Takashi Murakami, and the Artists He Mentored, at VFA

Takashi Murakami 1962 –

Artist, mentor and celebrity, Takashi Murakami, continues to mix high and low art that speaks to a global audience. He has collaborated with Louis Vuitton and other designers. Murakami collaborated with Hubolt and designed a black watch with his signature flower pattern and, most recently the company has issued a full color watch with the same pattern.

Murakami was born and raised in Tokyo. He planned on studying animation at Tokyo University of the Arts, but studied Nihonga, the ‘traditional’ style of Japanese painting instead, earning a PhD from the university in 1993.

He went on to publish his theory on Superflat, the two-dimensional imagery that uses flat planes of color, His Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd., operates in Japan, New York and London, promoting Murakami’s works as well as the works of the artists that he mentors.

The flower pattern can be found on many of Murakami’s sculptures, paintings and prints, like Flowerball-3D Kindergarten, available at VFA.

Chiho Aoshima 1974 –

Chiho Aoshima is one of the most interesting, and successful, artists mentored by Takashi Murakami. Aoshima was not formally trained in art. She graduated from the Department of Economics at Hosei University and then went to work for Murakami at the Kaikai Kiki collective.

Her work bears the influence of anime and manga, with subtly dark undercurrents in each piece. At VFA we have several fine examples of Aoshima’s work, including Building Head-Chameleon and Building Head-Palm Trees, done in 2006.

Aoshima has created public art installations and murals all over the world, from the Union Square subway station in New York to London’s Gloucester Road Tube station.

Her works are included in the permanent collections of the Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh and the Seattle Art Museum.

KAWS (Brian Donnelly) 1974 –

Through Kaikai Kiki Co., Takashi Murakami helped to promote  the career of KAWS.

The sensibility of KAWS’ paintings, prints and sculptures have a universal appeal and are especially popular in Japan.

In 2021 the Brooklyn Museum, the first major venue to purchase KAWS artwork, held a retrospective of the Brooklyn-based artist’s work, called WHAT PARTY. 

One of the pieces that KAWS did in 2020 is a large sculpture of his familiar Companion character, lying on the floor in a prone position. The artist explained his thoughts about the work in a recent essay in the New York Times: ” I arrived at the composition for Companion 2020 amid the early days of the pandemic in 2020, and its pose resonated with me. The character is lying face down on the ground, and in the space above it I can feel the weight of everything that is on my mind. I hope that viewers, too, can release their own thoughts, anxieties and feelings into that space.” he wrote, “As much as the sculpture bears that burden, it also represents a much-needed pause — a moment to recharge before getting back up and getting on with life.”

Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Takashi Murakami, Chiho Aoshima, KAWS or any of the other fine artists whose works are available at VFA.

References:
Don Carter. Takashi Murakami’s iconic smiling flowers have been transformed into a collectable timepiece. Creative Boom. December 9, 2021.
Paul Osmond. For the Culture: Why does hip-hop love Takashi Murakami? The Tufts Daily. October 1, 2021.
KAWS. A Companion to Bear Our Burdens. The New York Times. December 6, 2021.
Jason Rosenfeld. KAWS: SPOKE TOO SOON. The Brooklyn Rail. December 2021-January 2022.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wayne Thiebaud Art

The Influence and Legacy of Wayne Thiebaud

Wayne Thiebaud 1920 – 2021

Wayne Thiebaud, one of America’s most beloved artists, best knows for his luscious paintings of cakes and pies, died at his home in Sacramento on Saturday, December 25th. He was 101 years old.

Thiebaud was not just a painter and printmaker; he was also a mentor and teacher. He taught at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) for more than thirty years, where he was given a lifetime Professor Emeritus title.

He continued painting, and playing tennis, into his 1ooth year.

In 1962, Thiebeaud’s work was shown alongside the works of Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Jim Dine, Edward Ruscha and others, in the groundbreaking show New Painting of Common Objects, at the Pasadena Art Museum. The show introduced Pop Art to the America and the rest of the world.

His use of colors and subject matter had a profound influence on Jonas Wood, whose works were included in the 2020 show Wayne Thiebaud Influencer a New Generation at the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis, to celebrate the artist’s 100th birthday.

Wood was able to arrange a meeting with Thiebaud in 2018. “Experiencing Wayne’s world for an afternoon was excellent,” Wood wrote on his Instagram account.

In 1967, Sports Illustrated commissioned Thiebaud to go to Wimbledon to paint his impressions of the tennis tournament. The result was of Thiebaud’s trip was a spread in the June 24, 1968 issue of Sports Illustrated of four paintings of Wimbledon by the artist.

As an homage to Wayne Thiebaud, Jonas Wood had one of his tennis drawings featured on the cover of Racquet magazine in 2018.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Jonas Wood, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol Jim Dine, Ed Ruscha or any of the other fine artists whose works are available at VFA.


References:
Wayne Thiebaud Influencer a New Generation. Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. March 2019.
Julia Halperin. The American Painter Wayne Thiebaud, Who Transformed Cakes Into Symbols of Joy and Longing, Has Died at 101. Artnet News. December 27, 2021.
Shawn Ghassemitari. Jonas Wood Unveils New Gagosian Exhibition in Hong Kong. Hypebeast/HypeArt. November 24, 2021.
Louis Menand. Before Roy Lichtenstein Went Pop. The New Yorker. July 21, 2021.
Karen Rosenberg. For Andy Warhol, Faith and Sexuality Intertwined. The New York Times. December 2, 2021.
Philip Kennicott. Wayne Thiebaud’s artistic eye was so much keener than pop art confections. The Washington Post. December 27, 2021.
Michael Kimmelman. Wayne Thiebaud, Playful Painter of the Everyday, Dies at 101. The New York Times. December 26, 2021.

The Inspirations of Julian Opie, Derrick Adams and Kenny Scharf

Julian Opie 1958 –

The Newlandhouse Gallery in Petworth, England has put together an exhibit of Julian Opie’s work alongside his private collection of contemporary and ancient art. The show gives viewers an opportunity to see how Opie’s interests as a collector  inspire his art.

“Spookily often, when I am stuck for decisions,” Opie said, “I get up and look at some other art and find a solution right there. The work of others pushes me beyond what I know and assume, it suggests new logics and approaches and makes me feel not so alone in this strange endeavour.”

Julian Opie: Collected Works/Works Collected is currently open and will be on exhibit at the Newlandhouse Gallery through March 6, 2022.

Derrick Adams 1970 –

Derrick Adams finds much of his inspiration walking through the streets of Brooklyn, and taking photos, around the Bed-Stuy neighborhood where he has a studio.

Adams’ work is currently on exhibit at the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington in Seattle. Packaged Black: Derrick Adams and Barbara Earl Thomas is a multi-media exhibit that displays the works of Adams and Thomas in a dialogue about Black culture and representation.

“It’s never really about just making a good painting or making a good sculpture,” Adams said in a recent interview, “it’s about connecting with the audience. So I’m always picking subjects that are activated by my interest in drawing in the viewer.”

Packaged Black: Derrick Adams and Barbara Earl Thomas is currently on display and will run through May 1, 2022.

Kenny Scharf 1958 –

In a 2020 interview in Curator, Kenny Scharf was asked what inspires him. His answer: “I am waking up every day excited to continue to learn and explore. This is what I find exciting, not knowing where I’m going and being open to “mistakes” which almost always lead to new discoveries. I listen to a lot of music when I paint. Lately, I’ve been vibing on Anderson Paak’s new album Ventura—it’s really up-lifting.”

Scharf has also been an inspiration to many, and recently to Dior. The collaboration began in 2020 and continues into 2022, with Scharf’s designs for the Dior Chinese New Year Collection.

Kenny Scharf’s playful designs reflect his upbeat attitude. ” I think, for a long time people were like ashamed. You can’t enjoy stuff because it’s not serious if you really enjoy it. I think that’s a problem that’s still going on. Like, if it’s enjoyable, it’s not really serious and it’s not very important.”

Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Julian Opie, Derrick Adams, Kenny Scharf or any of the other fine artists whose works are available at VFA.


References:
Mark Westall. A Rare Exhibition Showcasing Julian Opie’s Personal Collection of Contemporary Ancient Art, Accompanied by a Selection of Original Works. FAD Magazine. November 8, 2021.
Maximilíano Durón. Derrick Adams Create Scenes of Black Joy Through Formalism. ARTnews. December 10, 2021.
Dan Golden. Hangin’ With Kenny. Curator. 2020.
Farhan Shah. Dior teams up with Kenny Scharf for a capsule Chinese New Year collection. asiaone. December 10, 2021.
Mel Bochner Blah, Blah, Blah, 2014

Added Dimensions: Fine Art Prints and more at VFA

It’s been wonderful to get back to seeing artworks up close and in person again. The ability to view fine art prints on line has been a valuable tool for galleries and art lovers, but there is nothing like seeing  a work in person to be able to appreciate its texture and richness.

Many of the artists whose works are in our gallery use what appear to be simple screenprint and lithography techniques. Artists, like Alex Katz, enhance their prints with lush layers of color.

An exhibit of Alex Katz‘s flower paintings are currently on view at the Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery in Seoul and will run through February 5, 2022.

Although he has always done large paintings in oil, Katz also works in other medium, like porcelain enamel on aluminum and powder coated sculptural works.

Other artists who are best known for their paintings and prints, also expand their oeuvre by using innovative and creative materials:

Donald Sultan is known for using industrial materials like tar and linoleum in his large paintings, and  flocking and diamond dust in many of his floral prints. Sultan also creates sculptures in floral motifs.

Kenny Scharf, who often uses traditional oil paint on linen for his less-than-traditional motifs, also uses some unusual combination of materials in his two and three-dimensional works. He uses diamond dust in many of his fine art prints and flocking on some of his sculptural works.

One of America’s most interesting painters and printmakers, Ed Ruscha, worked with master printmakers to create many innovate textural prints. He worked closely with master printmaker, Richard Duardo, founder of Modern Multiples, an L.A. institution for more than forty years. Zoot Soot, available at VFA, is Ruscha’s homage to Richard Duardo. Zoot Soot is a wonderful example of Ruscha’s innovate printmaking.

Like Ed Ruscha, Mel Bochner uses words and a variety of materials in his paintings and prints. “The materiality of a drawing is central to its meaning” Bochner said. “Every medium reveals something but hides something else. A change of mediums can reveal what was hidden, permitting new thoughts to emerge.” An inspired version of Blah, Blah, Blah, a recurring theme in Bochner’s works, is available at VFA.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Alex Katz, Donald Sultan, Kenny Scharf, Ed Ruscha, Mel Bochner or any of the other fine artists whose works are available at VFA.


References:
Jonathan Goodman. Alex Katz/ArtSeen. The Brooklyn Rail. December 2021-January 2022 Issue.
Shawn Ghassemitari. Alex Katz’s Verdant Paintings Fill the Halls of Thaddaeus Ropac Seoul. Hype Art. December 13, 2021.

Festive, Fun and Fabulous: Fine Art Prints …and more…

The uniqueness of each fine art print is always intriguing and surprising. Each artist’s vision, technique and medium lends itself to the creation of  an extraordinary work of art.

Alex Katz 1927 –

Seeing the fine art prints of an artist like Alex Katz, a master of the use of color, gives us an even greater appreciation of the art form.

His White Impatiens screenprint, has a simplicity of design that makes it hard to believe that he used 26 colors in its clean composition.

A fine art print like Marissa, a woodcut/linocut further underscores Katz’s talent.

Alex Katz will be having a 95th Birthday Exhibit at the Albertina Museum in Vienna on May 17, 2022 through August 21, 2022 and a much-deserved retrospective at the Guggenheim, New York on October 14, 2022 through February 20, 2023.

Kenny Scharf 1958 –

The works of Kenny Scharf are mind-bending and smile producing. He was born in Los Angles, where he currently lives and works, but spent the 1980s in New York. Scharf attended the School of Visual Arts and became part of the New York art scene with Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and other artist friends, some of whom, sadly, died during that era.

Scharf calls his work Pop Surrealism, a sensibility that has global appeal.

The Scharf Schack, a newspaper kiosk that he turned into a shop in Manhattan in the ’90s, has been recreated in the Baik Art Gallery in Seoul. The exhibit of Scharf’s works also includes a recreation of his L.A. studio. The exhibit will run through Christmas.

Like Keith Haring, Scharf has always wanted his art to be accessible. He said that art is something, “that can’t be confined to just a painting for a museum or gallery, but that has to explode off the wall into your life.”

At VFA we have a selection of Kenny Scharf’s paintings, prints and sculptures.

Yoshitomo Nara 1959 –

Yoshitomo Nara was a latchkey kid who grew up in northern Japan. One of his major influences was the rock-and-roll music broadcast from a nearby American army base. He didn’t understand the lyrics, but he got then message, and began collecting vinyl records, not just for the music, but also for the cover art.

Nara’s work is currently being shown at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, along with many of his album covers adorning the installation entrance.

Although best known for his depictions of wide-eyed, mischievous children, Nara also creates mixed media sculptures.

Available at VFA is  Yoshitomo Nara’s Doggy Radio, complete with a nose-turner dial, that is a tribute to the medium that started it all.

Andy Warhol 1928 – 1987

More fun to art lovers than a box of Legos, is Andy Warhol’s Portrait of the Artists from Ten from Leo Castelli. The work consists of 100 polystyrene boxes, each just 2-inches square. On each square is a screenprint of one of the artists whose works were shown at the Castelli Gallery.

The artists portrayed are Roy Lichtenstein, Larry Poons, Lee Bontecou, James Rosenquist; Donald Judd, Jasper Johns, Frank Stella, Robert Morris, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol himself.

Warhol made 200 copies of the boxed set, one of which is in the collection of MoMA another of which is available at VFA.

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


References:
Korea JoongAng Daily/In association with The New York Times. Exhibitions Across Seoul are attracting MZ generation. December 7, 2021.
Park Han-sol. US pop art legend’s funky ‘Scharf Schak’ from the ’90s reborn in Seoul. The Korea Times. December 8, 2021.

Vertu Fine Art at Miami Art Fair 2021

We are pleased to announce that Vertu Fine Art will be exhibiting at the 31st Edition of Art Miami at the downtown Herald Plaza. The Miami Art Fair runs from November 30th through December 5th, 2021.

Many of the works on exhibit in our gallery are recent acquisitions by contemporary artists like Alex Katz, Kenny Scharf, Julian Opie, Derrick Adams, Ethan Cook and Harland Miller.

View the show portfolio here and a preview of some of the works that we will have on display below:

Alex Katz
White Impatiens, 2015
Screenprint
70h x 53w
70
Available at VFA

Alex Katz will be having a much-deserved retrospective at the Guggenheim, New York, scheduled to run from October 14, 2022 through February 20, 2023.

Harland Miller Thought After Filthy Thought, 2019

Harland Miller Thought After Filthy Thought, 2019 Etching with Relief printing 58.60h x 35.30w in 74/75 HM003

Recent acquisitions by London-based artist, Harland Miller will be at our Fair gallery. Miller is best known for his tongue-in-cheek book cover works that he was inspired to paint when he was a lonely, young artist living in Paris. It was there that he began to buy and read Penguin books for comfort and later began to use the covers as a basis for his artwork.

George Condo untitled, 1985
Oil on Canvas
13h x 9.50w in Framed: 18.50h x 14.50w in
Signed on Verso
Available at VFA

George Condo has been a powerful influence on art, literature and music since the 1980s. Working in New York and Paris between 1985 and 1995, his Artificial Realism drawings and paintings influenced and inspired great writers like William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsburg and Salman Rushdie. Condo still lives and works in New York.

Ethan Cook
Cut outs, 2021
Acrylic on aluminum and ash wood
22h x 22w x 4d in
Unique
Signed and numbered on the Verso
Available at VFA

Brooklyn-based artist, Ethan Cook, is best known for weaving blocks of color, on a hand loom, that form his canvasses. He also does sculptural work using everyday materials, like the aluminum and ash wood he used for the works available at VFA.

Derrick Adams
Mirroring Idealism, 2021
Wall relief of UV curable pigment on Mirror Dibond 23.25h x 53.50w x 3d in
22/40
Signed and numbered
Available at VFA

Derrick Adams’ work focuses on leisure and culture in the African-American community. He is so committed to encourage leisure as therapy for Black artists, that he has opened The Last Resort in his hometown of Baltimore, for invitees to create or just relax.

Kenny Scharf
Hedz, 2016
Oil on linen with powder coated frame
48.75h x 34.75w in
Framed: 50h x 36w in
Signed on the verso
Available at VFA

It’s always fun to see what Los Angeles-based artist, Kenny Scharf is up to. We’ve recently acquired oil paintings, prints with diamond dust and sculptures from the artist who has been making the world a better place since he began showing his work in New York in the 1980s.

The works of many more exciting artists, like Julian Opie, KAWS, Susumu Kamijo, Timothy Curtis, Eddie Martinez and others, will be on display at our Art Miami booth. Please contact us if you would like more information about the Miami Art Fair 2021 or about the works available at VFA.

The works of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Derrick Adams at VFA

Jean-Michel Basquiat 1960-1988

In 1983, a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, titled Equals Pi, was featured in GQ magazine. Basquiat had achieved superstardom by then and his personal lifestyle, as well as his artwork, was the focus of many stories in publications around the world.

The dichotomy between Basquiat’s anti-establishment art and his being embraced by the establishment is understandable; he was a genius who lived life on his own terms and had a profound influence on art and fashion during his short lifetime.

Tiffany and Company has recently purchased Equals Pi and is using it in an ad campaign featuring Beyonce and Jay-Z. Tiffany reportedly bought the painting for between $15-$20 million dollars. It’s the background blue color that attracted the company.

Tiffany’s executive Vice President, Alexandre Arnault, said in an interview in Women’s Wear Daily that because the blue background is the same as Tiffany’s signature blue, Basquiat could have been giving a nod to Tiffany. “We don’t have any literature that says he made the painting for Tiffany. We know he loved New York, and that he loved luxury and he loved jewelry. The color is so specific that it has to be some kind of homage.”

The painting will be placed permanently in Tiffany’s flagship store in Manhattan.

Whether Basquiat had Tiffany’s in mind or not, using Beyonce and Jay-Z in their ad campaign, posing in front of Equals Pi, will amass a new generation of Basquiat fans and collectors.

Derrick Adams 1970 –

Derrick Adams’ style and unique perspective have earned him a special place in the art world.

Adams takes ‘the pursuit of happiness’ very seriously, especially as it pertains to Black Americans. His depictions of family, friends, and even of himself, at play are filled with color and joy. The underlying political themes in his works are presented with clarity, often with humor and always with great skill.

Adams was commissioned by the Milwaukee Museum of Art to create a mural for its On Site series. The mural, titled In Our Time Together, was inspired by The Negro Motorist Green Book by Victor Hugo Green, first published in 1936, as a traveler’s guide for Black Americans during the Jim Crow era.  The mural is currently on display and is part of an ongoing exhibit.

“In Our Time Together, I highlight Milwaukee by representing commercial and civic gathering spaces known within the Black community,” Adams said. “These places, and those who spend time in them, are essential to the growth of American society as a whole — to its cultural, political, and creative output, which spreads out to a global audience. The installation reflects my respect and admiration for the perseverance of Black Americans in their pursuit of happiness and speaks to transformation, belonging, and normalcy.”

Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Derrick Adams available at VFA.


References:
Nick Kenyon. The Real Star Of Tiffany’s New Campaign Is Jean-Michel Basquiat. Boss Hunting. August 24, 2021.
Christie’s. Jean-Michel Basquiat: ‘Painter to the core’. Post-War & Contemporary Art. November 2, 2021.
Sammy Su. JAY-Z and Beyonce’s Tiffany Ad Upsets Basquiat’s Friends and Collaborators. HypeArt. September 7, 2021.
Y-Jean Mun-Delsalle. The Auction Market Of Artist Derrick Adams Is On The Rise. Forbes. November 7, 2021.
Milwaukee Art Museum. Milwaukee Art Museum.
Ellsworth Kelly Untitled ( for Obama), 2012

Ellsworth Kelly’s Fine Art Prints at VFA

Ellsworth Kelly 1923-2015

I’m interested in the space between the viewer and the surface of the painting – the forms and the way they work in their surroundings. I’m interested in how they react to a room. – Ellsworth Kelly

Ellsworth Kelly saw the big picture. He was not only careful about what he placed on his canvas or paper, but also about how his work was placed on a wall in a room.

There were several things that led Kelly to become a keen observer of the world around him and reduce what he saw to pure form and color; as a shy, frail child his mother and grandmother took him outdoors to get fresh air and introduced him to birdwatching. The shapes and colors that he saw as he looked at the birds, the plants and the trees had a profound influence on his work.

He loved to draw, reducing what he saw in nature to basic forms.

While deployed in Paris as part of a unit that designed camouflage during World War ll, Kelly fell in love with the city. He returned to Paris, and lived there for six years, after his army discharge and study at the the Boston Museum of the Fine Arts School.

It was during a visit to the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris, that Kelly began to how he wanted to paint.  He paid more attention to the architecture of the museum than to the art on display in the building. On a trip to the island of Belle-Île, off the coast of Brittany, in the summer of 1949, Kelly found himself intrigued by the framework of the window of small cottage he was staying in and painted a simplified version of its lines in black against  a white background. That exercise was the beginning of a long career as a Minimalist artist, whose works influenced artists of post-war America.

He began making prints in the 1960s, many of which are now in the permanent collection of the National Gallery. Kelly was able to recreate the intensity and pure form of his paintings into his prints, many of which are available at VFA.

Kelly also created collaged postcards, mischievously inserting flat, colored forms onto incongruous backgrounds. He made over 400 postcards from 1949 to 2005. They are currently on display at the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. Ellsworth Kelly: Postcards will be on exhibit through November 28, 2021.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Ellsworth Kelly available at VFA.


References:
Arte Fuse. Lilt, Joy and Clarity: The Prints of Ellsworth Kelly (Photo Story). October 27, 2021.
Shahrzad Rasekh. Sotheby’s Auctions TV Legend Douglas S. Cramer’s Lichtenstein Paintings & More. Gotham. October 8, 2021.
Stephen Maine. The Unexpected Humor of Ellsworth Kelly. Hyperallergic. November 3, 2021.
Daisy Woodward. Five Things You Might Not Know About Ellsworth Kelly. AnOther/Art & Photography, July 4, 2018.

Art in Person and Personal: Donald Sultan, Jonas Wood and Derrick Adams

One of the difficult things about the pandemic has been the closing of museums and galleries. Our technology is great, and online art sales have found new audiences, but there’s nothing like seeing a work of art in person to be able to appreciate its full grandeur.

Donald Sultan 1951 –

Donald Sultan spent much of the lockdown in Sag Harbor…not a bad place to have to spend some time…but he bemoaned the fact that the colors and texture of his works can’t be appreciated on a computer screen.

Sultan has always worked with tactile, industrial materials; like tar, masonite and vinyl tiles. His father owned a tire company in Asheville, North Carolina, and Sultan was raised to feel very comfortable using industrial tools and supplies.

New York Times art critic, Michael Brenson said, “His images are fresh and direct in part because he approaches industrial materials as if they were tubes of paint, feeling free to use anything as long as he uses it directly, in the form in which he finds it.”

Even Sultan’s silkscreens are textural, with over-printed flocking on rising 4-ply museum board and the nuanced surface quality that he creates is difficult to see on a computer screen.

His sculptures are done in Corten steel, a product was originally designed in the 1930s to help build railroad coal wagons. Its strength and durability made it a useful material to use for outdoor building and sculptures.

Sultan’s use of industrial materials to create fine art prints and sculptures of delicate flowers has made him one of the most unique contemporary artists working today.

Jonas Wood 1977 –

The work of Jonas Wood is very personal and resonates with art lovers around the world. He draws, paints, etches and prints his surroundings and is able to imbue his works with the feeling that he is sharing a part of his private life with the viewer.

His softground etching, Pattern Couch Interior with Mar Vista View, available at VFA, feels like one could be sitting alongside Wood as he draws.

Many of his works are glimpses of his Culver City home and studio and include the sculptures of his wife, ceramic artist Shio Kusaka.

Derrick Adams 1970 –

Derrick Adams’ work is also very personal. He grew up in a loving, close-knit family in Baltimore, Maryland and bases much of his work on the wonderful experiences that he enjoyed surrounded by family and friends and on the daily lives of the people in his neighborhood.

Adams has been living and working in Brooklyn and teaching and Brooklyn College and has recently opened an ‘invitation only’ retreat for Black artists in Baltimore.

His work is included in Men of Change, an exhibit at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, that looks at the historic and profound influence that Black men have had in politics, science, entertainment, sports, business, religion, and other disciplines.

Men of Change will be on display through January 2, 2022.

Please contact us if you would like more information about Donald Sultan, Jonas Wood and Derrick Adams work available at VFA.


References:
Michael Brenson. 57th Street: Jimy Ernst and others. The New York Times. May 4, 2014.
Maureen Feighan. ’Men of Change’ exhibit at Charles Wright museum challenges narrative of Black Men. The Detroit News. October 11, 2021.

Julian Opie, Alex Katz and more at VFA

Julian Opie – 1958

In a recent interview, Julian Opie talked about his personal art collection and how he was influenced by the portraits of Austrian Expressionist artist, Egon Schiele, and by the fluid lines found in Japanese woodcuts, many of which are part of his personal collection.

Those clear, dark lines of the woodcuts of Kitagawa Utamaro (c. 1753-1806) and Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) inspired Opie’s style. “I’ve always drawn using a line,” Opie said, in an interview with The Art Newspaper, “from the time that I was a teenager—it always seemed to me a very obvious, sensible and satisfying process to have my hand on a piece of paper holding a pencil or felt-tip pen and to look at the world, and to just allow that process to flow. It’s something that I can do and seems to come naturally to me. I can move my hand and look at your face and when I look down on the piece of paper, you’ll pretty much be there. That’s always a good party trick when you’re a teenager to impress people.”

Opie was born in London in 1958. He graduated from Goldsmiths College in 1982 and became associated with the New British Sculpture movement.

Julian Opie’s own works are being shown alongside works from his personal collection at the Newlands House Gallery in Petworth, England.  His collection includes everything from Roman sculpture to classical 17th-century portraits to work from contemporary artists. He also buys ambient music to use for his installations.

When asked what work he wished he had bought when he had the chance, Opie said, “One of Alex Katz’s small paintings. There were a set of these in the next door booth at an art fair many years ago and I didn’t have the courage.”

Alex Katz 1927-

This year’s Art Basel, the first live event since June 2019, recorded high attendance and brisk sales. A work by Alex Katz sold for around $2 million, a Keith Haring work sold for more than $5m and a Robert Rauschenberg painting garnered $4.5 million.

Although he was born in Brooklyn an has lived and worked in New York all of his life, Katz has a large following in Europe and Asia, as evidenced by his recent and upcoming shows in Paris, Belgium, Spain, Austria, the Netherlands, China and Korea.

The upcoming retrospective at the Guggenheim in New York, set to open next October, is a well-deserved tribute to an American artist who has always worked in his own style, even when he was overlooked or disparaged by art critics.

In a Wall Street Journal interview in 2019, Katz said, ” I had no idea I was going to be this good.”

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Julian Opie, Alex Katz or any of the other fine artists whose works are for sale at VFA.


References:
The Art Newspaper. A Brush with…Julian Opie. Interview with Ben Luke. June 23, 2021.
Naomi Rea. What I Buy and Why: Artist Julian Opie on How Collecting Inspires His Own Practice and the Teensy Carl Andre Work He’s Afraid of Misplacing. September 6, 2021.
Tom McGlynn. Alex Katz. The Brooklyn Rail: Art Books. September 2021.
Catherine Hickley and Tom Seymour. ‘The Europeans are back and buying’: sales flow steadily at first Art Basel since the pandemic. The Art Newspaper. September 22, 2021.
Lane Florsheim. Alex Katz Had No Idea He Was Going to be This Good. The Wall Street Journal/Magazine. November 19, 2019.

Works by Ugo Rondinone, KAWS and Keith Haring at VFA

Ugo Rondinone – 1964

New York-based Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone is best known for his enormous sculptures and his brightly colored concentric circle paintings and prints.

Rondinone has partnered with the Belvedere Museum of Contemporary Art in Vienna, to present works, done by children, to paint pictures of rainbows. The artist, and the museum’s art education team, invited children in elementary schools throughout Austria, between the ages of 6 through 12, to join in the uplifting project.

More than 1,000 drawings, covering more than 200 feet,  are being displayed in the Belvedere Palace Garden.

Ugo Rondinone: your age and my age and the age of the rainbow will be on display through November 2021.

Sculptures by Rondinone are currently on display with works by American artist Pat Steir at the Galerie Eva Presenhuber in Zurich. The contrast between the solidity of Rondinone’s pebble-studded concrete sculptures and the softness of Steir’s rain-like paintings makes for a wonderful exhibit.

A selection of Ugo Rondinone’s limited edition silkscreens on 4-ply board are available at VFA.

KAWS 1974 –

The year isn’t over yet, and already Brian Donnelly, the artist known as KAWS, has collaborated with Nike and Sacai, Supreme, Human Made, and Porter. He’s also worked with Comme des Garçons on a fragrance, whose bottle will probably  be more sought after than the fragrance itself.

KAWS is a superstar in Japan and his Tokyo exhibit has just ended, as has his successful retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum, one of the first major museums to purchase his work for its permanent collection.

Sticking closer to home, KAWS is collaborating with General Mills to create a ‘Companion’ design for a Reese’s Puffs cereal box. The company had rapper Travis Scott put a signature design on Puffs box. They sold out in less than 30 seconds after release and are being resold for more than $200.

Keith Haring 1958-1990

In 1983, Keith Haring was commissioned by Italian designer Elio Fiorucci to create a large mural for the designer’s gallery in Milan.

Haring asked Angel Ortiz, a young graffiti artist known as LA ll, to collaborate with him on the project. The results were a large mural that Fiorucci took down in 1984 and stored until its restoration in 1991.

The mural has been placed in midtown Manhattan’s New York City Center, and will remain there through 2022.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Ugo Rondinone, KAWS and Keith Haring available at VFA.


References:
Web Master. Pat Steir & Ugo Rondinone: waterfalls & clouds at Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Maag Areal. Arte Fuse. September 28, 2021.
Jake SIlbert. KAWS x Reeses Puffs is the Breakfast of ‘Companions’.Highsnobiety. October 12, 2021.
Tyler Watamanuk. Now You Can Smell Like One of the Biggest Artists on Earth. GQ. October 11, 2021.

Hockney at Basel, Wood Connecting Dots

David Hockney 1937 –

One of the highlights of this year’s Art Basel in Basel was the Unlimited exhibit, that displayed works that are too large to be shown in an average size gallery. The works are, instead, shown in the massive Hall 1.

David Hockney’s Pictures at an Exhibition, 50 feet long by nearly 16 feet high, was one of the works featured in Hall 1.

In a recent article in The Art Newspaper, titled Abstraction in art has run its course, Hockney looks at the importance of understanding the history of art and how it is created. His 2006 book, Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters explored the way in which Caravaggio, Vermeer, da Vinci, and other hyperrealists actually used optics and lenses to create their masterpieces.

Hockney himself has used photography as a basis to create some of his finest works, like Hotel Acatlan: Two Weeks Later, from; The Moving Focus Series, 1985, available at VFA.

Hockney has been living on a farm in Normandy for the past few years, saying that it’s the only place where he can find a restaurant where he can smoke a cigarette after a meal. He’s been doing iPad drawings of the world around him, like My Shirt and Trousers, 2010, available at VFA.

Artists, like David Hockney, show us the world through their eyes. In his Art Newspaper article, Hockney writes, “What does the world really look like? I know it doesn’t look like photographs. The camera sees geometrically, and we must see psychologically. So what does it really look like? I think you have to draw it. The world is very beautiful, but human beings are quite mad. I have always thought the world of humans mad, and there is little likelihood of this changing, no matter how much we try.”

Jonas Wood 1977 –

The work of Jonas Wood was described in the New Yorker as “(connecting) the dots from Henri Matisse to Stuart Davis to David Hockney”.

Like David Hockney, Wood draws and paints what’s in front of him and those things that feel very close and personal. His drawings are technically brilliant and esthetically engaging, like Pattern couch Interior with Mar Vista View.

Like Hockney’s work, Wood’s bold colors and playful compositions are in great demand in the art market. Last May, one of his paintings, Two Tables with Floral Pattern, sold for $6.5 million…way above its $2-4million estimate.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of David Hockney and Jonas Wood, available at Vertu Fine Art.


References:
David Hockney. David Hockney: ‘Abstraction in art has run its course’. The Art Newspaper. September 30, 2021.
Jan Dalley. Unlimited ambition at Art Basel’s section for outsized work. Financial Times. September 17, 2021.
Hollander Cotter. Stuart Davis: A Little Matisse, a Lot of Jazz, All American. The New York Times. June 9, 2016.
Artspace Editors. Jonas Wood breaks auction record at Christie’s. Artspace Editors. May 13, 2021.
Christie’s. From the High Line to MOCA: Jonas Wood’s ‘visual diary. Post-War & Contemporary Art.July 2, 2020.

Eddie Martinez, Yoshitomo Nara and Yue Minjun

Eddie Martinez 1977-

The work of Eddie Martinez has been evolving over the last few years and has become highly coveted in art markets around the world.

He has spent much time, since the start of the pandemic, working in his Brooklyn studio, on paintings and prints that, he said, reflected his emotions during a difficult time. “Obviously there is a lot of anger and anxiety in this country right now,” Martinez said, “so I do feel some relief making these works and sharing them on Instagram, etcetera.”

During this year’s Art Basel in Basel, one of Martinez’s work sold for $90,000, another for $200,000.

The popularity of Martinez’s work in the Asian market has been fueled by Chinese rock star, Jay Chou. Chou, whose mother was a music teacher who also taught fine art, instilled a love of music and art in her son. She hoped he would one day teach music. He, instead, became a singer and songwriter, selling over 30 million records and garnering a large following on social media. Something about Eddie Martinez’s work spoke to Chou and he not only posted the work on his social media sites, but also traveled to the United States to meet the artist and attend an exhibit.

Martinez not only paints and creates original lithographs, he works in a variety of medium like oil pastel, ink, white out and crayon. A variety of these works are available at VFA.

His work is part of the permanent collection of the Morgan Library and Museum in New York, the Marciano Collection in Los Angeles, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Saatchi Collection and many other fine museums and galleries around the world.

Eddie Martinez lives and works in Brooklyn, with his wife, artist Sam Moyer.

Yoshitomo Nara 1959-

Yoshitomo Nara’s retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) reflects thirty years of the artist’s work. Nara is one of Japan’s most esteemed artists, whose paintings and sculptures have garnered some of the highest prices on the art market.

During the recent Art Basel in Basel, two of Nara’s works sold for $1.75 million each, although many of his works have sold for much more. In 2019, Sotheby’s sold his Knife Behind Back, 2000 for a record-setting $25 million in Hong Kong.

The mischievous, wide-eyed children, that make up many of his works, appeal to universal emotions and sensibility. His retrospective will be on exhibit at LACMA through January 2022 and then  travel to Shanghai, Spain, and the Netherlands.

Yue Minjun 1962 –

Chinese artist Yue Minjun’s works are part of a current exhibit at LACMA called Legacies of Exchange: Chinese Contemporary Art from the Yuz Foundation.

The repetitive smiling faces in Minjun’s works reflect an undercurrent of anxiety in China. In an interview, Yue said that the demand for conformity under Mao meant that “everyone had to do the right thing…which is why the act of smiling, laughing to mask feelings of helplessness has such significance to my generation.”

This exhibition is part of LACMA’s ongoing partnership with the Yuz Museum in Shanghai. It is a joint effort to create collaborative exhibitions and to provide both museums with greater access to a more diverse collection of artworks.

Legacies of Exchange: Chinese Contemporary Art from the Yuz Foundation will be on display through March 13, 2022.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Eddie Martinez, Yoshitomo Nara and Yue Minjun available at VFA.


References:
Benjamin Sutton. Artsy Insider: Two Artists Seeing Major Sales at Art Basel in Basel. Artsy: Art Market. September 26, 2021.
Gay Gassmann. What 11 Artists Have Created During Quarantine. Architectural Digest. May 19, 2020.
Angelica Villa. The Most Expensive Yoshitomo Nara Works Ever to Sell at Auction. Artnews. August 12, 2021.
Alex Colville. What’s so funny, Yue Minjun? SupChina. February 9, 2021.

References:

Alex Katz: Wall Power

Alex Katz 1927 –

Alex Katz began making prints in the 1950s and ’60s. He began by creating etchings, woodcuts and stencils at the Blackburn Printmaking Workshop in Chelsea.

The workshop was opened in 1947 by artist, teacher and master printmaker, Robert Blackburn. Blackburn died in 2003, at age 83. The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts has kept the workshop running, “to serve a culturally diverse artistic community” and  “to expand the creation, understanding and collection of fine art prints.”

Katz said that he likes the ‘technical stuff’ that printmaking entails. In mid-century America, many people used calendar art as wall art and fine art prints were not part of mainstream culture. Alex Katz wanted to change that. “Basically what that means is making images that can stay on the wall rather than in a little box under a bed.” he said. “I mean, people usually kept prints in boxes or put them in hallways, and I was interested in making a print that could really take the place of a painting. That would have wall power.”

He has certainly succeeded. Katz has mastered the creation of fine art prints. He says that some take as long as a year to make. His overlaying of colors and tones is just one of the features that make his work so unique and recognizable.

Two recent acquisitions at VFA are Alex Katz’s Straw Hat Vivien and Vivien with Hat, both made in 2021, exemplify his wonderful use of color.

After graduating from Cooper Union in  1949, Katz studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. It was there that he was exposed to plein-air painting and learned to work with the immediacy of what was in front of him.

One of his greatest gifts is being able to translate the immediacy of what he sees onto a canvas. Katz calls that “the initial shock of seeing.”

He draws and paints landscapes with the same awe and immediacy as he paints and draws his figures. In a review of the recent book about the artist, edited by his son, poet Vincent Katz, with an essay by art historian Carter Ratcliff, artist and writer Tom McGlynn wrote, “The result is that his depictions of persons , places, and things take on an immemorial grandeur. The fact that the artist had located this scale of being, basically in his own backyard, is his signal achievement. Every so often Katz will dip into a higher social register (of pop cultural royalty) in his choice of sitters. Examples here include the likes of the actress Tilda Swinton and model Christy Turlington, both significantly sans makeup. Yet he tends to reduce even such glamorous subjects to fabulous paintings, rather than depend upon fabulous subjects to create glamorous paintings.”

The Guggenheim Museum in New York is getting ready for a retrospective of Alex Katz’s work planned to run from October 14, 2022 to February 20, 2023.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the fine art prints and sculptures, and recent volume, of Alex Katz’s works, available at VFA.


References:
Tom McGlynn. Alex Katz. The Brooklyn Rail. September 2021.
Andrew M. Goldstein. Alex Katz on “Distilling Art to Its Essence”. Artspace. August 14, 2012.
Katherine Bernhardt Vogue Italia Cover

Recent Acquisitions: Katherine Bernhardt & Jonas Wood

Here’s a look at some of our recent acquisitions of works by Katherine Bernhardt and Jonas Wood, two of our favorite artists.

Katherine Bernhardt – 1975

Our most recent acquisition by Katherine Bernhardt is a sweet homage that she did for the city where she studied, worked and played before returning to her home town.

Bernhardt was born in Clayton, Missouri. After getting her BFA at the Art Institute of Chicago, she moved to New York, where she received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts and set up a studio in Brooklyn. Her career took off. Not only has Bernhardt’s work been exhibited internationally, but her work is often auctioned for higher than estimated.

The whimsical, colorful works that Bernhardt creates have not only gotten her many international exhibitions, but also collaborations with fashion houses. This year she created the cover for Vogue Italia, celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Chanel No.5.

In 2019, Bernhardt moved back to St. Louis. She said that she wanted to help her parents (she moved back into her childhood bedroom) and create a studio for herself and a showcase for local artists. She bought three buildings in midtown St. Louis. She uses one (which had formerly been an auto body shop) as a studio and gallery, one for storing artworks and the third is being renovated.

Our recent acquisition I Love NY, is a lithograph that Bernhardt created this year. It is a tribute to the city that she called home for more than twenty years.

Jonas Wood 1977 –

Jonas Wood’s works have continued to break auction records. In May, his Two Tables with Floral Pattern painting broke its $2-4 million estimate when it sold for $6.5million at Christie’s.

Our recent acquisitions of his works exemplify the basis of his process, which consists of drawing and painting the world around him. “You could call [my work] a visual diary or even a personal history.” he said. “I’m not going to paint something that doesn’t have anything to do with me. Of all of the possible things I could paint, the thing that interests me is something that I can get close enough to in order to paint it honestly.”

Much of his subject matter can be found in the home and studio that he shares with his wife, sculptor Shio Kusaka, and their children, in Culver City, California.

Wood works magic with his flat style and bold colors. His style also achieves masterful results in black and white, as seen in the etching Pattern couch Interior with Mar Vista View, available at VFA.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Katherine Bernhardt and Jonas Wood available at VFA.


References:
Mark Westall. David Zwirner Now Represents Katherine Bernhardt. FAD Magazine. July 6, 2021.
Megan Mertz. National artist Katherine Bernhardt’s Midtown studio was once an auto shop. St. Louis Magazine. May 6, 2021.
Eli Hill. Katherine Bernhardt: Houses. The Brooklyn Rail. July-August 2018.
Artspace. Jonas Wood breaks auction record at Christie’s. May 13, 2021.
Priscilla Frank. Jonas Wood Invites You Into His Colorful, Warped Painted Interiors. Huffpost. September 30, 2013.
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
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