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.

The Armory Show in New York, Damien Hirst Works at VFA

This year’s Armory Show will again be taking place in venues across New York. The Javits Convention Center, which became internationally famous at the start of the pandemic, has been expanded and will be the new permanent home of the Armory Show. Many galleries will be participating online because of travel restrictions.

One of the most dynamic shows is the Art on Paper exhibit, at Pier 36. In March of 2020 we were at Pier 36,  along with more than ninety galleries, to celebrate paper-based artworks, which are our passion and main focus at VFA. That was when the city began to shut down in an effort to control the COVID-19 pandemic. The venues opening their doors for Armory Week this year have implemented some new social distancing policies, including timed arrival slots and mandatory face coverings at certain venues.

Because of the travel restrictions, the Armory Show will offer a number of digital displays, and the European Fine Art Foundation  has opted to go entirely online. There will also be virtual events, like a panel on Harlem fashion hosted by the Schomburg Center.

For more information go to the Armory Show website.

Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst has always pushed the envelope and delights in controversy. This week he’s done both. His album cover for the rapper Drake’s newly released Certified Lover Boy album has become one of the most controversial and meme-inspiring works of all time.

Critics have raved about the music, and many are scratching their heads about the meaning of Hirst’s pregnant women emojis. The album was delayed for nine months, so Hirst might have tapped into that, but whatever he tapped into, it has created a stir and copycat memes that are getting more attention for Drake and Hirst.

On the flip side of Hirst’s latest works, are his paintings of Cherry Blossoms, which are on exhibit at Foundation Cartier in Paris. This is Hirst’s first museum exhibit in France. The works are large and painterly, unlike the minimalist works he is known for. Hirst spent two years in his London studio creating the series.

Damien Hirst: Cherry Blossoms will be on exhibit at Foundation Cartier through January 2, 2022.

We have recently acquired Minnie & Mickey, a beautifully done screenprint that combines the playfulness, glitz and glitter that makes his fine art prints so sought after.

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


References:
Valentina Di Liscia, Jasmine Weber and Hakim Bishara. Your Concise Guide to Armory Week 2021. Hyperallergic. September 5, 2021.
Valentina Di Liscia. Drake’s Next Album Cover Is Comically Bad — and Designed by Damien Hirst. Hyperallergic. August 30, 2021.
Nicolaus Li. Here Is Every Sample on Drake’s ‘Certified Lover Boy’ Album. Hypebeast. September 6, 2021.
Nadja Sayej. The Story Behind Drake’s Album Cover For ‘Certified Lover Boy’. Forbes Magazine. September 5, 2021.
David Williams. Drake’s ‘Certified Lover Boy’ album cover is inspiring some ridiculous memes. CNN Entertainment. September 4, 2021.
Floriane Reynaud. Damien Hirst’s cherry blossoms will be exhibited at the Foundation Cartier in Paris.

Damien Hirst: The Bad Boy is Back

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Damien Hirst’s show at this year’s Venice Biennale has, once again, created a storm of love-it-or-hate-it critiques.

There was much the same uproar when Hirst had his first major exhibition at the 1993 Venice Biennale. There he presented Mother and Child Divided, a cow and a calf cut into sections and exhibited in separate display cases.

This exhibit, held to coincide with the 2017 Biennale, took Hirst about ten years and about $5 million of his own money to put together. Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable is housed in both the Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana. It consists of nearly two hundred works that he asks viewers to imagine were taken from an ancient shipwreck off the east African coast. Hirst even has film footage of divers bringing up the treasure.

Love It or Leave It

In spite of the critics, nearly 60 to 70 percent of the ‘treasures’ from the exhibit have been sold, according to ARTnews senior staff writer, Nate Freeman. Hirst made the pieces to sell. There are three versions of each sculpture. One version looks like it is encrusted with coral and just pulled out of the sea, the second version appears to have been ‘restored’ for museum display and the third is supposed to be a museum ‘copy’ of the original. The prices for the works range from $500,00 to $5 million.

Holding His Own

What Hirst has managed to do, is to hold his own in the art market. He has a base of long-time Hirst collectors, and more recent fans, who have purchased, not just his recent work in Venice, but work from past exhibits.

One of the works from his 2000 Pill Cabinet series, The Void, sold at auction this month for $5.85 million. It may take Hirst a while to recoup his initial investment from Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, but his work is still selling well. Hirst was, once again, on the 2017 Sunday Times Rich List, which tracks the assets of UK’s wealthiest 1000 people.

Damien Hirst For Sale at VFA

Some of the greatest treasures in our gallery are the works of Damien Hirst. Please contact us for more information about Esculetin,  Theo-24, The Souls on Jacob’s Ladder Take Their Flight and the other  Damien Hirst sculptures and prints available at VFA.

See More Damien Hirst Artwork for Sale

Damien Hirst: Making a Myth in Venice

Damien Hirst has designed a fictional museum, with works of fantasy, based on a myth that he created. What he would like viewers to do, is to suspend their beliefs and enter the world that he has created as if they, too, are seeing the works from a 2,000-year-old art collection that has been dredged up from the bottom of the sea.

The Story of the Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable

A ship called the Apistos (which means unbelievable in Greek) sank about 2000 years ago. The remains of the wrecked ship was found on the bottom of the ocean, off the east African coast, in 2008.

The Apistos belonged to a freed slave named Cif Amotan ll. Amotan was an art collector, like Hirst, and had many fabulous treasures stored on board. When the ship was found, the archeologists who discovered it, called on Damien Hirst to help them salvage the treasures.

Hirst won’t say exactly how much he has spent on the exhibit,  just that  more than £50 million of his own money has gone into the project.

Two Palaces and a Movie

Hirst has arranged the sculptures and other artifacts in the Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana, two museums run by François Pinault, the Parisian collector who also owns Christie’s auction house. Many of the works were made to appear as if they had undergone 2,000 years in the sea, and are covered in coral and other jewel-like ocean growth.

Visitors move through the museums as if they are viewing the collection of Amotan. Hirst also made a film of divers at the shipwreck.

“For me,” Hirst told a BBC interviewer, “ the show is totally about belief, and it’s like, you can believe whatever you want to believe.”

The cost of the works reportedly, range from between $500,000 and more than $5 million dollars. Many of them are very large and buyers may need to have an 18th century Palazzo in which to display them.

Demon with a Bowl is the largest piece, at 60-feet high, and stands in the foyer of the Palazzo Grassi. Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable opens on Palm Sunday, a month before the start of the Venice Biennale in May.

Damien Hirst at VFA

We have Damien Hirst sculptures and prints for sale in our gallery. All the works in our gallery can be displayed in venues smaller than a Palazzo. Contact us for more information about the work of Damien Hirst and the other artists available at VFA.

Damien Hirst, ELLIPTICINE

Artwork For Sale at Vertu

These works, by some of our favorite artists, are as unique and fascinating as the artists who created them.

Damien Hirst

Hirst is often called the “bad boy” of contemporary art because of his flamboyant installations and bold attitude. What is often overlooked, is Hirst’s background as a student at Goldsmiths College in London, where he focused on the use of color. Very early in his career Hirst became fascinated with the colors of the medications in a book of pharmaceuticals and began to paint his Spots series.

Ellipticine is a beautifully crafted etching, a continuation of the Spot series that allows Hirst to continue to play with color.

David Hockney

Not intentional, but there seems to be a theme here…David Hockney is another “bad boy” of the art world…refusing Queen Elizabeth’s request to paint her portrait and refusing a knighthood, saying, “Prizes of any sort are suspect.” At age 78, Hockney still lives and works in L.A.

Two of his most fascinating works, for sale in our gallery, were done after Hockney took a hiatus from painting and concentrated on photography. His focus, at that time was on the perspective he could achieve using multiple photos of a single subject.

The Tyler Dining Room is part of Hockney’s Moving Focus Series, in which he used Cubist technique and began taking figures out of his work and placing the viewer just outside the scene.

A trip to Mexico, in 1985, inspired View of Hotel Well lll, a continuation of his experiments with perspective. Last year, Hockney had an exhibit, at the San Francisco Museum of his iPad paintings.

Jasper Johns

President Obama gave Jasper Johns the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. One of America’s most creative and influential artists, we appreciate Johns for his skills as a printmaker.
The Critic Sees is a recurring theme of Johns’, in which looks at the way in which a work of art is perceived…not just by the public, but the artist, as well.

Roy Lichtenstein

Against Apartheid is one of more than a dozen works that were done, by a group of internationally known artists, for an exhibit in Paris commemorating the observance of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Other artists included in the exhibit were Robert Rauschenberg, Antonio Tapies, Wilfredo Lam and Julio La Parc.

Against Apartheid was also included in a pamphlet produced in cooperation with the United Nations Special Committee Against Apartheid.

This lithograph is not just a wonderful example of Lichtenstein’s work, but also a piece of history.

Ed Ruscha

The fun doesn’t stop for 77-year-old Ed Ruscha…or for us.

Although music is often a theme in his work, the lithograph Music, has none of Ruscha’s usual wordplay – just a play on the musical staff.

The flat bite etching technique that that Ruscha used in Real Deal is a testament to his talent as a print artist. His use of flat bite technique makes it apparent that Ruscha is still one of the most creative artists of our time.

Zoot Soot, which is handmade from newspaper and cotton thread, pays homage to Richard Duano, the Mexican-American print artist who was co-founder of the Centro de Arte Públicoarts collective in L.A. that supported and encouraged young Latino artists. Duano died in November of 2014 at age 62.

Zoot Soot is a tribute from one great American artist to another.

Please contact us if you would like more information about these works, or the many others we have in our gallery.

Andy Warhol, Portraits of the artists

New Work from Hockney, Warhol, Hirst & More

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Vertu is excited to offer new acquisitions from David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol and Ed Ruscha.

David Hockney, View of Hotel Well lll

David Hockney’s lithograph, View of Hotel Well lll, was done in 1985, a time when Hockney began to lose his hearing. Hockney says that his hearing loss contributed to giving him a greater sense of perspective and visual acuity. It was also a period in which Hockney took figures out of his work and, he says, “intended the viewer to become the figure.” Hockney has been a consummate painter and print maker for the past sixty years. At age 77, he has left his Yorkshire home and relocated to the Hollywood Hills, where he continues to work every day.

The lithograph, View of Hotel Well lll, depicts the courtyard of a hotel that Hockney visited in Acatlan, and captures the colors and feeling of a retreat in Mexico.

Roy Lichtenstein, Seascape (ll)

In 1964, Roy Lichtenstein began a series of Seascapes, in which he explored light and perspective. He also began to experiment with plexiglass, metal and Rowlux, a plastic that was designed to reflect light for better visibility of highway signs. For Lichtenstein, Rowlux was a new, experimental medium that was both Op and Pop, a commercial material that produced optical illusions.

Seascape (ll) is a wonderful glimpse into the evolution of Lichtenstein’s process, without Ben-Day Dots or speech bubbles, and still very Lichtenstein.

Roy Lichtenstein’s Landscape Series evolved from his fascination with Chinese landscape painting. When he was in the Army, he was stationed in England in 1944, and picked up a book on Chinese Painting. Lichtenstein became fascinated with Chinese landscape paintings and brush technique. The bold brushstrokes he used in his Brushstroke series in the 1960s, combined with his skill as a printmaker, led to the creation of his Landscape Series in 1985.
Road Before the Forest is a powerful representation of Lichtenstein’s masterful control in his work.

Damien Hirst, Ellipticine

Damien Hirst’s love of color is apparent in his series of ‘spot paintings.’ Based on pharmaceuticals named in the Sigma-Aldrich chemical company’s catalog, which he happened upon in 1990, Hirst mathematically formats the colored dots. He has been doing spot paintings for over twenty years, combining colors in infinite patterns.
Ellipticine is an etching, whose colors leap out and vibrate. “They grab hold of you and give you a good shaking,” Hirst says of his spot paintings.

Andy Warhol, Portrait of the Artists

In 1967, Andy Warhol was commissioned by art dealer, Leo Castelli, to create portraits of the artists that Castelli represented in his Upper East Side gallery. The work was to be part of an exhibition to celebrate the gallery’s tenth anniversary.

Warhol put silkscreen portraits of Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Frank Stella, Donald Judd, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Morris, Lee Bontecou, Larry Poons, Cy Twombly , John Chamberlain and himself onto 2” X 2” polystyrene boxes and combined them to form a single work.

The Twombly and Chamberlain portraits were removed after the opening exhibit to create a 20” X 20” format of 100 boxes. Portrait of the Artists from Ten from Leo Castelli is a wonderful reminder of the talent and art scene that Warhol was immersed in during the 1960s.

Ed Ruscha, Zoot Soot

Zoot Soot is a touching tribute from Ed Ruscha to Richard Duano, the Mexican-American artist who was co-founder of the Centro de Arte Públicoarts collective in L.A. that supported and encouraged young Latino artists. Known as the “Warhol of the West” because of his prints of celebs, Duano was a political activist who worked with young artists like Banksy and Keith Haring.

Zoot Soot is Ruscha’s word play on Zoot Suits, the wide-lapeled, pegged trousered suits favored by Mexican-American men in the 1940s. The Zoot Suit Riots, in 1943, pitted American sailors and Marines against Latino males. The Anglo servicemen resented the Zoot Suits, which they thought were frivolous to wear during wartime, although Mexican-Americans were over-represented in the military as a percentage of their population. The riots spread to cities across the country and helped to create a strong political movement among Latinos in America, which was a focus of Richard Duano’s life.

Zoot Soot is a beautifully rendered homage to one of America’s most influential artists.

Damien Hirst Sculpture

Damien Hirst Sculptures

I can’t understand why most people believe in medicine and don’t believe in art, without questioning either”

Damien Hirst is the best bad boy in the art world today. He was even badder in his younger years, when he hung out with Joe Strummer of the Clash and partied in the world of sex, drugs and rock and roll. Before Strummer’s death, Hirst cleaned up his act, but he’s still obsessed with the way we, in the western world, interact with drugs.

“Pills are a brilliant little form, better than any minimalist art,” Hirst said. “They’re all designed to make you buy them… they come out of flowers, plants, things from the ground, and they make you feel good, you know, to just have a pill, to feel beauty.”

In 1992, Hirst installed Pharmacy, in the Cohen Gallery in New York, and continued his pharmaceutical theme in his 2012 Schizophrenogeneisis exhibit in London. “I can’t understand why most people believe in medicine and don’t believe in art, without questioning either,” Hirst said.

We are pleased to be able to offer some of Hirst’s limited edition pill sculptures, fabricated from polyurethane resin with ink pigment. Valium comes in both 5mg and 10mg sculptures, each a limited edition of 30.Theo-24 300mg ucb2852 is a foot-long capsule filled with white marbles. The Deltacortril Enteric 5mg-30 enteric coated tablets sculpture is over 17 inches high. It’s also a limited edition of 30.

Very early in his career Hirst became fascinated with the colors of the medications in a book of pharmaceuticals and began to paint his Spots series. Like many of his other works, Hirst continues this series because of his love of the colors they allow him to work in.

We have several of Hirst’s Spot series in our gallery. Each is defined by the colors and the size of the spots. Esculetin is a 2-inch woodcut spot. Fenbufen is a 6-inch spot woodcut.

One of Damien Hirst’s Spots is on Mars. Yes, Mars. Spots was used on the Beagle 2, the British craft that was sent to Mars in June of 2003 by the European Space Agency. Spots was used as part of the craft’s calibration system. Beagle 2 was supposed to touch down on Christmas of 2003, but was not seen until January 16th of this year, sitting on Mars. NASA photos show the craft relatively intact and, hopefully, so is Spots.

You can see more of Hirst’s work, right here on earth, in our gallery.

Donald Sultan White Tulips and Vase, April 4, 2014

New at VFA: Pop from Warhol, Hirst and Sultan

Preparing for high season here in South Florida, VFA continues to acquire unique treasures from the masters of Pop, Op and Abstract Expressionism. Our last blog post alluded to some of our favorite new pieces; well here is a supplemental installment of other new works currently generating buzz from visitors at our Boca Raton gallery.

Unique offerings from Andy Warhol include the recently acquired Polo, a silkscreened outlined image on a collage of colored papers from a delightful series revolving around various incarnations of the photographic subject, created by the artist in 1985. Considered “low key” and “subtle” by Warhol collector standards; visitors at VFA are taken with the simplicity and softness of this classic work. Provenance includes stamp and initials on verso from the Estate of Andy Warhol and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Two other works that share the same Provenance – all three will be included in the upcoming Warhol Catalogue Raisonne of Drawings, Paintings and Collages – are the lovely 1983 Tidal Basin pieces, created by the artist for an edition of The Washington Post Magazine. Warhol’s Washington, D.C. Tidal Basin silkscreens provide a wholly unique interpretation of this famous perspective of the Washington Monument and its reflection within the basin.

The Tidal Basin work featuring an image with couple in foreground is cropped to omit the monument itself, showcasing only the downward reflection of the monument, silkscreened with thick border on bold colored pages. The foliage surrounding the monument appears as though it could be overhanging from a tree above the couple in this soft romantic scene.

In another version, now available for sale at VFA, Warhol captures the monument and reflection together on softer toned blue and red papers – giving the work a gentle Americana color scheme. Nonetheless, a viewer’s initial glance could easily misplace it for a European scene, as the artist’s treatment of the print provides a likeness to what could easily be a French or Spanish scene.

Also available at VFA are two stunning contrasting sculptures from Pop Artist Donald Sultan. White Tulips and Black Tulips are quintessential current creations from the renowned artist most often heralded for his floral abstracts and his North Carolina tar black roots. Shown here against contrasting backgrounds, each of these works is likely to become the focal point of wherever they reside.

New creations from controversial British Pop Artist Damien Hirst include these three supersized representations of pharmaceutical products – each created with polyurethane resin and ink pigment. Hirst is unrelenting in his prodding of the public to awaken to the often overlooked components of the human existence. Most recently, it’s his fascination with the drug industry, whether approaching it molecularly (as in his spot paintings) or emphasizing the larger scale aspects of the product formations. Consuming these oversized products, it’s difficult to overlook the intertwined nature of brand marketing and the physical products themselves – saturated in brand uniforms. Hirst is once again the master of raising our consciousness by providing the most unusual of perspectives.

The works showcased here and in the previous blog are but a sample of the many our gallery has acquired recently. Please visit with us to behold these works as they are meant to be appreciated. Likewise, if there’s anything we can do to help you source a particular work, feel free to contact us. We hope to see you during the festive holiday season!

New Work Available at VFA

As late autumn 2014 brings us closer to another bustling holiday season, our South Florida Contemporary Art Gallery has much for which we are grateful. Among our favorites are a group of new works from the greatest Pop, Op and Abstract Expressionist artists the world has ever known. It’s our pleasure to share such beauty with you, and we hope that you’ll visit with us soon, here in warm Boca Raton.

One spectacular work featured on a primary wall is a large scale dramatic landscape from American Pop Artist Alex Katz entitled, Gray Day. This Katz classic hits each of the artist’s high notes – cool and commercial, this eloquent piece works effortlessly to capture our attention and hold it. Just a glance at this lovely panoramic and the viewer is transported to a vogue Cape Cod beach, with little desire to leave.

In a very different way, YBA artist Damien Hirst continues to find new ways to push our buttons, challenging us to a confrontation with the weight issues of modern life. These days, the artist’s latest manipulation – oversized pharmaceuticals – places this multibillion dollar industry, with its powerful health and social implications, staring squarely at us. Drugs are potent enough when consumed on a microbiological level, but in macro iterations, they’re downright audacious. Newly available art from Hirst at VFA includes a host of recent sculpted multiples that bear the same clinical names as their diminutive counterparts.

As oversized replicas, the pharmaceuticals that Damien Hirst peddles have transcended habitats – from pharmacies and medicine cabinets – to art gallery shelves. Their artificial resin components and dyes appear docile compared to the healing, habitual and lethal effects associated with the formulations they represent. Needless to say, a football-sized likeness of Pfizer’s famous blue aphrodisiac is sure to be a conversation-starter. Likewise, five milligrams of Valium is anything but calming when consumed as a fist-sized replica.

Of course, of the newly available Pop Art works for sale, it’s hard to overlook the legendary status of Andy Warhol’s most famous screenprints. Of those that stop visitors in their tracks, Andy’s off-register 1967 Marilyn screenprints are arguably most powerful. Like any group of collectors, those who seek Warhol’s Pop masterpieces have varying opinions about his most “important” works, but to many, it’s the artist’s iconic variations of Marilyn Monroe that are so highly coveted.

On par with any of Warhol’s top tier celebrity portraits is the stunning Liz 1964. Warhol’s highly saturated Liz Taylor portrait captures the raw beauty and confidence of the young starlet in a manner so completely different from any other, that this remains one of the more valuable of the artist’s celebrity screenprints. As is true with all Warhol prints, this one is certain to not be available at VFA for long.

We welcome you to visit with us and take in each of the new works for sale at our gallery located within The Shops at Boca Center. In addition to the new offerings from Warhol, Katz and Hirst; you’ll also find new works from the likes of British Pop Artist Julian Opie, Donald Sultan (his new floral sculptures are magnificent) and much more.

If you’re a collector seeking a particular Pop, Op or Abstract Expressionist work, please contact us – we are always here for you!

All That Glitters: Hirst’s Diamond Skulls

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Time and again, British Pop Artist Damien Hirst has demonstrated that when it comes to Contemporary Art, no subject is out of bounds. In fact, if there’s a subject that’s typically deemed “out of bounds” by the mores of our modern society, such a subject is most certainly inbounds for Hirst. Death, in particular, is a consistent theme that is contemplated when viewers consume the works of Damien Hirst. For the Love of God, one of the artist’s most famous works, is as controversial today as it was when the sculpture was first unveiled in 2007.

Damien Hirst has attributed the title of this work to the exclamatory statement his mother would make each time he shared his intention for new projects as a young artist, “For the love of God, what are you going to do next!” Evidently, such a level of concern proved to be an ample barometer that Hirst was on the right track, creating art that would generate strong opinions – one way or the other. For the Love of God is appropriately “over the top,” meaning it’s on par for an artist who has shocked people with grand installations of dead and decomposing animals for decades.

Whereas it the polarized opinions about the value of previous Hirst works is understandable, this sculpture raises the bar by virtue of the fact that the raw materials are of high worth by the their very nature. 8,601 diamonds that rated as VVS to flawless, weighing a combined 1,106.18 carats, set in a platinum skull mold ensure that this work is comprised of a staggering value of components – regardless of where one stands on its artistic value. It should be noted that the teeth placed within the jaw are real and belonged to the original skull, which was purchased by Damien Hirst from a taxidermist in London.

As if the presence of diamond encrusted skull did not carry enough emotional weight, the timing of this work’s unveiling added increased speculation. Some feel that Mr. Hirst timed the sculpture’s announcement to coincide with former president of Liberia, Charles Taylor’s appearing before an international panel of judges to stand trial for war crimes committed in Sierra Leone. The war crimes were tied to the mining and selling of West African diamonds to fuel the purchase of weapons. These diamonds had become known as blood diamonds. Damien Hirst has presented evidence that the diamonds used within his sculpture are proven to be ethically sourced. Nonetheless, the timing certainly brought additional controversy and potential meaning to For the Love of God.

Understanding the profound nature of this diamond skull, Damien Hirst also created a series of limited edition silkscreen prints in 2007, including a series of 250 made with diamond dust. Taking the “lifelike” nature of printmaking to a new level, Hirst created a series of digital lenticular prints in 2012 that produce a remarkable three dimensional likeness that must be seen to be appreciated for its fine details.

If you are a Damien Hirst collector seeking works by the artist, feel free to contact us for assistance. If you are in the vicinity of our Boca Raton Contemporary Art Gallery, stop in and see a number of fine Damien Hirst limited edition works for sale.

New Pop Art For Sale at Vertu Fine Art Gallery

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At VFA our Boca Raton gallery continues to acquire and feature some of the finest quality Pop Art prints and originals that can be found in South Florida. Some of the exciting new art for sale is listed here. Our passion leads us to regularly buy and sell the finest quality of Pop Art lithographs, sculptures, paintings and unique objects available, so our inventory changes frequently. Visit our gallery at Boca Center or contact us for prompt attention regarding anything that you may be seeking or to learn more about our most recent acquisitions.

Of the American Pop Art masters that continue to grow in legend and capture the imagination, Roy Lichtenstein’s popularity remains at high pitch. Lichtenstein’s Crak!, a captivating offset lithograph that holds a solid place among those works that launched him into the public eye, is as spectacular now as it was fifty years ago, when the artist created it for a Leo Castelli exhibition in the fall of 1963. The deadpan comic book design contains the Ben-Day dots that Lichtenstein single-handedly transposed from low art into the highest echelons of Contemporary Fine Art. This piece is pure Pop Art, demonstrating clearly how Roy Lichtenstein captured the pubic imagination and earned the reputation of an artist with incredible vision.

Another equally impressive Roy Lichtenstein lithograph now hanging in our Boca Raton gallery is Foot and Hand (Cat. #II 4), also a famous Lichtenstein tribute the popular comic books of the time. For collectors of Roy Lichtenstein, Foot and Hand delivers all that is great about the artist’s works. This popular print shows off the artist’s delight in capturing the campy action of the comics− the dramatic moment rendered by way of Ben-Day dots, primary colors and strong contrasts − as the shaded boot puts emphatic halt to the hand that reaches for the revolver. Roy Lichtenstein’s comic works makes the viewer feel as if they’ve stepped back in time. This quintessential style felt both antiquated and nostalgic in the early sixties when the artist “blew it up” and it’s equally poignant today. If anything, fifty years later, Lichtenstein’s Pop Art slices of life feel as hip as anything that’s been showcased since.

Pop and Abstract Expressionist Art collectors will be pleased to learn of the newly acquired Robert Rauschenberg print L.A. Uncovered #10. Every print from Robert Rauschenberg’s historic L.A. Uncovered series is a piece in high demand, featuring images photographed by the artist himself, from the seat of a car, as he took a peak at the City of Los Angeles’ underbelly. Rauschenberg is frequently credited for the influence of his early works, which paved the way for American Pop Artists, presenting a new sensibility of cultural observation and reflection. In 1998, Rauschenberg was still discovering new methods for finding the most authentic human stories, enabling him to continue creating his famous mash-ups. The artist’s collages artfully illuminate the spectrum of realities that face all beings on the planet at any given moment. L.A. Uncovered #10 gives us pause to explore our own insights, as unique and varied as the iconic images juxtaposed before us.

Moving from American Pop Artists to the U.K’s Young British Artist (YBA) movement – our Boca Raton Art gallery proudly features new works from Michael Craig-Martin – the artist credited for inspiring a number of YBA artists, including Damien Hirst, Ian Davenport, Fiona Rae and others. Craig-Martin is best known for his ability to show us grand elements in even the most mundane of common objects. Catalan Suite II, a series of six objects, each portrayed individually, is a surprisingly powerful group of works and we’re pleased that the complete set hangs currently in our South Florida gallery. It’s a series that must been seen “in person” to fully appreciate the powerful simplicity and eloquence of the works.

We welcome you to visit with us or contact us if there’s anything we can do to assist you in sourcing the very finest Contemporary Art prints and originals.

Mother and Child (Divided) - Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst: Multiple Layers

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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.

Damien Hirst Portrait with his artwork "St Elmo's Fire"

Damien Hirst: Sensational

At 48 years old, Damien Hirst, who rose to fame as a leader of the 1990’s Young British Artists (YBA) movement, is one of the most commercially successful artists living today.  He is also one of the more controversial.  His detractors liken him to a radio shock jock, an opportunist, a serial businessman.  His supporters consider him to be a man of conviction, a trailblazer and a master.  Hirst’s knack for sensationalizing common objects and leveraging his celebrity status often place him alongside Warhol, Haring and other popular artists.

Like all great creators, Damien Hirst captured lightning in a bottle, and he now owns an impressive catalog of works that are easily identifiable to collectors and enthusiasts as signature “Hirst.”  The artist’s  controversy is most closely linked to the manner in which he first captured the public imagination − with large scale installments of dead and decaying animals – as if a science museum exhibit took a wrong turn and ended up in a contemporary art space.

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991) is one such powerful installment, showcasing a 14-foot tiger shark suspended in formaldehyde within a steel and glass display case.  As the title suggests, the physical object represented is merely a symbol in this context, to be experienced by the viewer with deep psychological and physiological response.

The artist’s gamble paid off.  To be in close proximity to a feared predator (even a dead one) may be considered an easy play to elicit a visceral response, but the suggestive title and contemporary art label prove effective in taking the viewer down the road of multiple contemplations.  Am I to imagine that this could by my fate in the waters?  Is it inappropriate for this animal, one of God’s creatures, to be powerlessly displayed for the sake of art?  Is death beyond what can be intelligently imagined?  Yes, yes, yes…and more.

Hirst’s other dead animal installations – including those featuring decaying cows and sheep – all serve up similar questions about life and death, and appropriateness.  Likewise, Damien Hirst’s fascination with death has taken a number of interesting turns along the way.  His Dead Ends Died Out, Examined (1993) displays hundreds of spent cigarette butts on shelves.  Each cigarette butt is a unique entity – in shape and size, and in remnants of tobacco, filter, paper and ash.  As if each it sustained a life of its own, while serving to extinguish a bit of life from each individual that consumed a smoke.

For many, the Hirst’s definitive death themed work is a diamond-encrusted platinum skull, entitled For the Love of God (2007). The scull is a platinum cast of a 35-year old 18th European century man (and includes the original teeth), encrusted with 8,601 flawless diamonds.  The sculpture was sold to an investment group that allegedly purchased it for Damien Hirst’s $100 Million asking price.

At Vertu Fine Art in Boca Raton, FL, our collection of Damien Hirst works for sale is predominantly print editions of the artist’s highly acclaimed Spot Paintings, Spin Paintings and Butterflies.  All of which have won Hirst praise for his gorgeous use of color and scientific approach to composition.

The Souls on Jacob’s Ladder Take Their Flight (Small Green) – 2007, Hand inked photogravure on 400 gsm Velin D’arches paper, 47 X 42.7 in, Edition of 72 is a current favorite at VFA.  The seductive work is tirelessly appreciated by gallery visitors who comment on the lovely colors and tones.  The stark black background apparently vaults the subject into space, floating peacefully.

Similar effect is gained by Hirst by using stark white background in his Spot paintings.  Esculetin – 2012, 2-inch woodcut spot, Edition of 55, 18.5 X 22 in. is one such Damien Hirst print currently for sale at our Boca Raton gallery.  Owners of Spot painting prints regularly share their bewilderment at how much enjoyment comes from the pleasantly arranged colored spots, never knowing which arrangement of spots will decide to present themselves to you harmoniously upon your next gaze.

If Hirst whets your whistle, drop in, contact us online or by phone.  Gary and Bill are here to assist you.

Art Prints, Carole Feuerman with Survival of Serena Green Cap

Art Prints for Sale this Week

At our Boca Raton gallery, we’re enjoying the extra hours of daylight and seeing both new and familiar faces dropping by to see what’s new at VFA.  If you’re not in the area, allow us to bring these impressive art prints to you.  As always, if there’s anything we can do to assist you with your collection please do not hesitate to contact Gary or Bill.


Carole Feuerman − best known for her Hyper-realistic figurative sculptures of swimmers and bathers − is in high demand these days.  Earlier this year, the City of Peekskill, NY announced their purchase of the artist’s “The Golden Mean,” which is to become a permanent monument.  Feuerman’s The General’s Daughter is on exhibit at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC and the artist is currently once again showcasing works at the Venice Biennale.

The first art print for sale this week is Feuerman’s dreamy Shower 2012 – Silkscreen on Canvas with Diamond Dust. To view this sparkling work in person is to fully appreciate the artist’s talent for capturing facial expression that lends a sense of wonderment.  The rich color is palpable and the diamond dust provides a starry, enigmatic atmosphere.


The Abstract Expressionist works from British artist Anthony Frost are striking, large format pieces with exciting vibrant colors.  The son of artist Sir Terry Frost, Anthony is known for his approach and creative process, which involves inspiration drawn from music.  In fact, the artist claims to be more heavily influenced by musical artists than any particular artists within the world of fine art.  Of Frost’s musical interests, an English post-punk band from Greater Manchester named The Fall appears to top the list.  Vertu Fine Art is pleased to make available for sale this grand art print from Anthony Frost.


Another British artist with works at Vertu Fine Art is Damien Hirst, known for his impressive role as a member of the 1990s Young British Artist movement (with notable artists Emin, Quinn, Turk and Whiteread).  One of Hirst’s more famous series of works is his spot paintings, known as his pharmaceutical paintings – each is titled for a chemical substance used by the pharmaceutical industry.  Perillartine is a sweetener that’s approximately 2,000 times sweeter than sugar.  Damien Hirst employs a scientific approach to his spot paintings, following a system that includes placement within a grid, with non-repeating colors.

Staring at Perillartine or any of Hirst’s spot works can leave the viewer with a feeling of being under the influence of a sedating pharmaceutical.  The handsome colored spots float gently in space, in front of a stark white canvas.  How lovely to own a work that seduces, sedates and provides endless patterns for consideration.


Pop Art collectors in the know will be enthralled with this piece from American Artist Larry Rivers.  Rivers, who was born Yitzroch Grossberg, was the son of Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine.  He was also a professional jazz saxophonist − introduced in a 1940 gig with his band as “Larry Rivers and the Mudcats” − and he kept the name.

Larry Rivers is considered by many as a founding father of the Pop Art movement, as he was among the earliest of artists to experiment with a modernized blending of iconic objects and abstract expressionism.  Immersed in the New York Pop Art and social revolution music scene, Larry is perhaps best known for the exuberance of his style and his use of the media to illuminate cultural issues.


Italian-born artist Massimo Vitali spent much of his career as an accomplished photojournalist in Europe prior to becoming a master of the fine art genre known as photorealism.  Perhaps this explains the artist’s talent for telling a story in photography captured as an objective observer.

Vitali’s works have captured people acting naturally, unaware of his presence, at beaches, pools, parks, plazas and other public spaces.  His subjects are not posed or conscious of themselves or their surroundings, providing viewers the opportunity to share in his voyeurism.  In his Greenwich Park, London work, Vitali’s subjects appear to be standing still one moment, moving in sequence toward the city the next.  The artist’s viewpoint allows for varying conclusions to be drawn about social interaction and the way people adapt to their surroundings.

The inner conditions and disturbances of normality: its cosmetic fakery, sexual innuendo, commodified leisure, deluded sense of affluence, and rigid conformism.”
-www.massimovitali.com


Exquisite colors define Pop Artist Tom Wesselmann’s Lulu, a classic work.  The title is taken from the lead character of an Alban Berg Opera about a woman who relentlessly seduces the men in her life, making the character a worthy Wesselmann siren.  Any Tom Wesselmann collector will be proud to add Lulu to Monica, Claire, Kate and other classic Wesselmann muses.


We hope to see you at our Boca Raton gallery soon.  Thank you for your interest in Vertu Fine Art.

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