The Works of Yue Minjun and Ivan Navarro at VFA

Art is both an escape from politics and a reflection of politics. Artists like Yue Minjun and Ivan Navarro grew up in countries whose governments carefully monitored the behavior of their citizens, which had a profound effect on their world view.

Both of these great artists have overcome obstacles, have gained global recognition and success, although their lives and their artistic expressions are very different.

Yue Minjun

Yue Minjun is a celebrity in China, and has been an international celebrity since 2007, when  one of his works sold for $5.9 million at Sotheby’s London, making it the most expensive work garnered by a Chinese contemporary artist at auction.

Born in 1962, in Northeast China, Minjun grew up in the midst of the the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, a time of fear and repression for much of the population. Minjun and his family worked in oil fields in China, living a nomadic existence. Minjun had been creating drawings and paintings since the age of ten, and continued to do so even while working and traveling.

The student protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989 led to Minjun moving to a colony of artists in Hongmiao, situated in the Chaoyang district on the outskirts of Beijing, where he honed his signature style of smiling portraits.

“The laughter could be a perfect marriage with feelings.” Minjun said, in a 2015 interview, “If we have the capacity to smile throughout adversity, then our presence will become stronger, tolerant and diverse, both for the artistic culture and for the majority. The direction of my work is allegorical between human nature and our own existence. Because I have noticed that, not only in the East or in China, people are constantly facing emotional conflict.
I want to show how the individual, through painting, must remain awake, and how we need a greater understanding of the basic concepts of nature and life itself.”

Minjun is considered one of the founders of the Cynical Realism movement, that emerged after the demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. Cynical Realism is characterized by disenchantment with the social and political changes that were taking  place in China at the time, and young artists began to present a less idealistic vision of society than artists of earlier generations.

Yue Minjun is not just a great painter, but also a sculptor and printmaker. His works evoke feelings that are universally understood and relatable across cultures, making him not just a great Chinese artist, but a great global artist.

Ivan Navarro

Ivan Navarro was born in Santiago, Chile in 1972. He grew up during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.

Navarro’s father directed an art program at the Universidad Técnica del Estado in Santiago. He was preparing an exhibit to protest fascism on the day of Pinochet’s takeover, when soldiers tortured or killed many protestors. Navarro’s father was imprisoned for six months, but never returned to teaching.

What Navarro remembers from his childhood, was that the electricity was often shut off to keep people at home and isolated. He often uses neon lighting in his works, as well as words.

Navarro moved to New York in 1977. He enrolled in language classes, got a visa and a job restoring furniture.He would often thumb through the dictionary and keep lists of words in a notebook. “I like words that have two sides, one very ambiguous and one very objective.” he said. “It’s interesting to get better in the language and try to understand the poetic side of a word. Sometimes you get completely lost in the word you’re using.”

Navarro’s works have garnered him a world-wide audience. Ironically, Navarro was asked to represent Chile at the 2009 Venice Biennale, although he had left his country more than a decade earlier. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

The Works of Yue Minjun and Ivan Navarro at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Yue Minjun, Ivan Navarro or any of the other fine art available at VFA.

Y-Jean Mun-Delsalle. Behind Internationally-Renowned Chinese Artist Yue Minjun’s Hysterical Laughter. Forbes. November 7, 2014.
Nazanin Lankarani. The Many Faces of Yue Minjun. The New York Times. December 5, 2012.
Elena Cue. Interview With Yue Minjun. Huffpost. February 16, 2015. Update December 6, 2017.
Hilarie M. Sheets. Man of Refraction. ARTnews. January 26, 2012.
Frank Moller. Politics and Art. Oxford Handbook. June 2016.
Ajay Heble, Landing on the Wrong Note: Jazz, Dissonance and Critical Practice (New York and London: Routledge, 2000), 78.

Christo in Paris, Alex Katz in Madrid

Christo in Paris

In 1983, Christo wrapped eleven islands in Biscayne Bay with more than 6 million square feel of pink floating fabric. Surrounded Islands was one of the most controversial projects that the city had ever seen, with the artist having to go to Federal court to get permission to execute his plans.

More than thirty years later, Christo returned to Miami during Art Basel, and toured the area that generated much controversy and ultimately removed more than forty tons of garbage from the Bay, employed more than 400 people, brought thousands of tourists to the area during two weeks it was on view, strengthened the city’s outlook and even its future as metropolis for the art world.

Christo’s latest project has been in the works for nearly sixty years. Last April, Christo received permission from the French government and the country’s Center for National Monuments to wrap the Arc de Triomphe, one of the most famous landmarks in Paris.

The project will coincide with an exhibition at the Pompidou Center that looks back on the early years that Christo and his wife and collaborator, Jeanne-Claude, spent in Paris. Jean-Claude died in 2009 at age 74, from complications due to a brain aneurism. 

To wrap the 164-foot tall monument, Christo will use 82,000 square feet of recyclable polypropylene fabric and 23,000 square feet of red rope.

L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped, is entirely funded by Christo through the sale of his studies, drawings and collages of the project’s inception, and will be on view from April 6 through 19, 2020.

Alex Katz in Spain

Alex Katz has always marched to the beat of his own drummer…and his strong will has paid off. Last October, his 1972 painting Blue Umbrella I sold for $4.1 million at the Phillips auction house in London, a new record for his work.

While Abstract Expressionism, Op and Pop Art were trending, Katz created landscapes, still life paintings and portraits with clean lines and sophisticated colors. Ada, his wife and muse, has been the subject of more than 200 of his paintings, including Blue Umbrella.

Alex Katz
Blue Umbrella, 1972

Alex Katz is about to have his first solo exhibit in Spain, at the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum in Madrid. The exhibit consists of about thirty large oil paintings and preparatory studies of Katz’s landscapes, flowers and portraits.

The exhibit will be on display from June 23 through October 4, 2020.

The Works of Christo and Alex Katz at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Christo or the landscapes, portraits and sculptures of Alex Katz for sale at VFA.

Cecilia Rodriguez. Christo Will Wrap Paris’ Arc de Triomphe in Silver-Blue. Forbes. April 9, 2019.
Joshua Barone. Christo’s Next Project: Wrapping the Arc de Triomphe. The New York Times. April 3, 2019.

Fine Art Prints and Sculptures at VFA

For nearly twenty years, VFA has specialized in bringing the works of Contemporary Artists into our gallery. Our profound interest in fine art prints has led to a broadening interest in the wide range of materials used by our favorite artists.

A crossword puzzle clue in a recent edition of the New Yorker got us thinking about artists’ works evolve and how our interests, at VFA, keep expanding.

Sol LeWitt – Cube Without a Corner and Cube Without a Cube

The clue in the New Yorker crossword puzzle,  known for his wall drawings, is a good one, but there is more to the body of work that LeWitt produced.

Sol LeWitt received his BFA from Syracuse University in 1949, then traveled to Europe to study the works of Old Masters. After moving to New York from his home in Hartford, Connecticut, he worked as a graphic designer in the office of architect I.M. Pei.

LeWitt believed that each work of art begins with an idea. “It is the process of conception and realization with which the artist is concerned.” he said.

This basic idea led to the Conceptual Art Movement in the early 1960s.

Working on a Concept, LeWitt would formalize his idea on paper and often hire assistants to carry out his “concept.”

Sol LeWitt
Cube Without a Corner and Cube Without a Cube, 2005
Shaped from solid slabs of syntactic Polyurethane and painted in lacquer
6h x 12w x 6d
inches (cube size), 7h x 18w x 12d inches (total w/base)
Edition of 6
For sale at VFA

Although, as the crossword clue suggests, LeWitt was know for his wall drawings, he also created sculptures for which he drew plans, like architectural drawings, that could be reproduced by following his design instructions.

Cube Without a Corner and Cube Without a Cube, for sale at VFA, is one of LeWitt’s most intricate, and finest sculptures.

Steven Gagnon – Composition in Pink

Miami Beach artist, Steven Gagnon, works in a wide variety of mediums, including painted toy soldiers and car video installations. Steven Gagnon was born in 1973, grew up in Fort Pierce and studied art at Pepperdine University. The focus of his work is American cultural issues, especially consumerism.

Steven Gagnon
Composition In Pink, 2015
Womens shoes sprayed in automotive paint on wood, in cut-out aluminum
48h X 56.5w X 6d inches
For sale at VFA

Gagnon’s fine art prints are masterful, works like Composition in Pink, available at VFA, are amazing for their juxtaposition of subject and unexpected use of industrial materials.

Donald Sultan – Cor-Ten Poppies

Donald Sultan began his career using industrial materials like tar and linoleum, that he picked up at work sites when doing construction on NewYork studios when he was a young, struggling artist. His fine art prints reflect the combined texture and softness of his original paintings.

Donald Sultan
Cor-Ten Poppies, 2015
Cor-Ten steel
36h x 36w inches
Edition of 12
For sale at VFA

A natural progression from his two-dimensional works is Sultan’s use of Cor-Ten Steel for his sculptures. Works like Cor-Ten Poppies, for sale at VFA, contrast the softness of his images with the hardness of the steel.

Alex Katz – Oona from Black Dress

The power of Alex Katz‘s paintings and prints have made him a global success for more than six decades. His stylized paintings and prints, his daring use of color, are instantly recognizable.

Alex Katz
Oona from Black Dress, 2017 Aluminum sculpture
25.88h inches
Edition of 35
For sale at VFA

Alex Katz has translated his minimal painting and print style to his sculptures, like Oona from the Black Dress series, available at VFA.

Fine Art Prints and Sculptures at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the fine art prints and sculptures for sale at VFA.

A Look Back at Some of Our Favorite Art Stories in 2019

This has been a wonderful and, sometimes, wild year for the Contemporary Art market. The appreciation for the fine art prints of so many of our favorite artists has become a global phenomenon, for which we are very grateful.

Here’s a look at some of the extraordinary happenings in the art world in 2019.

Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons in front of Bouquet of Tulips in Paris, on October 4, 2019.

Jeff Koons’ 1986 Rabbit sculpture sold for $91.1 million at Christie’s in May, giving him the status of holding the highest auction price for a living artist.

Meanwhile, in Paris, Koons’ Bouquet of Tulips was unveiled in October in the gardens of the Champs-Elysées. The 34 ton, 41-foot high sculpture was originally commissioned in 2015 by the then US ambassador, Jane Hartley, as a memorial for the victims of a series of terror attacks across France.

Its unveiling led to much controversy in France, with French philosopher Yves Michaud saying that  the tulips look like “11 colorful anuses mounted on rods.”

Still, it has become a popular destination for visiting tourists as well as for Parisians, who have taken many, many selfies with the Bouquet.

 Yoshitomo Nara

Japanese artist Yoshimoto Nara‘s 2000 painting, Knife Behind Back sold at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong for $24.9 million in October. The sale of the large 7 feet by 6 feet painting was an auction record for the artists’ work.

Yoshitomo Nara
Knife Behind Back, 2000
Sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong for $24.9 million

Yoshimoto Nara’s manga-like images are both playful and impudent. His work has made him one of the most beloved artists, not just in Japan, but around the world.

Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg died in 2008. In 2017, MoMA held a retrospective of his work. Few of his works have shown up at auction since the retrospective, so collectors were excited when Buffalo ll was offered at Christie’s in May.

Robert Rauschenberg
Buffalo ll, 1964

Buffalo ll was painted in 1964, after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Rauschenberg  captured all of the chaos that occurred at the time, not just in politics, but in art and culture, as well. The 96 inch high oil and silkscreen ink on canvas, sold for $88,805,000, exceeding estimates.


RETNA at Wynwood Walls, Miami, 2012

Last year, the LAPD reportedly investigated RETNA for vandalizing the Maddox Gallery in West Hollywood. A TMZ report said that RETNA spray painted the gallery inside and out because he was upset that his work was not displayed alongside Damien Hirst’s. The report also showed an Instagram post, since deleted, where RETNA admitted doing the damage and apologized for damaging Hirst’s work, which he said he greatly admires.

The gallery estimated the damages at between $50,000 and $100,000.

The Maddox Gallery has represented RETNA since 2015 and has included his work in shows in the U.S. and abroad.

Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami is always fun and full of surprises. This year he’s put together a show at his KaiKaiKiKi Gallery in Tokyo called Rhapsody of a Foolish Family: Fukujuro, Takashi and Yuji MurakamiThe show includes works by the artist, his father and his brother.

Rhapsody of a Foolish Family: Fukujuro, Takashi and Yuji Murakami will be on exhibit through January 18, 2020.

Roberta Smith. Stop Hating Jeff Koons. The New York Times. May 17, 2019.
Elian Peltier. Jeff Koons Inaugurates His Tulip Sculpture in Paris. Finally. The New York Times. October 4, 2019.
Eileen Kinsella. LAPD Is Reportedly Investigating Street Artist RETNA for Vandalizing a Gallery That Declined to Include His Work in Its Show. artnetnews. November 21, 2018.

Featured Fine Art Prints at VFA

The variations of texture and tone of fine art prints are difficult to see when viewing them on line. The art of printmaking continues to evolve, making it one of the world’s most expressive art forms.

Artists like Donald Sultan and Shepard Fairey have become printmakers themselves and also work with master printers to create pieces that reflect their style and sensibility.

Donald Sultan – Japanese Pines

Donald Sultan began working with industrial materials, in the 1970s, for a variety of reasons. He was a poor artist in New York and was able to get linoleum and other materials while working construction jobs, he was familiar with the materials that his father used at his tire shop in Asheville and he says that likes the physical work.

A fine printmaker and sculptor, Sultan works with Mixografia printers in Los Angeles to create textured fine art prints that maintain the quality and feel of his industrial paintings.

Japanese Pines, for sale at VFA, is an example of the way Sultan combines the abstract and representational and retains the unique essence of his work.

Shepard Fairey – Dove Target Red

Thirty years ago Shepard Fairey made a stencil of Andre the Giant from a newspaper ad. He went to a copy shop and had the image printed on stickers, which he placed around Providence, where he was attending the Providence School of Design…and the rest is history.

Fairey founded a printmaking studio after he graduated and has become a masterful printer, whose works are in the permanent collections of The Smithsonian, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., MoMA, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and other major museums and galleries around the world.

Facing the Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent, is a retrospective of his work, currently on display at Wynwood Walls in Miami and will run through January 2020.

In an interview with the Miami New Times, Fairey says he has become more open to engage in dialogue with those who disagree with his ideas. “As punk rock as I’ve been and willing to stand up for my ideas, I still believe in basic civility,” he says. “I’m always going to be outspoken about what I believe in, but I think there are ways to do that without unnecessarily alienating people, and that’s what I think I’ve become more strategic about.”

Dove Target Red, for sale at VFA, combines Fairey’s message and his talent as a master printmaker.

Derrick Adams – Breakfast of Champions

Derrick Adams does not restrict himself to any medium. He is a painter, printmaker, sculptor, and performance artist who uses video and audio installations in his work.

Adams’ work focuses on they way in which African-American experiences intersect with art history, American iconography, and consumerism.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Adams received his BFA from the Pratt Institute and his MFA from Columbia University. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn.

His works are part of the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Birmingham Museum of Art.

Breakfast of Champions, available at VFA, is part of Adam’s Live and in Color series, which depicts the way in which African-Americans are often stereotyped  on TV. Done in pigment print, Breakfast of Champions is one of Adams’ strongest and most compelling works.

Richard Estes – D Train

Richard Estes is considered one of the founders on the Photorealism movement in the late 1960s. He graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago and moved to New York where he painted hyper-realistic street scenes, devoid of the crowds that populate the city.

Estes moved to an apartment and studio near Central Park in 1973, where he still lives and works. He spends summers in his Northeast Harbor, Maine studio, where he paints landscapes and seascapes with the same technical precision that made his urban paintings so successful.

A documentary, released last summer, focuses on Estes’ life and works. Actually, Iconic: Richard Estes is a portrait of one of America’s greatest living artists who avoids media attention and, at 87, continues to create master works.

Richard Estes’ D Train is a juxtaposition of the train interior and the view from the train. The two perspectives, however, create multiple focal points. Because Estes often combines different urban settings in his works, viewers who travel around New York, trying to pinpoint the actual sites of his paintings, are often disappointed.

Featured Fine Art Prints at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about Japanese Pines, Dove Target Red, Breakfast of Champions, D Train or any of the other fine art prints at the Vertu Fine Art Gallery.

Suzannah Fricia. Shepard Fairey Reflects on His 30-Year Career Through Wynwood Walls Exhibit. Miami New Times. December 10, 2019.
Ariel Worthy. Birmingham Art Museum Rotates New Contemporary Works Through ‘Third Space’ . Birmingham Times. August 10, 2017.
Mount Desert Islander. New film by Stone sheds light on Estes. July 11, 2019.

Festive Fine Art at Vertu

The spirit of the holidays often inspires us to see the world in a different light. We all bring our own history, experience and sensibility to the season.

Richard Anuszkiewicz – Annual Editions

Even in the VFA Gallery, some of the artworks take on a special flavor, like works of Richard Anuszkiewicz, which were made specifically for the holidays.

Richard Anuszkiewicz
Annual Edition
Christmas Star for the Museum of Modern Art, 1965
7h X 7w inches
Pencil initialed lower right “R.A. ’65”
For sale at VFA

Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons’ steel Rabbit sculpture sold for more than $91 million at Christie’s in May, becoming the most expensive work by a living artist ever to sell at auction. Koon’s works are fantastic and fun, and we have a few of his best sculptures for sale at VFA.

Jeff Koons, 2013
Split Rocker
Porcelain bisque with glazed porcelain interior
14.25h X 15.75w X 13d inches
Edition of 3500
For sale at VFA

The original 37-foot outdoor Split-Rocker sculpture is on view at Glenstone, the contemporary art museum in Maryland. Split-Rocker is composed of two halves: one based on a toy pony of one of Koons’ sons, the other based on a toy dinosaur.

A more manageable porcelain version of Split-Rocker and gift-wrapable balloon sculptures are available at VFA.

Salvador Dali – Celestial Elephant

Salvador Dali
Celestial Elephant, 1979
29.25 x 22.5 inches
Edition of 350
Authenticated on verso
For sale at VFA

Salvador Dali believed in the mystical, the spiritual and in science. He claimed to be a devout Catholic and an agnostic. He espoused the Omega Point Theory, which says that the universe evolves towards an ultimate state of complexity and spiritual consciousness.

Trying to figure out what was in Dali’s mind when he painted Celestial Elephant is impossible, but it’s easy to see the joy and mystery and otherworldliness that the work evokes.

Elliot Erwitt – New York City

Born in Paris and raised in New York, Elliot Erwitt is one of the world’s most famous photographers. His photographs are touching, often humorous and always magnificently executed.

Elliot Erwitt
New York City, 1974-2002
Silver Gelatin Print
16 X 20 inches
Hand signed lower right
For sale at VFA

We have several of Elliot Erwitt’s iconic photos, hand signed, at VFA.

Donald Sultan – Japanese Pines

Donald Sultan
Japanese Pines, 2008
Mixografia print on handmade paper
39 x 39 inches
Edition of 75
For sale at VFA

Donald Sultan’s sculptures and prints have texture and warmth. Sultan uses industrial materials and cutting edge techniques to create his work.

Japanese Pines is one of his finest art prints, available at VFA.

Yoshimoto Nara – Doggy Radio

Yoshitomo Nara
Doggy Radio, 2011
Polymer Plastic Sculpture/Radio-Touch Sensitive Volume, Nose Tuner Dial
Bluetooth/USB, Yamaha Lab Speaker System
13H X 17W X 8.5D inches
Edition of 3000
For sale at VFA

Yoshimoto Nara is a superstar in Japan and an icon around the world. Doggy Radio, with its Nose Turner Dial, would make anyone smile, any time of the year.

Festive Fine Art at VFA

Please come in to the gallery or give us a call if you would like more information about the unique works of art at VFA.

Sprinkle Some Diamond Dust This Holiday Season

Andy Warhol loved Christmas. He began creating Christmas cards for Tiffany’s in 1956 and continued to make holiday art throughout his lifetime. A devout Catholic, Warhol did charity work with the homeless at the Church of Heavenly Rest in New York. He served food and cleaned up at communal meals, not just at Christmas, but throughout the years.

So, when it comes to the holidays we, at VFA, think about his work, and the work of other artists whose work is joyful and uplifting…

…something for everyone on your holiday list.

Andy Warhol – Shoes with Diamond Dust

When Andy Warhol moved to New York in 1949, he began a career as a commercial artist and illustrator. His first commission was to draw shoes for Glamour magazine and then as a designer for shoe manufacturer Israel Miller.

His shoe drawings were spectacular and, in typical Warhol style, he drew them again and again.

Shoes – Deluxe Edition, available at VFA, is ethereal and certainly sparkling.

Bobby Grossman-Andy Warhol Kafka and Cornflakes

Bobby Grossman
William Burroughs w/ Warhol Kafka, The Factory,1980
Silver Gelatin Print
16 X 20 inches
Edition of 25
For sale at VFA

Something esoteric for someone special, the photographs of Bobby Grossman are a glimpse into the art and music scene of the ’70s. Grossman became a trusted insider in many of the happening venues in New York, including Andy Warhol’s Factory. His photos appeared in Rolling Stone, Interview, Artforum, The New York Times, Soho Weekly News, The Village Voice, Vogue and on MTV.

Yoshimoto Nara – Doggy Radio

Yoshimoto Nara is considered a superhero in Japan and has devotees around the world. Although he received his doctorate in Germany, Nara’s childhood home was near a U.S. Army base in northern Japan, and he became intrigued with punk rock and American cartoons.

Yoshitomo Nara
Doggy Radio, 2011
Polymer Plastic Sculpture/Radio-Touch Sensitive Volume, Nose Tuner Dial
Bluetooth/USB, Yamaha Lab Speaker System
13H X 17W X 8.5D inches
Edition of 3000
For sale at VFA

His works often appear innocent, even naive, but a closer look reveals so much more.

Richard Anuszkiewicz – Christmas Cards

Richard Anuszkiewicz was commissioned to create a Christmas Card for the Museum of Modern Art in 1965.

Richard Anuszkiewicz
Annual Edition
Christmas Star for the Museum of Modern Art, 1965
7h X 7w inches
Pencil initialed lower right “R.A. ’65”
For sale at VFA

He continued to do them for decades, and gave them to family and friends. An Op-artist who is intrigued with light and color, each Annual Edition design is unique, reflecting Anuszkiewicz’s artistic concerns.

Jonathan Seliger – Dior…and more

Jonathan Seliger is a neo-pop artist, with a cult following. His sculptures are funny, ironic and often poignant.

Jonathan Seliger
Silver Lining, 2005
Acrylic, modeling paint and varnish on canvas and muslin
20h x 20.25w x 7.5d inches
For sale at VFA

Whatever your relationship is with the shopping bag, or with designers like Dior and Armani, Jonathan Seliger’s sculptures will make you think about bags and brands…and art.

Donald Sultan…more diamond dust

Donald Sultan’s use of industrial materials make him one of the most interesting contemporary artists working today.

Donald Sultan Blacks and Blues, 2011
12 Color Screenprint w/ Diamond Dust on Saunders Waterford
38 X 38 inches
Edition of 75
For sale at VFA

His use of tar, flocking, aluminum and diamond dust give his prints and sculptures a unique textural quality.

Diamond Dust and more that glitters at VFA

Please call or visit the gallery this holiday season. We have something for everyone…prints, sculptures and more…at VFA.

David Hockney: Smoking in Normandy

I’d like to just work and paint and to be able to smoke and eat in a restaurant at the same time. Thank God for Normandy. The French know how to live. They know about pleasure. -David Hockney

David Hockney moved from London to California in 1964. He’s done a lot of traveling, but for 55 years he used his studio in the Hollywood Hills as his home base.

At age 82, Hockney has decided to move to Normandy, France. In a recent Wall Street Journal interview, Hockney says that he wakes up early to watch the sun rise before working in his studio all morning. Then he has a four-course lunch at a nearby cafe that costs 13 euro…about $14…takes a nap and then gets back to work.

Hockney is getting ready for a show of his new work at the Pace Gallery in Manhattan this fall.

“I’ve smoked for more than 60 years,’ he says. ‘But I think I’m quite healthy. I’m 82. How much longer do I have? I’m going to die of either a smoking-related illness or a non–smoking-related illness.”

David Hockney at Christie’s

A few weeks ago, David Hockney’s Sur la Terrasse painting sold for $29,501,250 at Christie’s.

The painting was done in 1971, based on a photograph that Hockney took of his former partner, Peter Schlesinger, on the balcony of the La Mamounia Hotel in Morocco. Another close friend, British fashion and textile designer, Celia Birtwell, was also on the trip.

Hockney often included both Schlesinger and Britwell in his works, and used vacation photos for inspiration.

One of his portraits of Celia appeared on a 1984  French Vogue cover. The cover portrait was done around the same time as Celia With Green Hat, which is available at VFA.

David Hockney’s Digital Work

David Hockney had his suits custom tailored so that he could fit a sketchbook into the pocket of his suit jacket. These days he carries an iPad that fits the pockets perfectly.

His digital works are currently on display in two very different venues…one in the U.S. and one in the UK.

David Hockney’s Yosemite is on view at the Heard Museum in Phoenix. Hockney first visited Yosemite in 1982 and returned, with his iPad, in 2010 and 2011. The works he did of Yosemite are on display alongside baskets made by the reverence women from the Miwok and Mono Lake Paiute tribes.

David Hockney’s Yosemite and Masters of California Basketry will be on display through April, 2020.

Closer to his birth home, Hockney’s iPad paintings of the Yorkshire countryside are on display at the Salt Mill in Saltaire, West Yorkshire.

David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring will be on view through May 6, 2020.

David Hockney’s Works at VFA

My Shirt and Trousers is one of David Hockney’s finest iPad drawings. Please contact us if you would like more information about My Shirt and Trousers, Celia With Green Hat or any of the other fine works available at VFA.

See More David Hockney for Sale

Naomi Rea. The Subject of a David Hockney Portrait That Could Fetch $45 Million at Christie’s This Week Finds His Unwanted Fame ‘Pretty Tedious’. artnetnews. November 12, 2019.
Terry Tang. Hockney works, tribal baskets highlight love of Yosemite. The San Diego Union-Tribune. October 27, 2019.
Daily Mail. Artist David Hockney leaves Los Angeles after 55 years to live out the rest of his days in France because he can ‘smoke in restaurants’ and the French ‘know how to live’. November 27, 2019.
Roy Hattersley. David Hockney: home is where the art is. The Telegraph. November 26, 2019.

KAWS’ Global Appeal

KAWS works garnered nearly $34 million at auction last year, according to Christie’s.  He is now represented by the upscale Skarstedt Gallery in New York, where his works are displayed alongside those of  Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon and other classical greats.

Before Brian Donnelly became a success using his KAWS tag, he earned his BA in illustration at the School of Visual Arts, he worked as an animation background painter on Disney’s 101 Dalmatians and other films.

KAWS use of familiar cartoon images, combined with his unique ability to make the images seem shy and helpless, gives his works a universal appeal.

KAWS in Qatar

This year, KAWS had solo exhibits in the U.S., Taiwan, Japan, Australia, London and Hong Kong. Bad weather led to KAWS beloved 121-foot-long inflatable Companion having to leave Hong Kong Harbor a few days early, during Art Basel Hong Kong.

Companion is now at the Doha Dhow Harbor in Qatar. It is part of KAWS first solo exhibition in the Middle East. His paintings, graphics, sculptures and toys are housed in the Fire Station Gallery near the harbor.

Sheikha Reem al-Thani, Director of Exhibitions at Qatar museums, said, “If the public reception of the recent installation of KAWS’s Small Lie (2018) at Doha’s Hamad International Airport is any indication, the artist’s larger than life sculptures, which evoke questions of humanity and hope, will unquestionably resonate with the people of Qatar.”

KAWS: He Eats Alone will be on display in Qatar through January 2020.

A 4-foot Companion sculpture is for sale at VFA.

KAWS Studio Expansion

Brian Donnelly was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey. He worked for Disney’s New York-based Jumbo Pictures as an animator during the day and did his graffiti art at night.

After his KAWS tag became a recognizable icon, he set up a studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which he is currently expanding with the purchase of the 10,000-square-foot building next to his North 9th Street studio, for a $17 million price tag.

An exhibit of KAWS work is planned for 2021 at the Brooklyn Museum.

KAWS at Auction

Three of KAWS’ works were included in this month’s Phillips 20th Century and Contemporary Sale in New York. His painting of SpongeBob SquarePants, titled GRRR! sold for $2.18 million, a wood sculpture called Final Days went for $1.46 million and an Untitled 2014 shaped canvas painting sold for $1.52 million.


The global appeal of KAWS works is related to his ability to create images that are recognizable and full of a universally understood emotional impact.

Works like You Should Know I Know, Blame Game and Paper Smile, for sale at VFA, evoke the feelings that KAWS is so gifted at capturing in his art.

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

See More KAWS for Sale

Designboom. KAWS debuts inflatable sculpture on doha’s dhow harbor overlooking the city skyline. November 14, 2019.
Claire Selvin. KAWS Mania, Buying Frenzy Over Julie Curtiss Painting Punctuate $108.1 M. Phillips 20th-Century and Contemporary Sale with ‘Measured’ Bidding. ArtNews. November 14, 2019.
Richard Bockmann. Acclaimed artist KAWS pays $17M to expand Williamsburg studio. TheRealDeal. November 18, 2019.

Keith Haring Artworks at VFA

I accept my fate, I accept my life.  I accept my shortcomings, I accept the struggle.  I accept my inability to understand.  I accept what I will never become and what I will never have.  I accept death and I accept life.  I have no profound realizations — it is blind acceptance and some kind of faith.
-Keith Haring, Journals, February 15, 1989

Simple, joyful and instantly recognizable, Keith Haring’s work allowed him to focus on serious social issues in a way that gave legitimacy and credibility to street art.

Crack is Wack Restored

In 1986, Keith Haring’s friend and studio assistant, Benny Soto, became addicted to crack. Haring tried to get help for Soto, but little help was available. The crack epidemic was at its height, and was especially devastating in New York City.

In typical Haring fashion, he spotted a handball court, in a small park, that was visible from the Harlem River Drive and used it to send a powerful message.

Haring painted the Crack is Wack mural in a single day. It was at the end of the day that a police officer arrested Haring for defacing public property and gave him a court date.

The mural was so visible, the message so strong, that local news outlets used the image in their news stories about the crack epidemic.

It wasn’t until the New York Post asked to photograph Haring in front of the mural that the story of his arrest was made public.

The story led to a public outcry. Unfortunately, someone from the Parks Department had painted over the mural with gray paint.

Public support for Haring was so strong, that the Parks Commissioner wrote a letter of apology to Haring and asked him to repaint the mural, which has become one of the most recognizable murals in the city.

The mural has weathered over the years, and is currently being restored.

Benny Soto overcame his addiction and works as an event promoter in New York.

The Grace House Mural at Auction

Benny Soto was one of the young people who invited Keith Haring to Grace House, a youth center located in  a building owned by the Ascension Parish Church in New York’s Upper West Side.

The building, next to the church, was once a convent, then youth center and finally, a residence.

In 1984, Haring was invited by Grace House’s director, Gary Mallon, to paint a mural in the building. One night, Haring showed up with a can of black paint and a house painter’s brush and, in a single night, painted an 85-foot mural up the stairway of the building.

The church has decided to sell the building to pay for needed repairs for the main church. Thinking that the mural might be destroyed by new owners, the church spent $900,000 to have the mural removed. It was taken down in fifteen separate pieces, which are on display at Bonham’s Madison Avenue Gallery and will be auctioned this month. Pre-auction estimates are $3 million to $5 million.

Keith Haring’s Works at VFA

Keith Haring often included religious symbols in his works, especially during the last years of his life. The Chocolate Buddha Series, created just one year before his death in 1990, are infused with his typical brand of joy and humor.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the Chocolate Buddha Series, or about any of the fine art prints available at VFA.

See More Keith Haring for Sale

Matthew Israel. Keith Haring’s ‘Crack is Wack’: NYC’s Most Famous Mural? Huffington Post. December 6, 2017.
Elena Martinique. How Louise Hunnicutt Brought Keith Haring’s Crack is Wack Mural Back to its Original Glory. Widewalls. October 11, 2019.
Jorge Fitz-Gibbon. Keith Haring mural cut from UWS wall could go for $5M at auction. New York Post. October 23, 2019.
Gabrielle Leung. Keith Haring’s 85-Foot Mural Cut Out of New York City Wall and Brought to Auction. Hypebeast. October 18,2019.

Helen Frankenthaler: An AbEx Heroine

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

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

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

Ninth Street Women

Franz Kline
9th Street Exhibit Poster, 1951

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Helen Frankenthaler’s Work at the Baker Museum Opening

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

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

Heroines of Abstract Expressionism

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

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

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

Helen Frankenthaler Fine Art Prints at VFA

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

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

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

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

See More Helen Frankenthaler for Sale

Shepard Fairey: Celebrating 30 Years of Dissent

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

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

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

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

Where It All Began

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shepard Fairey Prints at VFA

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

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

See More Shepard Fairey for Sale

Kerri Tallman. Shepard Fairey to Paint 100th Mural in Providence. The Rhode Island Monthly. October 3, 2019.
Madeline List. Providence welcomes back renowned street artist Shepard Fairey. Providence Journal. October 21, 2019.
SAL. Interviews: Shepard Fairey. arrestedmotion. October 2, 2019.
Shepard Fairey Brings His 30th Anniversary Show to Beyond The Streets New York. June 6, 2019.

Donald Sultan at the Asheville Art Museum Grand Reopening

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

Donald Sultan at the Asheville Art Museum

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

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

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

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

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

Donald Sultan’s Work at VFA

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

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

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

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

See More Donald Sultan for Sale

Arnold Wengrow. Asheville Art Museum readies for its grand reopening. The Mountain Express. October 11, 2019.
Interview/Donald Sultan. The London Magazine. June 5, 2019.

Featured Art at VFA

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

Alex Katz-Coca-Cola Girl

Alex Katz, 2019

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

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

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

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

Julian Opie – Paper Heads

Julian Opie

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

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

Carlos Cruz-Diez-Orinoco

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

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

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

Derrick Adams-Breakfast of Champions

Derrick Adams, 2019

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

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

Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami, 2019

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

Takashi Murakami
Self-Portrait: Contemplation 2019

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

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





Jean-Michel Basquiat: Downtown

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

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

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

Downtown 81

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

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

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

Basquiat’s Work at the Tampa Museum of Art

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

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

The Work of Jean-Michele Basquiat at VFA

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

See More Jean-Michel Basquiat for Sale

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

Free Ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints

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