The Influence of Victor Vasarely

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Works of Victor Vasarely at VFA

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

See More Victor Vasarely Work for Sale

Kelly Grovier. Victor Vasarely: The art that tricks the eye. BBC Culture. March 5, 2019.
Sarah Belmont. Au Centre Pompidou, Victor Vasarely nous berce d’illusions. LeParisian. April 30, 2019.

Photographs of Andy Warhol

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

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

Andy on Instagram

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

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

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

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

Warhol’s Women

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

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

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

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

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

Warhol Women runs from now through June 15.

Warhol’s Drawings

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

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

Andy Warhol Fine Art Prints at VFA

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

Claire Selvin. Andy Warhol Foundation to Post ‘Intimate’ Pictures on Instagram, Including One of the Pop Artist in Roller Skates. ArtNews. April 26, 2019.
Liz Cantrell. Andy Warhol Fans Have Two New Must-See Shows. Town & Country. April 25, 2019.

Dali and Magritte Together in St. Pete

Magritte and Dali at the Dali Museum

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

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

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

The Dali Museum Expansion

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

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

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

Salvador Dali and the Marx Brothers

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

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

Works by Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte at VFA

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

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

The Masters Behind the Matrix: Fine Art Prints at VFA

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

The Masters Behind the Matrix

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

The engraving tools of Piero Crommelynck

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fine Art Prints for Sale at VFA

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

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

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

Jeff Koons Retiring? Ha Ha.

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

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

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

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

High Expectations for Jeff Koons’ Rabbit at Christie’s

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

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

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

Jeff Koons at the Ashmolean

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

Jeff Koons Sculptures at VFA

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

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

See More Jeff Koons Work for Sale

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

Alex Katz: Nothing Fussy

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

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

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

and upcoming exhibits at:

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

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

Alex Katz: Nothing Fussy

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

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

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

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

Alex Katz at VFA

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

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

See More Alex Katz Work for Sale

Joan Miro: The Birth of the World at MoMA

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

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

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

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

The Quieter Side of Joan Miro

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

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

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

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

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

Joan Miro Works at VFA

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

See More Joan Miro Work for Sale

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

Donald Sultan Prints and Sculptures at VFA

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

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

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

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

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

Donald Sultan Prints at VFA

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

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

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

Donald Sultan Sculptures at VFA

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

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

See More Donald Sultan Work for Sale

Emily Karcher Schmitt. Death, disaster come calling in tar and latex sculpted on tile. Smithsonian Insider. August 8, 2017.
L. Kent Wolgamott. L. Kent Wolgamott: Donald Sultan’s dark, dominant “Disaster Paintings” at Sheldon. Lincoln Journal Star. March 4, 2018.

David Hockney Goes Viral

David Hockney Goes Viral

David Hockney’s latest solo exhibition Something New in Painting (and Photography) [and even Printing] … Continued opened at the L.A. Louver Gallery on February 7.

Not long after the opening, Joni Mitchell, a long-time acquaintance of David Hockney, walked in to the gallery to view the show. A young gallery employee, Jacob Sousa, grabbed his camera and asked if he could taken their picture.

Mitchell took Hockney by the hand, the photo was taken, posted on the gallery’s Instagram account on Valentine’s Day, and the post went viral. Millions of people…from Hollywood celebs to members of the British Parliament…were touched by the image of the two icons holding hands. They each appear as vibrant and relevant as the Hockney work in front of which they are standing.

The moment is reminiscent of the photo taken of David Hockney and his long-time muse, Celia Britwell, standing in front of a painting he did of Celia and her then-husband, Ossie Clark, in 1971. Hockney did many portraits of Britwell, including a portrait for the cover of Paris Vogue and Celia with Green Hat, for sale at VFA.

At age 81, Hockey has been expanding his use of technology with i-Pad paintings like My Shirt and Trousers, also available at VFA and creating works of enormous scale and vibrant color.

The exhibit at L.A. Louver includes mural-sized photographic drawings, large-scale multi-canvas paintings, and a series of portrait drawings on canvas, done in Hockney’s Los Angeles studio. Something New in Painting (and Photography) [and even Printing] … Continued runs through March 23, 2019.

David Hockney Set Record at Christie’s for Living Artist

David Hockney became the most highly valued living artist when his 1972 painting, Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) sold at Christie’s at the November auction for $90.3 million, after less than ten minutes of bidding.

The painting broke the previous record for a living artist, which was held by Jeff Koons, for the sale of his Balloon Dog (Orange) for $58.4 million in 2013. Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) was inspired by two photographs that Hockney happened to spot on the floor of his studio.

The Hockneys: Never Worry What the Neighbours Think

David Hockney was one of five siblings, born and raised in Bradford, England. John, the youngest sibling, has written a book about the Hockney family. The book’s subtitle, Never Worry What the Neighbors Think, was something that their father often told them.

The siblings diverse, interesting, and successful, lives are chronicled in John Hockney’s memoir, which will be released in October, 2019 by Legend Press. On the cover is David Hockney’s 1977 painting, My Parents, which is part of the permanent collection at the Tate.

David Hockney Works at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about My Shirt and Trousers, Celia with Green Hat or any of the other fine artwork available at VFA.

See More David Hockney Work for Sale

Guy Trebay. Of David Hockney and Joni Mitchell Holding Hands. The New York Times. February 28, 2019.
Jessica Gelt. The Saturday gallery: ‘Happy Birthday, David Hockney’ at the Getty marks 80 years. July 08, 2017.
Esther Addley. David Hockney painting earns record $90.3m for living artist. The Guardian. November 16, 2018.

Jim Dine: Prints of Hearts

Most of the people I see daily are printers. To be a painter is rather lonely, but I like the friendships I’ve made from printing. I don’t print with people who are assholes. – Jim Dine

Jim Dine is 83 and is still painting, printing, sculpting and writing poetry. He spends much of his time in his Paris studio and some of the time in his studio in New York, but wherever his is, he is working, still fascinated by the process of creating works of art.

Dine’s work, in every medium he uses, is very physical; it has texture, form and a flow of energy that it difficult to achieve, especially with prints. “I like what you get” Dine said. “I like cutting wood. I like drawing with acid on copper. I like drawing with the grease crayon on litho stones, so there is a sensuous physical pleasure from it.”

It has been printmakers who have helped Dine find techniques that he has used for decades. When Dine wanted to find a way of making etchings that look like charcoal drawings, he asked Austrian printmaker, Kurt Zein, if such a thing was even possible. It took Zein a few months, but he actually came up with a solution. Collaborations with master printers has been a large part of Dine’s work.

 For 60 years, this has been a constant source of camaraderie. “Working with those people – some dead, some living, some still printing for me – has enhanced my life, not just my printing life but my existence as a human being. It’s been a pleasure.” Dine said.

Jim Dine’s Prints of Hearts

In 1962, Jim Dine’s work was included in the ground-breaking New Painting of Common Objects exhibit at the Norton Simon Museum. Dine’s work, shown alongside works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Ed Ruscha and others, was one of the first Pop Art exhibits in America and changed the course of modern art.

The exhibit brought attention to Dine’s artwork and the Happenings he performed in, but not in a way that felt good to Dine. “It was a party I was not really invited to.” Dine said,  “It was not some place I felt comfortable and I stood back against the wall – after the performances I made. The performances were not pop art. They were the painters’ theatre.”

Rather than focus on objects derived from popular culture, Dine used, and still uses, objects that are very personal and have emotional impact for him.

When poet Ilka Skobie asked Dine what makes hearts so intriguing to him and how many works he has done with hearts, Dine said, “Millions. . . . I have no idea but it’s mine and I use it as a template for all my emotions. It’s a landscape for everything. It’s like Indian classical music — based on something very simple but building to a complicated structure. Within that you can do anything in the world. And that’s how I feel about my hearts.”

Jim Dine: Prints of Hearts at VFA

We have a variety of works, in different mediums, by Jim Dine at VFA. Please contact us if you would like more information.

See More Jim Dine Work for Sale

Lisa Marder. The Heartfelt Art of Jim Dine. ThoughtCo. February 08, 2019.
Ilka Skobie. LONE WOLF. An interview with Jim Dine. artnet Magazine. June 28, 2010.
Stephanie Bunbury. Artist Jim Dine, printmaking pioneer and hater of Trump, gives 249 works to NGV. The Sidney Morning Herald. July 5, 2017.
Martin Gayford. Jim Dine’s six-decade experiment. Apollo Magazine. April 15, 2017.

Roy Lichtenstein’s Revealing Archives

Among the many things that Roy Lichtenstein saved is a 1950 letter from Ohio State University, telling him that he would not be granted tenure, and would be relieved of his teaching position because he had failed to demonstrated the “substantial growth and future promise that foreshadows the future full professor.”

The letter was, of course, bad news for the artist but led to a decade in which Lichtenstein worked as a draftsman, window decorator and also honed his skills and began creating the instantly recognizable artwork that made him one of the greatest American artists of all time.

Roy Lichtenstein was very methodical. He was a note taker, kept day planners and collected copious amounts of materials related to his artwork, which have been donated to the Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Art by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, to be digitized and made available to the public.

The collection, which includes oral histories and artist interviews, art object files, an audiovisual collection, personal and professional correspondence, exhibition files, and thousands of documentary photographs of the artist, his artwork, and exhibition installations, will take years to digitize.

Archivists and art historians working on the material at the Smithsonian have already discovered an incredible amount of material that sheds light on both the personal and working life of the artist.

The Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck Myths

Roy Lichtenstein had his first solo exhibit in February 1962, at the Leo Castelli Gallery. Every painting in the exhibit was sold before the show opened. The massive painting, Look Mickey, was part of that show, and one of the reasons that he became a Pop icon.

Art critics and historians tell different stories about Lichtenstein’s inspiration for the painting. The most popular story, told by English art critic Edward Lucie-Smith, is that one of Lichtenstein’s sons pointed to a Mickey Mouse comic book and said, “I bet you can’t paint as good as that, Dad.”

Lichtenstein used this image from Donald Duck Lost and Found (illustrated by Bob Grant and Bob Totten) for Look Mickey.

Disney’s Donald Duck: Lost and Found, 1960
The book was Lichtenstein’s source for Look Mickey.

 What art historians found is a Disney book, published in 1960, called Donald Duck: Lost and Found, that includes an illustration Lichtenstein used for Look Mickey, which is in the permanent collection of the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Donald Duck became a recurring image in Lichtenstein’s work. As with his other artworks, Lichtenstein contrasted the feel of the cartoon with the coolness of his bold, primary colors and sharp outlines.

Virtual Interior-Portrait of a Duck at VFA

Printmaking was conducive to Lichtenstein’s Pop visions. He was a prolific and masterful printmaker. Virtual Interior – Portrait of a Duck, available at VFA, is a perfect example of Lichtenstein’s playful, yet meticulous, artwork.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Roy Lichtenstein, or any of the other fine artworks, available at VFA.

See More Roy Lichtenstein Work for Sale

Edward Lucie-Smith. Lives of the Great 20th Century Artists. Thames & Hudson. 1999.
Susannah Gardiner. The Stories of Poets, Artists and Cartoon Characters Are All Waiting to Be Discovered in Roy Lichtenstein’s Personal Papers. February 25, 2019.
Klaus Honnef. Pop Art. TASCHEN. 2004
Gary van Wyk. Pop Art. 50 Works of Art You Should Know. PRESTEL. 2013.

Andy Warhol at the Super Bowl

Seeing Andy Warhol at the Super Bowl was a surprise…and somewhat confusing…to millions of Americans,  but it also may have garnered him a new generation of fans.

Andy Warhol at the Super Bowl

This year, Super Bowl fans watched a 45 second Burger King advertisement of Andy Warhol eating a Whopper. Ad time during the game went for more than $5 million for 30 seconds. The footage was taken from a 1982 documentary called ’66 Scenes from America by Danish director Jorgen Leth. The original scene, of Warhol slowly eating a Whopper, is four minutes long. The ad was loved by some, hated by others and confusing to many. Data from Google showed that searches for Andy Warhol spiked the night of the game.

“The whole campaign was designed to create conversation,” said Burger King Global Chief Marketing Officer Fernando Machado. “We are proud to have pushed the boundaries the way that we did. In my past five years here we never saw anything even close to that in terms of shifting perception of the brand.” Warhol died in 1987. The ad may, or may not, get more people to eat Whoppers. It may, or may not, get a new generation to appreciate Andy Warhol. Either way, the person who would have appreciated the hoopla, from start to finish was…Andy.

Andy Warhol at the Movies

Paintings can be haunting. A new movie, based on that premise, has just been released, and art lovers will relate to every wild frame in the film, including a scene with Andy Warhol’s Double Elvis. Ruben Brandt, Collector is an animated film about a psychotherapist who has nightmares, where he’s attacked by characters from famous paintings and believes that if he owns the paintings, the nightmares will stop.

Brandt enlists four of his not-so-law-abiding patients to steal the paintings. The film was conceived and directed by Hungarian artist Milorad Krstic. He has created an exciting animated heist movie, where masterpieces are stolen from such illustrious galleries as the Louvre, MoMA and the Tate.

“Sometimes I was inspired by the paintings themselves,” Kristic said, “and built scenes around them. For example, Botticelli’s Venus is this beautiful girl, and I thought it could be a fantastic turnover if she became monstrous, her long hair reaching out like an octopus. In a similar way, Andy Warhol’s Double Elvis, Elvis drawing a gun, provoked me to write a nightmare built around a duel.”

Warhol Still at the Whitney, Postponed at the Vatican

Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again, the first Warhol retrospective organized by a U.S. institution since 1989, opened in November and will be at the Whitney until March 31, 2019. The extensive exhibit, which includes more than 350 pieces, goes back to Warhol’s early work as an illustrator in the 1950s and works its way through then next four decades of his life.

The Vatican planned  major exhibit of Andy Warhol’s work this year, but the Vatican Museums director said the Warhol exhibit has been delayed due to projects celebrating the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death.

Andy Warhol’s Works at VFA

We have a variety of works by Andy Warhol in our gallery. Please contact us if you would like more information about Andy Warhol’s artwork or of  any of the other fine artists available at VFA.

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Keith Haring Exhibit at the Tate

The legacy that Keith Haring left for the world is one of hope, joy and learning.  He moved from his hometown of Kutztown, Pennsylvania to New York in 1978, when he was just twenty.

Haring died at age 31. His career was short, just ten years, but the impact he has had on the world is extraordinary.

Keith Haring at the Tate Liverpool

The Tate Liverpool is preparing for the first major exhibit of Keith Haring’s work in the U.K. The exhibit will showcase more than 85 artworks, including paintings, drawings and sculptures, some of which have never been seen outside of the U.S.

The exhibit will also display photographs, videos and posters to give visitors a feel of  1980s New York, and the culture in which Haring lived and worked. The exhibit will be on display from June 14 through November 10, 2019.

Keith Haring’s Collingwood Mural Restored

In 1984, Keith Haring visited Australia and painted a mural at the Collingwood Technical School, an inner city school in Melbourne. Haring’s art, and enthusiasm, made him a welcome distraction for students at the school. The school closed in 1987, and the mural faded, but art conservators in Melbourne fought hard to get it restored.

The video below, The Collingwood Mural: Keith Haring Uncovered, was created in 2015, after the mural restoration was completed. The video has footage from 1984, that shows the enthusiasm with which the work was received, the extraordinary reconstruction of the mural and even an interview with the thief who admitted he stole the door, complete with signature, from the mural.

Haring did dozens of murals around the world, including one, in 1986, on a section of the Berlin Wall. Before the wall was demolished in 1989, Haring wrote, in his diary:

… If it is not regarded as ‘sacred’ and ‘valuable’, then I can paint without inhibition, and experience the interaction of lines and shapes. I can paint spontaneously without worrying if it looks ‘good’; and I can let my movement and my instant reaction/response control the piece, control my energy (if there is any control at all) … It is temporary and its permanency is unimportant. Its existence is already established. It can be made permanent by the camera.

Keith Haring Works Available at VFA

Keith Haring wanted his art to be accessible to the public. His sense of design and his fearless use of colors and symbols gives his work universal appeal. Haring not only painted, but created screenprints, lithographs and ceramic pieces, some of which are available at VFA. Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Keith Haring.

See More Keith Haring Work for Sale

Mark Byrnes. A Community Restores Its Keith Haring Mural. CityLab. July 20, 2018.
Patricia Baum. New Yorker Keith Haring’s work on show in the Grund. RTL. January 24, 2019.

Rene Magritte: Missing Piece of Painting Found

Rene Magritte died in 1967, at age 68, and left an unfinished painting sitting on his easel. The fascination with his work, and with the artist himself, has never waned.

The Missing Piece of the Painting

Rene Magritte recycled. It was not an uncommon practice for him, and other artists, to save money by reusing canvasses and cutting them into pieces to fit a new work. Teams of researchers  from the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and the European Centre of Archaeometry of the University of Liege, who have been studying Magritte’s works, found the last section of a painting that he did in 1927. La Pose enchantée (The Enchanted Pose) was exhibited in 1927. Three sections were found by researchers in other museums, hidden under other paintings, but the fourth, and final, piece was not found until late last year,  hidden under a painting called God is not a Saint, done in 1935.

Researchers at MoMA in New York, Moderna Museet in Stockholm and the Norwich Castle Museum in the UK had each found a piece of La Pose enchantée, but this find by Royal Museum completes the puzzle…except for the reason why Magritte cut it up such an interesting work in the first place.

This is Not a Biography of Magritte

Rene Magritte not only explored visual anomalies in his work, he also played with words. Magritte’s playfulness was the inspiration for Magritte: This is Not a Biographya graphic novel by Vincent Zabus and Thomas Campi and published by SelfMadeHero. The book tells the story of a man named Charles Singulier, who buys a bowler hat, like the one seen in many of Magritte’s paintings, and meets characters from Magritte’s paintings who come to life and tell him that he’ll have to wear the bowler forever unless he uncovers some of the secrets of Magritte’s life. Charles moves in and out of Magritte’s paintings, telling the artist’s story in a whimsical biography.

Rene Magritte’s Way With Words

Surrealist writing, like Surrealist art, was used to express spontaneous thoughts, without worrying about logic or reality. Also called Automatic Writing, it was based on the theories of Sigmund Freud, and was meant to release the ideas and imagination of the subconscious mind.

Magritte wrote often, both prose and poems, and much of his writing has been published in Rene Magritte, Selected Writings. The writings as far back as the 1920s, and are as mysterious, visual and dreamlike as his paintings:

She goes into the woods. It is bathed in twilight. Trunks and branches gleam, vague and silvery.

She goes forward slowly as if she is weary. Soon she hesitates, stops, lies down on a bed of fallen leaves.

A shout is heard in the distance, a woman’s name.

With eyes wide open she stares at a broken branch hanging on by a few threads to a huge tree.

One of her hands has closed round the object she dropped when she lay down. Through her light dress you can make out her woman’s body. Her pale face expresses extreme weariness.

Rene Magritte, Selected Writings is edited by Kathleen Rooney and Eric Plattner and translated by Jo Levy, is published by University of Minnesota Press.

Rene Magritte Lithographs at VFA

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

See More Rene Magritte Work for Sale

Barry Schwabsky. A Painter Speaks, so that His Paintings Can Remain Silent. Hyper allergic. April 23, 2017.
Daly Alberge. Magritte’s missing nudes found hidden under paintings after 80 years. The Guardian. October 3, 2013.

Polly Apfelbaum: Waiting for the UFOs

Polly Apfelbaum wants people to interact with her art. She has described herself as an in-between artist who paints, sculpts, prints and uses any medium that she feels will encourage people to participate in her exhibits. Born in Abington, Pennsylvania, in 1955, she studied painting at the Tyler School of Art in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, and at Purchase College, State University of New York. She has exhibited, in the US and internationally, since the 1980s.

Her works are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and many other major venues. She has been influenced by Bauhaus Modernism, Minimal Art, Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art and combines fine art with arts and crafts. Polly Apfelbaum lives and works in New York.

Waiting for the UFOs

The actual title of Apfelbaum’s current exhibit is Polly Apfelbaum: Waiting for the UFOs (a space set between landscape and a bunch of flowers)Waiting for the UFOs is the title of a 1979 Graham Parker song and a space set between landscape and a bunch of flowers is the way Surrealist artist Rene Magritte defined a garden. The exhibit ran in Birmingham, England before opening last week at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri, kicking off the museum’s twenty-fifth anniversary.

Apfelbaum created the Kemper Museum exhibit to custom fit into the museum space. Giant, colorful rugs, which she designed and had woven by indigenous women in Oaxaca, Mexico, cover the floor of the galleries. Visitors are asked to remove their shoes and walk through the exhibit in their socks or in soft shoe coverings, supplied by the museum.

She created walls throughout the space by hanging hundreds of clay glazed beads from the ceiling, each on a single string. On the actual walls of the museum are Sun Targets, a collection of over 130 ceramic targets individually named after planets or constellations. Polly Apfelbaum: Waiting for the UFOs (a space set between landscape and a bunch of flowers) will run through April 28, 2019.

Polly Apfelbaum Fine Art Prints at VFA

Polly Apfelbaum studied printmaking as an art student, but focused much of her early career on painting and creating compositions with fabrics. In 2002, she returned to printmaking, in collaboration with master printmaker Jean-Paul Russell at Durham Press in Pennsylvania.

Her colorful woodcuts and screenprints reflect her use of vibrant colors and minimalist abstract design. Polly Apfelbaum’s Flags of Revolt and Defiance series, available at VFA, is an example of her mastery of printmaking.

Please contact us if you would like more information about Yippies, Sons of Liberty or any of the other screenprints by Polly Apfelbaum available at VFA.

See More Polly Apfelbaum Work for Sale

Laura Spencer.An Artist’s Colorful Exhibit Makes The Kemper Kansas City’s Place For ‘Waiting For The UFOs’. KCUR. All Things Considered. January 25, 2019.
Interview from ‘Chromatic Scale: Prints by Polly Apfelbaum’ Catalogue
‘Small Worlds: An Interview with Polly Apfelbaum and Amy Cutler’ in ‘Taking Aim: The Business of Being an Artist Today’ Edited by Marysol Nieves, Fordham University Press; 1 edition (June 13, 2011) pages 33-43
Free Ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints

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