Donald Sultan “Floral Constructions” Exhibit – Vertu Fine Art – March 8th

Join us for drinks and fun:
Saturday, March 8, 2014, from 6 – 10pm
Vertu Fine Art: 5250 Town Center Circle, Suite 128, Boca Raton, Florida 33486

New prints and sculptures from painter and printmaker, Donald Sultan. An upcoming Contemporary Art Show at Vertu Fine Art in Boca Raton, FL will feature new floral works on display from artist Donald Sultan. The show, taking place March 8th (6pm -10pm), will showcase a number of recent Donald Sultan pieces, including captivating sculptures and prints from the artist. Among the elegant works on display will be three sculptures – Black Lantern Flower, Yellow Lantern Flower and Red Lantern Flower. Each in this series of three painted aluminum sculptures is as exquisite as the next. Donald Sultan’s floral sculptures possess a delicate organic nature of being. Each floral structure appears to have landed gently on the polished aluminum base, balancing lightly on one touch point. Sultan collectors who endeavor to purchase the series will need to act quickly, as they are part of a limited edition of twenty each.

Other recent Donald Sultan floral works on display in our Boca Raton Contemporary Art Gallery next month include a vibrant series of Lantern Flowers. The series includes a variety of eight different colored floral screen prints – coral, aqua, yellow, blue, olive, purple, red and white. Each solid colored flower is set in enamel ink, with the color radiating from black tar-like negative space, textured with flocking.  Once again, collectors of Donald Sultan screen prints will find themselves drawn toward multiple prints, as the colors are even more breathtaking viewed together. We find ourselves hanging these prints in quads.

Having collected and sold prints of Donald Sultan’s floral exaggerations for years, it’s evident that this is an artist who is consistently in high demand, as his masterpieces hold universal appeal for discriminating collectors. Whether you gravitate toward Abstract Expressionist, Pop or any realm of Contemporary Art, it’s difficult not to be enthralled with the works of Donald Sultan. Often described as soothing, uplifting and “simply gorgeous” − Sultan’s floral designs convey the complex beauty of nature in its most simplistic forms. Another series of screen prints recently completed by Donald Sultan that will be on display at VFA  includes White and Red and Black and Red – two works that possess the artist’s signature tar-like textured elements combined with enamel inks. The bold colors, sculpted lines and heavy contrast are in line with the components that define the Donald Sultan brand. This pair of prints is more intricate and abstract than many recent works by the artist, yet possesses the same organic feel with an enhanced sense of movement.

A significant aspect of Sultan’s appeal to collectors is the manner in which industrial materials have been adopted by the artist. Such industrial materials include tar, which the artist describes as an essential part of his roots, as formative years were spent as a “tar heel” son of North Carolina. For an artist that produces works of intense contrast, the process itself is consistent with a dichotomy that creates such contrast – employing industrial materials to create works that feel organic. Please be sure to join us at our Boca Raton Art Gallery on March 8th to explore these masterful works. If you have questions about the upcoming show, new Donald Sultan work or anything else, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The Art of Buying Prints

While there are a number of excellent Contemporary Art galleries in South Florida, at Vertu Fine Art in Boca Raton, we’re confident that none is better when it comes to serving the needs of the collector with respect to Pop, Optical and Abstract Expressionist prints.

Recently, we developed a concise complimentary Ebook that is available for download. We believe our Ebook, How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints addresses the important considerations necessary for making an informed purchase. The Ebook provides assistance in identifying the right questions to ask, considering the historical references of printmaking and understanding the terms and techniques commonly used to describe the works.

We believe the Ebook will help both savvy collectors and Contemporary Art print enthusiasts to properly assess the value of fine art masterpieces.

We hope you find our Ebook to be of great value:
Download your free copy here

When in South Florida, please stop in to our Boca Raton art gallery and visit with Owner Gary Santoro and Gallery Director Bill Pugsley. There’s always something new to admire.

Collectors are welcome to create an appointment by contacting us here. Visitors are always welcome without appointment during business hours. We look forward to seeing you at The Shops at Boca Center soon!

Mother and Child (Divided) - Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst: Multiple Layers

Decaying and preserved animals, extinguished cigarette butts, butterflies, pharmaceuticals, diamonds, skulls, religion, love, death and peace – all such instruments exist in multitudes in the Damien Hirst tool chest. As the Contemporary Artist most often placed at the center of the movement known as the YBA – Young British Artists, Hirst earned his place as the artist most likely to shake things up. To many, Damien Hirst is considered the quintessential “shock jock” of Contemporary British Art, yet his masterful manipulations frequently take the viewer far beyond shock, to heightened levels of actual fear, concern and confusion.

Damien Hirst’s installation, Mother and Child Divided, is just one of the more famous examples. Featuring a cow and calf dissected, each in a vitrine filled with formaldehyde, the obvious initial effect is startling, but the title itself perfectly delivers the intriguing secondary levels of thought. What begins as a high-minded viewing of Contemporary Art quickly turns into a likely rather serious guilt trip for those that consume the work. Are we as guilty as the artist for taking in this vision of death in the confines of a museum or gallery? Are we guilty for being part of a culture that slaughters such unassuming animals, regularly dividing mother from child? Is the artist saying this or something else…something more…nothing at all?

Damien Hirst’s Crematorium, though initially less shocking, is even more concerning. The artist often uses cigarette butts in various displays to evoke a response from us. In the context of being created by an artist who works with dead animals and human skulls, this piece immediately conjures thoughts of death. The butts themselves, once lit and full of “life” now lay extinguished. What of those who consumed the smoke? Perhaps they too are no longer with us, or their lives are now cut shorter as a result of indulging in these smokes. The thoughts keep coming, so many cigarette butts in one place; what of the stories that accompanied the scenes in which they were smoked, and how dense would a cloud of smoke appear if it existed cumulatively?

Hirst has spoken frankly about the allure of cigarettes as subject matter, alluding to the birth of opening a new pack, the creationism that occurs from lighting a cigarette and the inevitable comparison to death that accompanies the end of the smoke. Once again, in the case of Crematorium, the title ensures that our minds lead us where the artist intends.

Like all great storytellers, once you think that you’ve got the artist pegged, Damien Hirst throws a curve. Hirst’s spot paintings are tranquil and calming. In the artist’s “Pharmaceutical” series of spot paintings, the titles of each are derived from the names of chemicals substances used to create the drugs. At our Boca Raton Contemporary Art gallery, VFA is pleased to offer a number of Damien Hirst limited edition prints of these famed woodcut spot paintings.

Interestingly, news about a Damien Hirst spot painting is breaking now on the artist’s website. Hirst has developed a version of Disney’s Mickey Mouse character, using 12 spots. The piece will be auctioned in February 2014 as part of a fundraising effort for Kids Company − a U.K. organization that provides for children in need.

To view any of the remarkable Damien Hirst works currently available at Vertu Fine Art, stop in for a visit at our Boca Raton gallery. If you require assistance in sourcing a specific Damien Hirst work, you can contact us and we’ll be pleased to help.

Lichtenstein: Seriously Not Terribly Serious

In 1964, when Life Magazine ran a featured article with the headline, “Is He the Worst Artist in the U.S.?” Pop Artist Roy Lichtenstein knew for sure that he had arrived as an important figure. If any group of individuals ever took stock in the concept of, “any press is good press,” none did so more than the founders of the American Pop Art movement during the 1960s. As a matter of fact, during this period of turbulent social reconstruction in America, Pop Artists such as Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist and Roy Lichtenstein could receive no greater endorsement than to be deemed uncomfortable by the mass media or any other part of “the establishment.”

Just as young Americans were leading the charge for social and political change in the 1960s, Pop Artists were also rebelling − against the expectations of critics, collectors and mainstream America. Even against what was becoming the new normal in Abstract Expressionism. As Jackson Pollock and William de Kooning gained fame for their unique processes, others followed and suddenly Contemporary Art was viewed as a collaboration of process and result. In response, the founders of Pop Art turned away from such acts of raw emotive expression splattered onto canvas strewn about the floor.

In bucking the trend, Pop Art shifted momentum from hot to cool, from deep waves of emotion to shallow puddles of reflection.

So, what could be furthest from the high-minded creations of heavy handed Abstract Expressionists? Roy Lichtenstein’s answer was to embrace commercial “low art” forms, including a favorite from childhood, scenes from comic books. What began as direct reproductions of comic strips eventually morphed into the artist’s iconic style.

Just as Andy Warhol shocked the world with his highly stylized versions of celebrity portraits and consumer goods, Roy Lichtenstein’s work was controversial for the nature of his subjects, which no doubt appeared unworthy of large scale Contemporary Art space, at least at first.

Roy Lichtenstein’s experiments paid off. “Why?” is a question that some continue to ask, while others deem it absurd. Yet, there are a number of good reasons that the artist had a fighter’s chance of being successful in paving new Pop Art roads. For one, he was a legitimate professional artist and a professor at New Jersey’s Rutgers University when he began developing his unique Pop Art style. The fact that he was a classically schooled artist who had also worked as a commercial artist weighed in his favor. These qualities helped Lichtenstein to take calculated risks. After all, he had credentials, but more importantly, he possessed confidence, vision and a calculated reduction of ego.

Perhaps most importantly, Roy Lichtenstein had the courage to take artistic risks, to see where these concepts would lead. It’s not hard to imagine that the artist was initially bluffing, simply putting out full sized comic book renderings to draw a reaction, to learn if his actions would be considered outlandish and controversial. In time, however, it became evident that Roy Lichtenstein fell in love with the simplistic style − the Ben-Day dots, bold black lines and primary colors that brought soap opera-styled subjects front and center.

Whaam!, which the artist painted in 1963, from an issue of DC Comics’ All-American Men of War, is perhaps his best known work. In 1964, the artist contributed a large scale mural of a laughing woman for the N.Y. State Pavilion of the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. NYC was consistently a central figure for Lichtenstein. It’s where he was born, where he spent the majority of life, and where New York dealer Leo Castelli showcased his work over a 30-year span.

In Roy Lichtenstein’s later career, he received a number of large-scale commissions for public installations, including “Brushstrokes in Flight,” a 25-foot high sculpture for the International Airport in Columbus, Ohio and a porcelain enamel mural, six-foot tall and 53-foot long, created for Manhattan’s Times Square subway station, near the main entrance at 42nd Street and Broadway. The Times Square mural was completed in 1994, three years prior to Roy Lichtenstein’s death.

Richard Anuszkiewicz

Richard Anuszkiewicz: Master of Luminosity, Color and Shape

Richard Anuszkiewicz (whose last name is pronounced Ah-nuss-kay-vitch) is an American artist closely tied to the founding of the Optical Art movement. The Op Art master, who is currently 83 years old, is considered to be a living legend of the Contemporary Art world. At Vertu Fine Art, our Boca Raton gallery that’s widely known for our collection of Pop, Abstract Expressionist and Optical Art, Anuszkiewicz is among the Op Artists we find most compelling.

In addition to his studies at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Anuszkiewicz trained with Joseph Albers at the Yale University School of Art and Architecture. Albers, who brought his Bauhaus-inspired teachings from Germany to Black Mountain College and then Yale, is known for his profound influence on artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly and Ray Johnson. Richard Anuszkiewicz was equally influenced by Joseph Albers, perhaps most importantly by Albers’ theories about color interactions and chromaticity.

At the same time that Victor Vasarely and Bridget Riley were creating works that would gain worldwide attention for Op Art in Europe, during the 1960s and 1970s, Richard Anuszkiewicz was experimenting with painting and printmaking that would prove most provocative to the mind’s eye of art collectors − initially here in the U.S.

Hip to Be Square

Much like Joseph Albers, who received much acclaim for his Homage to the Square (1965) series of works, Anuszkiewicz also found a perfect framework for his compositions within the symmetrical friendly square as well. Considering that Optical Art often relies on mathematical calculations to carry out one’s investigations systematically, it’s not uncommon to choose a shape that supports the grid system so substantially.

Critics and Collectors often describe Anuszkiewicz’ works as though the patterns of varying color densities appear to hold back light, periodically and even intermittently allowing said light to seep out from porous areas of the composition.

In Orange Family, an original acrylic on panel currently hanging at VFA in Boca Raton, Richard Anuszkiewicz treats us to another illusory aspect of his works – a warm glow. As if plugged in, or backlit or side lighted, this work is one that often holds the gaze of visitors, who seem to bask in the mysterious control of the artist, able to trap light from the room and return it to our vision as we feel the vibrations of its pulse.

American Primary Hue (1964) is a fine example of an Anuszkiewicz work that creates enhanced Optical illusions for the viewer. Moment by moment, the masterpiece presents a variety of layers and strobe effects, with a solid middle square holding back light that escapes from its corners. In doing so, the white space plays tricks on the mind, apparently revealing square rings of varying depths. Lines move in from the outside of this work as though they seek out the inner box one moment, emanating from the inside out toward us the next.

Over the past seven decades, Op Artist Richard Anuszkiewicz has been the recipient of an impressive number of grants and awards. His exhibits and public collections around the country and internationally continue to stun audiences. Currently, his works can be seen in a number of impressive museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh), Philadelphia Museum of Art, Harvard University’s Fogg Museum and New York’s Guggenheim, MOMA, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Whitney Museum of Art.

If, like us, you enjoy the works of this impressive American Op Art master, visit us and view Anuszkiewicz here at our Boca Raton gallery. If you’re seeking a particular Richard Anuszkiewicz work − contact us and we’ll be glad to help.

Tom Wesselmann

Tom Wesselmann: Pop Art and Intention

The American Pop Art movement had its share of reluctant participants. Perhaps most notorious among them is Tom Wesselmann. Mentioned alongside the biggest names in Pop – Warhol, Lichtenstein, Rosenquist and Johns − Wesselmann rejected the Pop label and any other label for that matter. The artist was among those masters who viewed themselves independent of any such art movement associations, interpreting such labeling as confining and simplistic, unable to capture the essence of their style. For Wesselmann, it boiled down to a matter of intention.

Unlike Warhol or Rosenquist, Wesselmann thought his art to be less confrontational, as he offered no criticism of society within the objects of brand and commercialism included in his works. What the artist failed to acknowledge or recognize is that Pop Art was a force of nature. Once unleashed, it lived in the public domain, providing an artist with little room to “opt out.” The Pop Artist tag would be especially difficult for Tom Wesselmann to shed, as the nature of his work was entirely in sync with the very attributes that fit the Pop motif. Intentional or otherwise, one Pop characteristic that served Wesselmann well was the ability to understand the moment and seize a golden opportunity.

Tom Wesselmann played off his own opportunism as pure coincidence. Just a 1960s working artist in New York, painting objects of commercialism and consumerism in large scale, in close proximity to a core of Pop Artists, such as Alex Katz, who Wesselmann befriended. Like Katz, Wesselmann’s style bespeaks that of a Pop Artist on the fringe. By the late sixties, as he began moving away from iconic objects of commercialism, Tom Wesselmann’s works still boar a number of Pop Art footprints, yet with an unassuming and less conscious approach – devoid of any motive to manipulate public opinion.

Since 1993 I’ve basically been an abstract painter. This is what happened: in 1984 I started making steel and aluminum cut-out figures… One day I got muddled up with the remnants and I was struck by the infinite variety of abstract possibilities. That was when I understood I was going back to what I had desperately been aiming for in 1959, and I started making abstract three-dimensional images in cut metal. I was happy and free to go back to what I wanted: but this time not on De Kooning’s terms but on mine.”
-Tom Wesselmann, 2003

Ask any Contemporary Art enthusiast about Tom Wesselmann and the first thing that comes to mind, whether stated or not, is Wesselmann’s women. The artist’s figurative drawings, paintings, prints and sculptures manage to capture the female form in a manner so unique that it’s mesmerizing. Sensual, revealing, intimate and honest − Wesselmann’s nudes are provocative and inviting. In the case of Great American Nude #92, a Tom Wesselmann 1967 painting that is part of a series called Great American Nude, the piece created a fair amount of controversy and intrigue.

There are a number of Wesselmann collectors who simply adore the artist’s use of color and powerful lines, but shy away from the artist’s highly sexualized offerings, opting for equally captivating landscapes or still life renderings.  Among the Wesselmann collectors who adore his nudes, there are also many who prefer the works featuring subjects more conservatively posed.

Tom Wesselmann’s nudes, though revealing, leave much to the viewer’s imagination. Faces are often portrayed anonymously, with full expressive lips serving as are the only facial features present. Stylized hair, pronounced breasts, an alluring pose and curves of the body help tell the story, but just a hint. Bold blocks and thick lines of color adorn clothing, flowers, furnishings and accessories provide the viewer with additional details.

One 1993 screenprint by Tom Wesselmann, Claire Seated with Robe Half-Off is wonderful representation of a repetitive theme used by the artist. Paying homage to two favorite muses at once, a reclined Vivienne serves as backdrop to a standing Claire. For collectors of who fully embrace Wesselmann’s varied portrayal of female subjects, each piece tells more of a larger story waiting to be told. Nothing Wesselmann ever feels forced or constructed for consumption. It’s merely a highly talented creator inviting us to join him, in his intimate spaces, with lovely companions. If you feel as we do, it’s an invitation you’ll accept time and time again.

If you enjoy limited edition prints and assorted works from Wesselmann, Warhol, Lichtenstein and the masters of Pop Art, we invite you to visit with us at our Boca Raton Contemporary Art gallery.  We’re also available to assist you online or via telephone during gallery hours.  Please feel free to contact us.

Robert Rauschenberg White Painting

Robert Rauschenberg Prints at VFA

Vertu Fine Art is pleased to present a few examples of the impressive Robert Rauschenberg prints for sale at our South Florida art gallery. Rauschenberg’s contributions as an Abstract Expressionist and Pop Artist were powerful and significant in defining moments attributed to both movements. At a time when nations and people were rebounding from the Second World War, emotionally and intellectually, artists who pushed boundaries and challenged the status quo were in high demand. Robert Rauschenberg was one such artist and his thought provoking works continuously inspire artists and collectors alike.

Robert Rauschenberg masterfully juxtaposed emotionally charged objects to make bold statements, while also raising important questions about suggested or perceived correlations. In 1965, at a time when the issue of racial equality became a more highly focused topic, CORE evolved into a stronger and more prominent organization. By including images of the Statue of Liberty, a Civil War soldier statue, various industrial images, John F. Kennedy and a Native American − side by side, Rauschenberg most certainly was set the table for a number of interesting inferences.

CORE is also a work that demonstrates the affinity that Robert Rauschenberg had for printmaking and mixed media. Well known for his combines, for which the artist collected rubbish from the streets of New York to include as components, this work suggests a different style of mixed media. In creating CORE, Rauschenberg blended silkscreen techniques with traditional painting techniques, applying brush strokes and stains to the printed images offered in this rather special collage.

Another truly historic Robert Rauschenberg print for sale at VFA is Marsh from the Stoned Moon series inspired by NASA’s successful Apollo 11 mission to the moon. In 1966, Robert Rauschenberg and Billy Klüver, an electrical engineer from Bell Telephone Laboratories, launched an organization called Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) to foster collaboration between artists and engineers. Rauschenberg was rewarded by the engineers at NASA, who invited the artist to personally witness the Apollo 11 launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Florida.

Following this moving experience, Robert Rauschenberg created his Stoned Moon series of 34 lithographs that included, among other things, official images from the NASA archive – such as those of astronauts, space suites, machinery and engineering drafts. The Stone Moon lithographs were also considered to be technically forward-thinking printmaking as well, as certain lithographs were the largest to have been created at that time.

Another inventive and “process heavy” Robert Rauschenberg print for sale is Epic from the artist’s Ground Rules series. The ground rules series of prints, eleven in all, were created in 1997 working with master printers from ULAE (Universal Limited Art Editions).

The series contained works done by way of intaglio, with images transferred to photogravure plate and printed on Arches En Tout Cas paper. The result was a production with uniquely textured otherworldly images. Much of Rauschenberg’s career focused upon this blended approach toward achieving an artistic vision altered by the application of scientific experimentation.

Viewing Robert Rauschenberg’s works can prove to be a nostalgic experience, bringing to the surface a multitude of questions about emotionally charged times in postwar America. For collectors and art enthusiasts, the works of Rauschenberg elicit thoughts about the creative shots fired by an artist who has forever changed the face of Contemporary Art in America.

The pieces examined within this post are merely an example of the Robert Rauschenberg works available for sale at the Vertu Fine Art Gallery in Boca Raton, FL. If you are a collector seeking a specific Rauschenberg work, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help. If you are local to our gallery, please stop in to see all of the latest Pop Art, Optical Art and Abstract Expressionist works currently available.

Andy Warhol: High Demand Pop

An artist is somebody who produces things that people don’t need to have.” – Andy Warhol

As a South Florida gallery that specializes in Pop Art, we have the pleasure of consistently offering new Andy Warhol prints for sale. Because of Warhol’s intense popularity and larger than life reputation, every work from the artist is significant and in high demand. For the Warhol collector, each limited edition print presents an opportunity to own a valuable piece of Pop Art history.

Opportunity is a word that comes up frequently when we talk about Andy Warhol.  Whether it’s the opportunity to obtain a highly sought after screenprint or the choices Warhol made in engineering his own celebrity – opportunity is usually the operative word.

Perhaps Warhol’s biggest opportunity was delivered by New York City. It’s hard to imagine that Andy Warhol could have orchestrated such a high level of Pop Art stardom anywhere else. There’s just no way that Warhol would have become a megastar operating as a professional artist in Pittsburgh. One could make the argument that Los Angeles would have been a good fit for Andy, in terms of the city’s affinity for pop culture and the obvious access to Hollywood stars? However, L.A. is not the hub of commerce, art and entertainment that New York is, and more importantly, Pop Art, much like the Abstract Expressionist movement that preceded it, was happening in NYC.

Andy Warhol and New York City

In New York, Warhol thrived by being in physical proximity to the other artists creating the movement, as well as up and comers (who he entertained and collaborated with at The Factory), and of course, the celebrities he courted. In the end, NYC and Andy Warhol were perfectly slated for one another. Warhol was Pop Art’s Woody Allen − filled with idiosyncrasies and insecurities that enabled him to interact with celebrities as if a distant observer, even while in their presence.

Celebrity is what made Warhol, “Warhol.” Undoubtedly, talent made the artist successful, but it was the marketing of fame that made him famous. From using iconic brands like Campbell’s soup to capturing the essence of iconic celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Warhol’s famous subjects helped him to tap into the human psyched and draw attention to his work.

In 1981, Andy Warhol repurposed his famous Pink Marilyn Monroe Screenprint, F&S II. 31, to fashion his hand signed invitations to a Print Retrospective Exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery, New York City. This signed edition of approximately 250 is an example of a highly sought after niche work that clearly represents a moment in time from the life of Andy Warhol.

Warhol understood that tapping into the universal intrigue with celebrities was a surefire path to making Pop Art accessible and easily digestible for the American public. He also cherished the idea that his limited edition screenprints would allow a larger audience of collectors to own his work, and that his popularity was sufficient to fuel the demand.

Interestingly, it was Warhol who said, An artist is somebody who produces things that people don’t need to have.” Perhaps it’s this sentiment that drove the artist to feel so compelled to become a celebrity, knowing that only the magic of celebrity could validate the importance of his Pop Art.

As a known figure in the art world, no one manipulated celebrity like Andy Warhol. When Studio 54 exploded onto the scene, Warhol became a fixture at the club, gaining access to even more celebrities and working the media attention to grow his popularity. Andy’s unique persona lent a sense of mystery, keeping the press and the public wondering just what they were witnessing.

Considering that Warhol came from an advertising design background, it makes sense that he had a knack for the elements of brand building. As such, the living, breathing Andy Warhol brand was consistently portrayed and easily identifiable – cold, deadpan, affected − his own unique value proposition. In fact, Warhol’s quirkiness was downright mysterious, just the way he crafted it. Celebrity plus mystery is a sure win; creating interest and demand that is still unwavering in the marketplace.

If you’re seeking a specific Andy Warhol print, please drop by the Vertu Fine Art Gallery in Boca Raton or contact us.

Alex Katz, Good Afternoon

New Pop Art And Hyperrealist Works for Sale

As October rolls in, we find ourselves striding into our South Florida Contemporary Art gallery with a bit of extra enthusiasm, as we anticipate the start of the upcoming season. Hopefully, you are among our clients, family and friends who will soon be spending more time in our neck of the woods and will be afforded new opportunities to visit. We’re pleased to provide you with a quick snapshot of newly acquired fine art for sale at Vertu Fine Art.

It’s hard to imagine a better training ground for a Pop Artist than that of a sign maker and billboard painter. Such was the path that James Rosenquist took on his journey to becoming an important figure in the Pop Art movement. The commercial nature and large scale aspects of his working in the outdoor advertising industry as a young man served the artist well. During his career as a fine artist, he often worked in a similar large scale, and simply changed the messaging from sales to social commentary. Perhaps his most famous work was entitled, F-111, which paid homage to the powerful aircraft heavily utilized by the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam when Rosenquist painted it in 1964, interspersed with commercial images onto 23 sections, 10 feet high and 86 feet wide.
New at VFA is James Rosenquist’s Mirage Morning, a fascinating multi-dimensional lithograph with mixed media work. Colorful and imaginative, this Rosenquist piece has fast become a favorite among visitors to our Boca Raton Gallery.

The photorealism of Chuck Close has captivated our attention for years. Only from afar does the viewer of Close’s portraits feel like they are viewing a singular image. This work is nothing short of spectacular, especially when considering the artist’s process in developing this masterful work.

Each unit in Close’s grid is filled with organic abstract shapes and an intriguing palette − leading the viewer’s eye to a wonderful assortment of flowing shape and color. Chuck Close deconstructs and reengineers a whole new sense of the same being in this way.

Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work. – Chuck Close

When you find yourself in the proximity of our Boca Raton art gallery, among the new art for sale that you’ll be glad you viewed in person is this suite of 4 canvases from a red hot artist in high demand, Carole Feuerman. Her hyperrealist sculptured swimmers continue to land in private, public and corporate collections worldwide. From her painted resin and bronze works to her prints, Carole Feuerman’s works have a sense of sweetness, calm and sincere appreciation for the human form.

Of the many Pop Art masters at VFA, Alex Katz is one who’s often viewed as an important yet peripheral member. Katz most certainly demonstrates Pop sensibilities, including the flat commercial feel of his subjects and monochrome backgrounds, and his affinity for large scale works and printmaking. Alex Katz was a powerful influence to many Pop Artists in the sixties and seventies. Though his works helped to introduce the movement, they’re void of any sense of self-promotion or indulgence that one conjures when considering  the likes of Warhol, Lichtenstein or Rauschenberg. What Alex Katz has always possessed is a unique,  unflappable coolness and distance. The serene 1974 Alex Katz screenprint and lithograph, Good Afternoon, will surely pull at the heartstrings of a Katz collector.

Part of what I’m about is seeing how I can paint the same thing differently instead of different things the same way. – Alex Katz

One really special Pop Art work by Roy Lichtenstein that is currently for sale is the artist’s 1978 lithograph entitled, “Mermaid.” This print has all the Pop elements that made the artist a leader of the movement. His signature retro comic book style, simple forms, primary colors and lively subject matter − like all Lichtenstein works – somehow continues to reveal a bit more every time it’s viewed. The subtle background shapes and the comic-styled action make this a fun piece to own, for a Roy Lichtenstein collector or anyone who yearns to possess a classic piece of Pop Art.

For any collector of Pop Art, Optical Art or Abstract Expressionism, VFA in Boca Raton is a small oasis in South Florida. Please visit when you can and always feel free to drop us a line to let us know how best we can assist you.

Robert Motherwell, Capriccio, 1961

Abstract Expressionism: Part II – Featured at VFA

Our collection of works from Abstract Expressionist artists is ever-changing in our Boca Raton Contemporary Art gallery. In addition to limited edition prints from masters of Abstract Expressionism such as Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns and Helen Frankenthaler, we also carry inspired works from an array of world class Pop Art and Optical Art masters who have been strongly influenced by the AE movement.

Jasper Johns

Jasper Johns, one America’s most famous Abstract Expressionists, is also well known for his role as a founder of the Pop Art movement, along with the likes of Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and others. Johns is one of the few Abstract Expressionists living today who participated in the heyday of the Abstract Expressionism movement in the 1950s and sixties. In recent years, Jasper Johns lithographs have become among those most highly valued and coveted by collectors. The artist is universally respected for his commitment to the art form of printmaking, as a parallel medium to his impressive large scale paintings.

To be an artist you have to give up everything, including the desire to be a good artist.”
– Jasper Johns

Revered for his minimalist style and use of “simplistic” symbols, collectors of Johns enjoy speculation about the artist’s potentially deeper motivations, or lack thereof. Periscope 1, a Jasper Johns lithograph available for sale at VFA, has a number of familiar Johns’ symbols, including an imprint of the artist’s hand, which has appeared in various forms in Jasper Johns works over the years.

Willem de Kooning

Willem de Kooning’s contributions to Abstract Expressionism are well known. Components of the artist’s works deviate from various aspects of the human form and experience. Jaw lines, noses, eyes and necks — paired with elements derived from species of birds, fish and other animal life help create de Kooning’s unique style.

A series of Willem de Kooning lithographs from Quatre Lithographies are among the latest limited edition prints at Vertu Fine Art gallery. The works are exemplary of de Kooning’s gestural style, familiar shapes and colors, which demonstrate the artist’s Matisse and Picasso influences.

Helen Frankenthaler

The work of Helen Frankenthaler, one of the few women credited with furthering the success of Abstract Expressionism in America, are among some of the more heavily sought after pieces at VFA. One such work, produced to commemorate the Cleveland Orchestra’s 60th Anniversary Season in 1978, is simply entitled, “Untitled.” It’s a beautiful representation of Frankenthaler’s Color Field style, for which the artist is highly regarded. Helen Frankenthaler studied under another rather important figure, Hans Hofmann, whose teachings have often been celebrated for fueling the Abstract Expressionism movement in America.

You have to know how to use the accident, how to recognise it, how to control it, and ways to eliminate it so that the whole surface looks felt and born all at once.”
– Helen Frankenthaler

Robert Motherwell

Robert Motherwell’s Capriccio is one a of a handful of limited edition signed works from the artist that are currently for sale at the Vertu Fine Art. Capriccio is an excellent representation of the contrast, colors and abstract form for which Motherwell is best known. Robert Motherwell, who obtained philosophy degrees from Stanford and Harvard prior to becoming a New York artist in 1941, was well-versed to become a leading figure in Abstract Expressionism by the time the movement took hold.

Claes Oldenburg

Another artist who contributed to the Abstract Expressionist movement and is favored at the VFA Boca Raton gallery is Claes Oldenburg. The artist is perhaps best known for his dramatic public art installations, bringing to life fantastic Pop Art icons. Nonetheless, Oldenburg’s earlier works, including his captivating lithographs, clearly embody the interpretive attributes that speak volumes within the context of the Abstract Expressionist style.

I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something more than sit on its ass in a museum.”
― Claes Oldenburg

At Vertu Fine Art, collecting Abstract Expressionist works is ourpassion. Visit our gallery to see the latest from the masters who defined the movement. If you’re seeking specific works, please contact us for assistance.

Abstract Expressionism

Abstract Expressionism: Part I − A Profound Shift

Like all powerful art movements, Abstract Expressionism is a phenomenon that is the result of a perfect storm. In the years following World War II, as powerful nations worked to rebuild, both physically and emotionally, and millions of people were transplanted worldwide, change was undoubtedly in air. No wonder that New York City emerged as a Contemporary Art powerhouse, with the unconventional works of Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell and others signifying a new shift in the art world.

As with all things art, interpretation and debate fuel the fire. Some contend that Abstract Expressionism took hold primarily due to the timing of historically relevant events. Others credit profound new artistic techniques and processes, such as those implemented by Jackson Pollock in producing his famous drip paintings. Yet others contend that it’s those who helped define the movement – such as art critics Clement Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg – who may be largely responsible for the notoriety of Abstract Expressionism.

Some contend that it’s those who helped define the movement – such as art critics Clement Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg – who may be largely responsible for the notoriety of Abstract Expressionism.

Regardless of where one chooses to place credit, it’s clear that Abstract Expressionism represented a shift in the importance placed on the artistic process. Suddenly the philosophies, methods and techniques of the artist received as much consideration as the work itself, seen as the end product by some, and the byproduct by others.

Mark Rothko

In the case of Mark Rothko, an artist who rejected the label of Abstract Expressionism, his high minded philosophies greatly contributed to furthering the movement. In fact, one could argue that even the artist’s rejection of labels justifies the label itself – obviously being in line with the mindset of an Abstract Expressionist. In Rothko’s color-dominated works, he not only moved away from traditional subjects, his colors became the subject. Like other Abstract Expressionist painters, Rothko worked in large scale, which the artist claimed to increase the intimacy between his work and the viewer, as if larger equals closer, a perspective that grants the viewer greater access to the piece, making it more expressive and perhaps even more vulnerable.

Jackson Pollock

For many collectors and art enthusiasts, Jackson Pollock is the artist most credited with being a catalyst for the movement of Abstract Expressionism. Pollock’s unconventional methods – dripping, flinging and throwing paint onto an unstretched canvas on the floor – symbolized the degree to which artists could feel free to deviate from traditional approaches. The movements used to create such works indeed created a new style of painting, named action painting. Such paintings capture the imagination of the view in new ways, and bring into question whether the painter’s actions created intended results and even whether results where a consideration at all. Collectors and critics proposed that such works were merely evidence of the artistic event that transpired, rather than the sole purpose of the event.

Pollock’s unconventional methods – dripping, flinging and throwing paint onto an unstretched canvas on the floor – symbolized the degree to which artists could feel free to deviate from traditional approaches.

Side note: Have a little fun at − this interactive website makes it easy to create your own drip painting with moves of the cursor.

Franz Kline

Another Abstract Expressionist “action painter” of note is Franz Kline. Like Pollock, Kline pursued a style that reflected spontaneous production, allowing for the subconscious to participate in the creative process. Interestingly, Kline “prepared” for his acts of spontaneity, conducting a number of trial sketches − of strokes and canvas applications − to be produced. The results defined the artist’s iconic Abstract Expressionist works, conveying a strong improvisational and emotionally charged style.

If you’re a collector of Abstract Expressionist masters, drop on by our Boca Raton art gallery. If you’re seeking a particular work, please contact us and we’ll be happy to assist.

In our upcoming blog, Part II of our exploration of the Abstract Expressionist artists, we’ll take a close look at specific artists featured regularly at VFA.

Chuck Close Self Portrait

Chuck Close Artwork: Face Value

For a number of truly gifted artists, pursuing their craft is about something more than acquiring fame and fortune, it’s a chance to prove something important to themselves. Such is the case with American artist Chuck Close, whose foray into hyper-realism and photorealism are chiefly the results of self-serving motivations. While Close credits art critic Clement Greenberg for providing a healthy dose of inspiration, there’s more to the story.

In the late 1960s, when Greenberg declared that, “the one thing left that an artist can’t do is paint a portrait.” Chuck Close reports having famously thought, “All right, I like a challenge, and I won’t have any competition from anyone else. If painting was dead, figurative painting was deader than a doornail, and portraiture was the most moribund of all activities.”1

All right, I like a challenge, and I won’t have any competition from anyone else. If painting was dead, figurative painting was deader than a doornail, and portraiture was the most moribund of all activities.

The truth is that Clement Greenberg’s opinions were simply the tip of the iceberg for motivating Chuck Close. For Close, the act of capturing faces is self-serving beyond any indulgence of ego, the practice stems from an act of preservation. Close suffers from a medical condition called prosopagnosia, also known as “face blindness.” The artist literally has trouble recognizing faces of people who are even intimately close to him. Living with such an ailment means that Chuck Close has time and again unwittingly insulted people with whom he’s shared lengthy conversations and various social interactions, only to not recognize them even one day later.

To consider Chuck Close’s face blindness as his motivation to make portraits his niche, then one must also consider that his remarkable success as an artist is closely tied to overcoming a number of learning disabilities. Close describes his youth as being fraught with troubles emanating from his inability to keep up scholastically with classmates and friends. As a result, he latched onto the one talent he appeared to be gifted in spades. What’s so fascinating about Chuck Close’s artwork is that he overcame adversity to become an accomplished Abstract Expressionist painter, only to rather abruptly turn away, toward photorealism. Close challenged himself to find the art form that is indeed uniquely his own.

In addition to overcoming the learning disabilities of his youth, Chuck Close has also managed to persevere in spite of a severe spinal artery collapse suffered in 1988. The incident initially left him paralyzed from the neck down.  Fortunately, with physical therapy, the artist regained use of his upper body and has worked continuously, though with assistance. His work is nonetheless still in high demand, for very good reason.

The unique presentation of Chuck Close’s portraits have evolved via a variety of processes over the years.  His most recent technique embraces a grid system, with the artist mapping colors, textures, shadows and light − put forth in assortments of shapes – corresponding to sections of the image portrayed in associated spaces on canvas. From a distance, the viewer perceives the “photorealistic” work. Upon closer exploration of individual grid units, the abstraction of the photo rendering can be fully appreciated.  One of Chuck Close’s more famous works is the portrait painted of former President Bill Clinton in 2006.

Today, Chuck Close continues to work out of his homes in Manhattan and Bridgehampton, New York. If you’re a collector of Chuck Close, please be sure to visit us at Vertu Fine Art in Boca Raton, FL and peruse our collection of Chuck Close artwork for sale. If you’re seeking a particular piece from this incredibly talented national treasure, please contact us and we’ll be more than happy to assist.

Floored by Polly Apfelbaum Prints and Mixed Media

New York artist Polly Apfelbaum is one of the more unique Contemporary Artists working today. The artist is undoubtedly best known for her “fallen” paintings and mixed media installations, which are primarily crafted on floors. Recently, collectors have become intrigued with Polly Apfelbaum prints, some of which are currently available for sale at Vertu Fine Art Gallery in Boca Raton. Apfelbaum’s playful combination of vibrant colors, rich textures and funky shapes have become the artist’s easily identifiable brand.

With enormous talent as my savior, the most simplistic, seemingly low-minded subjects rise up under my tutelage and blow your mind.”

“Playful” is indeed the word that typically comes to mind when considering her work. “Childlike” is another, and in fact, it’s one that Apfelbaum relishes. Critics have compared her work to those that might be produced by young school-aged children. The artist perceives such comments as confirmation that her intentions are being effectively communicated. Sharing stylistic commonalities with Pop Art icons such as Warhol, Johns or Lichtenstein, Polly Apfelbaum’s prints and installations blast the viewer with whimsy. She joins a larger selection of great Pop Artists in presenting works with a mindset that says, “With enormous talent as my savior, the most simplistic, seemingly low-minded subjects rise up under my tutelage and blow your mind.” It’s akin to watching Tchaikovsky compose’ Love Me Do.

Apfelbaum’s genius is frequently manifested in works that feature dyed organic fabrics or ornate synthetic materials laid out on floors in installation spaces − allowing for participation among viewers. The installations are arranged in what appears to a randomly placed assortment. By moving around the space, participants gain a variety of perspectives that, in essence, change both perception and meaning.

In her art school years, Apfelbaum studies were focused on printing and painting. Within her career, as with most masters, Polly Apfelbaum apparently “fell” into her unique style, one that is most often described as a collaboration of painting, sculpture and installation.  In recent years, she has shown a resurging interest and gift for producing exquisite prints.

Among the Polly Apfelbaum prints for sale at VFU are a number of works from her “Flags of Revolt and Defiance” series.  The group of works, each paying tribute to a cultural or political revolutionary movement, includes 31 silkscreen prints in all, combining iconic representations with Apfelbaum’s “pop flower” shapes. The series was created for an installation at Columbia University’s LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies in 2006.

Polly Apfelbaum continues to receive praise and recognition for her art and most recently, she was named a 2012-2013 recipient of the 116th Annual Rome Prize.  The prize, which is “awarded to approximately 30 individuals who represent the highest standard of excellence in the arts and humanities,” grants stipend, studio, room and boarding for a period of six months to two years at The American Academy in Rome.  The artist’s prior accolades include being a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, among others.

Polly Apfelbaum’s works are current contributions to many public viewings worldwide, including internally spaces at FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais (Dunkerque and Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (France), Israel Museum (Jerusalem, Israel), Magasin 3 (Stockholm, Sweden) and a large variety of museums and public spaces domestically.

If you share our excitement for the works of this wonderfully talented artist, come in to our Boca Raton Gallery to view the current selection of Polly Apfelbaum prints for sale. If you’re a collector seeking a particular Apfelbaum work, we are always happy to assist in sourcing it for you. Thank you for visiting our website and taking an interest in the Contemporary Art that we enjoy so very much!

Donald Sultan Prints

Donald Sultan: Positively Brilliant Negative Space

There’s a saying about artists that speaks to the fact that while they often grow up seeking to move away from home, they spend the rest of their lives paying homage to where they’re from.  Such is the case with Donald Sultan, a favorite son of Asheville, Carolina, who has spent most of his career as a New York City based artist with a pervasive “tar heel” approach to his craft. In fact, one could say that Sultan is a Contemporary Artist whose use of tar, spackle and other industrial materials, has helped him “pave” his own road into the annals of art history.

Rising to fame as a New York artist during the Pop Art crazed 1970s, Donald Sultan remains an artist who can be difficult to subcategorize within the broad realm of Contemporary Art.  While his works are still life, they are nonetheless abstract, and many of the artist’s large scale edgier works conjure a bit of Pop Art sensibility.

Donald Sultan’s industrial themed works are gripping. Using square linoleum floor tiles, tar, plaster and paint, Sultan’s rich textual works provide eerie insights into dimly lit worlds. Each work features a time-frozen setting with subjects that reveal themselves in glances, existing in the artist’s familiar tar soaked climate. Street lamps, pavement, iron girders, train tracks, bricks and stone facades emerge in powerful forms, as if chiseled by the artist. Sultan is a master of incorporating the negative space into the core of his subject.

In Donald Sultan’s self-described “artificial” and “natural” themed paintings and prints, the tar-colored blackness creates deep negative space that anchors his favorite subjects − lemons, poppies, dominoes, dice, buttons, wallflowers, roses – allowing each to take a turn at center stage.

While much focus is given to Donald Sultan’s process and clever use of negative space, of equal value are the artist’s forms, which have become synonymous with the Sultan’s style. Indeed, it’s a style that continues to gain favor with collectors worldwide. Visitors to Budapest’s art’otel, a “hip design hotel” located on the Danube River, opposite the Hungarian parliament, are treated to view any number of the almost 600 original works by Donald Sultan displayed throughout the hotel.

In Donald Sultan’s shape-driven world, colors are always a surprise. Lemons and eggs may appear in yellow, white or pitch black.  Ovals are predominant in Sultan’s still life representations. Button holes, domino numbers, and poppy plant centers are typically knocked out, rendering most often in black or white. Yet, Sultan collectors are enamored as much by Sultan’s unique use of color. Organic tones of washed out yellow, red and orange and share space with more synthetic versions of aqua and a variety of blues and greens.

At Vertu Fine Art Gallery in Boca Raton, we’re pleased to own a number of impressive Donald Sultan prints, and we continue to seek others by this Contemporary Art master.  If you’re a collector or a fan of Sultan, please stop on in for a visit.  And of course, if you’re a Donald Sultan Collector seeking particular works, please contact us and we’ll be glad to be of assistance.

The works of Donald Sultan are included in a number of permanent collections in prestigious museums worldwide, including The Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum , the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art − all located in New York City. Others include The Tate Gallery in London and the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.

Art for Sale Alex Katz

Six Newly Acquired Contemporary Works Available At Vertu Fine Art

One of the more gratifying aspects of owning an Art Gallery in Boca Raton, Florida is to see the reaction of our guests as they peruse the space and take in the striking Pop, Optical and Abstract Expressionist works.  At Vertu, there’s fresh energy that comes from each new acquisition from our favorite artists.  Here is a glimpse of six works of art for sale that we’re quite certain you’ll enjoy.

Late Summer Flowers is a beautiful silkscreen from one of the great living American masters of our time, Alex Katz.  Katz, who’s now 86 years old, continues to impress critics and collectors with grand paintings and silkscreen limited edition works created at his New York studio. Late Summer Flowers is an “instant classic” from Katz. It contains many of elements for which the artist is most admired. Like Katz himself, this work emanates a genuine cool confidence.  This piece captures a moment in time through the eyes of an American icon, combining the artist’s unique subtle affect with rich a colorful palette and style that channels the influence of Henri Matisse.

New from British artist Damien Hirst is a striking lenticular print representation of For The Love Of God, a sculpture cast from a human skull, resulting in a platinum likeness covered with 8,601 diamonds of outstanding quality, totaling more than 1,100 carats. To view this work at VFA is to witness this striking piece in all of its three-dimensional glory, bearing incredible likeness to the controversial sculpture itself. Hirst, who is regarded as a founder of the 1990s YBA (Young British Artist) movement, has spent much of his career forcing Contemporary Art lovers to come “face to face” with their own mortality. For Hirst collectors who appreciate the artist’s pushing of boundaries, this is a fantastic addition.

Two stunning new works for sale at VFA’s Boca Raton art gallery are creations of Marc Quinn, another British artist who, like Hirst, rose to fame as a member of the YBA movement in the 1990s. Quinn’s work throughout the years have in many ways paralleled the works of Damien Hirst, in terms of hard-hitting tactics employed to force the viewer to consider the heaviest aspects of the human condition. With Stealth Kate, the latest Marc Quinn print available for sale, the subject, Kate Moss is considerably less heavy.  This sexy piece is a print representation of the artist’s Kate Moss sculpture, silkscreen printed with diamond dust applied, giving the piece an otherworldly aura.  This screenprint is a limited edition of 75 and appears destined to become a longstanding favorite of Quinn collectors.

Another new Marc Quinn work that’s gaining quite a bit of favorable attention at VFA is Blue Planet, an impressive large-scale silkscreen print. Blue Planet is part of a series from Quinn based upon photographs of various human irises, each taken with a powerful lens. This iris print indeed bears resemblance to the planet, dominated by fascinating tones of blue, speckled with yellow, green, orange and red objects that easily resemble land masses.

One of the things we love about Contemporary Art is how quickly we can change gears, moving from Quinn’s realism to an astounding new Pop Art acquisition from one of America’s living Pop Art legends, Claes Oldenburg. The artist, who has received much acclaim over the years for his public installations, many of which feature oversized versions of ordinary objects − made extraordinary by their unanticipated appearance in assorted public spaces. Hard Times Bulb – Night is a unique Oldenburg lithograph that demonstrates the minimalist style of an artist who managed to tap into the American psyche and secure his place in Pop Art history.

Our latest acquisition from Frank Stella, entitled Stubb & Flask Kill A Right Whale-Dome, is an exciting work now available at our VFA Boca Raton gallery. The depth of this piece is sure to pull the viewer in and take the imagination for a joyful ride.  Frank Stella’s layers of geometric patterns within this work are nothing short of mind-boggling.  Movement is this piece begins and stops, and begins again. A strong majestic piece for a Stella collector, and indeed, anyone who appreciates such genius use of light, color and composition.

Free Ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints

Free Ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints

We believe that the more you know, the more you will appreciate fine art prints.

In our Ebook you’ll learn:

  • A short history of prints from the earliest woodcut to contemporary processes
  • Which artists most influenced the making of fine art prints
  • What questions to ask when buying prints
  • The fundamentals of print identification
  • Terms and techniques for identifying fine art prints
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