A New Look at Helen Frankenthaler

Fierce Poise: Helen Frankenthaler and 1950s New York

Fierce Poise: Helen Frankenthaler and 1950s New York was recently published by Penguin Press. The book was written by Alexander Nemerov, an arts and humanities professor at Stanford University and an esteemed scholar of American art. His father, Howard Nemerov, had a link to the Frankenthaler. Howard Nemerov, served twice as America’s poet laureate. He taught Frankenthaler when she was a student at Bennington College in the late 1940s and was an acquaintance of art critic, Clement Greenberg, with whom Frankenthaler had a tumultuous relationship from 1950 to 1955.

Each chapter of the book focuses on a significant day in the artists life during the 1950s, the years that her painting technique created a transition from Abstract Expressionism to Color Field painting.

Helen Frankenthaler grew up on Park Avenue, the youngest of three daughters. Her father was a prominent New York State Supreme Court judge, who adored his youngest daughter, her mother a homemaker whose family emigrated from Germany.

Frankenthaler’s privilege allowed her a fine education and a Manhattan studio, but her life was not without sorrow. Her father died when she was eleven. Her mother, who had depression related to Parkinson’s disease, killed herself by jumping out of her apartment window when Frankenthaler was twenty-five.

Nemerov writes about Frankenthaler’s early aspirations of becoming an artist. She would walk with her Nanny from her Park Avenue apartment to the Metropolitan Museum several blocks away, drawing a chalk to mark the route.

When her Mountain and Sea was exhibited in 1953, a New York Times critic called the show, “sweet and unambitious.” Mountain and Sea now hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

In 1958, Frankenthaler married Robert Motherwell, a Harvard-educated artist who also came from a wealthy family. The marriage ended in 1971, a time when both artists were still creating significant work. In Motherwell’s case, it was his Basque Series. Black and Blue, a silkscreen from that series is available at VFA.

Frankenthaler began working with master printmaker, Kenneth Tyler, in 1976. She experimented with silkscreens and woodcuts with excellent results, like Snow Pines available at VFA.

Frankenthaler’s career spanned six decades. She was the recipient of 26 honorary doctorates and numerous honors and awards, including the National Medal of the Arts in 2001. Her works are part of the permanent collections of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the National Gallery of Australia, the Museum o Modern Art, the Guggenheim and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and other venues around the world.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Motherwell, or any of the fine artists whose works are available at VFA.


References:
Adam Gopnik. Helen Frankenthaler and the Messy Art of Life. The New Yorker. April 5, 2021.
Susan Stamberg. With ‘Fierce Poise,’ Helen Frankenthaler Poured Beauty Onto Canvas. NPR. March 23, 2021.
Lily Meyer. New Helen Frankenthaler Biography Favors Nostalgia Over Artist’s Interiority. Hyperallergic. March 23, 2021.
Philip Kennicott. Helen Frankenthaler came from wealth and privilege. Her art transcends that. The Washington Post. March 19, 2021.

David Hockney and Ugo Rondinone: Recent Acquisitions at VFA

David Hockney 1937 – present

In 2006, David Hockney published a book called Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters. The book examines the optical tools that the Old Masters, like Caravaggio and da Vinci, used to create their hyperrealistic works.

Hockney has always been interested in, not just the oldest technology, but the latest technology. He has been using his iPad for years with superb results.

In 1984, Hockney was on his way to an exhibition of his work at the Museo Rufio Tamayo in Mexico City. His car broke down, and he was forced to make an impromptu stay at the Hotel Romano Angeles in Acatlan. While he waited for his car to be repaired, Hockney was inspired to photograph and draw the hotel’s courtyard, exploring space and perspective. When he returned to L.A., he worked with master printmaker, Kenneth Tyler, to create lithographs using lavish ink sketches on Mylar sheets. The results were a series of lithographs called The Moving Focus Series.

One of our recent acquisitions, Hotel Acatlan: Two Weeks Later, is one of lithographs in the series; a wonderful example of the colors and perspective that makes Hockney’s works so distinctive.

Another of Hockney’s works from the same time period, Self-Portrait on the Terrace, is expected to sell for between $8 million and $12 million at Sotheby’s New York contemporary art auction next month.

Also available at VFA are My Shirt and Trousers, one of Hockney’s finest iPad drawings, done in 2010, and other fine works by David Hockney in a variety of media.

David Hockney’s works are currently on exhibit at The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, where they have been placed alongside those of Vincent van Gogh’s, in an exploration of the similarity of both artists view of the world around them. Hockney–Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature will be on exhibit through June 20, 2021.

Ugo Rondinone 1964 – present

Ugo Rondinone, 2016

Ugo Rondinone is best known for his large public installations, that combine natural elements and bold colors.

The Swiss-American artist works in his Harlem studio and vacations at his home in Matera, Italy.

He currently has exhibitions at the Sorlandets Kunst Museum in Kristiansand, Norway and the Association Kunsthalle Marcel Duchamp in Cully, Switzerland. Last year he had an exhibit of ten-foot high massive bronze cast sculptures at the Galerie Eva Presenhuber in Zurich.

Rondinone continues to create beautifully done, limited edition silkscreens of concentric circles in stunning color blends.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of David Hockney, Ugo Rondinone or any of the other fine work available at VFA.


References:
Designboom. Ugo Rondinone’s Monumental ‘nuns + monks’ sculptures Exhibited at Galerie Eva Presenhuber. November 4, 2020.
Fang Block. David Hockney’s ‘Self-Portrait on the Terrace’ Could Fetch $12 Million. Barrons. March 22, 2021.
Nora McGreevy. How the ‘Ecstatic Joy of Nature’ Unites Vincent van Gogh and David Hockney. Smithsonian Magazine. March 4, 2020.

Recent Works by Jonas Wood and Kenny Scharf at VFA

Jonas Wood 1977 – present

Jonas Wood is one of America’s finest contemporary artists. His use of stylized shapes and bold color make his works instantly recognizable.

Wood has been living and working (and quarantining) in the Los Angeles studio that he shares with his wife, sculptor Shio Kusaka and their two daughters.

Bromeliad, a recent acquisition at VFA, is a screenprint that combines the shapes and colors that define Woods’ work. Pattern Couch Interior with Mar Vista View is more unusual. Done as a soft ground etching, a technique that was invented in the mid-18th century and became less popular as modern lithography techniques were enhanced. Wood has softened his lines and omitted his signature colors to create a stunning combination interior, landscape and still life.

Jonas Wood’s work is included in the permanent collections of many institutions, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Fundación Jumex in Mexico City, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Marciano Art Foundation in Los Angeles, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, the Broad Foundation in Los Angeles, the Museum of Modern Art in New York; and Whitney Museum of American Art.

Kenny Scharf 1958 – present

The work of Kenny Scharf, like the artist himself, is quirky and fun.

Scharf first came onto the art scene during the 1980s in New York, along with Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. His wild colors and patterns have been part of his style, so the recently acquired Flores Black sculpture is unique to Scharf’s oeuvre.

A documentary about the artist, Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide, is scheduled to be released in theaters and on digital platforms across the country next month. The documentary was directed by his daughter, Malia Scharf and co-director Max Basch. It was filmed over a period of eleven years.

“I felt inspired by a fantasy and nostalgia of a time and place I’d only ever heard about yet somehow had been surrounded by my entire life.” Malia said, “I dreamt of meeting a community of artists whom I would deeply connect with and find myself the way that Kenny and his friends had. This, as well as my fathers incredibly special and obsessive need to live and breathe his art in every way. Nothing remained untouched from our toaster to our TV.”

Kenny Scharf was born and raised in LA. He moved to Manhattan, earning a B.F.A. in painting at the School of Visual Arts in 1980. Scharf moved between the east and west coast for years, but has been spending more time in LA in recent years.

Scharf’s works are in the permanent collection of the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach, the Jewish Museum in New York, the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Monterrey, Mexico, the Museu de Arte Moderna in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Sogetsu Museum inTokyo, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam,  and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Jonas Wood, Kenny Scharf or any of the other fine artists whose works are available at VFA.


References:
Katya Kazakina. Basketball, Poker Propel Painter to Pinnacle of the Art World. Bloomberg. March 21, 2019.
Madison Nagle. The Meteoric Rise of Jonas Wood, Presented by T1. OceanDrive. April 29, 2019.
Alina Cohen. How Jonas Wood Got His Start as an Artist. Artsy. June 28, 2019.
Neha Aziz. Explore the Life of Kenny Scharf – SXSW Filmmaker In Focus. SXSW Online. February 17, 2020.
Dray Ramos. Greenwich Entertainment Acquires SXSW Docu ‘Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide’. Deadline. February 23, 2021.
Fred Lambert. Tesla Model X with over 400,000 miles gets turned into a piece of art by Kenny Scharf. Electrek. March 18, 2021.

Featured Artists and Recent Acquisitions at VFA

At VFA we have recently acquired works by Andy Warhol, David Hockney, KAWS, Julian OpieUgo Rondinone and Kenny Scharf.

Here’s a look at just a few of the new works now available at VFA.

Andy Warhol 1928-1987

Andy Warhol moved from Pittsburgh to New York in 1949, armed with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in pictorial design and an abundance of talent. His initial success was as a commercial illustrator…and the rest is history.

In 1959 Warhol self-published a tongue-in-cheek cookbook called Wild Raspberries, named after the Ingmar Berman film Wild Strawberries.

The book was a spoof of the 1950s cookbooks that were done to inspire American cooks to recreate French dishes. Warhol invented dishes like Seared Roebuck, Gefilte of Fighting Fish and Omelet Greta Garbo, which, he wrote, should “always to be eaten alone in a candlelit room.”

Warhol self-published just 34 copies of the cookbook, and most of those were given as gifts to family and friends.

A rare copy of Wild Raspberries, signed by the artist, will be auctioned at Bonhams later this month.

Our recent Warhol acquisitions include Pepper Pot Soup, Green Pea Soup, Grace Kelly and San Francisco Silverspot.

Warhol’s beautiful representation of the San Francisco Silverspot Butterfly, done in 1983, is very timely. The Silverspot is currently on the endangered species list.

KAWS 1974 – present

Brooklyn-based artist Brian Donnelly, aka KAWS, is being honored with a retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum, which was the first New York museum to acquire his artworks.

The show, KAWS: What Party, features more than 100 pieces, including early bus stop ads to which KAWS added his signature style in the 1990s.

The exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum will be on exhibit through September 5, 2021.

At VFA we have works by KAWS in a variety of media, and have recently acquired a limited edition wooden Pinocchio sculpture.

Julian Opie 1958 – present

This year British-born Julian Opie has solo exhibits in Seoul, Knokke, Oslo, Tokyo and London. His large public sculptures are recognizable around the world. We have recently acquired sculptures that are a more manageable size than his public statues, as well as Small Birds, a series of acrylic relief works.

Please contact us for more information about our recent acquisitions or any of the other fine works available at VFA.


References:
Tessa Solomon. Andy Warhol’s Cheeky Cookbook Heads to Auction at Bonhams. ARTnews. March 9, 2021.
Emilia Ong. Observer/Anthony Burgess prize for arts journalism 2021: Emilia Ong on Andy Warhol at Tate Modern. The Guardian. March 14, 2021.
Nadja Sayej. Kaws: behind the pop culture artist’s Brooklyn retrospective. The Guardian. March 15, 2021.
Ben Davis. Why KAWS’s Global Success May Well Be a Symptom of a Depressed Culture, Adrift in Nostalgia and Retail Therapy. artnet news. March 3, 2021.

Basquiat & Haring: Art + Music

The Art and Music of Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)

“Art is how we decorate space, music is how we decorate time.”
—Jean-Michel Basquiat

Time Decorated is a new documentary series, produced by the Broad Museum, that examines the impact of music on the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat and the impact of Basquiat on music. The documentary asserts that Basquiat was the connection between the bebop and hip-hop worlds.

In the 1980s Basquiat became part of the Downtown New York club scene, along with artists and musicians like Keith Haring, Madonna and Debby Harry.

In 1983, Basquiat created paintings of his Bebop music heroes like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, the same year that he produced and released a hip-hop single Beat Bop on his own label.

Basquiat’s connection to the Broad Museum in Los Angeles began when the museum’s founders, Eli and Edythe Broad, visited Basquiat’s studio in New York and invited him to visit them in LA.

The three part documentary series Time Decorated is available at the Broad Museum’s website.

The Continued Relevance of Keith Haring (1958-1990)

The public has a right to art. The public is being ignored by most contemporary artists. Art is for everybody. – Keith Haring

Keith Haring left his hometown of Kutztown, Pennsylvania in 1978 to study painting at the School of Visual Arts. He worked as a busboy and a janitor, doing whatever it took to keep creating the works that he wanted to be seen.

His subway drawings got him the public attention he garnered and he signed with his first gallery in 1982. In 1983 he had his first show in Europe.

Sweet and sincere, Haring’s social activism was easy for the public to embrace. His  murals, like the one he did, gratis, at Grace House, a center for at-risk youth in New York, are still fresh and relevant.

The mural was taken down, preserved and sold to an anonymous collector for nearly $4 million to help finance the renovations at Grace House in 2019. It is currently on loan to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver.

In his recent book, Lives of the Artists: Keith Haring, author Simon Doonan looks at the extraordinary career of the artist who died in 1990 at age 31, and whose legacy still resonates and endures.

The works of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, available at VFA.


References:
Lexis-Olivier Ray. How Music Steered the Art of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Hyperallergic. March 2, 2021.
Madeleine Luckel. Why Artist Keith Haring Still Deserves Your Attention. Architectural Digest. February 19, 2021.
Jacqueline Cutler. Artist Keith Haring’s zest for life, his iconic work and his tragic death. New York Daily News. March 5, 2021.
Michael Paglia. Keith Haring’s Grace House Mural Makes Exhibition Debut at MCA Denver. Westword. March 8, 2021.

Roy Lichtenstein Pops! in Sarasota

Roy Lichtenstein Pops! in Sarasota

Roy Lichtenstein pushed the envelope in the early 1960s with his Pop paintings that blurred the lines between high and low art.

The horticultural team at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida has pushed the envelope even farther, with a wonderful exhibit that brings to life the work that Lichtenstein was inspired to do after a visit to Claude Monet’s garden in  Giverny, France.

The exhibit features an indoor display of Lichtenstein’s Water Lilies With Reflections series, a limited edition of large-screen prints that are his Pop version of Monet’s water lilies.

Lichtenstein was a prolific printmaker throughout his career, and his prints played a major role in establishing printmaking as a significant art form in the 1960s. He began producing prints in 1962, using the offset lithograph technique that was more often used in commercial printing, and he began a long-term collaboration with the printmaking studio Gemini G.E.L. in 1969. Lichtenstein often used industrial materials such as Plexiglas, metal and Rowlux plastic in his work. The Rowlux added a shimmering texture to works like Landscape 6, available at VFA.

The staff at the Selby even placed Ben-Day dots on walkways and added sculptural elements like cartoon speech bubbles as an homage to Lichtenstein’s oeuvre.

Roy Lichtenstein: Monet’s Garden Goes Pop! will be on display through June 27, 2021.

The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Endowment to the Columbus Museum of Art

The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation was established after his death in 1997 and has been overseen by his wife, Dorothy Lichtenstein, president of the Foundation.

This year the Foundation gave a $1 million endowment to the Columbus Museum of Art to support a rotating fellowship, named the Lichtenstein Foundation Curatorial Fellowship for Diversity and Inclusion in the Arts. Roy Lichtenstein received his Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Ohio and taught at the school for a decade.

The Works of Roy Lichtenstein at VFA

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


References:
Madeline Luckel. Monet’s Giverny Blooms Anew in Florida, By Way of Roy Lichtenstein. Architectural Digest. February 19, 2021.
Jay Handelman. Selby Goes Pop! with Roy Lichtenstein exhibit. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. February 13, 2021.
Jessica Poitevien. Monet’s Most Famous Paintings Are Getting a Pop Art Twist at This Immersive Exhibit in Florida. Travel + Leisure Magazine. February 25, 2021.
Earl Hopkins. The Columbus Museum of Art receives $1 million for new fellowship program. The Columbus Dispatch. February 17, 2021.

A Tribute to Fine Art Prints

For the past decade, Vertu Fine Art has focused on increasing appreciation for and education about Fine Art Prints. The success of the VFA Gallery is a testament to the interest that prints have garnered and the outstanding knowledge of our clientele.

A current show at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin pays tribute to the Fine Art Print and to the extraordinary man whose collection celebrates this great art form.

After Michelangelo, Past Picasso: Leo Steinberg’s Library of Prints is an exhibit of part of the private collection of 3,200 prints that Steinberg donated to the University of Texas at Austin after teaching at the College of Fine Arts. The collection, valued at $3.5 million, ranges from prints by Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Goya to ones by Matisse, Picasso and Jasper Johns.

The New York Times called Steinberg, “one of the most brilliant, influential and controversial art historians of the last half of the 20th century” and “an inspirational lecturer, a writer of striking eloquence and an adventurous scholar and critic who loved to challenge the art world’s reigning orthodoxies.”

In the 1960s, Steinberg began collecting fine art prints which, in those days, often sold for pennies, and which he  could afford on a college professor’s salary. Although his passion was European prints made between 1500 and 1800, Steinberg’s collection was very broad. He scoured the bookstores, antique dealers, and frame shops in New York, London and Paris, sometimes paying only pennies for astounding finds that included woodcuts, engravings, etchings and lithographs.

Steinberg’s teaching and writings inspired, not only mid-century ideas about art, but inspired artists like Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg to reimagine printmaking.

By the mid-1970s, Fine Art Prints began to gain the respect they deserved from museums and galleries. Artists like Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, David Hockney and Helen Frankenthaler worked with master printer Kenneth Tyler until Tyler’s retirement.

The prints of Alex Katz are some of the most sophisticated and masterly, which is why we chose one of his masterworks to grace the cover of our free ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints.

One of our favorite contemporary artists, Jonas Wood, has set up a press in his studio and has been creating lithographs and screenprints.

The art of the woodcut, which has been around since the Han Dynasty, before 220, is still being used by modern artists  as diverse as Yue Minjun and Jim Dine.

At VFA, we will continue to pay tribute to the Fine Art Print and the artists who create them.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the Fine Art Prints available at VFA.


References:
Lauren Moya Ford. How Leo Steinberg Saw the Profound Importance of Prints Before Most. Hyperalleric. February 15, 2021.
Taylor Defoe. A New Show of Leo Steinberg’s Print Collection Reveals the Critic’s Deep Appreciation for the Medium’s ‘Circulating Lifeblood of Ideas’. artnet news. February 8, 2021.
Nancy Kenny. Unorthodox preacher: Leo Steinberg’s prints helped explore and explain his sometimes controversial theories. The Art Newspaper. February 5, 2021.
Ken Johnson. Leo Steinberg, Art Historian, Dies at 90. The New York Times. March 14, 2011.
Blair Asbury Brooks. What Did Leo Steinberg Do? A Guide to Understanding the Brilliant Art Historian of “Other Criteria”. Artspace. September 2, 2014.

KAWS and David Hockney: Featured Works at VFA

KAWS: What Party

The Brooklyn Museum is hosting the first major New York survey of the twenty-five year career of Brian Donnelly, the artists known as KAWS.

KAWS is one of the world’s most beloved artists (with 3.2 million Instagram followers) whose works resonate with people around the globe.His Kimpsons Album painting sold to an anonymous bidder for $14.8m at a Sotheby’s auction in 2019. Paintings from the Kimpsons Series are available at VFA.

The Brooklyn Museum exhibit is called What Party, the name of some of his most iconic sculptures. Versions of What Party are available at VFA. The exhibit includes graffiti drawings, paintings, small collectables, furniture, recent augmented reality projects, and sculptures, including a new major commission for Rockefeller Center.

KAWS
Untitled (Haring), 1997

Included in the show is a 1997 poster of Keith Haring, one of KAWS’ inspirations. “In my neighborhood, there was a bus shelter ad for Haring’s show at the Whitney so it was fair game.” he said in a recent interview in Vogue magazine. “I loved his democratic approach to making art and how he made it accessible through the Pop Shop, so painting over his output felt natural.”

KAWS has had great success in the Indie toy world that has increased demand for his work. He says that he likes the universal appeal of the toys. “Kids my age in Mexico were growing up on the same Smurfs that I grew up with.” he said,  “A lot of my paintings are flat, similar to cartoons. I like the feeling this work creates when you’re in front of it, especially at the scale I work at.”

KAWS: WHAT PARTY will be on display at the Brooklyn Museum through September 5, 2021.

David Hockney: Ma Normandie

David Hockney settled in Normandy two years ago, before the pandemic, and has used the lockdown as an opportunity to paint the landscape in and around his farmhouse.

David Hockney and Ruby at home in Normandy, 2020

Most museums  and galleries in Paris remain closed, so art lovers, who had limited, advance tickets, flocked to the Lelong Gallery to see Ma Normandie, the David Hockney exhibit. All of the paintings were sold before the exhibit opened to the public.

David Hockney
Beuvron-en-Auge Panorama, 2019

The exhibit will run through February 27, 2021.

Sotheby’s has announced that David Hockney’s Tall Dutch Trees After Hobbema (Useful Knowledge) will be offered at its Spring auction. The painting is expected to garner between $8.8 to 11.5 million.

The work is one of a series of twenty paintings. It was featured on the April 23, 2018 cover of The New Yorker.

David Hockney continues to work, in Normandy, on his iPad drawings as well as acrylic paintings.

The works of KAWS and David Hockney at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of KAWS, David Hockney or any of the other fine artists whose works are available at VFA.


References:
Liam Freeman. A Private Viewing of the New KAWS Exhibition with the Artist Himself. Vogue. February 16, 2021.
Mark Westall. New KAWS Exhibition to Provide 360-Degrees Survey of His 25 Year Practice. FAD Magazine. February 16, 2021.
Shanti Escalante-De Mattei. Beyond KAWS: The Authentic World of Indie Art Toys. ARTnews. January 27, 2021.
Ali Mohammed-Ali. Brooklyn Museum Announces KAWS-Inspired Art Classes. Hypebeast. February 5, 2021.
Rob Nowilll. An Epically-Scaled David Hockney Artwork is Coming to Auction. Hypebeast. February 5, 2021.

Keith Haring’s Collaborations, Celebration of 80 Years at the Norton Museum

Keith Haring’s Collaborations

In the recently published book, Keith Haring’s Line: Race and the Performance of Desire, author Ricardo Montez looks at the way that Keith Haring connected with those around him, and how race and gender influenced his works.

Haring was very social, very driven and very curious about the world around him. He filled journals with pages of drawings, calligraphy and poetry. He collected the works of artists whom he met and admired in New York.

His legacy, the Keith Haring Foundation, supports not-for-profit organizations that assist children, as well as organizations involved in education, prevention, and care related to AIDS. Works from Haring’s personal collection were auctioned off last September to benefit New York’s LGBT Center. Haring’s collection included works by Andy Warhol, Kenny Scharf, Jean Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichtenstein and other incredible and influential artists, whose works are available at VFA.

In 1978, Haring was a student at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He painted a mural for an exhibit in the student gallery at 260 West Broadway. The building, an 8,000 square foot triplex loft has been converted to a private residence, with the original mural intact. The asking price for the Tribeca loft is $8 million.

Alex Katz, Jeff Koons Featured at the Norton Museum’s 80th Anniversary Celebration

The Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach opened its doors to the public on February 8, 1941 and has been an integral part of the community for the past eighty years.

Norton Museum of Art postcard, circa 1941 Courtesy of Norton Museum of Art.

The museum was renovated in 2019 with a new look and nearly 60,000 square feet of new or renovated space.

To mark the Norton’s 80th Anniversary, the museum held a virtual anniversary celebration and an art auction hosted by Sotheby’s.

Works by Alex Katz and Jeff Koons were featured in the auction.

One of the current exhibits at the Norton are prints and drawings from the collection of Esther M. and Sumner L. Feldberg. The collection includes work by Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Sol Lewitt and other fine print artists. The exhibit runs through March 28, 2021.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Keith Haring, Alex Katz, Jeff Koons or any of the other fine artists whose works are available at VFA.


References:
Adriana Delgado. Norton celebrates 80th anniversary, virtual party and auction. Palm Beach Daily News. February 4, 2021.
Adam Rathe. Palm Beach’s Norton Museum Gets a Renovation by Norman Foster. Town&Country Magazine. February 5, 2019.
Dana Schulz. For $8M, this Tribeca loft comes with an original Keith Haring mural. 6sqft. February 9, 2021.
Danilo Machado. Keith Haring’s Lines of Desire. Hyperallergic. February 8, 2021.
Cassie Packard. Keith Haring’s Personal Collection Will Be Sold to Benefit New York’s LGBT Center. Hyperallergic. September 24, 2020.

The Fine Lines of Austin Lee and Timothy Curtis at VFA

Many ultra-contemporary artists, meaning those born after 1974, use fine line drawings to create their figurative, landscape, abstract and realistic works.

Some fine line artists, like Timothy Curtis, began their careers as graffiti artists. Others, like Austin Lee who has an MFA from Yale, have been classically trained.

Austin Lee 1983 – present

The works of Austin Lee begin as computer drawings. He even uses a Virtual Reality headset to get three-dimensional effects that appear in his paintings, prints and sculptures.

Austin Lee, 2019

For Lee, it’s not just the form that he’s interested in, it’s also the vibrant colors that define his work.

“On the computer, the color’s really luminous because of the light, versus a painting’s subtractive color,” he says. “On the computer that’s really easy to make, but then to make that with paint is a little trickier. So for me, I’ll be like, ‘Oh, that’s really cool — how do I paint that?’ If I just made a painting physically first, I might not arrive at that. On the computer, it’s endless drawings. I could just draw forever and there’s no risk and I can try everything.”

Timothy Curtis 1982 – present

Graffiti artists have as many different motives for placing their ‘tags’ in public places as they have in the styles they use for their work.

Timothy Curtis, 2017

For Timothy Curtis, who grew up in West Philadelphia, graffiti was a way of life, a way to have fun. The fun he had on the streets of Philadelphia cost him seven years of jail time.

The jail time was well spent. Curtis studied art history and honed his skills, especially the skill he has of drawing faces.

Smiley faces, embellished with a bow tie or a dollar sign, were often used by graffiti artists when Curtis was beginning to get into graffiti.

In prison, where inmates would receive letters and family photos, he drew portraits of his fellow inmates to send to their families in lieu of photos.

In his work, Curtis continues to use faces as expressions of storytelling. “They are portraits or masks that come from the line I developed through all the things I’ve learned through the years: tagging, calligraphy, art history, fighting, climbing, running, taking, giving, even other artists I’ve learned from and admire. It’s all muscle memory and it’s all included in these lines. They are the result of my history and I hope to learn how to use them properly to tell the story I want to tell. It’s really intense to capture so many emotions on one canvas. I’m trying to get them to be more human and relatable to an actual person, as opposed to being too cartoony or candy looking.”

Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Austin Lee, Timothy Curtis or any of the other fine art for sale at VFA.


References:
Keith Estiler. Austin Lee Crafts Whimsical New Artworks for “Aah” Exhibition. Hypebeast. September 16, 2020.
Jessica Stewart. 8 Different Types of Drawing Styles You Can Try Right Now. My Modern Met. August 21, 2019.
Kristen Tauer. Austin Lee Mounts Solo Exhibition ‘Feels Good’ at Jeffrey Deitch. WWD. March 6, 2019.
Joey Garfield. Timothy Curtis: Never One Day Not Having Fun. Juxtapoz. April 2017.

The Clean Lines and Bold Colors of Jonas Wood and Alex Katz

Jonas Wood 1977 – Present

Jonas Wood in his studio with the family dog, Robot, 2019
The New York Times Magazine. Credit: Chantal Anderson

The clean lines and bold colors in the paintings and prints of Jonas Wood have made his works some of the most sought after in the art world.

The LA-based artist’s work has been in high demand in the U.S., Europe and, especially, in Asia. He gets much of his inspiration from the environment he lives and works in, and from the pottery that his wife, artist Shio Kusaka, creates in the studio that they share.

Jonas Wood
Jacket designed in collaboration with Jeff Hamilton to honor Kobe Bryant, 2021

Wood has been commissioned to create textile designs for Dior and other fashion houses. His latest project is a one-of-a-kind jacket to honor Kobe Bryant. The jacket won’t be sold. It’s going to be given away as a tribute to the philanthropic works that Bryant was known for.

LA-based company, Advisory Board Crystals, commissioned the jacket, which will be given away next month. To win the jacket, entrants must follow @advisoryboardcrystals on Instagram, tag a friend and perform a “random act of kindness,” the proof of which must be emailed to studio@advisoryboardcrystals.com.

Alex Katz 1927 – Present

We compete for audiences, as artists. I’m competing with the Abstract Expressionist guys, I’ll knock ‘em off the wall. If you put my work next to an aggressive A.E. painting, I’ll eat most of ‘em up. And I want to compete with the kids. I’m there with the kids.
– Alex Katz

Alex Katz, 1977
Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the artist

In 1977, the year Jonas Wood was born, Alex Katz had turned 50. He had bucked all the popular art trends of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s and found (and stuck with) his unique style of painting.

Alex Katz Times Square Mural, 1977

Jonas Wood names Alex Katz as one of the post-modern painters who has influenced his work. It is easy to see, in the clean lines and bold colors, the influence of Katz’s work in Wood’s paintings.

At 93, Katz is holding his own alongside younger artists like Wood. He currently has solo shows in New York, Paris and Vienna and upcoming shows in 2022 are scheduled in Spain, the Netherlands, Japan and the U.S.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Jonas Wood, Alex Katz or any of the other fine artists whose works are available at VFA.


References:
Eric Twardzik. A Cult Streetwear Brand Is Giving Away a One-of-a-Kind Jacket Honoring Kobe Bryant. Robb Report. January 27, 2021.
11 things we learned from Jonas Wood’s new interview. Phaidon. 2018.
Lou Stoppard. Alex Katz: the ‘artist of the immediate’ on why his time is now. Financial Times. November 2, 2020.
Emma Brockes. Interview: Alex Katz: “The smartest people bought my work’. The Guardian. October 29, 2018.

Ed Ruscha Does L.A., Michael Craig-Martin in London

Ed Ruscha Does L.A.

Ed Ruscha, c. 2005

In 1956, when he was eighteen, Ed Ruscha left his home in Oklahoma City and traveled to Los Angeles to study at the California Institute of the Arts. After graduating, he worked as a layout artist at an ad agency.

Ruscha has an extraordinary talent for casting ordinary objects and places in a new light and giving the viewer a new appreciation of their form.

Ed Ruscha
The Whisky a Go Go Club

In 1966, Ruscha mounted a motorized camera in the bed of a Datsun pickup truck and drove slowly up and down Sunset Boulevard, shooting thousands of frames in a single, continuous session. The truck moved slowly, so he put a sign on the back of the truck that read, “Please Pass.”

For over forty years, Ruscha photographed the Strip and other areas of L.A. The Getty Research Institute has launched an interactive website of Ruscha’s photos, taken between the mid-1960s and 2007.

Called 12 Sunsets, the site lets you choose a red pickup, blue Volkswagen bus or red Beetle and a year in which you can  travel along the Boulevard.

Though the Strip saw much social and artistic upheaval during the years he photographed it, Ruscha was more interested in the changing landscape design, the architecture and the signage that signaled social changes.

Ruscha worked with artist and master printmaker,  Richard Duardo, who was a driving force in the Chicano art community in Los Angeles. “It’s not artist-makes-print, but rather artist-and-printer-make-print.” Ruscha said.

After Duardo’s death in 2015, Ruscha designed Zoot Soot, available at VFA, in memory of Richard Duardo.

At 83, Ruscha still lives and works in Culver City, California.

Sir Michael Craig-Martin

Sir Michael Craig-Martin

In August of 2019, six steel sculptures by British artist Michael Craig-Martin were installed around Kinder Lake at Discover Green in Houston. It was the first exhibition of the Michael Craig-Martin’s sculptures to be seen in Texas, and only the second venue in the United States. Then came the pandemic and Craig-Martin has been sheltering in place in London, where he lives and works.

Craig-Martin, who was knighted in 2016, was born in Dublin, raised in the U.S., where he studied at the Yale School of Art and Architecture. In 1966 he moved to Britain, where he had his first solo exhibition in 1969. During the 1980s he was a tutor at Goldsmiths College, where he taught many of the emerging Young British Artists, including Damien Hirst. 

He was asked by BBC Arts to design a poster to honor the National Health Service (NHS) in Britain for its service during the pandemic. He created a poster of Gerbera Daisies, for adults and children to color in and display as a show of support for the work of NHS staff. The poster is available to download from the NHS website.

Usually Craig-Martin draws and sculpts everyday objects, but since the lockdown he’s been stuck at home and hasn’t been able to go to his studio. He’s been drawing objects from the supermarket. “Normally I’m strict about drawing mass-produced, fabricated objects, ordinary objects.” he said, “But over the past few weeks I’ve had a very good rush of work and I’ve been drawing nothing but fruit, flowers and vegetables. They are the only things I see. You can’t buy clothes, you can’t buy furniture, you can’t buy high tech. But I’m starting to see things I hadn’t noticed before. I’m struck that I’ve been able to produce dozens of drawings, where anybody could look at them and say, ‘that’s a strawberry, that’s fennel, that’s a carrot’.”

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Ed Ruscha and Sir Michael Craig-Mrtin available at VFA.

References:
Sebastian Smee. Ed Ruscha’s stunning Sunset Strip art project lets you tour its full length, east to west — and back in time. The Washington Post. January 9, 2021.
Tobias Carroll. “12 Sunsets” Revisits Ed Ruscha’s Visual History of the Sunset Strip. Inside Hook. January 10, 2021.
Mark Rozzo. Ed Ruscha Still Has Plenty More to Say About America. Vanity Fair. May 30, 2018.
Pascale Hughes. Sir Michael Craig-Martin on creativity under coronavirus lockdown: ‘Art doesn’t have parameters’. iNews/Culture. May 1, 2020.

The Surreal and Pop at VFA

Carlos Joao Alvarez Guerra Gonzalez 1980 – present

The works of Carlos Gonzalez are a cross between Andy Warhol’s attitude and Rene Magritte’s style. He is a fine portrait artist and surrealist painter whose focus is consumerism and culture.

Gonzalez was born in Havana, Cuba in 1980. After graduating from the Academy of San Alejandro he studied at the University of the Arts in Havana from 2006 to 2009.

Gonzalez currently lives and works in South Florida, where he has become an active part of the arts community.

Andy Warhol 1928-1987

It’s hard to believe that it was just a little less than two years ago, at Super Bowl Llll, that a huge crowd was sitting in a stadium in Atlanta watching Andy Warhol eat a burger from Burger King. Viewers blew up Google, searching for information about Andy. The ad caused a stir of controversy, which is what Warhol himself did during his lifetime and certainly earned him another fifteen minutes of fame.

Warhol was a very successful commercial artist in New York, working for clients like Tiffany’s and Dior, before getting his own work shown at galleries.

His take on American consumerism resonated with art lovers. “What’s great about this country,” he said, “is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest.”

Warhol’s work, and persona, still resonates with the public. Many of his photographs are currently on display at the Galerie Italienne in Paris.

His talent as an artist is often forgotten, overwhelmed by his large persona. Unique works like Tidal Basin, done for submission to the Washington Post, and Brooklyn Bridge, both available at VFA, reveal his remarkable talent.

Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997

Although they thought along similar planes, and both became Pop icons, the works of Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol were different in ideology and approach.

Lichtenstein’s work, though taken from comic book cells, had its roots in high art. Throughout their lives, the two artists collected each other’s works but were more like frenemies than colleagues.

Like Warhol, Lichtenstein’s works are still sought after and widely exhibited.

Roy Lichtenstein: Monet’s Garden Goes Pop!, an exhibit of Lichtenstein’s recreations of Monet’s works, will be on view at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in downtown Sarasota, from February 13 through June 27, 2021.

The artworks for the exhibit are on loan from the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation and private collectors.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Carlos Gonzalez, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein or any of the fine artists whose work is available at VFA.

References:
Eileen Kinsella. Pop or Flop? Burger King’s Andy Warhol Super Bowl Ad Succeeded in Alienating Pretty Much Everybody. artnetnews. February 5, 2019.
Keith Estiler. Largest Exhibition of Andy Warhol’s Photographs to Go on Display in Paris. Hypebeast. December 18, 2020.
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens to Showcase Pop Art Icon Roy Lichtenstein’s Take on Monet’s Garden. ArtfixDaily. January 12, 2021.

Honors for Derrick Adams, Tweets for David Hockney

Sheltering in place for most of us is a new experience, but for many artists sheltering in place is not much different than what they do much of the time.

Derrick Adams and David Hockney live on different continents, but both have been working have been working with, and in, their surroundings.

Derrick Adams 1970-

Derrick Adams in front of his mural for the LIRR

Derrick Adams has been appointed to Pratt Institute’s Board of Trustees. Adams received his BFA from Pratt, in Art and Design Education, in 1996 and was given Pratt’s Alumni Achievement Award in 2018. He completed  his MFA from Columbia University in 2003.

He has also been honored by being named one of 15 new inductees into the National Academy of Design.

Adams is an Assistant Professor of Art at Brooklyn College.

Derrick Adams
Nostrand Avenue LIRR mural, 2020

He recently completed a mural at the Nostrand Avenue station of the Long Island Railroad (LIRR), just a few blocks away from his Brooklyn Studio.

The mural is made of of 85 panels of laminated glass artwork that spans the length of the newly renovated platforms and extends on to four new pedestrian bridges. “As a longtime resident, I was inspired to create this work as a response to the vibrant cultural surroundings and diverse population which I see in motion on a daily basis,” Adams said. “The figures fuse with architecture and nature as a representation of the progressive impact left by generations of growth. These hybrid structures represent the many important components which reside together to form a thriving community.”

David Hockney 1937 –

For more than a year, David Hockney has been painting the views, on his iPad, from the window of his home in Normandy.

David Hockney painting at home in Normandy, 2020

The New Yorker magazine commissioned Hockney to create an image for the December cover. Hockney did an iPad painting of his fireplace.

David Hockney
The Hearth
The New Yorker, December 21, 2020

The cover created a stir on Twitter, with critics tweeting that the drawing is too simplistic to grace the cover of the sophisticated magazine.

The New Yorker’s art director Françoise Mouly, who commissioned the work and interviewed Hockney for a piece in the issue, said, “For these short, dark days, David Hockney offers the traditional comfort of a hearth.”

The trolls on Twitter may not know Hockney’s work and that he broke the auction record for a living artist in 2018.

The 83-year-old artist has always been interested in using technology to help create his works.

In 1985 Hockney used panoramic photography to create his Moving Focus Series in Mexico. A lithograph from the series is available at VFA.

Hockney currently has solo exhibits at the Galerie Lelong in Paris and the The Morgan Library and Museum in 
New York and upcoming exhibits at The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston
Texas and the Royal Academy of Arts in
London.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Derrick Adams and David Hockney, or any of the other fine artists whose works are for sale at VFA.

References:
Rich Pietras. Art Professor Derrick Adams Among 15 New National Academy Of Design Inductees. Brooklyn College. December 23, 2020.
LIRR’s Newest Elevators Unveiled in Brooklyn at Nostrand Avenue Station. MTA Construction & Development. February 3, 2020.
Pratt Institute’s Board of Trustees: Recently Elected Members and New DEI Committee. Pratt Institute News. December 16, 2020.
Francoise Mouly. David Hockney’s “Hearth”. The New Yorker. December 14, 2020.
Hannah Yoest. How David Hockney Trolled the ‘New Yorker’. His latest cover art set off a (small, cozy) firestorm. The Bulwark. December 15, 2020.

Roy Lichtenstein, Austin Lee & Eddie Martinez

Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997

Roy Lichtenstein, 1993

Roy Lichtenstein’s keen intellect and talent led him to become one of the most influential forces in the Postmodern era of art in America.

He was a university instructor with a Masters in Fine Arts, and took a lot of heat in the 1960s for combining fine and commercial art until the Pop culture was embraced.

Last July, one of his later works, Nude with Joyous Painting, done in 1994, sold at Christie’s auction for more than $46 million.

Although best know for his paintings, Lichtenstien was also a sculptor and lithographer.

We have some of his finest and unique works available at VFA, including a porcelain Landscape Mobile sculpture done in 1990 and Landscape 6a screenprint collage, done in 1967.

Austin Lee 1983 –

Austin Lee

Like Roy Lichtenstein, the playful style of Austin Lee’s work belies his superior intellect and ability. The New York-based artist received his Masters of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Art in 2013.

In a 2019 piece about his Feels Good show in New York, Sarah Nechamkin wrote in Interview Magazine, “I’m into Austin Lee’s Feels Good because I’ve always wanted to peer inside the Claymation-ized mind of a child high on Elmer’s glue and Lisa Frank. Lee’s portraits of happy-go-lucky humanoids, painted in various shades of Day-Glo, can only come from the imagination of someone not yet corrupted by the cynical forces of fine detail.”

Lee does his preliminary sketches on an iPad and then uses Photoshop or virtual reality technology to complete his work.

Lee’s 2019 Brush Bear is for sale at VFA.

Eddie Martinez 1977 –

Eddie Martinez in his studio, 2017

Graffiti was Eddie Martinez’s medium of choice, until the possibility of arrest made him reconsider graffiti on walls and he opted for work on canvas. Martinez spent a year at the Art Institute of Boston and then set up a studio in Brooklyn, where he creates works that are distinctive and dynamic.

His work has been some of the most sought after in the art market. New York gallerist, Josephine Nash said that his “work is collected globally, and equally by younger and more established collectors.”

Martinez often works in series and repeated design. His paintings and lithographs are instantly recognizable.

Some of his finest lithographs are available at VFA.

Roy Lichtenstein and Other Featured Artists at VFA

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

References:
Roy Lichtenstein’s ‘Nude with Joyous Painting’ big hit, Christie’s online sale fetches $421 mn. Economic Times Magazine. London Edition. July 14, 2020.
Martha Schwendener. The Armory Show: Playing It Safe During an Unsettled Time. The New York Times. March 5, 2020.
Sarah Nechamkin. Into: Austin Lee’s Uncynical Day-Glo Humanoids. Interview Magazine. March 2019.
Benjamin Sutton. Why Painter Eddie Martinez Is Having His Biggest Market Year Yet. Artsy. August 6, 2020.
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