The Work of Derrick Adams and other Featured Artists

Don’t Touch My Derrick Adams

In one of the episodes of the TV series Empire, Cookie, the tough family matriarch, tells two men who are moving a painting, “Don’t you touch my Derrick Adams.”

Adams, the Brooklyn-based, Baltimore born artist was commissioned to create a portrait, that features prominently, for the show.

A still from Beyoncé’s film Black is King, 2020.

Adams’ work looks at personal and political aspects of Black culture in America. His work now appears in Beyoncé’s latest film, Black is King.

Derrick Adams
Style Variation 10, 2019
Featured in Beyoncé’s film Black is King.

Available at VFA is Adams’ Self Portrait on Float, part of his Floaters series that depicts joyful scenes of African Americans at play. “Sometimes a normal social gathering can represent a radical space.” Adams said. “I’m often inspired by the people around me at parties, and how they are making important changes to society. You can go to a social event and still get things accomplished.”

Works from the Floaters series are part of an exhibit called Derrick Adams: Buoyant, currently on display at the Hudson River Museum. The show will run through October 18, 2020.

Also featured in Beyoncé’s film is work by New York-based, Swiss artist, Ugo Rondinone.

The works of Derrick Adams and Ugo Rondinone are both featured at VFA.

Sculpture Milwaukee Features Work by Alex Katz, Julian Opie and more of our Featured Artists

Sculpture Milwaukee is an annual event that can be viewed safely…both in person and virtually…now and into the winter months.

Workers in Milwaukee installing Jim Dine’s 2019 sculpture, Jim’s Head with Branches.

The downtown exhibit includes works by some of our favorite artists, including Jim Dine, Alex Katz, Julian Opie and Carlos Rolón.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of featured artists for sale at VFA.


References:
Alex Greenberger. The Art of ‘Black Is King’: Beyoncé’s New Visual Album Involves Today’s Best Artists and Curators. ARTnews. August 3, 2020.
artnetnews. Art Industry News: A Guide to the Many Art-Historical References in Beyoncé’s New Album ‘Black Is King’ + Other Stories. August 3, 2020.
Maleke Glee. Here are the Black Artists in Beyonce’s Black is King. Sugarcane Magazine. August 1, 2020.

Katherine Bernhardt’s Slime, Alex Katz in Shanghai

Katherine Bernhardt spent part of the quarantine stranded (happily) in Guatemala. She is back at the home and studio in Brooklyn, but stores some of her artwork in a building that she bought in her hometown of St. Louis.

Katherine Bernhardt’s building after being whitewashed by St. Louis Forestry workers.
Photo credit: Elizabeth Bernhardt.

Bernhardt painted a mural on the side of the building that was whitewashed by a city-affiliated graffiti removal program, even though the artist painted the work on her own property.

On a happier note, Bernhardt and her son were walking down Broadway last year and happened upon the building that is currently housing the Sloomoo Institute…a project that donates money to three mental health charities – NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), Sad Girls Club, and Love is Louder.

The Sloomoo Institute is a place where people go to play with slime, a healing, stress-relieving activity. (The name Sloomoo comes from something that avid slimers do. They replace the vowels in their name with  “oo” to get their “slime name”.)

Bernhardt was asked to collaborate with the Institute and come up with a slime design that would be fun and could be sold in their shop.

What Bernhardt and the team came up with is a watermelon-scented slime with little black beads that look like seeds. A clay-slime watermelon slice on a stick gets squishy when it’s dipped into the slime, which is topped with an avocado, a banana and watermelon slices.

The work was released for purchase on July 20, 2020.

Alex Katz in Shanghai

Alex Katz’s cutout sculptures at the Fosun Foundation in Shanghai

Alex Katz has always marched to a different drummer, creating his unique style that has become sleeker and even more refined during his long and flourishing career.

A view of part of the Alex Katz exhibit in Shanghai

His portraits and sculptures of family and friends, the landscapes done around his summer home in Maine,  have been the foundation of works for more than seventy years.

He has influenced many artists, but was never one to be influenced by current trends. His resolve didn’t make him popular in the 1950s and ’60s, but it has paid off and he has earned the status of one of America’s greatest artists.

The Alex Katz exhibit at the Fosun Foundation in Shanghai will run through August 9, 2020.

Works by Katherine Bernhardt and Alex Katz at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Katherine Bernhardt, Alex Katz or any of the other featured artworks at VFA.


References:
Erin Heffernan. Artist’s Black Lives Matter mural is whitewashed by city contractor. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. July 21, 2020.
How Slime Became a Signature Motif for Katherine Bernhardt. Cultured Magazine. July 21, 2020.
Katy Hamer. Interview: Artist Katherine Bernhardt on her Slimy Collaboration with NYC’s Sloomoo Institute. Cool Hunting. July 21, 2020.
Murray Whyte. How the Maine coastline shaped the painter Alex Katz. The Boston Globe. June 26, 2020.

Inspiring Fine Art

If you haven’t been baking bread (yeast sales are up 475%) or making a mini-museum for your gerbils or gecko, you may be immersing yourself in art.
Many of us have been immersing ourselves in virtual tours of museums, studying great art, and others have  become art.

Thousands of recreations of art, done at home, have been posted on line. Many of the works have been skillfully crafted by staff members of the Rijksmuseum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre, the Getty and the Hermitage.

The Getty Museum in Los Angeles has challenged art lovers to recreate artworks using three things that are lying around the house.

The practice of creating dramatic scenes, known as tableau vivant or living picture, dates back to the 1700s. The art of tableau vivant is still practiced in Laguna Beach, California every year at the Pageant of the Masters, where residents dress up to recreate famous works of art.

Inspiring Fine Art at VFA

Being inspired by works of art is our constant motivation at the Vertu Fine Art Gallery. Many of the works in our gallery would make wonderful living pictures (that’s not a challenge, just a thought).

Art takes us to places we may never visit, it helps us see the world from different perspectives. it gives us empathy and help us to understand people, places, times, and subjects that we might never have considered before.

You don’t have to put on an orange hat, ride an elephant, wear Pucci Pants or dance ballet to appreciate the fine art available at VFA.

References:
Katherine J. Wu. Miniature Gecko Art Gallery Premieres on the Heels of Viral London Gerbil Museum. Smithsonian Magazine. April 17, 2020.
Katy Kelleher. Art Recreation Is the Only Good Instagram Challenge. The New York Times. April 17, 2020.
Sam Anderson. The Surreal Fine-Art Spectacle in Laguna Beach. The New York Times Magazine. September 12, 2014.

Take Part in Art During the Quarantine

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The quarantine has been a springboard for many of us to learn new skills, study things we never had time for in the past and find gratitude for many of the things that we used to take for granted. The viewing of fine art through virtual museum and gallery tours has greatly increased. Auction houses are reporting that younger, first time art buyers from countries around the world are showing an increased interest in fine art.

There are a lot of DYI sites on line and some great ideas, kooky ideas and terrible (but still interesting) ideas out there. Here are a few of the highlights:

Build a Gallery

Nine-month-old brothers Pandoro and Tiramisù survey London’s newest art institution, The Gerbil Museum (photo courtesy museum trustees Filippo and Marianna)

On a quiet Sunday, a couple of art lovers, quarantined in London, decided to create an art gallery for their gerbils, Pandora and Tiramisu.

Although the original art is very classic, and classy, the gerbils seemed to enjoy the furniture more than the art. They completely ignored the prominently posted Do Not Chew sign.

Do The Toosie Slide

Drake, the Canadian Rapper, posted a video that went viral, when he danced The Tootsie Slide through his 50,000 square foot home outside of Toronto.

What caught our attention was what showed up at the :45 second mark: the Andy Warhol screenprint of Chairman Mao on the wall of Drake’s home, just like one that we have, for sale, on our wall at VFA.

Learn to Screenprint

You probably don’t have photo emulsion at home, but you can still learn the screenprint process by watching the How to Print Like Warhol  video from the Tate Modern.

Artists like Andy Warhol and Alex Katz make screen printing look simple. Knowing the amount of thought and work that goes into a deceptively simple appearing work like Katz’s After Degas or Coca Cola Girl 3, which is a 20-color screenprint, lends a new level of appreciation to the work.

Draw a Picture

Paul Klee wrote, “A drawing is simply a line going for a walk.”

If you’ve got a pencil and paper, there are some great drawing tutorials on line, like the videos done by middle school teacher, Jessica Hopper, who uses ketchup, coffee and other household items in the ‘Quarantine Edition’ of her YouTube art tutorials.

A screenshot from one of Jessica Hopper’s recent “Art Club: Quarantine Edition” videos

Drawing is not as simple for all of us as it was for Paul Klee (or as it is for Julian Opie), but it may be worth a try.

Contact us at VFA

Please phone or connect with us online if you have any questions about the works in the VFA gallery.
We hope you, your friends and family stay safe and well.

References:
Hrag Vartanian. A Couple Made a Mini-Museum for Their Gerbils to Visit During Quarantine. April 6, 2020.
Michael Saponara.  7 Things You Might Have Missed Inside Drake’s House in ‘Toosie Slide’ Video. Billboard. April 3, 2020.

An Orange Hat

We would like to express our gratitude, during this difficult time, for the continued support of family, friends and art lovers.

Vertu Fine Art will continue to offer the best fine art prints, paintings and sculpture available. We are happy to answer questions and communicate on line and by phone.

It was just last month that we were at the Art on Paper Fair in New York City, where we showcased the works of Alex Katz, the consummate New Yorker. The Whitney has been planning a retrospective of Katz’s work for 2022. Hopefully, the exhibit, to honor one of the world’s most outstanding contemporary artists, will take place as scheduled.

One of the most visited sites in New York has been the giant OY YO sculpture by Deborah Kass. We have a limited edition of this sculpture available, whose message is very relevant during this trying time.

We at VFA, hope you stay safe and healthy, and find comfort and joy in the art and beauty that surrounds you.

Christo in Paris, Alex Katz in Madrid

Christo in Paris

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alex Katz in Spain

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

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

Alex Katz
Blue Umbrella, 1972

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

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

The Works of Christo and Alex Katz at VFA

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

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

Summer at VFA: Featured Artists

We’re getting ready to travel up to the Market Art + Design Show at the Bridgehampton Museum in upstate New York and wanted to give you a little preview of a few of the artists whose work we’ll be featuring at the show and in the VFA Gallery.

Mel Bochner: Top Dog

In a world where there’s so much information coming at us, Mel Bochner uses language and humor to engage viewers. A master printmaker, Bochner brings texture and rich color to each of his prints.

“As an artist I like to delve into those things, like using etching, as it’s never been used before.” Bochner said in interview with Tulsa Public Radio. He says that some of his silkscreens “have a hundred different colors to make it look like one color. Even if the viewer can’t know that there are a hundred screens in that, there’s a quality to that blue that you can’t get anywhere else. There’s a uniqueness. I think anyone who really gets engaged in this thing called printmaking wants to explore all those possibilities.”

The texture in Bochner’s monoprint, Top Dog, available at VFA, comes from his use of specially handmade paper, engraving, collage and embossing.

Deborah Kass: OY YO 

In 2015, Deborah Kass’ 18 feet tall by 17 feet long aluminum OY YO sculpture was placed on the waterfront in New York’s Brooklyn Bridge Park. It read OY if you were viewing it from Brooklyn and YO if you were seeing it from Manhattan. OY YO became an instant icon after it appeared on the front page of the New York Times, and became a tourist destination, and a background for wedding photos, graduation and class photos and many, many selfies.

Much of Kass’ work is about power in art and society and she often reworks the art of 20th century  iconic male artists. Kass first created OY as a painting, after Ed Ruscha’s OOF panting and then did YO as a nod to Yo Picasso, the self-portrait Picasso did in 1901.

OY YO is currently installed in front of the Brooklyn Museum. A smaller, more manageable version of OY YO is available at VFA.

Ugo Rondinone: Untitled

Ugo Rondinone likes to work large. He creates temporary, monumental sculptures that resemble totems. Rather than fitting in with their surroundings, Rondinone’s works clash with their surroundings, like Human Nature, on display in Rockefeller Center in 2013.

Rondinone lives and works in New York. He was born in Switzerland, of Italian parents, in 1964. Like his sculptures, Rondinone’s paintings and prints are large, with brightly colored concentric circles or black and white gnarled trees.

Untitled silkscreen, available at VFA, is a large five-foot square silkscreen, that uses the wild and wonderful trademark Rondinone colors.

Alex Katz: Coca-Cola Girl

It’s been wonderful to watch Alex Katz age gracefully – both physically and artistically. He’s going to turn 92 in a few weeks and his work is as sleek and elegant as ever.

His recent Homage to Degas series of paintings and sculptures, and his simple landscapes are masterful works that showcase Katz’s refinement of his signature style. Coca-Cola Girl, available at VFA is another example of Katz’s ability to fine-tune his art.

KAWS: Ankle Bracelet

KAWS giant Companion sculpture will be relaxing at the Fujinomiya’s Fumotoppara Camping Ground this summer, giving campers a spectacular view of both the sculpture and Mount Fuji.

Kaws: Holiday at Mt Fuji will be on exhibit for just a week from July 18 to 24. Companion has already been to Seoul, Taipei and Hong Kong. If you can’t make it to Mt. Fuji,  you can view Companion, and other work by KAWS in our gallery.

Please give us a call if you would like more information about the works at VFA. Or make Vertu Fine Art part of your summer itinerary and stop by for a visit.

 

 

Alex Katz and His Muse: “To Paint What’s in Front of You”

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Ada was working as a research biologist at Sloan Kettering in the fall of 1957. She had recently returned from studying tumor genetics in Milan on a Fulbright when she walked into the Tanager Gallery for the opening night of an art exhibit. Alex Katz’s art was on the walls. The two met. She still maintains she was shy about visiting galleries. He’s adamant she was already a legend in the New York City art-world.

The two were married in February of 1958. Katz has now painted his wife and muse more than 200 times, and he isn’t done painting at age ninety-one. His ninety-second birthday will be at the end of July, and he still has a tenacity and strength that’s easy to catch in his eyes.

Alex Katz graduated from Cooper Union in 1949 where he received formal training in modern art theory and technique under Morris Kantor. He is highly competitive by nature, and his fierce drive and passion are noticeable in his interviews. In his words, “At Cooper, I went from someone who was basically incompetent to being the best painter in the school.” This ambition and fierce independence would lead him into new styles in art and to the development of a distinct artistic voice.

It was like feeling lust for the first time.

The summers following brought him to Skowhegan in rural Maine where he developed techniques on landscape painting and direct painting—immediately putting down what one sees on canvas. Direct painting coincided with Katz’s artistic motivation, “To paint what’s in front of you.” The school would bus their students out to the Maine countryside, and the students would paint in the open-air. Talking about his experience of direct painting, “It was like feeling lust for the first time.” For Katz, painting is an instinctual drive. Skowhegan was known at the time as a provincial school, and Cooper Union was the very center of the modern art world, but Katz was incorporating information from both worlds.

Abstract Expressionism and Realism were the two dominant trends in art in the 1950’s, but Katz was seeking an artistic language of his own. He wanted to bridge American abstract painting with the technique of the great European artists. He wanted a “big technique” like the masters, and he knew the only way to get there would cost him time. He spent ten years in flats with no hot water, borrowing paint from a friend who owned an art store.

His education in both Abstract Expressionism and Realism came to a head in the late 1950’s. He knew he was a figurative painter, but he was torn between the two dominant trends within society and within his education. His competitive and idiosyncratic personality was pushing him towards different adventures. During this pivotal point in his life, he destroyed over 1000 of his prints that he felt inadequately expressed his perspective. It was during this period in his life when he stumbled into Ada, who became the subject he would paint more than anyone or anything else.

After meeting Ada his focus turned towards portraiture and what he would term “specific” portraits. Traveling home on the subways, he would collect material, studying the faces, the colors of strangers’ clothes. During this time his paintings became larger. He scaled up to canvases as large as nine-and-a-half-feet wide by six-and-a-half-feet high. To paint on this scale he employed a technique from the Renaissance, pouncing, which he still uses today to produce his larger works. In pouncing one draws the image with small pinholes on a large brown paper, and dry pigment is then pushed through the pinholes to leave an outline.

I’m not a pop artist …

Katz says, “I’m not a pop artist, and people can’t see my work as realistic, either.” Pop art found inspiration in commercialized objects while the realistic schools would attempt to copy experience directly. Katz began to adopt some of the techniques of Pop art, especially in the use of large flat areas of color, but always found a real subject. His works translate well in prints, and feel at home enlarged to cover walls. But he had no desire to make Campbell’s soup or Marilyn Monroe the center of his focus, instead he returned over and over to the woods and coast of Maine, and his wife and muse, Ada.

Please contact us if you would like more information about Alex Katz’s prints available at VFA, or download our free e-book to learn more about the world of fine art prints.

See More Alex Katz Prints for Sale

References:
www.alexkatz.com/bibliography/selected_articles_and_reviews/
Alex_Katzs_Subway_Drawings_Give_a_Glimpse_of_1940s_New_York-Felsenthal_Julia-Vogue
www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-alex-katz-on-faces-flowers-and-saying-no
www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/08/27/alex-katzs-life-in-art
www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IZSX1vkhrU&t=2902s
www.nytimes.com/2006/08/27/style/tmagazine/painted-lady.html

Alex Katz: Nothing Fussy

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

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

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

and upcoming exhibits at:

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

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

Alex Katz: Nothing Fussy

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

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

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

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

Alex Katz at VFA

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

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

See More Alex Katz Work for Sale

Alex Katz Prints and Paintings in Boca Raton, Florida

Still Time to See Alex Katz: Small Paintings at the Boca Museum

Alex Katz didn’t begin to do the large paintings that he is so well known for, until the early 1960s, about fifteen years after he graduated from Cooper Union and began his career as an artist. He still creates small studies, both drawn and painted, in preparation for his larger works, and their painterly quality is superb. Katz’s early works, small paintings, are on display along with his larger works at the Boca Raton Museum of Art.

The exhibit Alex Katz: Small Paintings opened last November at the Boca Raton Museum of Art and will run through April 8, 2018.

Alex Katz: The Smile Series

Women, fashion and women in fashion have always played a large role in Katz’s works. He’s currently working on a Calvin Klein series, in which his models are posed in classic cotton Calvin Klein underwear. In a recent interview in Women’s Wear Daily, Katz said that style helps to keep his work current. ““Fashion helps make my art exist in the present tense. If fashion achieves style, it always looks good and the same thing is true with painting.”

Katz said that fashion has always been a large influence in his life. “My parents were interested in fashion. They’d watch the movies and talk about how so-and-so wore the clothes. In the Seventies, fashion was considered too ephemeral for a serious artist to do, which made it more interesting. I did a lot of work with fashion and a lot of serious people didn’t like it and I didn’t care.”

The Smile Series, completed last year, is a series of portraits of Katz’s favorite models, including Ada, his muse and wife of sixty years. Ada from Smiles ll is for sale at VFA.

Katz has been painting women in little black dresses since 1960. When his last series of paintings was shown in 2015, Calvin Klein wrote the forward to the catalogue. “I also love what a simple black dress says about the woman who wears it.” Klein wrote. “By making such a subtle and concise choice, she’s letting the world know she is strong and her sense of self is powerful.”

Alex Katz Prints and Sculptures For Sale at VFA

Alex Katz is a masterful painter, who can distill his subjects with subtle color and composition, intense light and skillful brushstrokes. At age 90, Katz says that he is painting better than ever.

Please contact us for more information about Spring Flowers, Ada from Smiles ll, Ulla from Black Dress or any of the other works by Alex Katz for sale at VFA.

See More Alex Katz Artwork for Sale

If You Like Alex Katz’s Flowers, You’ll Love Donald Sultan’s…

Though a generation apart, both Alex Katz and Donald Sultan are expert painters, printmakers and sculptors, whose works share a clean, crisp style and sharp focus on subject. Both artists have had a really good year, with the inclusion of their works at Miami Art Week.

Alex Katz

At age 90, Alex Katz says this is, “the most productive time in my whole life, right now.” He’s finished painting some enormous, atonal Maine landscapes, a new technique for him, which are on exhibit in London and New York.

Katz’s work is also on exhibit at the Boca Raton Museum of Art. The museum is showing a group of rarely seen small paintings, which he uses as preliminary studies for his widely known larger works.

It’s still Katz’s practice to produce small paintings, which have different colors and textures than his large paintings. Seeing the brush strokes and forms on the small paintings gives the viewer a peek into the transformation of Katz’s ideas from preparatory work to finished paintings and prints.

Alex Katz: Small Paintings is currently on exhibit and runs through April 8, 2018.

Donald Sultan

Donald Sultan’s Disaster Paintings, done between 1984 and 1990, were exhibited at major venues around the country this year. Starting at the Lowe Art Museum in Coral Gables with a stop at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the paintings depict catastrophic disasters that Sultan gleaned from newspaper photos.

When asked why he stopped painting disasters, Sultan said, in a Forbes interview, “People asked me why I quit and it was because the imagery I was using became pervasive. That’s not why I did them. I did it because that was the way the world was going. Part of the American way of painting was industrial. I never was comfortable with illustration; I was interested in the way paintings were made.”

Sultan went on to explore the use of color, texture and design, using tar on linoleum squares and precise patterns of dots, beginning with dominoes and, eventually, flowers.

The Flowers of Alex Katz and Donald Sultan

Although their techniques and approaches to subject are different, both Alex Katz and Donald Sultan approach the depiction of flowers with great care and precision. Both artists render their works, paintings, prints and sculptures, with apparent simplicity of design and color, although the simplicity is deceptive.

The Works of Alex Katz and Donald Sultan at VFA

Please contact us for more information about Spring Flowers, Blacks and Blues, or any of the other fine works by Alex Katz and Donald Sultan available at VFA.

See More Donald Sultan Artwork for Sale

See More Alex Katz Artwork for Sale

References:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamlehrer/2016/08/31/iconic-painter-donald-sultan-shows-seminal-1980s-works-the-disaster-paintings-on-national-tour/#3da00e3c11f9
https://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/sultan

Irma & New Work

Gratitude After Irma

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, we have been reminded of a valuable lesson at VFA. The lesson is one of gratitude. Although many of us are still without electricity and some conveniences, our families, our homes and the Gallery got through the storm with relatively little damage. We are showing our gratitude by helping the community, in any way we can, return to a sense of normalcy.

Our friends and neighbors have been working together in a spirit of unity. There are many ways to help get our community back together after Hurricane Irma. We urge you to join us in helping, by volunteering if you can, or by donating to clean up efforts. The Red Cross has proven to be a vital part of our area’s recovery.

Vertu Fine Art

Our sincerest thanks goes out to the friends, family and clients who have shown their care and support before, during and after the storm.


New Work at VFA

Vertu is featuring new acquisitions from Tom WesselmannAlex KatzJulian OpieFrank StellaShepard Fairey and Mel Bochner.

Fine Artists and Master Printers

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There are artists whose vision can only be achieved by creating fine art prints. Techniques like oils, acrylics, watercolors or sculpture can not always achieve the result that the artist envisions.

The fine art prints for sale at VFA are created by fine artists, who often collaborate with master printmakers. Like a marriage, the relationship between artist and printer must be one of trust, respect and understanding. (Many of the relationships between artist and printer have lasted longer than many marriages.)

Picasso and His Printer in Paris

Intaglio printer, Roger Lacourière, worked with Matisse in the late 1920s and Picasso, beginning in the 1930s. Lacourière not only helped Picasso with his art work, he also introduced him to French art dealer Ambroise Vollard, who introduced, not just Picasso, but Cezanne, Renoir and other artists, then unknown, to the art world.

The shop was eventually taken over by Lacourière’s master printer Jacques Frélaut, and renamed “Lacourière et Frélaut.” The Atelier Lacourière et Frélaut is still a thriving business, where contemporary artists from all over the world go print their work.

Tourists in Paris pass by the workshop, with its simple facade, every day without a hint of the exciting work that is going on inside.

Chuck Close and His Printer in New York

Master printers are able to achieve the textures, colors and feel that the artist has conceived. With an artist like Chuck Close, who works with a myriad of colors and design, the print process can be very complex.

Close’s Self-Portrait, completed in 2015, took four years of work to create. This fine art print, available for sale at VFA, was done in more than 80 colors using 24 wood blocks.

Pace Prints and the Pace Gallery have been supporting artists like Chuck Close, Ed Ruscha, Keith Haring, Donald Sultan and many more, since the 1960s.

Alex Katz, Richard Diebenkorn and Their Printer in San Francisco

Crown Point Press is across the street from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The building was originally built in 1922 for the San Francisco News. Crown Point was established in 1962. In 1965 it began to publish prints by Richard Diebenkorn and Wayne Thiebaud.

Artists like Alex Katz, Ed Ruscha, Helen Frankenthaler and Robert Mangold have worked with the master printers at Crown Point.

The gallery at Crown Point Press is open to the public. Workshops in etching and photogravure are held every summer and are also open to the public.

Fine Art Prints for Sale at VFA

The fine art prints for sale at VFA are the works of great artists and master printers. For more information about the printing process, you can download our free Ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints.

Please visit or contact us if you would like more information about the work in our gallery.

The Fashion of Alex Katz

Alex Katz has been painting bold and cool portraits and landscapes since the 1950s. He’s 89, still works every day and has become an icon of millennials who relate to his daring aesthetic. “I was always trying to make something new.” Katz said in a recent interview, “But now I feel the world caught up with me.”

Katz’s art has been resonating with the world of fashion for years. He’s done designs for Barney’s and this month the Swedish brand H&M unveiled a line of clothing and accessories done by Katz. Fashion has always played a large part in Katz’s work. The Little Black Dress, bathing suits, hats, jackets have all taken center stage in his paintings. Katz designed stage sets and costumes, for about thirty years, for the dancer Paul Taylor.

“A lot of the art world is controlled by art historians.” Katz said in an interview for Paper Magazine. “And many of them think art is frozen, but actually, art is very connected with fashion. I think it goes in three-year cycles, just as fashion does. Fashion is a great big thing that goes through the whole European-American world, and art tries to hook onto it just like everything else. Many think that people control the art world and what’s in fashion, but they don’t. It’s something that runs amok. We artists don’t make this stuff up by ourselves…it’s just our response to the culture.”

The culture also responds to Katz, whose paintings, prints and sculptures have been exhibited in over 200 solo exhibits and are part of more than 100 public collections world wide. It was Katz’s Paris art dealer, Thaddaeus Ropac, who was approached by the Swedish company to see if Katz would be interested in creating a clothing line. Katz’s sleek style resonates both here and abroad.

“Painting is not an isolated art; it relates to everything that’s going on.” Katz said, “A good artist hooks onto the wave. Somehow, he’s in touch with what’s going on.”

Katz says he goes out less often than he used to and spends more time working in the SoHo studio that he’s lived in since 1968. He and Ada, his wife and muse, spend three months of the year at their farmhouse in Maine, where Katz has a large studio.

His paintings seem timeless, always fresh and his style very much his own. We used Late Summer Flowers to grace the cover of our downloadable ebook How to Identify & Buy Fine Art Prints. Please visit VFA or contact us about the fine work by Alex Katz and other great artists available in our gallery.

See Alex Katz Artwork for Sale

Recent Works from Skilled Masters

For more than fifteen years, VFA has focused on bringing our clients fine art prints created by extraordinary artists. Our recent focus has been on three extremely skilled artists who have been producing Fine Art Prints for many years.

Alex Katz, Chance

We used Late Summer Flowers the work of Alex Katz, one of our favorite artists, on the cover of our eBook, How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints, because Katz’s work is such a fine example of masterful printmaking.

Alex Katz is not just a printmaker, he’s also a painter and sculptor. His recent work, Chance, available at VFA, is Katz at his most playful.

Katz began making, what he calls cutouts, in 1959. Frustrated by the physical boundaries of the paintings he was working on, Katz cut out the two figures in the painting. He says that Robert Rauschenberg encouraged him to hang on to them, and so he mounted them on plywood. He liked the results and continued to make cutouts. In 1961, playwright Kenneth Koch saw an exhibition of Katz’s cutouts and commissioned him to make props and sets for his one-act satirical play George Washington Crossing the Delaware. The play was an underground success, as was Katz’s work.  Katz’s cutouts of George Washington Crossing the Delaware are part of the Smithsonian Collection.

A large version of Chance was placed in a London fountain for public viewing before being taken to the Timothy Taylor gallery in Mayfair.

Mel Bochner, Amazing and Right On

Mel Bochner, one of the leading figures of Conceptual art in the 1960s and 1970s, has brought printmaking to a whole new level. Not only is his work compelling, but his techniques are, as well.  He has been creating digital images with Plexiglas plate cuts, which are turned into prints, using a high pressure hydraulic press.

Bochner’s works are thoughtful, often funny and ironic. His work is currently on display at the British Museum and at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Portland.

In the complex works, Amazing and Right On (for sale at Vertu), Bochner uses his thesaurus-like themes to explore language, design and art itself.

Chuck Close, Self-Portrait 2015

The miraculous thing about Chuck Close is not that he’s 76, paralyzed, and still paints, but that he’s 76, paralyzed and still paints so well. According to a July, 2016 New York Times Magazine interview, Close has been more seclusive, forgetful and physically compromised than ever, but he still works with the fervor of a young artist.

His Self-Portrait 2015, available in our gallery at this time, shows an older, scrutinizing self. The woodcut is done in his usual grid, but the image, with white beard and irregular features, appears as if Close is coming to terms with his older identity.

Please contact us if you would like information about these or any of the other works in our gallery.

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
Learn More