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.

Equitable Building Crash

Last Monday’s calamitous helicopter crash, into the roof of the 54-story Equitable Building on Seventh Avenue in Manhattan, killed the pilot, left wreckage and caused a fire on the roof of the building. The response of firefighters was swift. The building was evacuated and the roof fire was quickly contained. The crash is still under investigation, but it appears that rain and fog, which caused poor visibility, was the cause.

The Equitable Building has been designated both a National Historic Landmark and a New York City Landmark. As an annex to the Whitney Museum, the building is home to some of America’s finest art, including a master work by Roy Lichtenstein.

In 1984 Lichtenstein was commissioned  by the Equitable Life Insurance Company to create a public mural for the building’s lobby. The commission of a work of art by a major corporation was a fairly radical move at the time. The New York Times called it, “an event of major artistic importance. It marks a commitment to art on the part of a prominent American corporation that is as generous and innovative as any before”

Lichtenstein’s 68-foot tall Mural with Blue Brushstroke was unveiled in 1986, and still  graces the building’s atrium. The mural depicts parts of Lichtenstein’s own works as well as nods to other artists like Fernand Leger and Frank Stella. The Equitable Building also houses paintings by Thomas Hart Benton and Sol Lewitt and massive sculptures by Barry Flanagan and Scott Burton.

Roy Lichtenstein at Sotheby’s

In 1969, German photographer, industrialist and art collector, Gunter Sachs, commissioned Roy Lichtenstein to create a work for his second wife, model and actress Brigette Bardot. The result was Composition, a 6 x 2 feet porcelain enamel-on-metal panel that was installed below the sinks in the bathroom of Sachs’ master bedroom suite in the penthouse at the Palace Hotel in St. Moritz.

Sachs courted Bardot by flying over her villa on the French Riviera in a helicopter and dropping hundreds of roses. The couple was married in Las Vegas in 1966. The marriage ended in divorce three years later, but Sachs continued to collect art until his death in 2011. Composition sold at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Day Auction on May 17 for $1,280,000, above the estimated price.

Roy Lichtenstein: The Impossible Collection

Writer and historian Avis Berman has authored a just-released 200-page hand-bound book that includes more than one hundred prints of Roy Lichtenstein’s work. Published by Assouline press, Roy Lichtenstein: The Impossible Collection details his early works like Wham! and Drowning Girl and his later interpretations of great masters like Matisse and Picasso. Roy Lichtenstein: The Impossible Collection is available for purchase on the Assouline website  for $895.

Roy Lichtenstein Prints at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about Nude from the Brushstroke Series, Virtual Interior-Portrait of a Duck or any of the fine art prints available at VFA.

See More Roy Lichtenstein Artwork for Sale

References:
Michael Brenson. Art View; Museum and Corporation-A Delicate Balance. The New York Times. February 23, 1986.
Martin Pengelly and Victoria Bekiempis. Helicopter crash in New York leaves at least one person dead, officials say. The Guardian. June 10,2019.
Chris Jenkins. Roy Lichtenstein Panel ‘Composition’ Up For Auction at Sotheby’s New York. Sotheby’s Arts & Collections Magazine. 
Keith Estiler. Roy Lichtenstein’s Iconic Pop Art Memorialized in New ‘Impossible Collection’ Book. Hypebeast. May 23, 2019.

Julian Opie: Walking in Melbourne

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The simplicity and clean lines of Julian Opie’s works gives them a universal appeal. His paintings and sculptures can be found in major museums and public venues around the world. His work looks just at home in London, where he was born, as it does in Indianapolis, where a campaign is going on to save one of his sculptures.

Keeping Ann Dancing in Indianapolis

The Indianapolis Cultural Trail was design more than ten years ago as an urban trail…not a trail to escape the city, but a trail that encourages people to explore the city. When the trail opened in 2008, Julian Opie’s Ann Dancing sculpture was the first piece of art to be installed on the trail. It sits at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue, Alabama Street and Vermont Street.

Ann Dancing was supposed to be a temporary installation, but its popularity was so great that the city kept it.

The sculpture itself is made up of four panels. Each panel contains an Led-light display of a woman dancing. Each panel is over six feet tall and three feet wide. The entire sculpture rests on a red brick base, which houses the computer and components that make Ann dance.

The computer and wiring have been given temporary fixes over the years, but it needs more than that to keep Ann Dancing. “We’ve done our best to keep her dancing,” Indianapolis Cultural Trail Executive Director Kären Haley said. “There’s a lot of electrical tape, there’s a lot of wires. There’s a lot of work that has gone into keeping her dancing for as long as we have.”

The Indianapolis Cultural Trail has begun a campaign to raise $262,800 by June 29. The money will go toward purchasing new display units designed for 24-hour use and for long-term maintenance.

Breaking it Down

Julian Opie has the unique ability to break things down into their most basic elements. He has been greatly influenced by 17th and 18th-century English and Dutch portraits, and 19th-century Japanese woodblock prints.

Because his style is so primal, it is relatable to people everywhere. His work is currently on exhibit at such diverse venues as the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, the Toledo Museum of Art, the Wuzhen Contemporary Art Museum in China, the Gerhardsen Gerner Gallery in Oslo, Norway, the Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg, Germany, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow, Poland, the Elena Project in Seoul, South Korea, the Lisson Gallery in New York, the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK and the Fosun Foundation in Shanghai, China.

Walking in Melbourne Series at VFA

Opie starts with photographs and digitally reduces them to their basic forms. Walking in Melbourne, available at VFA, is a series that Opie did after photographing people walking through the streets of Melbourne, Australia, although they could be people walking almost anywhere on the planet.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the Walking in Melbourne series or any of the other works by Julian Opie available at VFA.

See More Julian Opie Artwork for Sale

References:
Stuart Jeffries. Julian Opie: ‘I’m not sure what art is’ The Guardian. June 12, 2011.
Susan Irvine. Julian Opie: sounds original. The Telegraph.  October 4, 2008.
Domenica Bongiovanni. ‘Ann Dancing’ on Mass Ave.: Nonprofit raises money to fix sculpture. IndyStar. May 31, 2019.

KAWS: Record Smasher

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If you told art critics and collectors in the 1950s and 1960s that the cartoon creations of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein would some day be part of the permanent collections of major museums around the globe, many would have scoffed. The same can be said, in the twenty-first century, of the works of graffiti artists like KAWS and Takashi Murakami, yet their works are entering the mainstream with surprising speed and gusto.

Brian Donnelly, who has used the KAWS tag since his early days, when he took the train from his New Jersey home to Manhattan, to put his work up on the sides of phone booths. These days, KAWS  has two studios in Brooklyn, partners with Uniqlo and Dior, and has a staff of assistances. He is married and the father of two young  children. “I had to have kids just to make it not seem weird,” Mr. Donnelly joked in a recent New York Times interview.

KAWS at Auction

The recent record sales of KAWS paintings at auction were way over estimated prices. His Sponge Bob Square Pants painting sold for $6million….ten times the initial estimate of $600,000…and $14.8 million for his album painting at Sotheby’s, a Simpson’s version of the Beatle’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover.

The way Scott Nussbaum, head of 20th Century and Contemporary Art in New York at Phillips Auction House, explains it, “The early attention to his work came from younger, emerging buyers from Asia. But now we’re seeing older, established collectors from the United States and Europe walking into our galleries and asking to see the KAWS as well as the de Kooning.”

Like Pop Art, KAWS has universal appeal and bridges the gap between commercial and fine art. KAWS characters, with XXs for eyes, have a tender, sensitive appeal. They’re recognizable and and have a special appeal to the many millennials who are showing up at auctions in New York and Hong Kong.

KAWS at the Brooklyn Museum

It’s been almost twenty years since KAWS evaded police and tagged his paintings on the street. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York, did some traveling in Japan and settled down in Brooklyn to live and work.

Though his works have been shown in major venues around the world, the nearby Brooklyn Museum, like other art institutions, have been cautious about giving shows to artists who have mass commercial appeal. That will change in 2021, when the Brooklyn Museum will have a show of KAWS work. KAWS currently has a show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit. KAWS: Alone Again will be on exhibit through August 4, 2019.

KAWS at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about KAWS work available at VFA.

See More KAWS Artwork for Sale

References:
Ted Loos. XX Marks the Spot: KAWS Goes Global. The New York Times. March 15, 2019.
Caroline Goldstein. Now a Market Star, KAWS Will Get a Survey at His Hometown Brooklyn Museum—Even Though It Initially ‘Didn’t See the Appeal’. Art net News. May16, 2019.
Scott Reyburn. Contemporary Art Evening Sales Bring $981 Million, Led by Koons and KAWS. The New York Times. May 17, 2019.
Helen Holmes. Why a Painting of spongeBob SquarePants Just Sold for $6 Million. The zxsawObserver. May 17, 2019.
Jonathan Sawyer. KAWS’ “Alone Again” Exhibition Opens at Detroit’sMuseumof Contemporary Art. May,14, 2019.

Alex Katz and His Muse: “To Paint What’s in Front of You”

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Ada was working as a research biologist at Sloan Kettering in the fall of 1957. She had recently returned from studying tumor genetics in Milan on a Fulbright when she walked into the Tanager Gallery for the opening night of an art exhibit. Alex Katz’s art was on the walls. The two met. She still maintains she was shy about visiting galleries. He’s adamant she was already a legend in the New York City art-world.

The two were married in February of 1958. Katz has now painted his wife and muse more than 200 times, and he isn’t done painting at age ninety-one. His ninety-second birthday will be at the end of July, and he still has a tenacity and strength that’s easy to catch in his eyes.

Alex Katz graduated from Cooper Union in 1949 where he received formal training in modern art theory and technique under Morris Kantor. He is highly competitive by nature, and his fierce drive and passion are noticeable in his interviews. In his words, “At Cooper, I went from someone who was basically incompetent to being the best painter in the school.” This ambition and fierce independence would lead him into new styles in art and to the development of a distinct artistic voice.

It was like feeling lust for the first time.

The summers following brought him to Skowhegan in rural Maine where he developed techniques on landscape painting and direct painting—immediately putting down what one sees on canvas. Direct painting coincided with Katz’s artistic motivation, “To paint what’s in front of you.” The school would bus their students out to the Maine countryside, and the students would paint in the open-air. Talking about his experience of direct painting, “It was like feeling lust for the first time.” For Katz, painting is an instinctual drive. Skowhegan was known at the time as a provincial school, and Cooper Union was the very center of the modern art world, but Katz was incorporating information from both worlds.

Abstract Expressionism and Realism were the two dominant trends in art in the 1950’s, but Katz was seeking an artistic language of his own. He wanted to bridge American abstract painting with the technique of the great European artists. He wanted a “big technique” like the masters, and he knew the only way to get there would cost him time. He spent ten years in flats with no hot water, borrowing paint from a friend who owned an art store.

His education in both Abstract Expressionism and Realism came to a head in the late 1950’s. He knew he was a figurative painter, but he was torn between the two dominant trends within society and within his education. His competitive and idiosyncratic personality was pushing him towards different adventures. During this pivotal point in his life, he destroyed over 1000 of his prints that he felt inadequately expressed his perspective. It was during this period in his life when he stumbled into Ada, who became the subject he would paint more than anyone or anything else.

After meeting Ada his focus turned towards portraiture and what he would term “specific” portraits. Traveling home on the subways, he would collect material, studying the faces, the colors of strangers’ clothes. During this time his paintings became larger. He scaled up to canvases as large as nine-and-a-half-feet wide by six-and-a-half-feet high. To paint on this scale he employed a technique from the Renaissance, pouncing, which he still uses today to produce his larger works. In pouncing one draws the image with small pinholes on a large brown paper, and dry pigment is then pushed through the pinholes to leave an outline.

I’m not a pop artist …

Katz says, “I’m not a pop artist, and people can’t see my work as realistic, either.” Pop art found inspiration in commercialized objects while the realistic schools would attempt to copy experience directly. Katz began to adopt some of the techniques of Pop art, especially in the use of large flat areas of color, but always found a real subject. His works translate well in prints, and feel at home enlarged to cover walls. But he had no desire to make Campbell’s soup or Marilyn Monroe the center of his focus, instead he returned over and over to the woods and coast of Maine, and his wife and muse, Ada.

Please contact us if you would like more information about Alex Katz’s prints available at VFA, or download our free e-book to learn more about the world of fine art prints.

See More Alex Katz Prints for Sale

References:
www.alexkatz.com/bibliography/selected_articles_and_reviews/
Alex_Katzs_Subway_Drawings_Give_a_Glimpse_of_1940s_New_York-Felsenthal_Julia-Vogue
www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-alex-katz-on-faces-flowers-and-saying-no
www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/08/27/alex-katzs-life-in-art
www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IZSX1vkhrU&t=2902s
www.nytimes.com/2006/08/27/style/tmagazine/painted-lady.html

Robert Motherwell Prints at VFA

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What could be more interesting, or in the end, more ecstatic, than in those rare moments when you see another person look at something you’ve made, and realize that they got it exactly, that your heart jumped to their heart with nothing in between. – Robert Motherwell

No one was better prepared to bring American art into its own than Robert Motherwell. His educational background in both art and philosophy, and his move to from his California home, to study at Harvard and then to New York in 1940, placed him in the perfect position to influence the art and artists of the time.

The 1940s were a turbulent time, when many European artists fled to New York for safety. Surrealists Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, and other exiled artists, influenced Motherwell’s thinking about art, and led him to embrace  automatism, the idea that art is a manifestation of the artist’s subconscious.

Motherwell’s ideas laid the foundation for Abstract Expressionism, which he named The New York School. “What I realized was that Americans potentially could paint like angels,” Motherwell said, “but that there was no creative principle around, so that everybody who liked modern art was copying it.”

The European artists in New York were getting a lot of attention, as well as exhibitions, and it was Peggy Guggenheim who helped Robert Motherwell spark his career when she asked him to be part of a collage show that included modern European artists.

Not only did the show spark his career, it also led to the use of collage throughout his lifetime.

Most painting in the European tradition was painting the mask. Modern art rejected all  that. Our subject matter was the person behind the mask.

Harvest with Two White Stripes at VFA

Harvest with Two White Stripes, available at VFA, was created in 1973. Motherwell used a box of Ernte 23 cigarettes, a German brand that was very popular in the 1920s, especially noted for its use of orange and red in its design, making it stand out from other brands at the time.

Ernte means harvest in German. The cigarettes became popular with the American troops stationed in Germany after World War ll.

To pick up a cigarette wrapper or wine label or an old letter or the end of a carton is my way of dealing with those things that do not originate in me, in my I.

Motherwell often incorporated materials that he found in his studio as part of his collages. The strong visual design of the empty cigarette package in the lithograph composition demonstrates both Motherwell’s mastery of collage and his playful intellect.

Robert Motherwell Prints at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about Harvest with Two White Stripes, Black and Blue from the Basque Series or any of the fine art prints available at VFA.

See More Robert Motherwell Prints for Sale

The Influence of Victor Vasarely

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The Pompidou Centre in Paris recently celebrated the life and work of Victor Vasarely, the Grandfather of Op-Art, with an exhibit than spanned the more than five decades of  his work.

Born in Hungary in 1906, Vasarely dropped out of medical school, at age 23, to study with avant-garde artist, Sándor Bortnyik.  Bortnyik was a proponent of the Bahuas philosophy, which emphasized the relationship between art, society, and technology.

Vasarely moved to Paris in 1930. For nearly twenty years he supported himself, and his wife and two sons, with a successful career in commercial art. In his free time Vasarely worked on his own art, experimenting with the use of physics, color optics and quantum mechanics. The work he created during the mid-to-late-1930s, many using black and white patterns, are often considered the first works of Op-Art.

In 1955, Vasarely exhibited his work, alongside that of Marcel Duchamp, Alexander Calder and others, at The Galerie Denise René, of which he was co-founder. By the time the psychedelic ’60s rolled around, Vasarely’s work was known throughout the world, and influenced many aspects of popular culture, like fashion, music, advertisements and architecture.

Fashion designer, Giovanni Versace, was not just an avid collector, but also created textile design based on Vasarely’s work.

Vasarely also developed his Alphabet Plastique, a system in which each letter of the alphabet corresponds to a specific color, geometrical form and musical notes. He thought of it as Esperanto for the arts, which would act as a universal artistic language and make the world a better place. Many of the works that grew from this idea were methodical, analytical pieces like Dyok Positif and Collage Vert both for sale at VFA.

Throughout his life, Vasarely continued to be fascinated by the melding of art and science. He experimented with Poly(methyl methacrylate), or acrylic, which was used mainly for military applications until after World War ll. The acrylic sculpture, Holid, Moire Tower, available at VFA, is an example of Vasarely’s ability to combine form and design.

The orderly, organized and logical way in which Victor Vasarely approached his work was similar to the computer programming that we use today. Vasarely was so fascinated by computers, even in their early stage, that he insisted they be installed at the Vasarely Foundation.

The Works of Victor Vasarely at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about Dyok Positif, Collage Vert, Holid, Moire Tower or any of the other fine work at VFA.

See More Victor Vasarely Work for Sale

References:
Kelly Grovier. Victor Vasarely: The art that tricks the eye. BBC Culture. March 5, 2019.
Sarah Belmont. Au Centre Pompidou, Victor Vasarely nous berce d’illusions. LeParisian. April 30, 2019.
http://www.op-art.co.uk/victor-vasarely/

Photographs of Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol would have appreciated the irony of his fame resonating with today’s millennials, who were still in diapers when he died in 1987 and who have become some of the most avid collectors of Warhol’s works.

This years Super Bowl ad for Burger King, showing Andy eating a burger, the Whitney retrospective and the celebrity culture that Warhol predicted and participated in, have increased the demand for his work from here to Hong Kong.

Andy on Instagram

For the next few weeks, the Andy Warhol Foundation is posting dozens of rarely seen photographs of Andy on Instagram, with the hashtag #IntimateAndy.

Andy Warhol opening presents at his birthday party at the home of fashion designer Halston on August 7, 1979.

The photographs are part of the Andy Warhol Photography Archive at Stanford University’s Cantor Arts Center, which were donated by the Warhol foundation in 2014.

The warholfoundation began posting the photos on April 26 and will continue to post them through May 11th. The Warhol Foundation is encouraging anyone who has photos of Andy to join in and post them as well.

Warhol’s Women

Andy Warhol was often surrounded by beautiful, and often, famous men and women. Way before selfies and iPhones became part of our daily lives, Warhol carried a camera wherever he went and captured a world that existed in the hippest venues of the New York art scene.

Bianca Jagger, Andy Warhol and Debbie Harry Circa 1980S in New York City.

A look at the way Warhol depicted women in his later work is the focus of an exhibit at the Levy Gorvy in New York. Unlike the cool, commercial images of Warhol’s early work, his later works were imbued with emotional content.

In 1964, Warhol was preparing for a show at the Sonnabend Gallery in Paris. The 1960s were turbulent in the U.S. John Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, there were protests against the Vietnam War, the death penalty and racial inequality. The headlines of American newspapers inspired Warhol to create the Death and Disasters series for the Paris exhibition.

Whether a portrait of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Dolly Parton, Aretha Franklin or Marilyn Monroe,  there is a poignant and passionate feeling that pervades the work.

Warhol Women runs from now through June 15.

Warhol’s Drawings

Andy Warhol’s skills as an artist were often overshadowed by his use of borrowed images for his Pop art. Warhol had a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He was a commercial artist and illustrator before he became a successful Pop artist.

Warhol’s skills as an fine artist is showcased at the Sperone Westwater Gallery in downtown Manhattan. Andy Warhol By Hand: Part II, Drawings 1950s – 1960s is an exhibit of a wide range of Warhol’s drawings that showcases his masterful technique with pen and pencil. The exhibit includes more than 100 works on paper. The show runs through June 29th.

Andy Warhol Fine Art Prints at VFA

Andy Warhol was a masterful of fine art printmaker. Please contact us for more information about Andy Warhol or any of the other fine artists in our gallery.

References:
Claire Selvin. Andy Warhol Foundation to Post ‘Intimate’ Pictures on Instagram, Including One of the Pop Artist in Roller Skates. ArtNews. April 26, 2019.
Liz Cantrell. Andy Warhol Fans Have Two New Must-See Shows. Town & Country. April 25, 2019.
https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/revolver-gallerys-annual-andy-warhol-market-report-debuts-as-the-1-bestselling-art-reference-book-on-amazon-300838378.html

Dali and Magritte Together in St. Pete

Magritte and Dali at the Dali Museum

The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg has put together a unique exhibit that combines the works of Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte, two of the world’s most illustrious Surrealists. The works in the exhibit are from the 1920s through the 1940s, when both artists were at the height of their creativity.

There are more than thirty paintings in the exhibit, as well as an interactive “cloud room” where visitors are surrounded by surrealist icons and symbols and are welcome to, not just experience the images, but to photograph and create their own surrealist works.

Magritte and Dali was organized in collaboration with the Magritte Museum, part of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. The exhibit runs through May 19 at the Dali Museum, after which it will travel to the Magritte Museum in Brussels.

The Dali Museum Expansion

The Dali Museum first opened in St.Petersburg, Florida in 1982. A new building, designed by architect Yann Weymouth, was constructed in 2011. The building mirrors Dali’s fantastic visions and houses a collection that includes more than 2,100 works by Salvador Dali, including paintings, drawings, prints, books, sculptures and photos.

The museum hosts over 400,000 visitors a year and is planning a $38 million, two year expansion, which would include a new wing, a parking garage, and expanded community and education spaces.

The Dali Museum is hoping that the expansion will help to make the museum, and St. Pete, a wedding and events destination.

Salvador Dali and the Marx Brothers

Salvador Dali wasn’t a household name in 1937, but his friend, Harpo Marx, was. The Marx Brothers were at the top of their game, with film hits like Duck Soup and a Night at the Opera. Dali and Harpo worked together on a screenplay, which they titled Giraffes on Horseback Salad. They presented the project to Louis B. Mayer, the head of MGM, who didn’t know what to make of the script and nixed the project.

Writer Josh Frank heard stories about the legendary script and searched for it. He found it…in a museum in France…and turned in script into a graphic novel. Giraffes on Horseback Salad was published by Random House and released in March.

Works by Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte at VFA

The works of both Surrealist masters a available at VFA. Please contact us if you would like more information about work by Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte or any of the other fine artists in our gallery.

References:
Maggie Duffy. Here’s how an expanded Salvador Dali Museum might look. Tampa Bay Times. April 19, 2019.
https://thedali.org/exhibit/magritte/
Peter Breslow. Salvador Dalí Meets The Marx Brothers In ‘Giraffes On Horseback Salad’. NPR. April 7, 2019.

The Masters Behind the Matrix: Fine Art Prints at VFA

At Vertu, we are dedicated to the acquisition of, and education about, fine art prints. Fine art printmaking is both an art and a science. Over the centuries, artists have created masterful artworks on wood, copper and other matrixes to turn into high quality prints. The collaboration between artists and master printers often determines the quality of the work and, at times, the trajectory of an artist’s career.

The Masters Behind the Matrix

Picasso’s relationship with master printers, Piero and Aldo Crommelynck, lasted  longer, and was more productive, than many of Picasso’s other liaisons. Younger brother, Piero Crommelynck, appears about 150 times in Picasso’s work.

The engraving tools of Piero Crommelynck

Picasso had worked with the Crommelynck brothers in the 1960s, and when he moved to the south of France in 1963, the brothers followed. The work that Picasso produced during the succeeding decade was magnificent, and also, prolific.

The Crommelynck brothers  moved back to Paris in 1973, after Picasso’s death. They continued their work, not just with established masters like Joan Miro, but also with a new generation of artists, including David Hockney, Jasper Johns and Jim Dine.

It was largely thanks to Kenneth Tyler that there was a resurgence of printmaking in the United States. An artist in his own right, Tyler studied printmaking at the John Herron School of Art in Indiana. He graduated in 1963 with a Master of Art Education degree. In 1965, Tyler opened Gemini G.E.L. (Graphic Editions Ltd.) in Los Angeles and, in 1975 he established Tyler Graphics in upstate New York.

Besides inspiring artists and helping them to create outstanding fine art prints, Tyler designed the first of several hydraulic lithographic presses, a computer-controlled, power-driven combination lithography and etching press with a five-by-ten foot printing bed and, through a grant from the National Endowment for the arts, he did research and development into paper and embossing techniques.

The artists who worked with Ken Tyler, during his fifty year career, include Frank Stella, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, David Hockney and Jim Dine.

Today, in Los Angeles, many artists like Ed Ruscha, Donald Sultan and Alex Katz work with Mixografia, a company that was founded in Mexico three generations ago, and expanded to Los Angeles in 1984. Their three-dimensional printing technique has been perfected over the course of over 40 years.

Fine Art Prints for Sale at VFA

The more we understand about the creative process that goes into each fine art print, the more appreciation we have of the work.

The word “print” in the twenty-first century has come to mean “copy” in the everyday world and the average person has a very limited understanding of what constitutes an original fine art print. At VFA we promote education and understanding about fine art prints, one of the world’s most outstanding and significant art forms.

The collection of outstanding fine art prints for sale at VFA represents the work of both established twentieth century masters and a new generation of twenty first century artists who have embraced printmaking. For a history of printmaking and more about the world of prints, we encourage you of download our free eBook, How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints.

Jeff Koons Retiring? Ha Ha.

One of the story headlines on the Hyperallergic website last week read: Jeff Koons Announces Retirement from Art. Under the headline was the sentence: The celebrity artist says a religious epiphany inspired the unexpected decision.

At the top of the story, in pale blue print, was the word: Satire. Barely visible.

The story ran on April 1st, but like some of the other spoofs on the Hyperallergic site (which usually has rational and interesting news stories about the the art scene) the story was taken seriously by many readers. Not surprising, since the Met received a bunch of calls after Hyperallergic printed a satirical article saying that the museum was Airbnbing their period rooms. At a party at the Ralph Lauren store on Madison Avenue on April 2, Jeff Koons said that the Hyperallergic article did raise some questions.

“It confused some people,” he said. “Friends in Europe and across the country contacted me, wondering [if it was true]. They were surprised. But no, I will absolutely not [retire]. I’m more engaged with my work than ever.”

High Expectations for Jeff Koons’ Rabbit at Christie’s

Works from the collection of publishing mogul S. I. Newhouse are going to be auctioned next month at Christie’s New York. Newhouse, who died in 2017, was one of the most prolific art collectors of the 20th and 21st centuries. Among the works to be auctioned is Jeff Koons’ Rabbit sculpture. Koons created Rabbit in 1986. It was unveiled at the Sonnabend Gallery’s New-Geo exhibition, where it created a stir for its upending of traditional sculpture.

Made of stainless steel, the sculpture stands 41 inches high, 19 inches wide and 12 inches deep. Since its unveiling, it has been displayed in major museum exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Tate Modern in London, the Château de Versailles, The Broad, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and others.

Koons created three Rabbit sculptures, and one artist’s proof. The Rabbit sculpture from the Newhouse collection is number two in the series. It’s estimated to go for $50,000,000-70,000,000 at the auction next month, exceeding the $58.4 million that Koons’ Balloon Dog (Orange) sold for at Christies in 2013, making it the most expensive work by a living artist sold at auction.

Jeff Koons at the Ashmolean

The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archeology at the University of Oxford is the world’s oldest public museum. The irony of Jeff Koons’ modern, often subversive, works, surrounded by ancient and traditional masterpieces, is not lost on the artist. “I couldn’t think of a better place to have a dialogue about art today and what it can be” Koons said. The exhibit Jeff Koons at the Ashmolean runs through June 9, 2019.

Jeff Koons Sculptures at VFA

We have several works by Jeff Koons for sale at VFA, including Rabbit, Monkey and Swan, done in 2017, two versions of his iconic Balloon Dog, done in 2015 and Split Rocker, a porcelain bisque vase sculpture with a glazed porcelain interior.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Jeff Koons or any of the other fine works available at VFA.

See More Jeff Koons Work for Sale

References:
Hakim Bishara. Jeff Koons Announces Retirement from Art. Hyperallergic. April 1, 2019.
Maxine Wally. Jeff Koons Says He Isn’t Retiring Anytime Soon at Ralph Lauren’s ‘Accidental Presidents’ Party. Women’s Wear Daily. April 3, 2019.
Masterpieces from the Collection of S.I. Newhouse. Christie’s New York.
https://www.ashmolean.org/exhibitions

Alex Katz: Nothing Fussy

I saw Matisse when I was really young. I thought the paintings were fantastic and I thought they were direct, but actually I didn’t realize how much he planned them. So I was going off making these terrible paintings, that were very direct. I destroyed a thousand paintings. What was important was that I got a great technique. After ten years my technique was really good. By 1959 I could really paint.”

Alex Katz is very urbane, very New York and yet his work resonates with collectors around the world. Here’s just a quick look at the galleries and museums where his work is being shown now:

  • The Museum Brandhorst in Munich, Germany through April 22, 2019.
  • The Daegu Art Museum in Daegu, South Korea through May 26, 2019.
  • The Ludwig Museum in Koblenz, Germany through April 30, 2019.
  • The Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, France through August, 2019.
  • The Tullie House Museum in Carlisle, England through June 16 2019.

and upcoming exhibits at:

  • Musee de l’Orangerie, Paris, France from May 14 – September 2, 2019.
  • Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, France from June 20 – July 30, 2019.
  • The Gavin Brown Gallery in New York from April 28 – August 8, 2019.

The exhibit at the Musee de l’Orangerie is focused on Katz’s Homage to Monet paintings. Katz’s recent work, a series of dancers painted as an homage to Degas, were shown at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., which has 89 of his paintings, prints and drawings in its collection, works that span much of the artist’s sixty-plus-year career.

Alex Katz: Nothing Fussy

After studying at Cooper Union from 1946-1949, Alex Katz received a scholarship to study at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine, where he was required to do plein-air painting, something he had not done in New York. The experience led to Katz eventually getting a studio in Maine, where he works every summer.

The simplicity with which Katz paints his portraits is also the way in which he paints nature. During the 1950s, when the New York art scene was suffused with Abstract Expressionists, Katz was trying to keep his work clean and simple.

Katz said that, “by 1954, if you dripped it was really old fashioned.” He said that he didn’t want his work to be “fussy’ and wanted to paint in a straight forward way, directly on the canvas. “The technique,” Katz said, “came from a misunderstanding of Matisse. I saw Matisse when I was really young. I thought the paintings were fantastic and I thought they were direct, but actually I didn’t realize how much he planned them. So I was going off making these terrible paintings, that were very direct. I destroyed a thousand paintings. What was important was that I got a great technique. After ten years my technique was really good. By 1959 I could really paint.”

Katz prepares for his “simple” works with preliminary drawings and paintings. He is able to bring his simple technique to his landscapes and portraits.

Alex Katz at VFA

Spring Flowers, Black Dresses and Smiles are subjects that Alex Katz has taken on, in silkscreen, woodcut and sculpture.

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

See More Alex Katz Work for Sale

Joan Miro: The Birth of the World at MoMA

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

Joan Miro’s first show in Paris, in 1920, was a big disappointment for the artist. No one showed up and no paintings were sold. After the show, Miro went back to his home in Catalonia and began to incorporate what he had learned from the avant-garde artists and writers he had met in Paris with his own sensibility.

The result was The Birth of the World, a painting that combines whimsical forms and intense colors, which would become his signature style. Ironically, The Birth of the World was not well received by Miro’s friends or art dealers. Belgian art collector, Rene Gaffe, bought it in 1925 and kept it stashed in his private collection, exhibiting it only once, in Brussels, in the 1930s.

The Museum of Modern Art, which has one of the world’s most extensive collections of works by Joan Miro, bought the painting  from Gaffe’s widow in 1972, and it has been on continual display at MoMA ever since. Joan Miro: The Birth of the World includes painting, prints, lithographs and sculptures, mainly from MoMA’s collection. The exhibit runs through June 15, 2019.

The Quieter Side of Joan Miro

Joan Miro was born in Barcelona in 1893. He began to paint and draw at an early age, much to the dismay of his parents, who wanted him to have a career in business. Miro went to business school, and even took a job as a clerk, but abandoned business for art. He expanded his medium, using collage, ceramics, print and lithography, though his style remained his own.

Miro divided his time between Paris and summers at his family home in Mont-roig, Spain, but fled to Normandy with his family in 1939 when World War ll broke out. It was during this time, when Normandy was under a blackout order, that he created his series of Constellation paintings.

“When I was painting the Constellations, I had the genuine feeling that I was working in secret, but it was a liberation for me in that I ceased thinking about the tragedy all around me.” Miro said.

The Constellation Series had a profound  influence on Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Arshile Gorky and other artists who came after Miro. At the same time that Miro fled to Normandy, his friend, architect Josep Sert, fled to New York. Sert had an illustrious career in the United States. After a year as Visiting Professor at Yale, he became Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he initiated the world’s first degree program in urban design.

In 1955, Sert designed a studio for Joan Miro in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, his first project in Spain after his exile. After Miro’s death in 1983, the studio was left as Miro had requested. “I want everything that I leave behind to stay just as it is when I am gone”. he said. The studio, which has been a tourist attraction for decades, has been recently re-opened to the public after being closed for nearly a year of renovations.

Joan Miro Works at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Joan Miro, or any of the other fine artists whose work is available in our gallery.

See More Joan Miro Work for Sale

References:
GRoberta Smith. Miró’s Greatness? It Was There. The New York Times. March 14, 2019.
Nancy Kenney. Making Miro: MoMA show explores turning point in artist’s career. The Art Newspaper. March 7, 2019.
Dany Chan. The Horrors and Delights of the Surrealist Subconscious. Hyper allergic. March 7, 2019.
Barbara Hoffman. Inside the splashy, bird-brained genius of Joan Miro. The New York Post. March 1, 2019.
Lauren Moya Ford. Joan Miro’s Studio Reopens with a Refreshed Perspective. Hyper allergic. February 21, 2019.

Donald Sultan Prints and Sculptures at VFA

The advice that I tend to give young artists, if they ask, is that you should think about your art as if no one is going to look at it but you. And you should be able to do what you’re doing and be passionate about what you are doing if you live in a cabin in the woods and no one was there. It’s just you and your work. That’s the best advice I can give. Everything else is gravy. If you can do that, everything else will be easy.
– Donald Sultan

Donald Sultan’s Disaster Paintings toured major venues around the U.S. last year, from the the Lowe Museum in Miami to the Smithsonian in D.C., and garnered a new, wider and younger audience for Sultan’s work.

The Disaster Paintings, which he did between 1984 and 1990, are images of actual events that Sultan gleaned from daily newspapers. His use of rugged materials, like masonite, linoleum and tar, lent themselves to the industrial and man-made disasters represented in the works.

Sultan had experimented with using industrial materials to create unique surfaces while earning his MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago. When he moved to New York in 1975, he worked as a handyman, and had access to left over linoleum and other commercial materials.

Today, Sultan still works with some of the same materials that give his work texture and depth, but his subject matter and style have simplified, and beautified, over time.

Donald Sultan Prints at VFA

Donald Sultan was inspired by the patterns of flowers he saw on Japanese lanterns to create simple designs, where the positive and negative spaces help to create strong images. He maintains texture in his prints by using enamel inks, flocking and diamond dust on museum board or Saunders Waterford papers.

He also collaborates with Mixografia, the print studio that was founded in Mexico City in 1937 and opened a second shop in Los Angeles in 1984. Mixografia specializes in producing prints in relief, which is the bedrock of Donald Sultan’s work.

Japanese Pines, available at VFA, is a work that Sultan did in collaboration with the master printmakers at Mixografia. Sultan used handmade paper to contrast with the texture of the inks.

Donald Sultan Sculptures at VFA

A natural evolution for Donald Sultan, are his works in Cor-Ten steel and aluminum. Using simple flower designs…the poppies for which he is well known…and tulips, he is able to create the positive and negative space in three dimensional design that forms the basis of his work. Donald Sultan’s Cor-Ten Poppies and White Tulips and Vase are both available at VFA.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works, in multiple medium, of Donald Sultan, for sale at VFA.

See More Donald Sultan Work for Sale

References:
https://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/sultan
Emily Karcher Schmitt. Death, disaster come calling in tar and latex sculpted on tile. Smithsonian Insider. August 8, 2017.
L. Kent Wolgamott. L. Kent Wolgamott: Donald Sultan’s dark, dominant “Disaster Paintings” at Sheldon. Lincoln Journal Star. March 4, 2018.
https://mixografia.com/events/donald-sultan/
http://donaldsultanstudio.com/#/about
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