Mel Bochner Blah, Blah, Blah, 2014

Added Dimensions: Fine Art Prints and more at VFA

It’s been wonderful to get back to seeing artworks up close and in person again. The ability to view fine art prints on line has been a valuable tool for galleries and art lovers, but there is nothing like seeing  a work in person to be able to appreciate its texture and richness.

Many of the artists whose works are in our gallery use what appear to be simple screenprint and lithography techniques. Artists, like Alex Katz, enhance their prints with lush layers of color.

An exhibit of Alex Katz‘s flower paintings are currently on view at the Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery in Seoul and will run through February 5, 2022.

Although he has always done large paintings in oil, Katz also works in other medium, like porcelain enamel on aluminum and powder coated sculptural works.

Other artists who are best known for their paintings and prints, also expand their oeuvre by using innovative and creative materials:

Donald Sultan is known for using industrial materials like tar and linoleum in his large paintings, and  flocking and diamond dust in many of his floral prints. Sultan also creates sculptures in floral motifs.

Kenny Scharf, who often uses traditional oil paint on linen for his less-than-traditional motifs, also uses some unusual combination of materials in his two and three-dimensional works. He uses diamond dust in many of his fine art prints and flocking on some of his sculptural works.

One of America’s most interesting painters and printmakers, Ed Ruscha, worked with master printmakers to create many innovate textural prints. He worked closely with master printmaker, Richard Duardo, founder of Modern Multiples, an L.A. institution for more than forty years. Zoot Soot, available at VFA, is Ruscha’s homage to Richard Duardo. Zoot Soot is a wonderful example of Ruscha’s innovate printmaking.

Like Ed Ruscha, Mel Bochner uses words and a variety of materials in his paintings and prints. “The materiality of a drawing is central to its meaning” Bochner said. “Every medium reveals something but hides something else. A change of mediums can reveal what was hidden, permitting new thoughts to emerge.” An inspired version of Blah, Blah, Blah, a recurring theme in Bochner’s works, is available at VFA.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Alex Katz, Donald Sultan, Kenny Scharf, Ed Ruscha, Mel Bochner or any of the other fine artists whose works are available at VFA.


References:
Jonathan Goodman. Alex Katz/ArtSeen. The Brooklyn Rail. December 2021-January 2022 Issue.
Shawn Ghassemitari. Alex Katz’s Verdant Paintings Fill the Halls of Thaddaeus Ropac Seoul. Hype Art. December 13, 2021.

Art in Person and Personal: Donald Sultan, Jonas Wood and Derrick Adams

One of the difficult things about the pandemic has been the closing of museums and galleries. Our technology is great, and online art sales have found new audiences, but there’s nothing like seeing a work of art in person to be able to appreciate its full grandeur.

Donald Sultan 1951 –

Donald Sultan spent much of the lockdown in Sag Harbor…not a bad place to have to spend some time…but he bemoaned the fact that the colors and texture of his works can’t be appreciated on a computer screen.

Sultan has always worked with tactile, industrial materials; like tar, masonite and vinyl tiles. His father owned a tire company in Asheville, North Carolina, and Sultan was raised to feel very comfortable using industrial tools and supplies.

New York Times art critic, Michael Brenson said, “His images are fresh and direct in part because he approaches industrial materials as if they were tubes of paint, feeling free to use anything as long as he uses it directly, in the form in which he finds it.”

Even Sultan’s silkscreens are textural, with over-printed flocking on rising 4-ply museum board and the nuanced surface quality that he creates is difficult to see on a computer screen.

His sculptures are done in Corten steel, a product was originally designed in the 1930s to help build railroad coal wagons. Its strength and durability made it a useful material to use for outdoor building and sculptures.

Sultan’s use of industrial materials to create fine art prints and sculptures of delicate flowers has made him one of the most unique contemporary artists working today.

Jonas Wood 1977 –

The work of Jonas Wood is very personal and resonates with art lovers around the world. He draws, paints, etches and prints his surroundings and is able to imbue his works with the feeling that he is sharing a part of his private life with the viewer.

His softground etching, Pattern Couch Interior with Mar Vista View, available at VFA, feels like one could be sitting alongside Wood as he draws.

Many of his works are glimpses of his Culver City home and studio and include the sculptures of his wife, ceramic artist Shio Kusaka.

Derrick Adams 1970 –

Derrick Adams’ work is also very personal. He grew up in a loving, close-knit family in Baltimore, Maryland and bases much of his work on the wonderful experiences that he enjoyed surrounded by family and friends and on the daily lives of the people in his neighborhood.

Adams has been living and working in Brooklyn and teaching and Brooklyn College and has recently opened an ‘invitation only’ retreat for Black artists in Baltimore.

His work is included in Men of Change, an exhibit at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, that looks at the historic and profound influence that Black men have had in politics, science, entertainment, sports, business, religion, and other disciplines.

Men of Change will be on display through January 2, 2022.

Please contact us if you would like more information about Donald Sultan, Jonas Wood and Derrick Adams work available at VFA.


References:
Michael Brenson. 57th Street: Jimy Ernst and others. The New York Times. May 4, 2014.
Maureen Feighan. ’Men of Change’ exhibit at Charles Wright museum challenges narrative of Black Men. The Detroit News. October 11, 2021.

Donald Sultan at the Asheville Art Museum Grand Reopening

The more one makes a definitive statement the more abstract it becomes. I try to pare down the images to their essence and capture the fleeting aspect of reality pitting the gesture against the geometric, the gesture being the fluidity of the human against the geometry of the object. – Donald Sultan

Donald Sultan at the Asheville Art Museum

Donald Sultan was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina. His works are a part of the Asheville Art Museum’s permanent collection, and will be on exhibit when the museum reopens on November 14, 2019. The museum has been under construction for three years, a remodel that exceeded the $24 million original estimated cost.

Donald Sultan’s work is part of Intersections in American Art, an exhibit that was put together by a team of scholars, artists and museum professionals from Western North Carolina and around the country. In 2017, the team began to examine the more than 5,000 works in the museum’s permanent collection, to choose the finest works for the opening exhibit.

The exhibit focuses on the art and artists of North Carolina and its relationship to and national impact on the art world. Included art works by some of the artists of Black Mountain College, whose students, like Josef Albers and Robert Rauschenberg, changed the focus of art in America.

The oldest work in the exhibit is a North Carolina landscape painted around 1860 by Belgian artist William Frerichs. The most recent in the exhibit is Donald Sultan’s Four Lemons, a set of screenprints in enamel ink, done in 2018.

Intersections in American Art opens on November 14, 2019, the day after the Ribbon Cutting and ceremony to initiate Asheville Art Museum’s completed renovation.

Donald Sultan’s Work at VFA

Donald Sultan had a major retrospective of his work this summer at the Huxley-Parlour Gallery in London. Dark Objects: Works 1977–2019 included some of the Disaster Paintings that toured the Smithsonian and other major venues around the country in 2017.

His use of industrial materials, like tar, to create texture in his work, and his pared-down style, makes his work instantly recognizable.

As a printmaker, and as a sculptor,  Sultan has been able to keep both the simplicity of design and textural quality in his work. He uses flocking, enamel inks and diamond dust in his prints, and Cor-Ten Steel for his sculptures.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the fine art prints and sculptures of Donald Sultan available at VFA.

See More Donald Sultan for Sale

References:
Arnold Wengrow. Asheville Art Museum readies for its grand reopening. The Mountain Express. October 11, 2019.
Interview/Donald Sultan. The London Magazine. June 5, 2019.
https://www.ashevilleart.org/exhibitions/intersections-in-american-art/

Donald Sultan Prints and Sculptures at VFA

The advice that I tend to give young artists, if they ask, is that you should think about your art as if no one is going to look at it but you. And you should be able to do what you’re doing and be passionate about what you are doing if you live in a cabin in the woods and no one was there. It’s just you and your work. That’s the best advice I can give. Everything else is gravy. If you can do that, everything else will be easy.
– Donald Sultan

Donald Sultan’s Disaster Paintings toured major venues around the U.S. last year, from the the Lowe Museum in Miami to the Smithsonian in D.C., and garnered a new, wider and younger audience for Sultan’s work.

The Disaster Paintings, which he did between 1984 and 1990, are images of actual events that Sultan gleaned from daily newspapers. His use of rugged materials, like masonite, linoleum and tar, lent themselves to the industrial and man-made disasters represented in the works.

Sultan had experimented with using industrial materials to create unique surfaces while earning his MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago. When he moved to New York in 1975, he worked as a handyman, and had access to left over linoleum and other commercial materials.

Today, Sultan still works with some of the same materials that give his work texture and depth, but his subject matter and style have simplified, and beautified, over time.

Donald Sultan Prints at VFA

Donald Sultan was inspired by the patterns of flowers he saw on Japanese lanterns to create simple designs, where the positive and negative spaces help to create strong images. He maintains texture in his prints by using enamel inks, flocking and diamond dust on museum board or Saunders Waterford papers.

He also collaborates with Mixografia, the print studio that was founded in Mexico City in 1937 and opened a second shop in Los Angeles in 1984. Mixografia specializes in producing prints in relief, which is the bedrock of Donald Sultan’s work.

Japanese Pines, available at VFA, is a work that Sultan did in collaboration with the master printmakers at Mixografia. Sultan used handmade paper to contrast with the texture of the inks.

Donald Sultan Sculptures at VFA

A natural evolution for Donald Sultan, are his works in Cor-Ten steel and aluminum. Using simple flower designs…the poppies for which he is well known…and tulips, he is able to create the positive and negative space in three dimensional design that forms the basis of his work. Donald Sultan’s Cor-Ten Poppies and White Tulips and Vase are both available at VFA.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works, in multiple medium, of Donald Sultan, for sale at VFA.

See More Donald Sultan Work for Sale

References:
https://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/sultan
Emily Karcher Schmitt. Death, disaster come calling in tar and latex sculpted on tile. Smithsonian Insider. August 8, 2017.
L. Kent Wolgamott. L. Kent Wolgamott: Donald Sultan’s dark, dominant “Disaster Paintings” at Sheldon. Lincoln Journal Star. March 4, 2018.
https://mixografia.com/events/donald-sultan/
http://donaldsultanstudio.com/#/about

Donald Sultan Prints and Sculpture at VFA

Texture has always been an important part of Donald Sultan’s work. Tar, rubber and linoleum give his works texture and depth. Sultan became familiar with industrial materials when, as a boy, he hung out at his father’s tire shop in Asheville, North Carolina. When Sultan moved to New York in 1975, after receiving his MFA from the University of Chicago, he supported himself by doing construction during the day and painting at night.

As a struggling young artist, Sultan used tar, linoleum and other industrial materials, which were inexpensive and readily available to him on job sites.  The use of industrial materials gave his work a substance and feel that hadn’t been seen before in the art world. By the 1970s his work was receiving critical acclaim and he was able to work as an artist full time.

His series of Disaster Paintings, done between 1984 and 1990, were industrial landscapes of events taken from newspaper clippings. The use of tar, linoleum, rubber and plaster lent themselves to his paintings of man-made objects, and the disasters that can befall them. The square linoleum tiles, mounted on Masonite or wood, gave Sultan a grid to work with, and he began to make use of the grid for his early domino paintings.

As he began to paint more traditional fruits and flowers, he kept the grid and the tough materials, and the contrast between the industrial texture of his materials and the delicacy of his subjects gave his paintings extraordinary and unique qualities.

Donald Sultan Prints at VFA

When Donald Sultan began making prints, he worked with Parisian printmaker, Aldo Crommelynck, the same master printer Picasso worked with. More recently, Sultan has worked with Mixografia, whose specialty is fabricating textured and three-dimensional prints.

Japanese Pines, available at VFA, is one of the finest examples of the quality of work that Donald Sultan has produced with Mixografia. Sultan also uses enamel inks and flocking to create remarkable surfaces on his prints, like Lantern Flowers Red, also for sale at VFA.

He also incorporates diamond dust, another industrial material, into some of his prints, which, when combined with fine paper, creates a unique quality to his work. Blacks and Blues, for sale at VFA, is another superb example of Sultan’s sensibility.

Donald Sultan Sculptures at VFA

Going from textured surfaces to creating sculptures was a natural progression for Donald Sultan. He uses aluminum and Cor-Ten steel, a copper chromium alloy steel that has a high level of resistance to weathering. Sultan’s delicate flower sculptures, like Cor-Ten Poppies and White Tulips and Vase are further examples of his unique ability to combine industrial materials and fragile subject matter.

Donald Sultan’s Prints and Sculptures at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about Japanese Pines, Lantern Flowers, Cor-Ten Poppies, White Tulips and Vase, Blacks and Blues or any of the other fine works available at VFA.

See More Donald Sultan Prints and Sculpture for Sale

References:
Calvin Tomkins. Object Lessons. The New Yorker. April 5, 1999.
Smithsonian American Art Museum. Donald Sultan: The Disaster Paintings. May 26, 2017.
https://mixografia.com/artist/donald-sultan

Donald Sultan Sculptures and Screenprints at VFA

Donald Sultan’s fascination with industrial materials began at his father’s tire shop in Asheville, North Carolina, where rubber was ground off old tires, heated and placed onto new tires and then into molds.

“I grew up working in that shop.” Sultan said, “The buffing room was a room with a big machine and a guy that chained-smoked Camels and was tattooed and had no teeth. And there were piles of soot. Black Rubber. And that’s where I liked to hang out because it was really sooty and gritty and interesting to me.”

Sultan’s father burned rubber for a living, but was also an abstract artist. His mother was interested in the theater and they encouraged their son to pursue his work as an artist. After receiving a BFA degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1973 and an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago, Sultan moved to New York in 1975.

Donald Sultan’s Continuing Use of Industrial Materials

In New York, Sultan worked on construction sites, renovating lofts and using the industrial materials of the trade to create his paintings.

In the 1970s, linoleum tile was used as a substitute for marble and flocking was used as a substitute for velvet. Sultan used leftover linoleum tile as the basis for many of his early works, and continues to use flocking for texture in his recent work.

Many of his sculptures are made of Cor-ten Steel, an alloy that creates a beautiful patina as it weathers. He also uses painted and polished aluminum, juxtaposing the toughness of the materials with the softness of flowers.

“Part of my work is industrial.” he says,  “I love the idea of the crossovers between using objects that are art and making the art an object, and that you don’t have to be precious with it. You can hold it and have it and it’s not something ordinary. It’s not like a toothbrush holder or anything like that.”

A work of art, even if you find it on the street somewhere, you’re going to know if it’s a work of art. It could be three stones placed on the sidewalk, but if it’s done with that intention, when you’re walking you won’t see that as just three stones. You’ll know somebody put that there for some reason. It’s one of the last magic things we have.”

One of the Last Magic Things

Donald Sultan’s works are easily recognizable, unmistakably his, even though they continually evolve. He “keeps shuffling the dots,” he says, “so that now they themselves are the subject, rather than just being the centers of the subjects.”

Sultan still works with tar and flocking, sculpting and printmaking, and he continues to be amazed by the composition and textures that he says he discovers as he works.

A master painter, sculptor and printmaker, much of Sultan’s work looks simple, at first glance. He often works in a grid, with repeated images. Even his large scale paintings have a simplicity of design that belies extraordinary complexity of composition and use of materials. He works the same magic with his screenprints. Silver Flowers, a print that appears so simple in design, is an elegant 12-color screenprint with diamond dust.

“A work of art, even if you find it on the street somewhere,” he says, “you’re going to know if it’s a work of art. It could be three stones placed on the sidewalk, but if it’s done with that intention, when you’re walking you won’t see that as just three stones. You’ll know somebody put that there for some reason. It’s one of the last magic things we have.”

The End of the Disaster Paintings Tour

Donald Sultan: The Disaster Paintings began touring the country with its first stop at the Lowe Art Museum in Coral Gables in 2016, then on to the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, the Smithsonian and The North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh in 2017 and is now on the final leg of the tour at the Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln, Nebraska through April 6.

Donald Sultan Sculptures and Prints at VFA

Please contact us for more information about the sculptures and screenprints by Donald Sultan for sale at VFA.

See More Donald Sultan Sculptures and Screenprints for Sale

Donald Sultan: From Disasters to Poppies

Last Stop for Disaster Paintings Tour

The Disaster Paintings, that Donald Sultan created during the 1980s and early 90s, began touring around the U.S. last year. The tour began at the Lowe Art Museum in Miami, went to the Smithsonian and other major museums and is making its final stop at Nebraska’s Sheldon Museum of Art from January 26 through May 13, 2018.

Each painting, like Early Morning May 20 1986 was made from a newspaper photograph of an industrial disaster. Sultan used industrial materials, linoleum, tar and masonite, to create the images.

“Linoleum,” Sultan said, in an interview at the Smithsonian, “is our modern interior landscape. Originally, linoleum was made to be fake marble.”

From Disasters to Poppies

Donald Sultan has continued to use industrial materials to create his works, but his subjects continue to evolve.

Sultan went from painting catastrophes to painting dominoes, buttons then poppies. “Paintings talk to you and,” Sultan said, “they tell you what you have to do next. It’s a compulsion.”

Sultan followed-the-dots. He used the linoleum squares to create grids, on which he arranged a series of dominoes, then  buttons, smoke rings, the flowers he saw on lanterns in his garden, and finally, poppies.

Although Sultan uses heavy, industrial materials to create his work, they have a quality of lightness about them. He used Cor-Ten steel to create Poppies sculptures that have the same lightness underneath their rugged exterior.

Linoleum is our modern interior landscape. Originally, linoleum was made to be fake marble.

Donald Sultan Prints

A masterful printmaker, Sultan has been making etchings, then aquatint, printed on roofing copper.

“What I like about prints, is that it has to keep its handmade, art quality. It has to be run through a press manually, so it continues the concept of industrial working”

Early in his career, Sultan was among a small group of influential American artists who frequently collaborated with Picasso’s master-printer Aldo Crommelynck. He now works with printers closer to his Manhattan studio, creating works like Blacks and Blues, a screenprint with diamond dust and Lantern Flowers, silkscreened with enamel inks and flocking, both for sale at VFA.

Donald Sultan for Sale at VFA

Please contact us for more information about Cor-Ten PoppiesBlacks and Blues, Lantern Flowers or any of the other Donald Sultan sculptures and prints available at VFA.

See More Donald Sultan 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

Donald Sultan: Looking Back, Moving Forward

When Donald Sultan spoke at the Lowe Art Museum in Coral Gables, during Art Basel in December, he explained how his work evolved from paintings of industrial landscapes, to paintings of industrial disasters, to paintings of buttons, dominoes and finally, his notable flowers.

The largest cities, the biggest structures, the most powerful empires – everything dies. Man is inherently self-destructive, and whatever is built will eventually be destroyed…That’s what the work talks about: life and death.”

The Disaster Paintings

Created from 1983 to 1990, the Disaster Paintings depict catastrophic events that Sultan saw in daily newspaper photos.

“The destruction depicted in them was mostly caused by unknowable or unseeable things.” Sultan said, “You don’t see the actual executioner; like shelling from artilleries 100 miles away. The destruction of the earth by oil rigs and refineries. And the poisoning of the waters. So you don’t see the direct result of the event but the fall out from the carrying of the wind.”

The paintings, which were scattered around the country, in the Hirshhorn Museum, the Broad Museum in LA, The Met, and in other museums and private collections, were put together, for the first time, by the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, for a five-city tour. They are currently at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Each of the twelve paintings in the exhibit is over 8-feet square. They are done in the heavy, industrial materials that Sultan is so well know for using: tar, linoleum and masonite.

The viewer is once removed from each event, not privy to cause or effect, but observing a moment in time, either during or after the disaster.

“The series speaks to the impermanence of all things.” Sultan said, “The largest cities, the biggest structures, the most powerful empires – everything dies. Man is inherently self-destructive, and whatever is built will eventually be destroyed…That’s what the work talks about: life and death.”

The Disaster Paintings will be on view at the Smithsonian through September 4.

The Flowers

When he spoke at the Lowe Museum, Sultan told a wonderful story about his use of tulips in a vase. He said that when he first moved to New York, and was gaining recognition,  he was invited to a party at the home of an art collector on the Upper East Side. When he walked into the house he saw a round vase, in the center of a table, containing red tulips, each on standing perfectly straight. He was so impressed with the arrangement that he went out, bought tulips and put them in a vase. They flopped over the sides of the vase and refused to stand straight. Sultan called his hostess to ask how she got the tulips to stand straight. She told him that she put a wire through each stem.

“I kind of like the idea of their rebellious quality,” he said, “because it’s one of the only cut flowers, that when you put it in water, it keeps growing.”

Tulips continue to appear in Sultan’s work, in a variety of materials, like Black Tulips and Vase, done in aluminum, for sale at VFA.

Many of the other flowers he paints were created, early in his career, using tar, linoleum and masonite. As his work evolved, so did his methods and materials. With Lantern Flowers, Sultan used enamel inks and flocking, to give the piece color and texture.

Works by Donald Sultan for sale at VFA

Please contact us for more information about the works of Donald Sultan for sale and VFA.

See More Donald Sultan Artwork for Sale

Donald Sultan & Chuck Close

Donald Sultan and Chuck Close: Six Degrees of Separation

A recent New York Times article, featuring the work of photographer Walter Weissman, shows a photo of Chuck Close in front of Donald Sultan’s Domino painting.

When we found a photo of Donald Sultan in front of the same painting, we took a closer look…and found the six degrees of separation between the two artists.

Connecting the Dots

I discovered about 150 dots is the minimum number of dots to make a specific recognizable person. You can make something that looks like a head, with fewer dots, but you won’t be able to give much information about who it is.
—Chuck Close

Donald Sultan plays with the patterns of dots on dominoes, buttons and flowers. They play an integral part in his work and help to create the strong patterns in his prints.

The dots that Chuck Close uses are composed of multiple colors and shades, which he has perfected over the years, to represent the varying tones in each part of the face. Close says the system that he has created, is like a language that allows him to work up close, in the grid.

The grid is what we walk in, live in.
—Donald Sultan

Following the Grid

For Donald Sultan, who has done much of his work in Manhattan, “The grid is what we walk in, live in.” He begins his work, especially the larger paintings, with a very careful chalked grid, placed over a tarred surface. His prints are often done in squares, and even his sculptures are close to square.

Chuck Close, who has overcome dyslexia, prosopagnosia (the inability to recognize faces) and a paralyzing stroke that has left him wheelchair bound, uses the grid to create portraits from photographs. “Overwhelmed by the whole,” the grid helps him to break the photo into parts that he can deal with, both visually and artistically.

Chuck Close and Donald Sultan Prints

Artists don’t compare themselves to each other based on money. Nobody really knows what money other artists have. They don’t care that much. The measure is the work and how you think your work is perceived. How the museums are. How you are doing.
—Donald Sultan

Both Close and Sultan have focused on creating high quality prints. Close has worked with skilled printmakers to create silk tapestry portrait prints, like the one of his friend, Phillip Glass, available at Vertu.

Sultan also works with outstanding printmakers to create his superbly textured silkscreens.

The works of both Donald Sultan and Chuck Close are part of the permanent collections of MoMA, The Tate, The Centre Georges Pompidou and the Parrish Art Museum. Terrie Sultan, Donald Sultan’s sister, is the Director of the Parrish Art Museum. She is the author of, Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration.

The Parrish Art Museum is in Water Mills, New York, about three miles from Bridgehampton, where Close lives and works, and about seven miles from Sag Harbor, where Donald Sultan lives and works. It’s about a ten minute drive from Chuck Close’s house to Donald Sultan’s house. Both Chuck Close’s prints and Donald Sultan’s prints are available at Vertu Fine Art Gallery.

Alex Katz Mae, 2005

Puppies, Poppies and Portraits: New Work at Vertu

Here’s a look at a few new acquisitions by some of our favorite artists:

Vik Muniz Portraits

Vik, 2003, is a portrait made up of hidden, random words, printed with found rubber stamps. Muniz says that his use of cryptic words comes from living under military rule in Brazil in the 1970s, where it was dangerous to speak or write openly, and where there was a “lingering climate of a semiotic black market where hidden messages seemed encoded in every phrase: everything meant something else.”

Vik, 2003, a photogravure on silk colle, is an homage to the Fingerprint portraits done by Chuck Close. Both works were part of last year’s exhibit at the Tampa Museum of Art, which showcased the works of many of the distinguished artists who have worked at the University of South Florida’s Graphicstudio.

Jeff Koon’s Puppy

Koon’s first Puppy sculpture was a 43-foot high topiary, constructed of a steel armature that supported about 60,000 flowers, including marigolds, petunias, impatiens and begonias. It was installed on the terrace of Spain’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in 1997.

Jeff Koons made a more collector-friendly version of Puppy in 1998. Puppy Vase is 17.5 inches high, and does not need a staff of gardeners for maintenance. It holds flowers that can be replaced at its owner’s convenience.

Donald Sultan Poppies

Continuing to work on his evolving theme of flowers and dots, Donald Sultan has created Poppies – sculptures that combine both motifs.

Red Poppies and Blue Poppies are painted aluminum mounted on polished aluminum bases. They each maintain the square format that Donald Sultan favors in much of his work.

The fun of collecting Sultan’s pieces, is watching the metamorphosis of his compositions, from dominoes with white dots, to buttons with white dots, to flowers with white dots. It’s not easy to understand the workings of Sultan’s mind, but it’s very interesting to see the results.

Alex Katz Mae

Alex Katz has long been a master at capturing the subtleties of color and light in his portraits. Mae is almost monochromatic, its muted tones creating a delicate portrait.

At 88, Katz still works out every morning and paints every day. At his studio in Maine this summer he worked on giant landscapes. Katz has always followed his instincts, and not the art movements that have come and gone during his long career. Last month, Katz told a PBS News Hour interviewer, “I think, in a sense, the world caught up with me.”

Donald Sultan Wall Flowers

Donald Sultan: Bold Prints and Sculpture

Donald Sultan’s works appear simple, yet are powerful pieces that contain layers of complexity. The progression of Sultan’s work has led to several of the series that we have been lucky to obtain.

From his linoleum and tar-layered industrial paintings, through his mixed-media still life, Sultan has found a way of incorporating colors, textures and space to create works that seem almost understated but have a boldness that can’t be ignored.

Lantern Flower Series

The Lantern Flower Series screen prints are a fine example of the power of Sultan’s work. His use of contrasting enamel ink and negative space give each print a feeling of strength, although the subject is a delicate flower. The color of each print, in the 24” x 24” series, is remarkable, each a commanding presence.

The series of larger Lantern Flower screen prints in our collection have the same bold character of the smaller prints, with the added tar-like texture that moves across the nearly seven-foot surface of the print in undulating design.

Sultan’s Lantern Flower sculptures make use of the artist’s love of industrial design and still life and the elegance and movement of flowers. Each piece is made of painted aluminum on a polished aluminum base. These sculptures are from a limited edition of 20 and we feel very fortunate to have obtained three from this series.

Tulip and Vase Sculpture Series

This painted aluminum series of sculptures came after the Lantern Flower series and have a more formal feeling, but still maintain the flowing feel of the Lantern Flower sculptures.

Flowers with Diamond Dust

Layers of color and diamond dust create the unique feel and quality that makes Sultan’s work so instantly recognizable. Part of a limited edition of 75, each is unique in color, texture and feel.

More About Donald Sultan

One of America’s foremost contemporary artists, Donald Sultan’s work is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The Budapest Art Hotel houses almost 600 pieces of his work, a project he worked on for a year. His work is exhibited in Paris, Zurich and other major venues around the globe.

Find more information about Donald Sultan and the work that is available in our gallery by visiting https://vertufineart.com/artists/donald-sultan/.

It is an honor to have his work in our gallery and to be able to offer both his prints and sculptures to our clients.

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!

Sultan’s Dominos, Buttons & Butterflies Flourish at Art’otel Budapest

How fulfilling it must be for Contemporary Artist Donald Sultan to visit the Budapest hotel he helped design, seeing guests immerse themselves in his heady works. Dominos, buttons, butterflies and large scale floral abstractions run thematically throughout the living quarters, restaurants, lounges and meeting rooms. The hotel, which structurally blends historic and modern elements, emits an energy that is warm and unassuming, yet exciting – due in large part to the hand of Donald Sultan visible at every turn. The hotel is located in the heart of the city, on the banks of the Danube River, across from the statuesque Hungarian Parliament Building.

Throughout the hotel, more than 600 original works by the artist greet guests in the form of paintings, drawings, statues, china patterns, playing cards, menus and in other assorted accessories.

Screenprints of Sultan’s Black Roses are among the recurring works found in various corridors and in guest rooms throughout the hotel. This work provides delightful counterbalance to the artist’s delicate floral works and the playful dominos, dice and playing card creations. This work pays tribute to roots of Donald Sultan – his use of North Carolina tar that lends so many pieces a signature style – organic, gritty and undeniably real.

Another tar black background work that sets grounded earthy tone is Lavender and Black Eggs, an original painting that resides in the hotel’s Domino Bar. This work exemplifies the unique style of composition that has earned Donald Sultan such high acclaim.

The artist’s black tar foundation lays fertile soil this creation, enabling the elegant colors comprising the sprigs of lavender to leap from the canvas. The viewer is treated to an enjoyable cerebral contrast of light and dark interplay, suggesting dualities of life and death, beauty and the morose.

Donald Sultan’s smokerings – a set of works belonging to a well-known series from the artist – are also represented in this remarkable hotel’s public spaces. Sultan’s smoke rises from a familiar black tarlike canvas and presents the viewer with rings of smoke floating skyward, morphing into various shapes prior to the vapor’s demise.

In the pictured work, cigarette –formed smoke rings seem to give way to the output of an industrial smokestack – lending the work an “urban” feel that is ominous and sultry.

The “domino effect” is perhaps Sultan’s most pervasive design theme running through this unique Budapest hotel. In addition to original works from his domino series, the hotel replicates domino feature references in fine and oversized details throughout the building’s collection of spaces. Another prevalent theme of works, buttons, nicely complement the domino works and carry forward circular contrasts that are present in the artist’s floral and smokering works as well.

The stunning effect is a highly coordinated continuum of motifs that leave guests feeling as if another piece of the puzzle is about to be revealed around every corner, and contained within every fine detail.

If Hungarian travel plans are not currently on your agenda and this post leaves you “hungry” for fresh Sultan works, please visit us at Vertu Fine Art – where this artist is always on the menu.

Among the impressive Donald Sultan artwork currently available at our Boca Raton Contemporary Art Gallery are two dramatic contrasting red, white, black and enamel colored pieces – titled White and Red and Black and Red – both created by a romantically inspired artist around the time of Valentine’s Day 2012. Flowing vines and stems have become defining elements of Donald Sultan’s style as the flowers’ petals, pistils and stamen.

A number of works from Donald Sultan’s Lantern Flower series are also among the various works currently available at VFA, each as breathtaking as the next. These aluminum floral sculptures are uniformly appreciated by Sultan collectors and designers seeking magnificent home decorative pieces.

If you are in the vicinity of VFA, please stop and visit during gallery hours. If you’re a collector in need of assistance, please contact us at your leisure.

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.

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  • A short history of prints from the earliest woodcut to contemporary processes
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