claes oldenburg

Claes Oldenburg Remembered

Claes Oldenburg: January 28, 1929 – July 18, 2022

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

Claes Oldenburg, known for his giant sculptures of everyday objects, died in his SoHo home and studio on Monday, July 18th, 2022. The cause of death was complications after a fall. Oldenburg was 93.

Oldenburg was born in Stockholm in 1929. His mother was a concert singer, his father a Swedish consular officer. The family moved to Chicago in 1936. He graduated from Yale in 1950, where he studied literature and art history. After graduating, he worked as a reporter in Chicago, then an illustrator in San Francisco. He became a United States citizen in 1953 and moved to New York in 1956, where he began his long and successful sixty-year career as an artist.

During his early years, Oldenburg staged performances and “Happenings’ with fellow artists like Jim Dine and Donald Judd. His first exhibition, at the Judson Gallery in May 1959, included drawings, collages and objects made of papier-mâché. He made large sculptures of everyday objects, that viewers could interact with on a tactile level. “My intention is to make an everyday object that eludes definition,” he said. “At the bottom of everything I have done, the most radical effects, is the desire to touch and be touched. Each thing is an instrument of sensuous communication.”

In 1977, Oldenburg  married Dutch-born American sculptor, art historian and critic Coosje van Bruggen. They collaborated on many of his large, public sculptures, like the 45-foot Cor-Ten Steel Clothespin, commissioned by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority in 1976, the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence.  Clothespin faces City Hall in downtown Philadelphia and has become an iconic landmark. The steel spring on the Clothespin appears as the number 76.

Oldenburg and van Bruggen were married for 32 years, until her death in 2009.

His younger brother, Richard, who died in 2018, spent 22 years as director of the Museum of Modern Art and later was chairman of Sotheby’s America.

Claes Oldenburg was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2000 by President Bill Clinton. His works had a profound influence on Jeff Koons, and Damien Hirst, artists who both use humor and irony in their work. Claes Oldenburg’s works are part of the permanent collections of most major modern art museums in the United States and Europe.

“The only thing that really saves the human experience is humor.” Oldenberg said. “I think without humor it wouldn’t be much fun.”

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


References:
Martha Schwendener. Claes Oldenburg Dies at 93; Pop Artist Made the Everyday Monumental. The New York Times. July 18, 2022.
Ellen Wexler. Claes Oldenburg, Who Transformed Everyday Objects Into Towering Sculptures, Dies at 93. Smithsonian Magazine. July 19, 2022.
Deborah Solomon. Claes Oldenburg Captured a Carefree (and Consumerist) America. The New York Times. July 19, 2022.
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.

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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