Roy Lichtenstein Artwork for Sale

Roy Lichtenstein: Drawing in the Dark

In 1962, New York gallery owner, Leo Castelli, chose to represent Roy Lichtenstein. He had seen the works of Andy Warhol and James Rosenquist, and considered representing one of them, but it was Lichtenstein who made the cut.

The gallery show, which ran from February 10 to March 3, was the first exhibit of Lichtenstein’s comic book paintings, a big change from the Abstract Expressionist paintings,  filled with emotional content, that gallery goers had gotten used to seeing. The comic book paintings sold out and made Lichtenstein, at age 39, a legend in the art world.

By the time Lichtenstein had his second solo show at the Castelli gallery in September, 1963, his work had been shown in museums and galleries around the country. Roy Lichtenstein’s exhibit ushered in the era of Pop Art.

I like to pretend that my art has nothing to do with me.
— Roy Lichtenstein

Drawing in the Dark

It was a series of unrelated, but significant events, that led to Roy Lichtenstein’s creation of images based on comic strips and advertisements. Lichtenstein was born and raised in New York. He showed a talent for art and music at a very early age and his talent was encouraged by his parents.

He was drafted and sent to Europe in 1945, where he drew, studied art and hoped to stay to attend art classes at the Sorbonne. His plans changed when he was called back to New York because his father was ill. After his father’s death, Lichtenstein returned to Ohio State University, where he had studied art with Hoyt L. Sherman after graduating high school and attending classes at the Art Students League. Sherman taught at Ohio State for more than fifty years. He had read a story about Rembrandt that influenced the way he taught his students.

When Rembrandt was a young artist, the story went, he was inside his father’s windmill, and noticed that when the windmill blades cut off the light, the images that he retained in his mind’s eye remained very clear and distinct.

Sherman created a Flash Room at Ohio State, a darkened room where images would be flashed on a screen and the students would have to draw what they had seen. The U.S. Navy and Army Air Corps used Sherman’s method to teach pilots and gunners to quickly identify aircraft as friendly or enemy. Lichtenstein credits Hoyt L. Sherman with having a major influence on his work, especially on his ability to create crisp compositions.

Roy Lichtenstein Etchings and Screenprints at VFA

As Roy Lichtenstein’s work evolved, he explored sculpture, printmaking and created many commissioned murals. In January 2017, Masterpiece was sold for $165 million. The proceeds of the sale will be used to create a fund for criminal justice reform.

Please contact us for more information about the works of Roy Lichtenstein available at VFA.

See More Roy Lichtenstein Artwork for Sale at Vertu Fine Art

Jeff Koons: Hot in Manila, Smashed in Amsterdam

Jeff Koons is one of the world’s most controversial and coveted artists.

His 11-foot tall aluminum Play-Doh sculpture was the highlight of the Jeff Koons retrospective held at the Whitney in 2014. Play-Doh, was inspired, in the early ’90s, by a pile of Play-Doh that Koons’ toddler son, Ludwig, put together and proudly displayed for his father.

The first Play-Doh sculpture took almost twenty years to produce, because of the difficulty of getting the texture just right and then creating more than two dozen solid, interlocking sections that fit perfectly.

A version of Play-Doh is going to be auctioned at Christie’s in New York on May 17. The doors of the auction house had to be widened to accommodate the 12 x 10 foot sculpture.

The low estimate for the Play-Doh sculpture is $20 million dollars. The auction record for a Jeff Koons was set in 2013 when Balloon Dog (Orange), 1994–2000, sold for $58.4 million at Christie’s New York.

Jeff Koons: Hot in Manila

Jeff Koons original, enormous balloon sculptures were done in stainless steel. Koons decided to create smaller balloon sculptures in porcelain so he partnered with Bernardaud, the biggest and oldest porcelain company in Limoges, France.

It took Bernardaud a few years to create the mirror finish that is essential to Koons’ work. The company is now having a problem…not with the porcelain…but with the demand for the sculptures.

Forty of the balloon sculptures were recently sent to a gallery in Manila and were sold out in just four hours.

The Rabbit (for sale at VFA) is the most popular in Manila, possibly because it is so close to Easter, but the Dog, Monkey and Swan (also available at VFA) are close behind.

Smashed in Amsterdam

One of Jeff Koons’ gazing balls paintings has been on exhibit since February at Nieuwe Kerk, a 15th-century church in Amsterdam.  Gazing Ball (Perugino Madonna and Child with Four Saints) was the only work being shown. On the last day of the exhibit, April 8th, a visitor couldn’t resist touching the blue glass ball attached to the painting…and it shattered.

Sotheby’s estimates the value of the Gazing Ball paintings at $1,800,000 — $2,500,000.

Jeff Koons at VFA

Please contact us for more information about the sculptures of Jeff Koons available at VFA.

See More Jeff Koons Artwork for Sale at Vertu Fine Art

Frank Stella: Jasper’s Dilemma and other Stella Works at VFA

After graduating from Princeton in 1958, where he majored in history, Frank Stella moved to New York and became one of America’s most treasured artists.

What you see…

Frank Stella helped to move American art through the tides of abstract expressionism by creating paintings that were not meant to represent pictorial or graphic image.

In a 1964 interview he said, “My painting is based on the fact that only what can be seen there is there. It really is an object. Any painting is an object and anyone who gets involved enough in this finally has to face up to the objectness of whatever it is that he’s doing. He is making a thing … all I want anyone to get out of my paintings, and all I ever get out of them, is the fact that you can see the whole idea without any confusion …What you see is what you see.”

Frank Stella wowed the art world with The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, II, which he painted for MoMA’s Sixteen Americans exhibition  in 1959. Stella created the painting freehand. Using a housepainter’s brush, he applied black enamel paint to the canvas, dividing the surface of the canvas in half and painting stripes of black with a single, unpainted vertical line in the center.

The museum purchased The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, II  during the exhibit, and it remains part of MoMA’s permanent collection.

Frank Stella: Jasper’s Dilemma

Stella said that a painting is, “a flat surface with paint on it – nothing more”. He gravitated to the works of Jasper Johns, who was, in the late 1950s and early ’60s, working with the canvas as a flat surface. As Stella moved from painting with black to painting with color, he focused on something the Johns said. “The more I work with color,” Johns said, “the more I start to see gray.”

This idea so resonated with Stella, that he produced a series of paintings and prints, titled  Jasper’s Dilemma, in which he used bands of color to create tension and illusion, with the bands bouncing off one another. As Stella’s work progressed, his use of color, along with his use of composition, became more sophisticated and elegant. At age 81, Stella is still working in his New York studio, creating paintings, prints and sculptures.

Frank Stella at NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale

Frank Stella: Experiment and Change is still on exhibit at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale. The exhibit is part of the museum’s Regeneration Series, which was curated to explore the impact of World War II on artists in America and Europe.

The exhibition includes about 300 works, including paintings, relief sculpture and drawings, which show the progression of Stella’s work from the minimal to the maximal. Frank Stella: Experiment and Change will be on view through July 18, 2018.

See More Frank Stella Screenprints, Lithographs and Etchings for Sale at Vertu Fine Art

Donald Sultan Sculptures and Screenprints at VFA

Donald Sultan’s fascination with industrial materials began at his father’s tire shop in Asheville, North Carolina, where rubber was ground off old tires, heated and placed onto new tires and then into molds.

“I grew up working in that shop.” Sultan said, “The buffing room was a room with a big machine and a guy that chained-smoked Camels and was tattooed and had no teeth. And there were piles of soot. Black Rubber. And that’s where I liked to hang out because it was really sooty and gritty and interesting to me.”

Sultan’s father burned rubber for a living, but was also an abstract artist. His mother was interested in the theater and they encouraged their son to pursue his work as an artist. After receiving a BFA degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1973 and an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago, Sultan moved to New York in 1975.

Donald Sultan’s Continuing Use of Industrial Materials

In New York, Sultan worked on construction sites, renovating lofts and using the industrial materials of the trade to create his paintings.

In the 1970s, linoleum tile was used as a substitute for marble and flocking was used as a substitute for velvet. Sultan used leftover linoleum tile as the basis for many of his early works, and continues to use flocking for texture in his recent work.

Many of his sculptures are made of Cor-ten Steel, an alloy that creates a beautiful patina as it weathers. He also uses painted and polished aluminum, juxtaposing the toughness of the materials with the softness of flowers.

“Part of my work is industrial.” he says,  “I love the idea of the crossovers between using objects that are art and making the art an object, and that you don’t have to be precious with it. You can hold it and have it and it’s not something ordinary. It’s not like a toothbrush holder or anything like that.”

A work of art, even if you find it on the street somewhere, you’re going to know if it’s a work of art. It could be three stones placed on the sidewalk, but if it’s done with that intention, when you’re walking you won’t see that as just three stones. You’ll know somebody put that there for some reason. It’s one of the last magic things we have.”

One of the Last Magic Things

Donald Sultan’s works are easily recognizable, unmistakably his, even though they continually evolve. He “keeps shuffling the dots,” he says, “so that now they themselves are the subject, rather than just being the centers of the subjects.”

Sultan still works with tar and flocking, sculpting and printmaking, and he continues to be amazed by the composition and textures that he says he discovers as he works.

A master painter, sculptor and printmaker, much of Sultan’s work looks simple, at first glance. He often works in a grid, with repeated images. Even his large scale paintings have a simplicity of design that belies extraordinary complexity of composition and use of materials. He works the same magic with his screenprints. Silver Flowers, a print that appears so simple in design, is an elegant 12-color screenprint with diamond dust.

“A work of art, even if you find it on the street somewhere,” he says, “you’re going to know if it’s a work of art. It could be three stones placed on the sidewalk, but if it’s done with that intention, when you’re walking you won’t see that as just three stones. You’ll know somebody put that there for some reason. It’s one of the last magic things we have.”

The End of the Disaster Paintings Tour

Donald Sultan: The Disaster Paintings began touring the country with its first stop at the Lowe Art Museum in Coral Gables in 2016, then on to the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, the Smithsonian and The North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh in 2017 and is now on the final leg of the tour at the Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln, Nebraska through April 6.

Donald Sultan Sculptures and Prints at VFA

Please contact us for more information about the sculptures and screenprints by Donald Sultan for sale at VFA.

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Shepard Fairey: Posters Supporting Parkland Students

The genius of Shepard Fairey lies in his ability to create works of art that, universally, elicit deep, visceral reactions. His 2008 HOPE poster for Barack Obama has become an iconic work. After Obama’s election, the Smithsonian acquired Fairey’s mixed-media portrait of Obama for the National Portrait Gallery.

Posters Supporting Parkland Students

Shepard Fairey has created a series of posters to support the continued movement for gun reform created and organized by the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Schools Not War Zones and Assault On Our Future were done for the March 24th March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C.

Schools Not War Zones, Fairey surrounds a peace symbol with a circle of  AR-15 assault rifles and bullets on a yellow school bus yellow background. Assault On Our Future depicts a single assault rifle, bordered by chains, with a sticker-like graphic on the upper right hand corner that reads Product of the U.S.A.

Schools Not War Zones and Assault On Our Future, as well as other posters in support of gun reform, can be downloaded, for free, at Fairey’s website:

Obey Giant Documentary

Obey Giant: The Art and Dissent of Shepard Fairey, looks at Shepard Fairey’s career from skateboarder to influential and controversial artist. The documentary was directed by Oscar-winner James Moll (Foo Fighters: Back and Forth and The Last Days) and executive produced by James Franco.

The film premiered on Hulu last November and is an interesting look at the way Shepard Fairey has come to be recognized as a force, not just within the art world, but throughout the world.

Shepard Fairey Mural in Charlottesville

Shepard Fairey is donating his time and talent to create a mural in downtown Charlottesville, to commemorate Heather Heyer,  who was killed last August, when a car slammed into a crowd of counter-protesters,  shortly after a Unite the Right rally was deemed an unlawful assembly.

The mural will be done in collaboration with the Heather Heyer Foundation and, according to the application submitted to the Charlottesville Mural Project, “This will be a dedication to the equity, peace, kindness and community engagement that Heather and countless others in this city stand for.” In addition to Fairey’s work, local artists Eze Amos and Destinee Wright will also contribute work to the project.

Shepard Fairey at VFA

Works of Shepard Fairey, like Peace and Freedom Dove, Paradise Turns and Classic Discs, continue to inspire us at VFA. Please contact us for more information about these, or any of the other fine art work available at VFA.

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Carlos Rolón/Dzine: Outside/In

It’s easy to understand why Carlos Rolón has tender feelings for his childhood home. It was a warm, welcoming house, lovingly created by his Puerto Rican parents. Though many of us have good memories of our childhood, it would probably never occur to us to recreate our home…or that it would even be possible to recreate it. But that’s what Rolón does, and does so well.

He doesn’t create just the rooms and decor, but the feeling of being in the home of Puerto Rican immigrants, who brought their island sensibility to Chicago and created a warm, caring place for family. Rolón’s Trophy Room is a recreation of the room in the basement where he watched boxing matches with his father and Imperial Nail Salon (My Parents’ Living Room, 1976), the living room in his childhood home from which his mother ran a bootleg nail salon. 

Carlos Rolón: Outside/In

Carlos Rolón’s ability to produce work that is relatable to people around the world may stem from his goal of wanting people to feel welcome at his exhibits. Rolón says that his parents knew nothing about contemporary art and doesn’t think they would have felt comfortable in a contemporary art museum. Walking into a show of Rolón’s is like walking into a room of comfort food. Bling, macrame, beads and mirrors take on a nostalgic feel.

At his current show at the New Orleans Museum of Art, Rolón has, among the macrame and artificial flowers, a sculpture called Nomadic Habitat (Hustleman), a mobile cart inspired by the street vendors of New Orleans and the Caribbean. The exhibit runs through August 26, during which time the cart will be run by local New Orleans artist collectives and community partner organizations.

Rolón also has a show called LAMYLAND at Selfridges in London, which runs through March 25th.

Carlos Rolón/Dzine at VFA

Rolón has created a series of gilded works that capture the feeling of the tropics and ornamentation of his childhood home. Done in gold leaf on linen, Allegory To Paradise Lost and Bahamian Love Vine VI (Spanish Gold) are both available at VFA. Please contact us for more information about the works of Carlos Rolón or any of the other fine work available at VFA.

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Alex Katz Prints and Paintings in Boca Raton, Florida

Still Time to See Alex Katz: Small Paintings at the Boca Museum

Alex Katz didn’t begin to do the large paintings that he is so well known for, until the early 1960s, about fifteen years after he graduated from Cooper Union and began his career as an artist. He still creates small studies, both drawn and painted, in preparation for his larger works, and their painterly quality is superb. Katz’s early works, small paintings, are on display along with his larger works at the Boca Raton Museum of Art.

The exhibit Alex Katz: Small Paintings opened last November at the Boca Raton Museum of Art and will run through April 8, 2018.

Alex Katz: The Smile Series

Women, fashion and women in fashion have always played a large role in Katz’s works. He’s currently working on a Calvin Klein series, in which his models are posed in classic cotton Calvin Klein underwear. In a recent interview in Women’s Wear Daily, Katz said that style helps to keep his work current. ““Fashion helps make my art exist in the present tense. If fashion achieves style, it always looks good and the same thing is true with painting.”

Katz said that fashion has always been a large influence in his life. “My parents were interested in fashion. They’d watch the movies and talk about how so-and-so wore the clothes. In the Seventies, fashion was considered too ephemeral for a serious artist to do, which made it more interesting. I did a lot of work with fashion and a lot of serious people didn’t like it and I didn’t care.”

The Smile Series, completed last year, is a series of portraits of Katz’s favorite models, including Ada, his muse and wife of sixty years. Ada from Smiles ll is for sale at VFA.

Katz has been painting women in little black dresses since 1960. When his last series of paintings was shown in 2015, Calvin Klein wrote the forward to the catalogue. “I also love what a simple black dress says about the woman who wears it.” Klein wrote. “By making such a subtle and concise choice, she’s letting the world know she is strong and her sense of self is powerful.”

Alex Katz Prints and Sculptures For Sale at VFA

Alex Katz is a masterful painter, who can distill his subjects with subtle color and composition, intense light and skillful brushstrokes. At age 90, Katz says that he is painting better than ever.

Please contact us for more information about Spring Flowers, Ada from Smiles ll, Ulla from Black Dress or any of the other works by Alex Katz for sale at VFA.

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Victor Vasarely and the Chess Board

Victor Vasarely studied medicine before he studied art. His initial art education, in Budapest, was very traditional, but his scientific mind led him to experiment with colors and optics. Vasarely moved to Paris in 1930, and worked as a talented and successful graphic designer. He credited the intense light of southern France, and the way it affected his vision, with his development of Op Art.

The Chess Board

In order to create the optical patterns he imagined, Vasarely used perpendicular lines for the foundation of his designs. His first Op Art painting, L’Echequier, or Chess Board, was done in 1935. L’Echequier is a painting of an infinite chess board, with chess pieces scattered within the board. The chess board continued to appear in his work, and not just as the underpinning. In 1979, Vasarely created a square chess board with an Op Art screenprinted playing surface, raised on cruciform base, with set of clear and frosted acrylic chess pieces. The set was reproduced in limited edition.

One of the Vasarely chess sets is on display, along with other works that exemplify his use of the chess board, at the World Chess Hall of Fame is St. Louis. The exhibit, called Victor Vasarely: Calculated Compositions will be on exhibit through March 25, 2018.

The Vasarely Foundation Museum is Open and Revitalized…Finally

Victor Vasarely wanted art to be accessible to everyone and, to that end, he decided to start a foundation and build a museum to showcase his art and the works of others. The city of Aix-en-Provence donated the land, and Vasarely built the museum. For decades, the Foundation was plagued by a series of unfortunate events, including embezzlement, fraud, bankruptcy and family feuds over the estate.

Vasarely’s grandson, Pierre Vasarely, was finally named the universal legatee of the Foundation, and he has managed to rebuild the Foundation and revive the museum, which opened in September. The museum is made up of sixteen hexagons, constructed to form seven rooms, to display 42 of Vasarely’s pieces.

There is a Kinetics Room, a Tapestries Room and others, each room exhibiting a theme. Many of the works are huge…as large as 25 feet high and tweet feet wide. The building also has a conference room and an auditorium, where classes, concerts and lectures are held.

Victor Vasarely at VFA

Please contact us for information about the works by Victor Vasarely available at VFA, including Holid, Moire Tower and Dyok Positif. 

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Andy Warhol at the Vatican and Vassar

It’s been more than thirty years since the death of Andy Warhol, but he continues to be one of the most trendy and influential artists in the world.

Andy Warhol at the Vatican

The Vatican Museums are in the process of organizing a show, in conjunction with the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, that will look at Warhol’s religious  side. Warhol was a practicing Catholic, who regularly attended Church of St. Vincent Ferrer in Manhattan and volunteered at homeless shelters and financially supported his nephew’s studies for priesthood.

Warhol kept his religious practice very private, except for a very public visit with Pope John Paul ll at the Vatican in 1980. Warhol wore a tie and very conservative wig for the occasion. In the 1980s, Warhol created a series of Crosses, which have been sold at auction for more than $2 million. Many of the Crosses were created in synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen on large, 90 x 70 inch, canvasses. A collection of the Crosses was published by art historian Robert Rosenblum in conjunction with the Erzbischofliches Diozesanmuseum in Cologne.

During the last years of his life, Warhol was commissioned by gallery owner Alexandre Iolas  to create a group of works based on Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper. The works were for an exhibition space in the Palazzo Stelline in Milan, located across the street from the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, the home of Leonardo’s masterpiece. Warhol began to create the works in 1984. He worked from a black and white photograph of the painting and from a plastic sculpture of The Last Supper that he bought at a gas station on the New Jersey Turnpike.

After Warhol’s death, in 1987, more than one hundred paintings and studies of The Last Supper were found in his studio. The exhibition is going to be on display in both The Vatican and the Warhol Museum, The 2019 date has not yet been announced.

Andy Warhol at Vassar

Some rarely exhibited works will be traveling to universities around the country, thanks to an educational initiative organized by the Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Warhol x 5, the start of the traveling exhibit exhibit, which is open to the public, is currently on display at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar, SUNY New Paltz’s Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, Bard’s Center for Curatorial Studies, The University Art Museum at the University at Albany and the Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College in Westchester County.

Nearly two hundred college and university museums and galleries, nationwide, will be receiving over 20,000 works for display.

Andy Warhol at VFA

Please contact us for more information about Jacqueline Kennedy lll, Tidal Basin, Washington Post or any of the other works by Andy Warhol available at VFA.

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Richard Anuszkiewicz Artwork for Sale

Richard Anuszkiewicz: Annual Editions

I sometimes refer to my painting as architectural, because I work out my plan, I work out my idea, and then I go about constructing the painting.”

In 1964, LIFE magazine featured the works of Richard Anuszkiewicz, and called him, “one of the new wizards of Op.”

Getting Started

Before the LIFE article, Op Art had puzzled many critics and art lovers, who were jarred by the sometimes disturbing and disorienting effects of the works. The work of Op Artists, like Seurat, Cezanne and Monet were more subtle than those of mid-twentieth century Op Artists like Anuszkiewicz and Josef Albers, his teacher at Yale.

Anuszkiewicz moved to New York in 1957, at the age of 27, after finishing his MFA at Yale. His training was classical and his early works were done in a variety of medium like oil, watercolor, gauche and ink. As Anuszkiewicz experimented with color and placement of color, his work evolved into the Op compositions that have defined his style for the past sixty years.

“”I sometimes refer to my painting as architectural,”  Anuszkiewicz said, “because I work out my plan, I work out my idea, and then I go about constructing the painting.”

When he first arrived in New York, he worked at The Met and had enough of his art to show at galleries, but his bold, hard-edged paintings were rejected by Leo Castelli, Martha Jackson and other gallery owners.It was Karl Lunde, director of The Contemporaries Gallery on Madison Avenue, who finally gave Anuszkiewicz a solo show in 1960.

Not a single painting was sold, until the Saturday morning before the show closed, when Alfred Barr, MoMA’s first director, bought a painting for the museum’s permanent collection. Other collectors, like New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and author James Michener, followed Barr’s lead and, gradually, Anuszkiewicz became, “one of the new wizards of Op.”

Richard Anuszkiewicz: Annual Editions

In 1965, MoMA used Anuszkiewicz’ Christmas Star for their Annual Edition holiday card design. After the MoMA Christmas Star design, Anuszkiewicz designed cards every year for his friends. He made them in limited editions, not for the commercial art market, and they have been coming up for sale as their recipients have died and the cards have become part of their estates.

Richard Anuszkiewicz Annual Editions at VFA

The 1990 Annual Edition, one of the rare black and white designs, was signed for Anuszkiewicz’ attorney, Marty and his wife, Roz and is available at VFA. Each Annual Edition is an example of the way Anuszkiewicz continues to use sharp lines and color to create his bold designs.

Please contact us for more information about the Annual Editions for sale at VFA.

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Mel Bochner: Hired, Fired, Admired

Mel Bochner at the Jewish Museum

Mel Bochner moved from Pittsburgh to New York in 1964, at the age of 24, to pursue his art career. He visited the Jewish Museum to see Jasper John’s White Flag and met an old classmate who was working as a museum guard. Bochner needed work, and his classmate said that a guard had quit the day before and there might be an opening. There was an opening, and Bochner was hired as a museum guard. (The guard who had quit the previous day was Brice Marden.) Bochner worked as a guard during the day, then went back to his twenty-one dollar a month Manhattan apartment, to paint at night. After about a year on the job, he was caught napping in a quiet corner, and fired.

Scenes from the Collection

Fast forward fifty years, and Mel Bochner’s work is being exhibited, along with other pieces from the museum’s vast collection…many of which have never been seen before. The Jewish Museum’s curators will be rotating the exhibits over the next two years, choosing from the more than 30,000 objects in the permanent collection, arranging them in seven separate displays on the third floor.

On exhibit currently is Mel Bochner’s Joys of Yiddish, his painting of Yiddish words that describe a variety of annoying people, in a way that only Yiddish words can do. From kibbitzer (someone who gives unwanted advice) to meshugener (a crazy person), the Joys of Yiddish, like much of his work, spans the bridge between words and art.

Mel Bochner Voices

A new book, Mel Bochner Voices has been published by Yale University Press. Written by Jeremy Sigler, a poet and lecturer in sculpture at Yale, the volume contains color plates of more than thirty unpublished paintings and an essay by the author, and looks at the way Bochner has combined language and painting and the emotions they inspire. Bochner was a teaching assistant at Yale in 1979 and an adjunct professor in 2001.

Mel Bochner’s Work at VFA

Versions of Mel Bochner’s Blah, Blah, Blah have been seen around the world…not just as paintings, but also as murals, billboards and even as sky writing. Blah, Blah, Blah and Head Honcho (one of the works from Bochner’s Thesaurus Series) are available at VFA.

Please contact us for more information about Blah, Blah, Blah, Head Honcho or any of the other works for sale at VFA.

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Robert Rauschenberg: Erasing the Rules

Robert Rauschenberg: Erasing the Rules

The retrospective, Robert Rauschenberg: Erasing the Rules, has traveled from the the Tate Modern in London, to MoMA in New York and is now at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The show, which includes more than 170 works by Rauschenberg,  will be on exhibit through March 25th.

The title of the show references the Erased de Kooning Drawing that Rauschenberg created in 1953. Always curious, always pushing the boundaries of art, Rauschenberg wanted to create a work of his own by erasing the work of another artist. Rauschenberg held Willem de Kooning in high regard, and decided to ask him for a drawing that he could erase.

“I bought a bottle of Jack Daniels,” Rauschenberg said, “and hoped that he wouldn’t be home when I knocked on his door. And he was home. We sat down with the bottle of Jack Daniels and I told him what my project was and he understood it. And he said, ‘I don’t like it, but I understand what you’re doing.’ And he pulled something out and he said, ‘I’m going to make it so hard for you to erase this.’ And it took me about a month, and I don’t know how many erasers to do it.”

The  Erased de Kooning Drawing wasn’t shown for a few years after it was created, but word got out about his project and the work became well known, even before it was shown.

Combining Art, Technology (and Other Stuff)

Rauschenberg was born in Port Arthur, Texas in 1925. His parents were Fundamentalist Christians, his father an avid hunter. Rauschenberg served in the navy from 1942 to 1945, then studied at the Kansas City Art Institute, the Academie Julian in Paris, Black Mountain College in North Carolina and, from 1949 to 1952, went to the Art Students League in New York. He was a well-trained artist, and a curious one, who explored the use of unexpected materials in multiple media. Rauschenberg was a painter, photographer, lithographer, choreographer and performer who never fit into any category, and whose work influenced every postwar art movement since Abstract Expressionism.

After a trip to Yellowstone Park, Rauschenberg was inspired to create Mud Muse, a vat containing  two tons of bubbling mud, activated by a recorded sound track. Mud Muse was done in 1968, before the dawn of the digital age. Rauschenberg had Mud Muse engineered by scientists at California’s Teledyne Technologies.

Mud Muse is part of a permanent museum collection in Sweden, and has traveled to London and the U.S. accompanied by a technician who ensures that the mud is of the proper consistency (like yogurt) and that the mud bubbles in response to the to the sound levels.

Primal and Technical

Just as he combined the primal mud and technical components in Mud Muse, Rauschenberg combined primal printing on stone with space travel. In 1969, Rauschenberg was invited by NASA to witness the launch of the Apollo 11 mission to place man on the moon for the first time. Combining crayon and tusche on lithography stone and images supplied by NASA, Rauschenberg created the Stoned Moon Series, the title reflecting both the primal stone printing process and the technical achievement of science.

Robert Rauschenberg Prints at VFA

Please contact us for more information about work from the Stoned Moon Series, or the other extraordinary work by Robert Rauschenberg available at VFA.

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Jasper Johns Prints: In it for the Long Run

The Long Run at MoMA

Jasper Johns is one of the artists featured at the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibit called Long Run.  Each work, made after 1970, was done by an artist who was at least 45, although many were older. Included in the exhibit are works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Louise Bourgeois, Melvin Edwards, Gerhard Richter, Frank Stella, and many others. Many artists, like Jasper Johns, were young and hungry and eager to shake up the art world when they produced their seminal works.”>Jasper Johns is one of the artists featured at the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibit called Long Run. 

Each work, made after 1970, was done by an artist who was at least 45, although many were older. Included in the exhibit are works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Louise Bourgeois, Melvin Edwards, Gerhard Richter, Frank Stella, and many others.

Many artists, like Jasper Johns, were young and hungry and eager to shake up the art world when they produced their seminal works.

Johns painted Flag, his best known work, in 1954, when he was just 24 years old. His early works bridged the gap between abstract expressionism and the movements that followed like Pop, Minimalism and Conceptual Art. The early works also set auction records for prices paid for work done by a living artist.At age 87, Johns is still working and continues to perfect his techniques.

Jasper Johns as Printmaker

Johns began making prints in 1960 and has continued to produce prints throughout his career, often repeating objects, numbers and symbols that that give his work an iconic familiarity.

He didn’t just make prints of his paintings, but also make paintings from his prints. Johns’ experiments with lithography have allowed him to reinvent his existing images.

His process of using several colors on the many etched plates required for each of his works allows for a variety of textures and colors in each print.The National Gallery of Art is home to nearly 2,000 of Jasper Johns’ proofs.

Jasper John Prints at VFA

Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg were together for six years in the 1950s. During that time they each produced some of their greatest works.

Johns was devastated when they broke up, and used imagery based on The Bridge, a poem written by Hart Crane in the 1930s:

What whisperings of far watches on the main
Relapsing into silence, while time clears
Our lenses, lifts a focus, resurrects
A periscope to glimpse what joys or pain
Our eyes can share or answer – then deflects
Us, shunting to a labyrinth submersed
Where each sees only his dim past reversed…

Crane, who had a history of depression, heavy alcohol use and confusion about his sexuality, committed suicide in 1932, at the age of 32, by jumping from the deck of a steamship sailing back to New York from Mexico. Johns and Rauschenberg put aside their differences, but there was always a sense of rivalry between them. The image of the outstretched hand and periscope recur in many of Johns’ works, like Periscope l, for sale at VFA.

Also available at VFA is Untitled, a work from the Geldzahler Portfolio, which was commissioned in 1998 by the Estate Project for Artists with AIDS as a fundraising initiative, organized by Henry Geldzahler, the first curator of 20th-century art at the Metropolitan Museum and New York City’s Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, and an Untitled color intaglio done in 2012, when Johns was 82.

Please contact us for more information about the works of Jasper Johns, or any of the other fine art available at VFA.

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Donald Sultan: From Disasters to Poppies

Last Stop for Disaster Paintings Tour

The Disaster Paintings, that Donald Sultan created during the 1980s and early 90s, began touring around the U.S. last year. The tour began at the Lowe Art Museum in Miami, went to the Smithsonian and other major museums and is making its final stop at Nebraska’s Sheldon Museum of Art from January 26 through May 13, 2018.

Each painting, like Early Morning May 20 1986 was made from a newspaper photograph of an industrial disaster. Sultan used industrial materials, linoleum, tar and masonite, to create the images.

“Linoleum,” Sultan said, in an interview at the Smithsonian, “is our modern interior landscape. Originally, linoleum was made to be fake marble.”

From Disasters to Poppies

Donald Sultan has continued to use industrial materials to create his works, but his subjects continue to evolve.

Sultan went from painting catastrophes to painting dominoes, buttons then poppies. “Paintings talk to you and,” Sultan said, “they tell you what you have to do next. It’s a compulsion.”

Sultan followed-the-dots. He used the linoleum squares to create grids, on which he arranged a series of dominoes, then  buttons, smoke rings, the flowers he saw on lanterns in his garden, and finally, poppies.

Although Sultan uses heavy, industrial materials to create his work, they have a quality of lightness about them. He used Cor-Ten steel to create Poppies sculptures that have the same lightness underneath their rugged exterior.

Linoleum is our modern interior landscape. Originally, linoleum was made to be fake marble.

Donald Sultan Prints

A masterful printmaker, Sultan has been making etchings, then aquatint, printed on roofing copper.

“What I like about prints, is that it has to keep its handmade, art quality. It has to be run through a press manually, so it continues the concept of industrial working”

Early in his career, Sultan was among a small group of influential American artists who frequently collaborated with Picasso’s master-printer Aldo Crommelynck. He now works with printers closer to his Manhattan studio, creating works like Blacks and Blues, a screenprint with diamond dust and Lantern Flowers, silkscreened with enamel inks and flocking, both for sale at VFA.

Donald Sultan for Sale at VFA

Please contact us for more information about Cor-Ten PoppiesBlacks and Blues, Lantern Flowers or any of the other Donald Sultan sculptures and prints available at VFA.

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Marc Quinn’s Art and Science

Marc Quinn’s Latest Self

The National Gallery of Australia’s current exhibit, HyperReal takes a look at the history of hyperrealism in art that began in the 1960s and has evolved into the twenty-first century.

A highlight of the exhibit is Marc Quinn’s most recent sculpture Self, a self-portrait that documents the changes of Quinn’s face as he ages.

Quinn has made a Self  sculpture every five years since 1991. He spends five months collecting more than ten pints of his own blood, pouring into a mold of his head and freezing it in a specially built case filled with silicone.

Marc Quinn, born in London, the son of a potter and a physicist (who, Quinn says, actually worked on experiments that involved freezing), studied art history at Cambridge and became fascinated with Rembrandt, who created nearly one hundred self-portraits.

Quinn’s five existing Self portraits, by the artist and of  the artist, are on display in venues around the world. The 2006 version of Self  is part of the collection of the National Gallery of London.

“It’s like artwork on life support,” he says, “and I’m still alive, so it’s about the miraculous power the human body has to reproduce itself.”

The HyperReal exhibit at Australia’s National gallery runs through February 18, 2018.

Stealth Kate

When Marc Quinn observed people in the British Museum admiring fragmented ancient statues, he wondered how the same viewers would react if actual people, with the same missing parts, were to walk into the gallery. Most of the art lovers reactions, he thought, would not be the same. “It was interesting to me,” Quinn said, “to see what is acceptable in art, but unacceptable in life.”

This led Quinn to create a series of marble sculptures, using models who were missing limbs.  “As I made the series of works,” he said, “I realised that they were also about what a beautiful body is, and how narrow our vision of that is, and about the connection between inside and outside.”

Quinn continued to explore the perception of body image and perception. Since 2006 he has made studies of English supermodel, Kate Moss.

“Human beings often create images, begin to worship them and then forget the images were initially invented by them.” he said, “They are left with an abstract image that is impossible to measure up to. This is the basis of all celebrity and religious imagery.”

What Quinn says of his depiction of Moss is, “This is not a portrait of a person, it’s a portrait of an image twisted by our collective desires.”

The Blue Planet

Just like fingerprints, the iris is one of the body’s most individual parts, another way that Quinn has used the body’s unique biological features to create rare and unique portraits.

Quinn created the series from photographs he took with a special close-up lens.

Marc Quinn’s Works for Sale at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about Stealth Kate, Blue Planet or any of the other fine art work for sale at VFA.

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Bloomberg News Marc Quinn on Brilliant Ideas August 3, 2016.
Free Ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints

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