Damien Hirst Sculpture

Damien Hirst Sculptures

I can’t understand why most people believe in medicine and don’t believe in art, without questioning either”

Damien Hirst is the best bad boy in the art world today. He was even badder in his younger years, when he hung out with Joe Strummer of the Clash and partied in the world of sex, drugs and rock and roll. Before Strummer’s death, Hirst cleaned up his act, but he’s still obsessed with the way we, in the western world, interact with drugs.

“Pills are a brilliant little form, better than any minimalist art,” Hirst said. “They’re all designed to make you buy them… they come out of flowers, plants, things from the ground, and they make you feel good, you know, to just have a pill, to feel beauty.”

In 1992, Hirst installed Pharmacy, in the Cohen Gallery in New York, and continued his pharmaceutical theme in his 2012 Schizophrenogeneisis exhibit in London. “I can’t understand why most people believe in medicine and don’t believe in art, without questioning either,” Hirst said.

We are pleased to be able to offer some of Hirst’s limited edition pill sculptures, fabricated from polyurethane resin with ink pigment. Valium comes in both 5mg and 10mg sculptures, each a limited edition of 30.Theo-24 300mg ucb2852 is a foot-long capsule filled with white marbles. The Deltacortril Enteric 5mg-30 enteric coated tablets sculpture is over 17 inches high. It’s also a limited edition of 30.

Very early in his career Hirst became fascinated with the colors of the medications in a book of pharmaceuticals and began to paint his Spots series. Like many of his other works, Hirst continues this series because of his love of the colors they allow him to work in.

We have several of Hirst’s Spot series in our gallery. Each is defined by the colors and the size of the spots. Esculetin is a 2-inch woodcut spot. Fenbufen is a 6-inch spot woodcut.

One of Damien Hirst’s Spots is on Mars. Yes, Mars. Spots was used on the Beagle 2, the British craft that was sent to Mars in June of 2003 by the European Space Agency. Spots was used as part of the craft’s calibration system. Beagle 2 was supposed to touch down on Christmas of 2003, but was not seen until January 16th of this year, sitting on Mars. NASA photos show the craft relatively intact and, hopefully, so is Spots.

You can see more of Hirst’s work, right here on earth, in our gallery.

Vertu New Acquisitions

We feel like kids in a candy store, thanks to our new acquisitions. Of course, we can’t keep them all to ourselves, so here’s a look at the new pieces we are offering:

Tom Wesselman

Tom Wesselman was the first artist to use lasers and computers to make steel drawings, before computerized imaging had been developed. The two laser steel cut paintings we have to offer, Monica Sitting Undressed and Sitting Nude, were both done in 1986, a natural progression of the nudes he painted, and the materials he experimented with, throughout his career.

Wesselman spent most of his life living and working in New York but, ironically, he was fanatic about country music. He died in 2004, a year before the movie Brokeback Mountain was released. Wesselman’s song, I Love Doing Texas With You, was included on the soundtrack.

“Painting, sex, and humor are the most important things in my life,” Wesselman said.

Ugo Rondinone

This Swiss-born artist’s work is not only fanciful, but also fantastic. Based in New York, Rondinone created nine colossal stone figures, ranging in height from 16 to 20 feet in height, in Rockefeller Plaza. He created windows for Louis Vuitton and has had solo exhibits around the world, from New York to Shanghai.

Rondinone is a painter and sculptor who creates wild worlds for viewers to look at and walk through.

“I believe in the spirituality and magic of an artwork,” he says. When you look at his lithograph, Angel Kiss, you’ll believe, too.

Mel Ramos

Mel Ramos has been painting nudes in martini glasses, in Coke bottle tops and popping out of Campbell’s soup cans since the 1960s. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art exhibited his work, along with Roy Lichtenstein’s and Andy Warhol’s. Ramos is Professor Emeritus at California State, where he taught for more than thirty years.

At age 79, Ramos is still at it, creating work that is fun, provocative and technically superb. Two of his lithographs, Hav-a-Havana #9, are both done in 34 colors, one with silver leaf.

Hav-A-Havana #10 was done this year. The colors are subtle, the subject is not. Mel Ramos’ work is part of the permanent collections around the world. including MoMA and the Smithsonian.

Ryan McGinness

If you’re a skateboarder, you probably covet a hand-painted board by Ryan McGinness. If not, one of his lithographs is probably a more practical option.

McGinness lives and works in New York, but comes out of the skateboard world of Virginia Beach. His work has a geometric, graphic feel. Each of the three lithographs that we have acquired has a unique set of icons and distinct color palette.

McGinness’ work is in the permanent collections of MoMA, MUSAC in Spain and the Misumi Collection in Japan.

Ed Ruscha

Ruscha began to paint words on a trip to Paris in 1961. His paintings, prints and photographs have been making people scratch their heads for more than fifty years. “Art has to be something that makes you scratch your head.” he said. Ruscha has always maintained the he has, “no agenda, no message and wants viewers to bring their own point of view to his work.

For Sale and Cash For Tools, both metal relief on paper, are both everything one can hope for in a work by Ruscha. They are beautifully crafted and have the, “Huh” factor that this master of print has always wanted to create in his work.

It’s always our goal, at Vertu Fine Art, to obtain the finest examples of fine art prints. We think we’ve achieved this with our latest acquisitions, as well as… just coincidentally… getting the works of five of the most fun and exciting print artists in the world.

polly apfelbaum prints

Polly Apfelbaum’s Flags of Revolt & Defiance

It’s not always easy to find work of Polly Apfelbaum’s that you can take home. Much of her work is installed on gallery floors or draped over ceiling pipes and down walls. Her Haunted House was an actual cabin in the Swiss Alps, without plumbing or electricity, that could only be gotten to by hiking. “I wanted to bring the hillbilly to this pristine alpine location in Switzerland,” she said. She left bottles of moonshine in the cabin for visitors who wanted, “the full, hillbilly experience” in the Alps.

Easier to carry home, and less dangerous than moonshine, are the silkscreens that are available in our gallery. They were created for Apfelbaum’s Flags of Revolt and Defiance exhibit, on display in 2006 at Columbia University’s Leroy Neiman Center for Print Studies Gallery.

Apfelbaum has taken the flags of political and social movements from around the world and placed them inside the pop flower that defines much of her work.

Here’s a look at the story behind some of the symbols she used:

  • The Sons of Liberty Flag was the symbol of the group that got together in the thirteen American colonies to fight against British rule. In 1773, the Sons of Liberty organized the Boston Tea Party, and the rest is history.
  • The official flag of Romania had the communist coat of arms printed in the center yellow band. During the Romanian Revolution in 1989, protestors cut out the coat of arms and waved, what they called, the flag with the hole, a symbol of their wish to do away with the dictatorial regime in power at that time. The Rumanian Uprising flag is Apfelbaum’s interpretation of revolutionary flag with the hole.
  • The flag of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) was first waved in Turkey in 1978 to protest the poor treatment of Kurds by the government of Turkey. The PKK has a long and checkered history of struggle against oppression. Many Kurds still live in Turkey, but many have also settled in Syria, Iran, Greece and Cyprus. Apfelbaum has beautifully simplified the flag of a very complex movement.
  • Germany has had many flags during its long and changing history, but the flag that heralded the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, commemorated one of the most exciting moments celebrated around the world. The words, Deutsche Wiedervereinigung (German Reunification), can be seen in Apfelbaum’s version of the flag of the Advocates of German Unification.
  • One of the best known movements of all time, the Women’s Rights Movement, has brought women a long way and is still relevant today. Apfelbaum’s spin on the flag of the National Organization of Women (NOW) is a strong, bold statement inside her signature flower.
  • The turbulent ‘60s gave rise to the Yippies, or Youth International Party, known as much for its pranks as its politics. Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin became the most famous leaders of the movement, whose members were sometimes called the Groucho Marxists. Abbie Hoffman wrote that the Yippies wanted to build a nation as rugged as the marijuana leaf, the symbol that graced the Yippies flag. Apfelbaum has gotten the essence of this flag just right.

Apfelbaum’s work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Israel Museum and the Yale University Art Gallery.

We feel fortunate to have be able to offer these unique silkscreens, from an artist whose work is always beautiful, thoughtful and playful. See more Polly Apfelbaum prints here.

Tom Wesselmann Prints

Tom Wesselmann: Woodcuts, Silkscreens & Lithographs

Tom Wesselmann didn’t like to be pigeon-holed as a Pop artist, and as interesting a man as he was, he wasn’t easy to categorize in any aspect of his life. “I had no interest in social commentary,” Wesselmann said in a 1995 interview with The Enquirer, “I wanted to be an artist in the finest historical sense of the word.”

Although he was born in Cincinnati and spent his adult life in New York, Wesselmann had a passion for country music. He wrote hundreds of country songs, including, “I Love Doing Texas With You,” which was included on the Brokeback Mountain movie soundtrack.

Wesselmann propelled the tradition of nudes, still life and landscapes way beyond the boundaries of the Pop Art movement that defined many of his contemporaries.

Born in 1931, Wesselmann completed a degree in psychology at the University of Cincinnati after a stint in the army and began to study drawing at the Art academy of Cincinnati in 1954, with the goal of becoming a cartoonist. It was his study of art Cooper Union, that inspired him to pursue painting.

The influence of Matisse and Cezanne can be seen in the colors and perspective of Wesselmann’s work, but he was an experimenter and innovator whose focus was the evolution of his own work. Wesselmann experimented with color, size and sculptural elements. He was the first artist to use a laser and computer to make steel drawings. He also used aluminum, acrylic and plastics to add texture and dimension to his paintings, sculptures and even his screenprints.

Cut-Out Nude, from ll Pop Artists Vol. 1 is one of our favorite Wesselmann acquisitions. A screenprint on formed vinyl with a die-cut overmat, it’s a good example of both the nod to tradition and the fascination with innovation that defines his work.

Even his deceptively simple work, like Study for Seascape with Cumulus Clouds and Sky, has a strength of design that makes Wesselmann’s work so recognizable.
Many of his paintings are enormous and are housed in galleries around the country like MoMA, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.

Fortunately for us, Wesselmann loved to create woodcuts, silkscreens and lithographs that fit perfectly on our gallery walls.

Wesselmann died in 2004, at the age of 73. He suffered from heart disease during the last ten years of his life, but was still able to create spectacular paintings and prints. An excerpt from his diary reads, “I loved being alive even though I buried myself alive in my work.”

Robert Indiana Art for Sale at VFA’s Boca Raton Gallery

When contemplating the distinct characteristics of the American Pop Art movement founders, Robert Indiana very likely stands as the artist of deepest intent. While Indiana’s works contain the cool simplicity and broad appeal that defines the genre, his intentions have always carried a certain weight and sincerity that is considered by many to be a bit out of step with the mainstream Pop Art sensibility.

Outside of his worldwide famous sculptures, paintings and prints of LOVE, Robert Indiana is arguably best known for another one word recurring subject, EAT. The EAT sign commissioned by architect Philip Johnson, showcased in the1964 New York World’s Fair’s New York State Pavilion, bears the familiar composition of the screenprint hanging in our Boca Raton art gallery. Eat is an integral part of Robert Indiana’s body of work and is indicative of the artist’s highly personalized motivations that underlie the meaning of his art. In fact, “eat” is one of the last words spoken by the artist’s mother, literally asking Robert if he wanted something to eat just a moment before dying. Yet, EAT also represents universally American signage, such as that closely associated with restaurants, thereby lending it popular culture reference. This is the duality of Robert Indiana’s professional life as a Pop Artist. In this limited edition screenprint, the there is a sense of multiple degrees of depth created from the gradient background coloring and powerful lettering knocked out of black circles in the foreground.

Book of Love (German Colors) is a Robert Indiana screenprint that turns heads at our Boca Raton Contemporary Art Gallery. The power of Indiana’s LOVE series of works has been fully maximized by the artist’s efforts to see LOVE applied to the symbolism and language of nations and cultures around the world. In every representation, LOVE is bold, and perhaps even more so in the black, yellow and red colors that signify the German identity. With black and red dominating the negative space, this version of Robert Indiana’s most famous subject matter gives credence to the artist’s assertion that his art belongs to formalism every bit as much as it belongs to Pop Art.

The Yield Brother screenprint for sale at Vertu Fine Art Gallery in Boca Raton is a meaningful reflection of the original painting that Robert Indiana donated to the Bertrand Russell Foundation in support of the organization’s efforts to promote peace and warn against the dangers of nuclear proliferation. This iconic Indiana limited edition work is indeed a historic piece that demonstrates the artist’s ability to harness the power of words and symbols that hold tremendous possibilities for fostering change in the world and unifying people. The words, “Yield Brother,” dig deeper than surface calls for peace, legitimately offering the path to peace, to make way for differences and honor alternative views, allowing peace room for growth.

Another outstanding Robert Indiana limited edition print for sale at VFA Gallery in Boca Raton is from the artist’s Autoportraits Vinalhaven Suite 1980 series – Decade Autoportrait – Hurricane. Indiana’s Autoportrait works hold a special place in the hearts of serious collectors. Such art captures the essence of Robert Indiana’s love of numerology and symbolism combined with his bend toward cubism, hard edge and formalist design. Of the recurring themes that continue to pepper the landscape of the artist’s life, Decade prints continue to be some of those most sought after.

The works of the artist featured in this blog are only a portion of the Robert Indiana art currently for sale at Vertu Fine Art. If you’re a collector of Robert Indiana or other Pop Art masters, or simply share a keen interest in consuming such art, please visit us at our gallery. If you are a collector of Robert Indiana or require assistance for any Contemporary Art needs, please don’t hesitate to contact us, set an appointment or drop in for a visit.

Frank Stella Prints For Sale

Frank Stella: What You See

Frank Stella gave us a new point of view, a new way of looking at a work of art. “What you see is what you see” is the way Stella broke it down.

Stella arrived in New York in 1958, at age 22, after completing a history degree at Princeton. During that period, the art galleries he visited were filled with the paintings of abstract expressionists and pop artists who were exploring new ways of creating, and thinking about, art.

What Frank Stella did, in 1959, was to create a series called Black Paintings, that demonstrated his belief that, “a painting is a flat surface with paint on it.” All the emotion that a viewer brings when looking at a landscape or a still life, the emotions that the artist may have even been trying to evoke, was something that Stella took out of his work.

He created his Black Paintings series, shown at MoMa, an exhibit that jump-started his long career as one of America’s most valued artists. One of the Black Paintings series is painted on a 6 foot by 10 foot canvas. It consists of a pattern of parallel black stripes, painted with black enamel house paint defined by areas of blank canvas. Though the form of the painting has no emotional content, Stella called it, Die Fahne Hoch! (The Raised Banner), which was the first line of the Nazi party’s anthem.

So, though Stella asks the viewer to see the painting as a flat surface with paint on it, he gives it an emotionally charged title…and a lot to think about. Die Fahne Hoch! is part of the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum in New York.

Stella was so loved by critics, that art critic, Barbara Rose, married him in 1961. Stella’s work evolved with the use of color and material. He began to create screenprints, lithographs and etchings in the 1960s and had a print studio installed in his New York house.

We have been fortunate, at Vertu, to have acquired many of Stella’s most interesting fine art prints, like Black Stack, a limited edition lithograph of 56 that he did in 1970. The design of Black Stack is a portent of Stella’s interest in sculpture and architectural design.

Stella’s sculptures and murals have been displayed in public venues around the world. In 1991, he was commissioned to create murals for the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto. HIs three-dimensional murals cover the ceiling dome of the auditorium, the walls of the lobby, the lounges, the boxed seats and the outside back wall of the theater. The theater was slated for demolition in 2012, but public outcry spared the theater from the wrecking ball.

Closer to home, Stella designed an aluminum bandshell for Miami, but cost overruns and disputes with Miami-Dade County turned the project in a new direction. The bandshell now sits outside the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.

At 78, Stella is still working in New York and his pieces, which sometimes cost a fortune to build, are sold for millions of dollars. His prints and lithographs, fortunately for us, are more affordable and easier to hang than many of his sculptures, and are available at our Vertu gallery.

Banksy, the Greatest Living Briton

We can’t do anything to change the world until capitalism crumbles. In the meantime we should all go shopping to console ourselves. —Banksy”

“Sometimes I feel so sick at the state of the world,” Banksy wrote in his book, Wall and Piece, “I can’t even finish my second apple pie.” That pretty much reflects the work of Banksy: provocative, discomforting, funny and well-crafted.

Banksy is one of the most well-known artists in the world, yet most people don’t know who he is or what he looks like. What we know about Banksy is what he’s told us in his books, films, the few interviews he’s given and, of course, his art.

Banksy said that he began his career as a graffiti artist in Bristol, England, at around age 14. When he was about 18, he was part of Bristol’s DryBreadZ (DBZ) Crew., using the tag, Robin Banx. He said that he began using stencils when he and the crew were chased by police and he hid under a garbage truck. The large serial numbers stenciled under the truck gave him the idea of using stencils to speed up the painting process and decrease the risk of getting caught and avoiding arrest.

When Banksy moved to London in 1999, his work began to gain more attention and “Banksy sightings” became more frequent and talked about around the city. What is now known as the “Banksy Effect” – bringing street art into mainstream culture – began to take hold. As his fan base widened, so did the debate about art, property, social order and the value, both esthetic and monetary, of art and graffiti.

Banksy managed to prank major museums in 2003…and still remain anonymous. He walked into the Tate in London, dressed in a shabby coat and floppy hat, and taped his painting, Crimewatch UK Has Ruined the Countryside For All of Us, on to one of the gallery walls. It would have been the perfect crime, but the tape didn’t hold and the painting fell off the wall. Banksy also pranked the Louvre in Paris and the Met in New York.

In 2007, the town of Briton, where he had once been considered a vandal and had to run from police as a young graffiti artist, awarded Banksy the Greatest Living Briton award in the arts. (Banksy didn’t show up at the ceremony to claim his award. Queen Elizabeth won in the “People” category. Julie Andrews, Paul McCartney and Margaret Thatcher were also nominated.) Briton is now covered with outsider art, and actually encourages many of its young artists to paint murals on its buildings.

My lawyer calls me ‘the most infringed artist alive’ and wants me to do something about it. But if you’ve built a reputation on having a casual attitude towards property ownership, it seems a bit bad-mannered to kick off about copyright law.”

The 2010 Olympics inspired Banksy to put Olympic-themed works around London. His piece called Child Labor that depicts a child hunched over a sewing machine, sewing Union Jacks together, caused a lot of controversy and disappeared after the games. It turned up at a Miami auction, was pulled from the auction and was later sold for $1.1 million dollars.

“I don’t make as much money as people think.” Banksy said in an interview, “The commercial galleries that have held exhibitions of my paintings are nothing to do with me. And I certainly don’t see money from the T-shirts, mugs and greeting cards. My lawyer calls me ‘the most infringed artist alive’ and wants me to do something about it. But if you’ve built a reputation on having a casual attitude towards property ownership, it seems a bit bad-mannered to kick off about copyright law.”

TIME magazine named Banksy one of The 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2010. Also on the list was Barak Obama, Steve Jobs and Jet Li. A photo of Banksy, with a paper bag over his head, was accompanied by a short tribute, written by Banksy’s friend and fellow street artist, Shepard Fairey (the artist who designed the 2008 Obama Hope poster). Fairey eloquently summed up the impact Banksy has had on the world:

“Many people recoil at the thought of a guy in a hoodie with a spray-paint can and something to say. Others foam at the mouth when they see the same guy’s artwork auctioned off for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Banksy just laughs at all of it. He has a gift: an ability to make almost anyone very uncomfortable. He doesn’t ignore boundaries; he crosses them to prove their irrelevance.

People usually see art as an abstract emotional vehicle, lacking the direct impact of language. Banksy paints over the line between aesthetics and language, then stealthily repaints it in the unlikeliest of places. His works, whether he stencils them on the streets, sells them in exhibitions or hangs them in museums on the sly, are filled with wit and metaphors that transcend language barriers.

Banksy’s work embodies everything I like about art. It’s accessible, public, not locked away. He makes social and political statements with a sense of humor. His latest exploit is Exit Through the Gift Shop, a film about a filmmaker who left off making a film about Banksy to become an art star himself. It sums up the art world perfectly — the authentic intertwined with the absurd.”

In 2013, Banksy named himself Artist in Residence of New York for a month and created a work of art, or a special event, every day for 31 days. One of his installations was a booth outside of Central Park, along Fifth Avenue, where he had a salesman sell his work for $60 a piece. The paintings and silkscreens, which would have sold for thousands of dollars in galleries and at auction, brought in a total of $420.

“We can’t do anything to change the world until capitalism crumbles.” he said, “In the meantime we should all go shopping to console ourselves.”

So, who is Banksy? He (or she) may, or may not be, Robin Gunningham, a middle class kid who wore a grey blazer and striped tie to his private school in Bristol. Banksy says that his parents don’t know what he does, that he’s one of the most influential artists in the world. “They think I’m a painter and a decorator.” he said. Well … maybe he is.

See more work on Banksy’s website.

Alex Katz

Alex Katz Prints & Paintings: Masterful Color and Design

An older painter gave me some advice: “Figuration is obsolete and color is French.” I said to myself, “To you, baby.” Actually, I had no idea whether what I was doing was going to find an audience, but my instincts told me there was no other way for me.” — Alex Katz

Whenever we have the opportunity to acquire the work of Alex Katz, we go for it. One of the most skilled artists in America, Katz’s work is owned by public galleries spanning the globe from New York to Vienna to Japan.

His paintings and prints can be found in such prestigious venues as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, The National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Japan.

The focus of our acquisitions are his silkscreens, woodcuts, aquatints and linocuts, which are fine examples of his masterful use of color and design. Katz has been creating art for over sixty years. He calls his work “reductive” which is an oversimplification of what he does.

Each piece has clean and simple lines of design, but the composition and colors, especially the colors in his silkscreens, are complex.

We still have a few examples of Alex Katz’s work at Vertu:

Late Summer Flowers

A great example of Katz’s amazing use of color is his 30-color silkscreen, Late Summer Flowers. Using both subtle and contrasting colors during the screen process take expertise that only a master, like Katz, can achieve.

White Roses

The impact of White Roses, comes not only from it’s size (over 7 feet long and 3-and-a-half feet wide) but also from the flow of design and layer of colors that appear simple but are a complex 16-color silkscreen.

Black Hat IV

The three faces and three hats that make up the composition of Black Hat IV, are another example of the impact of Katz’s work. The clean lines, and profusion of black against yellow, makes this large, 68-color screen print one of Katz’s most powerful works.

Diana, Sophia, Sarah, Vivien and Ada in Bathing Cap

Katz’s wife, Ada, has been his model and muse since 1957. Ada in Bathing Cap,
like his other portraits, is both an intimate, yet detached, look at his subject.

Unlike the other portraits in our gallery, which are silk screens, Diana is a linocut, and another example of Katz’s impressive use of color and design.

More About Alex Katz

Katz has worked and lived in his New York studio since 1968. The studio was featured in Architectural Digest in 2012. He began his art education at Woodrow Wilson High School in Queens, went on to study at Cooper Union Art School in Manhattan and then received a scholarship for summer study at the Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture in Maine.

Katz’s body of work has garnered him such prestigious awards as the Cooper Union Annual Artist of the City Award, an induction into the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Pratt Institute’s Mary Buckley Award, the Queens Museum of Art Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Chicago Bar Association Award for Art in Public Places.

We encourage you to come into Vertu to see the work of this remarkable American artist.

ed ruscha prints

Ed Ruscha: Still Disarming

Art has to be something that makes you scratch your head.

At age 77, Ed Ruscha is still putting a lot of thought…and a little bit of mischief… into his work. Ruscha is a masterful print artist, painter, filmmaker and photographer.

Mark Twain Quote

The Mark Twain Quote lithograph, one of the Ruscha’s available in our gallery as of this writing, is a fine example of the thought and humor that goes into each of his works. Using a Mark Twain quote, The Ancients Stole All Our Great Ideas, shadowing it with its German translation on a gradient background, makes the visual impact of Mark Twain Quote very powerful and does what Ruscha intends to do with all of his work: “Art has to be something that makes you scratch your head.” he said.

Ruscha’s Early Mischief

His first book of photographs, called Twenty Six Gasoline Stations, had a profound influence on the direction of pop culture, photography and mid-century art. Self-published in 1963, and selling for $3 a copy, Twenty Six Gasoline Stations contains stark, black and white photographs of twenty six gas stations along Route 66 that Ruscha passed on the trips he took from his Los Angeles home to the home of his mother in Oklahoma City, where he was raised.

In a 1973 interview, Ruscha said, “I realized that for the first time this book had an inexplicable thing I was looking for, and that was a kind of a “Huh?” That‘s what I’ve always worked around. All it is is a device to disarm somebody with my particular message.”

Making Mischief

Twenty Six Gasoline Stations is considered to be the first modern artist’s book. Ruscha sent a copy to the Library of Congress, for inclusion in its collection. It had no text, austere photos…not the kind of art book that had been seen before… and was rejected by the Library of Congress.

At that time, Ruscha occasionally did commercial art work for the fledgling Artforum Magazine, using the name, Eddie Russia. After the Library of Congress rejected his book, Ruscha took out an ad in the magazine, that read, “ REJECTED. Oct. 2, 1963 by the Library of Congress, Washington 25, D.C. Copies available @ $3.00” Today, copies of Twenty Six Gasoline Stations are part of the permanent collection of major venues, like MoMA and the Tate, and original editions of the book, are coveted by art collectors.

A signed first edition can sell for as much as twenty five thousand dollars. The 1964 Artforum Magazine, with the original ad, is also a collector’s item.

A Way With Words

Ruscha began to paint words on a trip to Paris in 1961. In 1969, he created a series of “Liquid Word” images during a two-month fellowship at L.A.’s Tamarind Lithography Workshop. Although Ruscha says that he has, “no agenda, no message”, he does focus on aspects of American culture that he finds appealing. His perspective, which he claims has a “lack of emotion” allows viewers to bring their own point of view to his work.

Ruscha said he was inspired to be an artist when, as a boy, he watched a neighbor draw cartoons with pen and ink. “I could see I was just born for the job,” Ruscha said, ‘born to watch paint dry,”

View More Work from Ed Ruscha

Photo top right: Ed Ruscha (1970) by Jerry McMillan
Donald Sultan Wall Flowers

Donald Sultan: Bold Prints and Sculpture

Donald Sultan’s works appear simple, yet are powerful pieces that contain layers of complexity. The progression of Sultan’s work has led to several of the series that we have been lucky to obtain.

From his linoleum and tar-layered industrial paintings, through his mixed-media still life, Sultan has found a way of incorporating colors, textures and space to create works that seem almost understated but have a boldness that can’t be ignored.

Lantern Flower Series

The Lantern Flower Series screen prints are a fine example of the power of Sultan’s work. His use of contrasting enamel ink and negative space give each print a feeling of strength, although the subject is a delicate flower. The color of each print, in the 24” x 24” series, is remarkable, each a commanding presence.

The series of larger Lantern Flower screen prints in our collection have the same bold character of the smaller prints, with the added tar-like texture that moves across the nearly seven-foot surface of the print in undulating design.

Sultan’s Lantern Flower sculptures make use of the artist’s love of industrial design and still life and the elegance and movement of flowers. Each piece is made of painted aluminum on a polished aluminum base. These sculptures are from a limited edition of 20 and we feel very fortunate to have obtained three from this series.

Tulip and Vase Sculpture Series

This painted aluminum series of sculptures came after the Lantern Flower series and have a more formal feeling, but still maintain the flowing feel of the Lantern Flower sculptures.

Flowers with Diamond Dust

Layers of color and diamond dust create the unique feel and quality that makes Sultan’s work so instantly recognizable. Part of a limited edition of 75, each is unique in color, texture and feel.

More About Donald Sultan

One of America’s foremost contemporary artists, Donald Sultan’s work is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The Budapest Art Hotel houses almost 600 pieces of his work, a project he worked on for a year. His work is exhibited in Paris, Zurich and other major venues around the globe.

Find more information about Donald Sultan and the work that is available in our gallery by visiting https://vertufineart.com/artists/donald-sultan/.

It is an honor to have his work in our gallery and to be able to offer both his prints and sculptures to our clients.

Donald Sultan White Tulips and Vase, April 4, 2014

New at VFA: Pop from Warhol, Hirst and Sultan

Preparing for high season here in South Florida, VFA continues to acquire unique treasures from the masters of Pop, Op and Abstract Expressionism. Our last blog post alluded to some of our favorite new pieces; well here is a supplemental installment of other new works currently generating buzz from visitors at our Boca Raton gallery.

Unique offerings from Andy Warhol include the recently acquired Polo, a silkscreened outlined image on a collage of colored papers from a delightful series revolving around various incarnations of the photographic subject, created by the artist in 1985. Considered “low key” and “subtle” by Warhol collector standards; visitors at VFA are taken with the simplicity and softness of this classic work. Provenance includes stamp and initials on verso from the Estate of Andy Warhol and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Two other works that share the same Provenance – all three will be included in the upcoming Warhol Catalogue Raisonne of Drawings, Paintings and Collages – are the lovely 1983 Tidal Basin pieces, created by the artist for an edition of The Washington Post Magazine. Warhol’s Washington, D.C. Tidal Basin silkscreens provide a wholly unique interpretation of this famous perspective of the Washington Monument and its reflection within the basin.

The Tidal Basin work featuring an image with couple in foreground is cropped to omit the monument itself, showcasing only the downward reflection of the monument, silkscreened with thick border on bold colored pages. The foliage surrounding the monument appears as though it could be overhanging from a tree above the couple in this soft romantic scene.

In another version, now available for sale at VFA, Warhol captures the monument and reflection together on softer toned blue and red papers – giving the work a gentle Americana color scheme. Nonetheless, a viewer’s initial glance could easily misplace it for a European scene, as the artist’s treatment of the print provides a likeness to what could easily be a French or Spanish scene.

Also available at VFA are two stunning contrasting sculptures from Pop Artist Donald Sultan. White Tulips and Black Tulips are quintessential current creations from the renowned artist most often heralded for his floral abstracts and his North Carolina tar black roots. Shown here against contrasting backgrounds, each of these works is likely to become the focal point of wherever they reside.

New creations from controversial British Pop Artist Damien Hirst include these three supersized representations of pharmaceutical products – each created with polyurethane resin and ink pigment. Hirst is unrelenting in his prodding of the public to awaken to the often overlooked components of the human existence. Most recently, it’s his fascination with the drug industry, whether approaching it molecularly (as in his spot paintings) or emphasizing the larger scale aspects of the product formations. Consuming these oversized products, it’s difficult to overlook the intertwined nature of brand marketing and the physical products themselves – saturated in brand uniforms. Hirst is once again the master of raising our consciousness by providing the most unusual of perspectives.

The works showcased here and in the previous blog are but a sample of the many our gallery has acquired recently. Please visit with us to behold these works as they are meant to be appreciated. Likewise, if there’s anything we can do to help you source a particular work, feel free to contact us. We hope to see you during the festive holiday season!

New Work Available at VFA

As late autumn 2014 brings us closer to another bustling holiday season, our South Florida Contemporary Art Gallery has much for which we are grateful. Among our favorites are a group of new works from the greatest Pop, Op and Abstract Expressionist artists the world has ever known. It’s our pleasure to share such beauty with you, and we hope that you’ll visit with us soon, here in warm Boca Raton.

One spectacular work featured on a primary wall is a large scale dramatic landscape from American Pop Artist Alex Katz entitled, Gray Day. This Katz classic hits each of the artist’s high notes – cool and commercial, this eloquent piece works effortlessly to capture our attention and hold it. Just a glance at this lovely panoramic and the viewer is transported to a vogue Cape Cod beach, with little desire to leave.

In a very different way, YBA artist Damien Hirst continues to find new ways to push our buttons, challenging us to a confrontation with the weight issues of modern life. These days, the artist’s latest manipulation – oversized pharmaceuticals – places this multibillion dollar industry, with its powerful health and social implications, staring squarely at us. Drugs are potent enough when consumed on a microbiological level, but in macro iterations, they’re downright audacious. Newly available art from Hirst at VFA includes a host of recent sculpted multiples that bear the same clinical names as their diminutive counterparts.

As oversized replicas, the pharmaceuticals that Damien Hirst peddles have transcended habitats – from pharmacies and medicine cabinets – to art gallery shelves. Their artificial resin components and dyes appear docile compared to the healing, habitual and lethal effects associated with the formulations they represent. Needless to say, a football-sized likeness of Pfizer’s famous blue aphrodisiac is sure to be a conversation-starter. Likewise, five milligrams of Valium is anything but calming when consumed as a fist-sized replica.

Of course, of the newly available Pop Art works for sale, it’s hard to overlook the legendary status of Andy Warhol’s most famous screenprints. Of those that stop visitors in their tracks, Andy’s off-register 1967 Marilyn screenprints are arguably most powerful. Like any group of collectors, those who seek Warhol’s Pop masterpieces have varying opinions about his most “important” works, but to many, it’s the artist’s iconic variations of Marilyn Monroe that are so highly coveted.

On par with any of Warhol’s top tier celebrity portraits is the stunning Liz 1964. Warhol’s highly saturated Liz Taylor portrait captures the raw beauty and confidence of the young starlet in a manner so completely different from any other, that this remains one of the more valuable of the artist’s celebrity screenprints. As is true with all Warhol prints, this one is certain to not be available at VFA for long.

We welcome you to visit with us and take in each of the new works for sale at our gallery located within The Shops at Boca Center. In addition to the new offerings from Warhol, Katz and Hirst; you’ll also find new works from the likes of British Pop Artist Julian Opie, Donald Sultan (his new floral sculptures are magnificent) and much more.

If you’re a collector seeking a particular Pop, Op or Abstract Expressionist work, please contact us – we are always here for you!

Richard Anuszkiewicz: Basking in the Warm Glow

My work is of an experimental nature and has centered on an investigation into the effects of complementary colors of full intensity when juxtaposed and the optical changes that occur as a result, and a study of the dynamic effect of the whole under changing conditions of light, and the effect of light on color.” —Richard Anuszkiewicz

For lovers of Optical Art, American Artist Richard Anuszkiewicz lives in rarified air, alongside Europeans Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely – all of whom are credited with fueling the genres skyrocketing popularity in the 1960s and 70s. As popular as Op Art may have been in its heyday, classic works by the masters continue to rise in value and once again, the movements popularity is on the rise. Like those Pop Art works by Warhol and Lichtenstein that that still make our hearts race on par with the first time we viewed them, the steady pulse of great optical works so too sustain unwavering energy and excitement.

Anuszkiewicz Primary Hue, 1964, is a “primary example” of the artist’s incredible ability to bend the mind’s eye. The Richard Anuszkiewicz effect is one of hypnosis, asking strong minded viewers to test their ability to break from its spell and work to decode just what’s been done to bestow such powers to a physically two-dimensional piece of art. Most impressive is the illusion of light radiating from “behind” the solid colored center square, working its way through time and space toward the viewer. Like watching a card trick, our logical brain tells us that there is no such thing as magic; yet this Anuszkiewicz work suggests otherwise. Unlike optical art that overwhelms, the true magic of this artist is just how pleasing his sense of complimentary colors can be, basking the viewer in a warm, comforting glow.

At VFA Fine Art Gallery in Boca Raton, our commitment to sourcing prime Optical Art rivals our passion for the finest Pop and Abstract Expressionist works. Among the recent Anuszkiewicz screenprints for sale is the artist’s Annual Edition print from 1990. Richard Anuszkiewicz’s Annual Edition prints are among the recurring thematic works most highly sought after by collectors. Such works were originally created for the artist’s family and friends, disseminated each holiday season. This unique print bears the names of the recipients, signed by the Anuszkiewicz. Like all works by this massively talented artist, this piece immediately captures our attention and holds it. There’s a calm feeling to the work that relaxes the viewer’s mind, as it vacillates between the optional shapes and interactions belonging to the subjects primary components.

Another Anuszkiewicz Annual Edition screenprint for sale at VFA is the artist’s 2004 work, which features the soft, mellow tones the artist has come to favor in the later part of his career. The simple, but powerful, illusory effects of this print leads the viewer to believe that the central square is an exaggerated distance away from the surface. Even viewing this work straight ahead, it’s easy to imagine that we’re looking down into a football stadium from above – as the angle of the dot formation associates the mind with a cylindrical ascension, moving from the center outward. Such is the genius of Richard Anuszkiewicz that the artist can employ six inches of squared paper and lead us into the depths of a full scale stadium view.

For over a half century, Richard Anuszkiewicz has been producing prolific creations − manipulating Contemporary Art enthusiasts with geometrical symmetry that takes us on a virtual ride with every gaze. From spinning diamonds to orbs and squares that envelope us (or reach out to meet us), the artist never fails to leave us scratching our heads in awe.

If you are an Anuszkiewicz collector, we invite you to visit our gallery located within The Shops at Boca Center. Here you’ll find Anuszkiewicz works that will seduce the mind and invite your imagination to wander. If you’re seeking a particular work belonging to this artist, or any Pop, Op or Abstract Expressionist works, we are pleased to offer our assistance. You can contact us online or call 561 368 4680.

Top Right Image of Richard Anuszkiewicz from: http://joshuaabelow.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-late-richard-anuszkiewicz.html

Sultan’s Dominos, Buttons & Butterflies Flourish at Art’otel Budapest

How fulfilling it must be for Contemporary Artist Donald Sultan to visit the Budapest hotel he helped design, seeing guests immerse themselves in his heady works. Dominos, buttons, butterflies and large scale floral abstractions run thematically throughout the living quarters, restaurants, lounges and meeting rooms. The hotel, which structurally blends historic and modern elements, emits an energy that is warm and unassuming, yet exciting – due in large part to the hand of Donald Sultan visible at every turn. The hotel is located in the heart of the city, on the banks of the Danube River, across from the statuesque Hungarian Parliament Building.

Throughout the hotel, more than 600 original works by the artist greet guests in the form of paintings, drawings, statues, china patterns, playing cards, menus and in other assorted accessories.

Screenprints of Sultan’s Black Roses are among the recurring works found in various corridors and in guest rooms throughout the hotel. This work provides delightful counterbalance to the artist’s delicate floral works and the playful dominos, dice and playing card creations. This work pays tribute to roots of Donald Sultan – his use of North Carolina tar that lends so many pieces a signature style – organic, gritty and undeniably real.

Another tar black background work that sets grounded earthy tone is Lavender and Black Eggs, an original painting that resides in the hotel’s Domino Bar. This work exemplifies the unique style of composition that has earned Donald Sultan such high acclaim.

The artist’s black tar foundation lays fertile soil this creation, enabling the elegant colors comprising the sprigs of lavender to leap from the canvas. The viewer is treated to an enjoyable cerebral contrast of light and dark interplay, suggesting dualities of life and death, beauty and the morose.

Donald Sultan’s smokerings – a set of works belonging to a well-known series from the artist – are also represented in this remarkable hotel’s public spaces. Sultan’s smoke rises from a familiar black tarlike canvas and presents the viewer with rings of smoke floating skyward, morphing into various shapes prior to the vapor’s demise.

In the pictured work, cigarette –formed smoke rings seem to give way to the output of an industrial smokestack – lending the work an “urban” feel that is ominous and sultry.

The “domino effect” is perhaps Sultan’s most pervasive design theme running through this unique Budapest hotel. In addition to original works from his domino series, the hotel replicates domino feature references in fine and oversized details throughout the building’s collection of spaces. Another prevalent theme of works, buttons, nicely complement the domino works and carry forward circular contrasts that are present in the artist’s floral and smokering works as well.

The stunning effect is a highly coordinated continuum of motifs that leave guests feeling as if another piece of the puzzle is about to be revealed around every corner, and contained within every fine detail.

If Hungarian travel plans are not currently on your agenda and this post leaves you “hungry” for fresh Sultan works, please visit us at Vertu Fine Art – where this artist is always on the menu.

Among the impressive Donald Sultan artwork currently available at our Boca Raton Contemporary Art Gallery are two dramatic contrasting red, white, black and enamel colored pieces – titled White and Red and Black and Red – both created by a romantically inspired artist around the time of Valentine’s Day 2012. Flowing vines and stems have become defining elements of Donald Sultan’s style as the flowers’ petals, pistils and stamen.

A number of works from Donald Sultan’s Lantern Flower series are also among the various works currently available at VFA, each as breathtaking as the next. These aluminum floral sculptures are uniformly appreciated by Sultan collectors and designers seeking magnificent home decorative pieces.

If you are in the vicinity of VFA, please stop and visit during gallery hours. If you’re a collector in need of assistance, please contact us at your leisure.

Shepard Fairey Luxurious Sounds, 2014

Shepard Fairey’s Cautionary Tone Hits All The Low Notes

A recently acquired Shepard Fairey serigraph, Endless Power, consistently puts smiles on the faces of viewers who appreciate the Pop Artist’s wry sense of humor. Like most Fairey works, this print is mired in sarcasm – poking fun at the naïve nature of America’s thirst for gas and more importantly, the establishment that condones it. The artist’s signature OBEY brand sits at the front the gas pump like a welcome mat, greeting (us) drivers as thoughtless sheep while we step up to fuel up. Shepard Fairey addresses the tie in to the words, “Lung Tonic” that appear in the retro advertisement-styled print. Fairey suggests that the benefits of fossil fuels are sold to the public in similar fashion to antiquated cigarette and liquor ads that touted the health benefits of such products many years ago.

Like Warhol, Johns, Lichtenstein and other American Pop artists before him, the power of Fairey’s art lies in it’s ability to lead us to question our beliefs. Unlike some of his predecessors, Shepard Fairey shows little desire to cloak his message in subtleties. Fairey is a 21st century artist who fully understands the importance of building a brand and the OBEY brand is served up with a solid graphic consistency. In his third decade as a successful commercial artist, Fairey remains unwavering in his campaign to wake up a docile public. To say that the counterculture punk rock-inspired artist is obsessed with propaganda is an understatement. Even in the fun-loving series of record album prints he released earlier this year, Shepard can’t help but preach his message.
Available at VFA: Know Your Rights, 2014, One color serigraph, one color varnish, 42 X 42 in., Edition of 50

And Shepard Fairey can get away with in your face messaging because of his unparalleled eye for design. Historic propaganda icons layered in mandala-like symmetry lead the viewer into a brief state of trance. As our eyes peruse the work, our brains have to resolve the fact that anti-propaganda messaging − cloaked in propagandist symbols or not − is propaganda in its own right. But the truth is that Fairey is on point, and at a time when fewer artists remain committed to strong ideals, this artist is unwavering.

Shepard Fairey’s talent for manipulation is most pronounced when he introduces us to works that mimic nostalgia. The artist’s record album covers, such as Satangelic Sounds, remind viewers of simpler times. Yet, the nostalgia is coupled with an eerie feeling that the artist is playing with our feelings of sentimentality. Perhaps the Golden Years concept is simply a story sold to the American public, while evil capitalists lurked in the background amassing power and wealth.

At our Gallery, we’ve noticed a significant uptick in interest in Shepard Fairey’s work that is consistent with the artist’s rise in popularity nationwide – and his growing international reputation. We welcome you to visit with us and view new works by Fairey and other masters of Pop, Optical and Abstract Expressionism. If you’re a collector seeking works by Shepard Fairey or other Contemporary Artists, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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.

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  • A short history of prints from the earliest woodcut to contemporary processes
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