unlimited happiness. It’s a romance image…”

Both print and sculpture versions of Coca-Cola Girl are for sale at VFA.

Julian Opie – Paper Heads

Julian Opie

The universal appeal of British artist Julian Opie’s work is evident from the many and diverse museums and collections that own and show his paintings, prints and sculptures. His works are part of the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Tate, the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Essl Collection in Vienna, IVAM in Spain, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and Takamatsu City Museum of Art in Japan.

Opie’s minimally detailed artwork was inspired by Japanese woodblock prints, 18th century portraits, comics and billboards. Adding to the appeal of his recent cut-out Paper Head Series are the frames Opie has chosen to use as part of each work. Paper Heads 1-8 are available at VFA.

Carlos Cruz-Diez-Orinoco

Carlos Cruz-Diez, August 17, 1923 – July 27, 2019.

Carlos Cruz-Diez was one of the world’s most renowned Latin American artists. Cruz-Diez died in Paris, his adopted city, on July 27, 2019. A pioneer of Op Art and Kinetic Art in the 1960s, Cruz-Diez studied and wrote extensively about color, believing that color is “a reality which acts on the human being with the same intensity as cold, heat, sound, and so on.”

Versions of Orinoco (named after the river that runs through Venezuela), from Cruz-Diez’s 2019 Induction Chromatique à Double Fréquence Série (Double Frequency Chromatic Induction Series) are available at VFA.

Derrick Adams-Breakfast of Champions

Derrick Adams, 2019

Derrick Adams was born and raised in Baltimore. He left for New York to study art at the Pratt Institute, went on to get his MFA from Columbia University in 2003 and now lives and works in New York. His works, which have a warm and nostalgic feel, explore black culture in America.

Adams’ work has been shown in venues around the world. He currently has gone back to Baltimore with an exhibit called Where I’m From that showcases family portraits based on Adams’ family photos. The show runs through November 22 at the Baltimore City Hall.

Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami, 2019

Takashi Murakami is currently showing his works in Paris. Murakami’s work is being shown somewhere in the world on any given day…in the last year or two he’s had exhibitions in Hong Kong, Moscow, Oslo, Chicago and many other cities.

Takashi Murakami
Self-Portrait: Contemplation 2019

Murakami, who earned a PhD studying traditional Japanese art, has integrated fine art and commercial art to create works that have universal appeal. We have a selection of Murakami’s works at VFA that illustrates his skill and traditional sensibility.

Please contact us if you would like information about any of the fine artworks for sale at VFA.

 

 

 

 

Jean-Michel Basquiat: Downtown

“Believe it or not, I can actually draw.”Jean-Michel Basquiat Signature

Despite his brief career and a life cut short by a heroin overdose, the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat has influenced the trajectory of modern art, music and culture. Just last week, Basquiat’s 1982 painting, Four Big, sold for $10.6 million. The painting, which is made up of three joined canvases, was the top seller at Christie’s London Contemporary Art sale.

In 2017, another 1982 Basquiat painting, Untitled, sold for $110.5 million at Sotheby’s. Art dealer Jeffrey Deitch, former director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and a Basquiat expert said, “He’s now in the same league as Francis Bacon and Pablo Picasso.”

Downtown 81

In 1981 Jean-Michel Basquiat was homeless. Glenn O’Brien, who wrote for and edited Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine, put together a script for a film that he wanted to use to showcase the New York music scene that he had been writing about. He created a fairy tale, starring Basquiat, who played a homeless artist who travels around the city trying to sell his paintings.

Basquiat slept and worked in the production office during most of the shooting of the film. The production crew bought Basquiat canvas and paints to work on during the filming. The paintings that appear in the movie, belonging to Basquiat’s character, are by Basquiat himself, and are among his earliest works.

After a year of filming, the producers ran out of money and the project was abandoned in the beginning of 1981. Originally titled  New York Beat Movie, O’Brien acquired the rights to the film in 1999, changed the title to Downtown 81 and released it at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. The film will be shown at the Metograph in Manhattan on October 25th, before it goes into wide release.

Basquiat’s Work at the Tampa Museum of Art

Jean-Michel Basquiat: One Master Artist / Two Masterpieces is the title of just one part of the current exhibit at the Tampa Museum of Art. Two of Basquiat’s large collages are part of the current exhibit, Ordinary/Extraordinary: Assemblage in Three Acts. Also on display are works by artist Purvis Young, whose collages reflect his life in Overtown, Miami and a collection of 20th- and 21st-century Haitian Vodou flags, handcrafted from found objects. Although each exhibit stands alone, together they each reflect the African-Carribean-American experience.

The works of Jean-Michel Basquiat will be on display through November 20, 2019. The works of Purvis Young and the Haitian Vodou flags will be on exhibit through January 26, 2020.

The Work of Jean-Michele Basquiat at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about Flexible or any of the other fine art work at VFA.

See More Jean-Michel Basquiat for Sale

References:
Justin Curto. Jean-Michel Basquiat Film Downtown 81 Is Returning to Theaters. Vulture. October 4, 2019.
Annie Armstrong. Led by $10.6 M. Basquiat, Christie’s Contemporary Sale in London Brings in $80.4 M. ARTnews. October 4, 2019.
Maggie Duffy. Basquiat works, Haitian flags stun at the Tampa Museum of Art. Tampa Bay Times. September 26, 2019.

Takashi Murakami: Happy! in Fort Lauderdale

Takashi Murakami is Japan’s most well known contemporary artist. Murakami is known as The Warhol of Japan because of his ability to combine fine art and commercial art.

Takashi Murakami at the NSU Museum in Fort Lauderdale

The emotional impact of great artworks is the focus of Happy! a show coming to the NSU Museum in Fort Lauderdale. The show includes works from a variety of artists, and a range of styles, from the 1930s to contemporary artists of today.

“Many of these artists acknowledge that making art is an essential means for them to work out their own trauma and frustrations,” says Bonnie Clearwater, the Museum’s director and chief curator, “and they suggest that art can provide viewers with a sense of well-being that will help them cope with life’s challenges.”

With titles like, Open Your Heart Wide and Embrace Happiness, it makes sense that the works of Takashi Murakami are included in this uplifting exhibit. Happy! will be at the NSU Art Museum from October 27, 2019 through July 5, 2020.

Superflat

Takashi Murakami is the father of Superflat, the style of art that combines anime, the art of Japanese cartoons, with ukiyo-e, traditional Japanese wood block prints. Murakami has a PhD from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. His focus of study was traditional Nihonga painting.

“I have explained the background of my art and its production consistently using the term “Superflat,”Murakami said, “the concept I came up with by overlaying the painting style of creating a completely flat surface with the cultural predicament of post-war Japan.”

His genius is in creating paintings, sculptures, toys and fashion that has universal appeal, which has inspired otaku…super fans of Murakami, who specialize in studying various aspects of his work. Murakami has factories, with dozens of assistants, in the U.S. and Japan. He is a strong supporter of other Japanese artists and of the contemporary Japanese art community.

Takashi Murakami at MoMA

The MoMA design store has included Takashi Murakami’s Dob-Kun figure in its fall/winter collection. Mr. DOB is one of Murakami’s most recognizable works. The character first appeared in a 1996 painting titled 727. Dob-Kun is nine inches tall and comes in five different colors including the original blue costume. Each figure has  the MoMA logo on the sole. The figures are limited to five per customer and one per color at a cost of $650 each.

The Works of Takashi Murakami at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Takashi Murakami available at VFA.

See More Takashi Murakami for Sale

References:
Phillip Valys. Guide to the Arts: Top 5 visual arts events you can’t miss.
South Florida Sun Sentinel. October 1, 2019.
Takashi Murakami. Manga, Goya and ‘Star Wars’: The unexpected influences that made Takashi Murakami the artist he is today. CNN Style. July 28, 2019.
Kyle Chayka. WTF is…Suerflat? Hyperallergic. October 29, 2010.
Christie Lee. From KAWS to Takashi Murakami: why collectors are deadly serious about designer art toys. STYLE. September 7, 2019.

Wayne Thiebaud Likes Chocolate with Water

Wayne Thiebaud wakes up early every day, works in his Sacramento studio until noon, takes time out for a game of doubles tennis, then he’s back in the studio at two.

Thiebaud will turn 99 on November 15th. He still likes to eat the pies, cakes and ice cream that he paints, but he’s had to modify his diet in recent years. “I now eat chocolate ice cream and water mixed up together.” he said. “It’s lighter.”

After teaching at Sacramento College for nine years, Thiebaud went on to teach at UC Davis from 1959 to 1991. Even after his official retirement, he voluntarily taught a few days a week and was awarded Professor Emeritus. He still mentors students in his studio, which he says is educational for him.

Wayne Thiebaud Mural Restoration in Sacramento

Wayne Thiebaud has lived and worked at his Sacramento home for forty-seven years. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District Headquarters (SMUD) building was completed in 1959, and so was the mural that Thiebaud was commissioned to create on two of the building’s walls.

Recently restored Water City mural, completed by Wayne Thiebaud in 1959.

The total restoration of the SMUD headquarters cost $72 million and took five years to complete. The mosaic mural had some missing tiles and needed some polishing and refinishing. Thiebaud’s signature is on the front wall’s lower right corner.

The building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2010.

Wayne Thiebaud’s Patience and Process

Wayne Thiebaud’s early food paintings now garner as much as $8 million. His food paintings, with their frosting-like brush strokes, are what got him critical acclaim, but his portraits and mountain paintings are as rich in texture and color as his pieces of cake.

He sometimes reworks a painting, like Pineapple Tray, which he painted in 1972 and reworked in 1990 and 1992. He blames this compulsion on his early career as a commercial artist. “I still feel like I have an art director looking over my shoulder.” he said.

Thiebaud began printmaking at Crown Point Press in San Francisco in 1964. He uses etching and aquatint to create a sensual feel and quality that is unique to his work.

His paintings and prints of mountains are particularly fascinating because of the unusual perspective that he utilizes to represent them.

“There was the sort of opposite aspect of venerating them and having them be spiritual sources.” he said in a Huffington Post interview. “That extreme — from the sublime to the silly — was something that interested me.

Another idea was the idea of position of mountains. We mostly see them  — and almost have to see them — from afar, unless we are walking in them or hiking in them or driving in them. There is this tendency to see mountains pretty much in the distance and I just wondered what would happen if you tried to get them as close as possible.  It seems that they are almost coming to overwhelm you: or that they seem somewhat ominous in their character.”

Country City, available at VFA is an example of Thiebaud’s vision of an extreme view of a mountain, positioning it as close to a city as possible.

Thiebaud is still working on paintings and prints of mountains, but has also be working on what he says is a preoccupation that he’s had for the past three years: “I have about 45 bad paintings of clowns and six etchings.” he said, “I want to be able to paint any damn thing I want at any time, in any way that I want to do it.”

The Work of Wayne Thiebaud at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about Country City or any of the other fine work at VFA.

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Joan Miro: In Perspective

When I was painting the Constellations I had the genuine feeling that I was working in secret. But it was a liberation for me…I ceased thinking about all the tragedy around me.”

In 1918, when Joan Miro was 25, he had his first exhibition in Barcelona. He had already been through some difficult times. His family wanted him to give up the idea of painting and focus on a more practical career in business. Bowing to their demands, he went to business school and worked in a clerical position for two years. The result was a deep depression, followed by a case of typhoid fever.

While convalescing at the family farm in Montroig, just outside of Barcelona, Miro made art. His first exhibit was a disaster. Not only was nothing sold, but critics ridiculed his work.

Miro didn’t give up his art…he went to Paris in 1920, met Picasso, Andre Masson and other dedicated artists, and returned to Montroig to make some of the most recognizable, unique and poignant works of art ever created.

Joan Miro in Perspective

The recent retrospective of Miro’s work at the Museum of Modern Art, was accompanied by a musical program put together by Miro’s grandson, Joan Punyet Miro. Punyet Miro manages his grandfather’s estate, assists the foundations that preserve and further Miro’s work and has spent own his adult life researching and writing about his grandfather’s life and work.

Joan Punyet remembers watching his grandfather work at home. “In the morning he worked in his studio;” he said in an interview in Germany’s Schirn Magazine, “I wasn’t allowed to visit him there. But after lunch he liked to read poetry, listen to music, and between seven and eight he sat on the couch and opened all his corre­spon­dence. And as soon as he had paper in his hand, he took his pen and I could see how he with­drew into himself, working and sketching. He was in the dining room, on his sofa, alone, in very dark light, and he would draw the whole time. I was next to him and saw how he drew these magnif­i­cent things. For me these repre­sented some really special moments in my life, unfor­get­table.”

Much of Miro’s work is mystical, magical and joyful, yet it was created during times of turbulence and upheaval. Miro was born in 1893 and died in 1983. During his 90 years he experienced poverty, political unrest and a world at war.

During World War ll, Miro fled, with his wife a daughter, to Mallorca. “I was very pessimistic.” he said. “I felt that everything was lost.”  But he continued to work, even in the darkest of times. “When I was painting the Constellations I had the genuine feeling that I was working in secret. But it was a liberation for me…I ceased thinking about all the tragedy around me.”

After the war, Miro’s work was exhibited around the world, including a show at MoMA, and he gained great acclaim.

Femme et Oiseaux, one of the paintings in the Constellations series sold at Sotheby’s London in 2017 for 24,571,250 GBP, about $30.6 million.

Joan Miro’s Legacy

“It’s the young people who interest me, and not the old dodos.” Miro said, when he was 82. “If I go on working, it’s for the year 2000, and for the people of tomorrow.”

Miro’s work continues to fascinate and inspire. Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Joan Miro available at VFA.

See More Joan Miro for Sale

References:
Katharina Cichosch. It is Difficult to Be Miro’s Grandson. SCHIRN MAGAZINE. March 5, 2016.
Joseph Nechvatal. A Creative Colony of Modernists in Coastal France. Hyper allergic. May 27,2019.
Peter Schjeldahl. Joan Miró’s Modernism for Everybody. The New Yorker. March 4, 2019.

Salvador Dali: Selfies, Symbols and Elephants

If someday I may die, though it is unlikely, I hope the people in the cafés will say, ‘Dalí has died, though not entirely. – Salvador Dali

Dali Lives in St. Pete

Salvador Dali will greet you, talk to you, take a selfie with you and even text it to you.

The extraordinary exhibit, Dali Lives, at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, uses Artificial Intelligence that allows visitors to have life-like interactions with the artist. He walks, he talks and, as he was before his death thirty years ago, Dali, even artificially, is larger than life.

The exhibit uses Dali’s own words to explain himself and his art, and also present-day messages to help educate visitors about the artist’s life and work. Interacting with Dali takes viewing his art to a new level, more personal and, hopefully, more meaningful, for visitors. The exhibit will be on display through December 31, 2029.

Salvador Dali’s Elephants

Sigmund Freud was a hero to Dali, and to many of the other Surrealist painters, who read his radical works, about the unconscious mins, dreams and sexuality, with great zeal. Freud, who was partial to the Old Masters and more traditional works of art, was not very impressed by the surrealists. He had a very unpleasant meeting in the 1920s Andre Breton, writer and leader of the Surrealist movement, who showed up unannounced on Freud’s doorstep and received a less-than-warm welcome.

Dali tried, unsuccessfully, to meet Freud when he was living in Vienna. The two finally met in 1938 in London, to where Freud fled to escape the Nazis. 

Freud was 81, Dali just 34 when they met, both very successful. Dali didn’t get the accolades he’d hoped for during the meeting, but Freud was not as unimpressed as Dali feared.

After the meeting, Freud wrote, to the mutual friend who arranged the meeting, “I really have reason to thank you for the introduction which brought me yesterday’s visitors. For until then I was inclined to look upon the surrealists – who have apparently chosen me as their patron saint – as absolute (let us say 95 percent, like alcohol), cranks. That young Spaniard, however, with his candid and fanatical eyes, and his undeniable technical mastery, has made me reconsider my opinion.”

Freud’s writings may have seemed, to Dali, to give legitimacy to his work. Dali’s symbols, his pairing of many symbols in his dream-like paintings, are open to interpretation…the interpretation of the dreamer and the viewer.

The elephant symbolizes good fortune, strength, even fertility in some cultures. Dali’s elephants have spindly legs and almost appear to be in flight, although their feet, which are more like bird’s than elephant’s, are anchored to the earth. In some paintings they carry an obelisk, after Gian Bernini’s 1667 marble statue in the Piazza della Minerva in Rome.

Dali titled his 1979 lithograph, available at VFA, Celestial Elephant, surrounding it with other recurring symbols…a pyramid, a figure holding a crutch, a pair of dragonflies. Like all of Dali’s works, it is fascinating…and open to interpretation.

Dali’s elephants are so powerful and recognizable, that in a new animated film, about Dali’s friend, collaborator and rival, surrealist filmmaker Luis Bunuel, Dali’s elephants can be seen parading through the streets. Dali appears in the film, as well.

Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles is about Bunuel’s experience filming Las Hurdes: Tierra Sin Pan (Land Without Bread) in the poverty stricken Las Hurdes mountains in Spain in 1933. The film is set to be released on August 16, 2019.

The Works of Salvador Dali at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about Celestial Elephant, or any of the other work by Salvador Dali available at VFA.

Arman: Production, Consumption, and Destruction

“As a witness of my society, I have always been very much involved in the cycle of production, consumption, and destruction.” – Arman

While Pop Art was taking hold in 1960s America, artists in France responded with the Nouveau Realisme (New Realism) movement, which questioned the idea of elevating or idealizing subject matter in art works. Arman was born in Nice, France in 1928. His father was an antiques dealer and collector and dabbled in painting, photography, poetry and played the cello. Arman completed Bachelors Degrees in philosophy and mathematics in 1946, and then he began to study art and judo. Arman’s work bridged the gap between American and European mid-century art.

Arman, Andy and Trash

As a reaction to the mid-century mass production culture, Arman began to use discarded objects…including trash…in his work. A 1960 exhibit of his work, called Le Plein (Full-up) got Arman a lot of attention, when he completely filled a gallery with trash, so full that the exhibit could only be viewed from the street. He dialed it back a bit, in later works, called Poubelles (Trash) by keeping the trash in garbage cans or in plexiglass boxes

Arman moved to New York in 1963, and fit right into the art scene. He became friends with Andy Warhol, who owned two of Arman’s Poubelles and was in Warhol’s film Dinner at Daley’s. Warhol did a portrait of Arman, Arman created a Poubelles  portrait of Warhol.

Arman’s Musical Instruments

Variations of arrangements of musical instruments became a recurring focus of Arman’s sculptures. He collaborated with a foundry in Normandy, France to create sculptures of instruments in various stages of dismemberment or in groups that formed what Arman called Accumulations. There were no objects too small or two large for Arman to use in his work. He used everything from small bottle caps to grand pianos in his assemblages. He sometimes dissected them, like he did with the violin in the Untitled bronze sculpture available at VFA, sometimes used dozens, even hundreds, of the same object to create his works. “The objects possess even in the smallest part of their being an element of recognition, “ Arman said, “and it is always exciting and fascinating to know just how far one can go without going too far in the destruction.”

Arman’s Legacy

Arman was a peace activist and served as the President of the New York chapter of Amnesty International for five years. He created the Hope for Peace Monument to celebrate the end of the civil war in Lebanon. The monument, which is more than 98 feet high, was constructed from 5,000 tons of concrete, supporting 78 military vehicles, supplied for the sculpture by the Lebanese government. It is located near Lebanon’s Ministry of National Defense. Many of Arman’s works can be found in major museums and galleries around the world, including the Boca Raton Museum of Art, MoMA, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Harvard Art Museum.

Arman Sculpture at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Arman, or any of the other fine art work available at VFA.

See More Arman Artwork for Sale

References:
Judith Benhamou-Hue. ART BASEL: LES AMATEURS DE CONTEMPORAIN BOUDENT L’ART JEUNE. Vallois Gallery. June 14, 2018
https://www.moma.org/artists/220

Summer Fun With Fine Art Prints

There’s still plenty of summer left, and lots of opportunities to see some wonderful exhibits around Boca that showcase our favorite art form: Fine Art Prints.

You can start your summer exploration of Fine Art Prints by downloading our free e-book How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints. It’s full of illustrations and information about the history and evolution of printmaking.

For an even greater appreciation of the fine art print, especially if you want to inspire children, or your own inner child, you can make a simple print before, and after, a visit to a gallery, using the simple Potato Print method from the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

Here are a few of the nearby venues that are celebrating Fine Art Prints this summer:

The Boca Raton Museum of Art: BEYOND THE CAPE! COMICS AND CONTEMPORARY ART

The Boca Raton Museum of Art has put together a unique show of comic book art, showcasing the talents of contemporary artists of comic books and graphic novels.

BEYOND THE CAPE! COMICS AND CONTEMPORARY ART  features prints, paintings, drawings, tapestries, sculpture, video and photography to explore the way in which artists like R.Crumb, Takashi Murakami, Elizabeth Murray, Yoshitomo Nara, Joyce Pensato, Raymond Pettibon, Peter Saul, Kenny Scharf and others use their illustrations for sheer entertainment as well as for dealing with social issues.

The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. Admission for children 12 and under is free.

BEYOND THE CAPE! COMICS AND CONTEMPORARY ART will run through October 6, 2019. For more information, check out the Boca Raton Museum of Art website: bocamuseum.org.

The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens: Falling Water, Soaring Kites

Japanese prints are some of the most elegant in the world and Japanese kites some of the most exquisite. Falling Water, Soaring Kites looks at the way waterfalls are depicted in Japanese art and the way in which kites are lovingly crafted and decorated.

The Morikami hosted a Kite Flying and Kite Making event the weekend of Father’s Day, which was a huge, sold-out success.

Falling Water, Soaring Kites will be on exhibit through August 11, 2019. Brightly colored kites, in an array of shapes and sizes, are available at the Morikami gift shop. For more information, go to the Morikami Museum’s website: morikami.org/museum.

The Cornell Art Museum: Seven Solos

If you haven’t been to the Cornell Art Museum since it’s renovation, it’s worth the trip. The museum is housed in the restored 1913 Delray Elementary School building on the Old School Square campus, on Swinton Avenue in Del Ray Beach.

The current exhibit Seven Solos is a far cry from the usual walking through a gallery or museum and looking at what’s on the walls.

Seven Solos a series of immersive installations, each by a different artist, which visitors are invited to become a part of, each in a separate gallery.

Seven Solos will be on view through October 6, 2019. For more information, go to the museum’s website: cornellartmuseum.org.

Summer at VFA

We hope you are having a fun-filled summer, and that you make time to come in and visit us at VFA. Seeing the colors and textures of fine art prints in person is a joyful and wondrous experience that we love to share.

 

 

 

Vik Muniz: One Man’s Trash

More than twenty million items were lost in last September’s fire at Brazil’s National Museum, which housed Latin America’s largest anthropology and natural history collection. As archaeologists and paleontologists sift through the rubble, the U.S. Department of State and the Smithsonian have offered fourteen on the scientists, who were displaced by the fire, the opportunity to use the Smithsonian’s labs to continue their work. The global community, including governments and cultural organizations, have pledged to help to rebuild the museum.

Brazilian artist Vik Muniz, who was very outspoken about the lack of government funding and concern about Brazil’s cultural institutions, is also working with Brazil’s National Museum, to recreate relics that were destroyed in the fire, relics that will be shown to benefit rescue efforts for the museum.

Trash to Treasure

Since his 2010 documentary Waste Land (where he hired garbage pickers at the world’s largest landfill located just outside of Rio de Janeiro to make art) earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature, Muniz has been curating exhibitions and creating art in his studios in Rio and Clinton Hill in Brooklyn.

He curated Glasstress in Murano, Italy, an exhibit that features works, in glass, by leading contemporary artist from around the world. The exhibit opened in May and will continue through November 24, 2019.

Vik Muniz Sculpture in London

Muniz is also participating in this year’s Frieze Sculpture fair, which is currently holding the largest free exhibit of outdoor art in London. His work is displayed, along with the works of twenty other artists, in Regent’s Park.

His contribution to the fair is Mnemonic Vehicle No.2,  a giant sculpture of a Jaguar E-type Matchbox car, complete with scrapes and dings and all the signs of wear and tear that come with playing with a favorite toy. “The piece is a perfect reconstruction of a Matchbox from my childhood,” he said, “that I found in a drawer on the scale of the real car and the same materials.”

Vik Muniz Saints at Arles

For the last fifty years, photographers in France have been exhibiting their work at the Recontres D’Arles. Ansel Adams was the first American photographer to be invited to exhibit in 1974, and the inclusion of world renown photographers has been part of the program ever since.

This year, the exhibit includes nineteen photographs of Muniz’s, which depict saints as painted by the Masters, like Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness, after Caravaggio.

Each work is a detailed collage, made of everyday objects, like buttons, sugar, torn paper, which Muniz creates and photographs. The work will be on display through September 29, 2019.

Vik Muniz at VFA

Vik Muniz use of everything from chocolate to trash in his works, led to his commission of Kate Moss, done in fake blood for Brazilian Vogue. Kate and other works, in other medium, by Vik Muniz are available at VFA.

See More Vik Muniz Artwork for Sale

References:
Meilan Solly. Around 2,000 Artifacts Have Been Saved From the Ruins of Brazil’s National Museum Fire. smithsonian.com. February 15, 2019.
Ann Binlot. Vik Muniz, the Brooklyn artist giving Brazil’s destroyed relics new life. Document Journal. May 21, 2019.
https://loeildelaphotographie.com/en/arles-2019-vik-muniz-bb/
https://frieze.com/fairs/frieze-london/visitor-information/faqs-frieze-london

Robert Rauschenberg at the Tampa Museum

Fifty years ago this month, the world watched as Apollo 11 landed on the moon and Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the lunar surface. Robert Rauschenberg was one of a number of artists invited by NASA to the Kennedy Space Center to witness and document the launch.

The launch inspired Rauschenberg to create the Stoned Moon Series, a series of 34 lithographs printed at Gemini G.E.L. in Los Angeles. Works from the Stoned Moon Series are in private collections and in major venues like the Smithsonian.

Robert Rauschenberg
Cover Page, Stoned Moon Book, 1970

What has rarely been seen, is The Stoned Moon Book, that Rauschenberg put together after the launch. The Stoned Moon Book contains images and text that record both his experience and impressions of the Apollo 11 mission. The book details the artist’s experience on his way to, during and after the launch. He includes photos and quotes from participants at the Space Center and at the print shop, highlighting the collaborative effort that went into the space launch and the printing of his work.

The text is joyful, hopeful and also reflects Rauschenberg’s fondness for Florida (“free orange juice, air condition, swimming pool”), where he lived and worked for more than forty years, in his studio on Captiva Island. Rauschenberg was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 1991. He died on Captiva in 2008 at age 82.

Four photo-collages for the book’s front and back covers and endpapers, and eleven layout pages are on display, through July 26th, at the Craig F. Starr Gallery in Manhattan.

The exhibit, Robert Rauschenberg: Stoned Moon (1969-70), includes work from the series as well as The Stoned Moon book.

Robert Rauschenberg at the Tampa Museum of Art

Robert Rauschenberg’s collages often became master prints, which included the artist’s photographs. What made his work so unique was his ability to see beauty and fascination in many of the mundane things he encountered in his daily life.

The Tampa Museum of Art has an extensive collection of Rauschenberg’s works, including some rarely exhibited photographs.

Some of the photographs that Rauschenberg took while traveling around the U.S. in 1983, will be on display at  the museum this summer. Suite 1 from America Mix-16 is a portfolio consisting of 16 photogravures from the museum’s collection.

Robert Rauschenberg: Suite 1 (America Mix-16) will be on view from August 9, 2019 through January 5, 2020.

Robert Rauschenberg Screenprints and Collage at VFA

One of the finest examples of Robert Rauschenberg’s use of photography in his work is the Statue of Liberty from the New York, New York Series, done in 1983. The serene colors and composition capture the essence of the statue, and of the city, not the usual depiction of New York.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Robert Rauschenberg available at VFA.

See More Robert Rauschenberg Artwork for Sale

Summer at VFA: Featured Artists

We’re getting ready to travel up to the Market Art + Design Show at the Bridgehampton Museum in upstate New York and wanted to give you a little preview of a few of the artists whose work we’ll be featuring at the show and in the VFA Gallery.

Mel Bochner: Top Dog

In a world where there’s so much information coming at us, Mel Bochner uses language and humor to engage viewers. A master printmaker, Bochner brings texture and rich color to each of his prints.

“As an artist I like to delve into those things, like using etching, as it’s never been used before.” Bochner said in interview with Tulsa Public Radio. He says that some of his silkscreens “have a hundred different colors to make it look like one color. Even if the viewer can’t know that there are a hundred screens in that, there’s a quality to that blue that you can’t get anywhere else. There’s a uniqueness. I think anyone who really gets engaged in this thing called printmaking wants to explore all those possibilities.”

The texture in Bochner’s monoprint, Top Dog, available at VFA, comes from his use of specially handmade paper, engraving, collage and embossing.

Deborah Kass: OY YO 

In 2015, Deborah Kass’ 18 feet tall by 17 feet long aluminum OY YO sculpture was placed on the waterfront in New York’s Brooklyn Bridge Park. It read OY if you were viewing it from Brooklyn and YO if you were seeing it from Manhattan. OY YO became an instant icon after it appeared on the front page of the New York Times, and became a tourist destination, and a background for wedding photos, graduation and class photos and many, many selfies.

Much of Kass’ work is about power in art and society and she often reworks the art of 20th century  iconic male artists. Kass first created OY as a painting, after Ed Ruscha’s OOF panting and then did YO as a nod to Yo Picasso, the self-portrait Picasso did in 1901.

OY YO is currently installed in front of the Brooklyn Museum. A smaller, more manageable version of OY YO is available at VFA.

Ugo Rondinone: Untitled

Ugo Rondinone likes to work large. He creates temporary, monumental sculptures that resemble totems. Rather than fitting in with their surroundings, Rondinone’s works clash with their surroundings, like Human Nature, on display in Rockefeller Center in 2013.

Rondinone lives and works in New York. He was born in Switzerland, of Italian parents, in 1964. Like his sculptures, Rondinone’s paintings and prints are large, with brightly colored concentric circles or black and white gnarled trees.

Untitled silkscreen, available at VFA, is a large five-foot square silkscreen, that uses the wild and wonderful trademark Rondinone colors.

Alex Katz: Coca-Cola Girl

It’s been wonderful to watch Alex Katz age gracefully – both physically and artistically. He’s going to turn 92 in a few weeks and his work is as sleek and elegant as ever.

His recent Homage to Degas series of paintings and sculptures, and his simple landscapes are masterful works that showcase Katz’s refinement of his signature style. Coca-Cola Girl, available at VFA is another example of Katz’s ability to fine-tune his art.

KAWS: Ankle Bracelet

KAWS giant Companion sculpture will be relaxing at the Fujinomiya’s Fumotoppara Camping Ground this summer, giving campers a spectacular view of both the sculpture and Mount Fuji.

Kaws: Holiday at Mt Fuji will be on exhibit for just a week from July 18 to 24. Companion has already been to Seoul, Taipei and Hong Kong. If you can’t make it to Mt. Fuji,  you can view Companion, and other work by KAWS in our gallery.

Please give us a call if you would like more information about the works at VFA. Or make Vertu Fine Art part of your summer itinerary and stop by for a visit.

 

 

Featured Artwork For Sale at VFA

Here’s a look at some of the featured artwork at Vertu Fine Arts. Some of our favorite artists, like KAWS, Julien Opie and Alex Katz, are often in the news and get a lot of media attention. Many of our favorites don’t get as much attention, aren’t as mainstream and we’d like to shine a spotlight on them.

KAWS

If you’ve ever seen an interview with Brian Donnelly (aka KAWS), you see a reserved, soft-spoken man, whose demeanor belies the excitement that his works create.

KAWS works have a universal appeal, and he has had highly successful collaborations with Dior, Nike and other fashion retailers. Many of his designs are bought at cost and resell for about ten times the original retail price on line. A pair of Nike Air Jordans, that he designed in 2017, sold at retail for $350 and are resold on websites like Fight Club for as much as $2,750.

Brian Donnelly is a fine artist and designer, trained at New York’s School of Visual Arts. Last week, customers in China stormed retail stores to get their hands on t-shirts that KAWS created for Uniqlo, a Japanese fashion label. After the shopping frenzy, KAWS announced that he would no longer be collaborating with Uniqlo.

Sol LeWitt

Sol LeWitt is known as one of the pioneers of Minimal and Conceptual Art during the 1960s. LeWitt often put simple instructions on paper, so that his work could be recreated. In the mid-1950s, after getting his BFA from Syracuse University and serving in the Korean War, LeWitt moved to Manhattan, where he worked in the MoMA bookstore and met other struggling, young artists. By the 1960s LeWitt had become a successful artist, whose works are part of the permanent collections of the Tate Modern, the Centre Georges Pompidou and, ironically, the Museum of Modern Art. One of his permanent murals is in the Equitable Center in Manhattan…the building that was the site of a helicopter crash last week. LeWitt died in New York in 2007.

Sir Anish Kapoor

Anish Kapoor is a well-loved and very popular…and very controversial… British artist. He was born in Bombay in 1954 and moved to the UK in the early 1970s to study art. He became Sir Anish Kapoor in 2013, for his contribution to the visual arts.

One of Kapoor’s best known sculptures is Cloud Gate (nicknamed The Bean), a giant stainless steel sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park. One of the controversies surrounding Kapoor stems from his exclusive licensing of Vantablack, one of the darkest substances known, in spray-paint form. His licensing of Vantablack caused anger among other artists. Kapoor is preparing for his first solo show in China this coming fall.

Erik Parker

Erik Parker’s work is both psychedelic and serene. Parker was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1968. He studied art at the University of Texas at Austin and at Purchase College in New York. Parker and his former teacher, Peter Saul, are currently having a joint exhibition at the Nanzuka Gallery in Tokyo. Parker’s work is part of the permanent collection at MoMA. He works from his Brooklyn studio.

Retna

Retna’s unique works are a combination of calligraphy and typography. Born Marquis Lewis in Los Angeles in 1979, Retna began his career as a graffiti artist and has gone on to exhibit at major venues around the world. He has designed for Louis Vuitton and Nike, did the cover for Justin Bieber’s Purpose album and the stage set for Verdi’s Aida at the Seattle Opera.

Richard Estes

A founder of the photo-realist painting movement in the 1960s, Richard Estes’ urban landscapes have been exhibited at the Met, the Guggenheim and are in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian. Born in Kewanee, Illinois in 1932, Estes studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. He moved to New York in 1959, lived and painted in Spain in 1962. When he returned to New York, he worked as a commercial artist until 1966, when he was able to support himself through the sale of his paintings. Estes lives and works in New York.

Featured Artwork For Sale at VFA

This is just a brief look at some of the featured artwork available at VFA. Please give us a call, or visit the gallery, if you would like more information about the works available at VFA.

Free Ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints

Free Ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints

We believe that the more you know, the more you will appreciate fine art prints.

In our Ebook you’ll learn:

  • A short history of prints from the earliest woodcut to contemporary processes
  • Which artists most influenced the making of fine art prints
  • What questions to ask when buying prints
  • The fundamentals of print identification
  • Terms and techniques for identifying fine art prints
Learn More