Andy Warhol Lifesavers 1985 F&S II.353

What’s New At Vertu: The Smoker, Lifesavers, Chicken and Dumplings

Here’s a look at some of the latest acquisitions at the Vertu Fine Art Gallery.

Tom Wesselmann, The Smoker

The Smoker is an embossed lithograph that contains some of Tom Wesselmann’s favorite things … a graceful hand, with dark red fingernails, holding a cigarette, and smoke wafting from a pair of full, red lips.

A true Renaissance Man, Tom Wesselmann had a degree in Psychology and went to Cooper Union to study Fine Art. He became a consummate New Yorker who loved, and wrote, country music (his song, I Love Doing Texas With You was included in the Brokeback Mountain movie soundtrack). He wrote a book about himself called Wesselmann, using the pseudonym, Slim Stealingworth. In Wesselmann’s own words, he wrote (as Stealingworth), “Many critics have described Tom Wesselmann as the most underrated painter of the American Art world of the 1960’s.”

Andy Warhol, Vote McGovern, Chicken and dumplings, Lifesavers

During the contentious election of 1972, the country was in the throes of the Viet Nam war and the Civil Rights movement. Alabama Governor, George Wallace, declared himself to be a Democratic presidential candidate along with George McGovern. McGovern, of course, wound up running against Richard Nixon, and Warhol was asked to contribute to the McGovern campaign.

In typical Warhol style, he created a demonic image of Nixon, with the simple slogan, Vote McGovern below the maniacal face. Simple, subtle, powerful and so very Warhol. If only he were around for this election…  Also available in our gallery are Andy Warhol’s Chicken and dumplings and Lifesavers.

Roy Lichtenstein, Shipboard Girl

In the wake of his 1964 painting, Nurse, selling at Christie’s for $95.3 million a few weeks ago, Roy Lichtenstein’s artwork has become more desirable than ever. Created a year after Nurse, Shipboard Girl has the same mysterious and sensual feeling.

With no thought or speech bubble, it’s up to the viewer to imagine what is on Shipboard Girl’s mind. Maybe she’s thinking, “I’m getting a fine art print for Christmas. Maybe a Lichtenstein.”

Alex Katz, Red Hat Ada

Red Hat Ada is a recent work, a woodcut, of the muse (and wife) that Katz has been painting for more than fifty years.

Alex Katz is a big favorite at our gallery. His Late Summer Flowers silkscreen graces the cover of our eBook, How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints (your can download it, free, at our website).

Jeff Koons, Puppy Vase

The art of Jeff Koons isn’t always practical, but it’s always fun. His first Puppy sculpture was a 43-foot high topiary, installed on the terrace of Spain’s Guggenheim Museum, that supported about 60,000 flowers.

The Puppy Vase in our gallery is just 17 inches high. It can hold a bouquet of flowers and, unlike the original, doesn’t need to be tended to by a staff of gardeners.

Banksy, Choose Your Weapon

Banksy painted Choose Your Weapon on a London wall. No Timmy and Lassie here. The boy and his Keith Haring dog, in Choose Your Weapon, appear menacing and disenfranchised.

Banksy always gives his audience a lot to think about and Choose Your Weapon is no exception.

Kaws, You Should Know I Know

You Should Know I Know is the first screenprint that Kaws created this year.

Fans of Kaws (Brooklyn-based artist Brian Donnelly) will recognize elements of his creation, Companion, the Mickey Mouse-like character that appears in many of his drawings, sculptures and even as a float in the 2012 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Please call, or visit the gallery, for more information about our new acquisitions or any of the art work we offer at Vertu.


Roy Lichtenstein, Nurse, 1964

Lichtenstein Rocks (With or Without Thought Bubbles)

Even without a “speech” or “thought bubble” (which usually drives up the price of a Lichtenstein), Nurse was sold for a record $95.4 million at the Christie’s auction on November 9th.

Here are some of the news reports from around the world that exemplify the excitement that the sale generated:

From The Wall Street Journal:
Christie’s also reset the record for Roy Lichtenstein by selling his comic-style Pop painting of a “Nurse” to a lone telephone bidder for $95.4 million, over its $80 million estimate. The 1964 work, which shows a nurse in a white cap covered in tiny red Ben-Day dots, surpassed the artist’s previous auction high of $56.1 million, set two years ago by a 1963 work, “Woman with Flowered Hat.”

From Il Figaro, Paris:
EXCLUSIVITÉ – Profitant de la Frieze Art Fair à Londres, Christie’s a annoncé la vente le 9 novembre prochain de la toile mythique du pop art américain. Elle pourrait franchir les 100 millions de dollars
[Translation: EXCLUSIVE – Taking advantage of the Frieze Art Fair in London, Christie’s announced the sale on November 9 of the legendary American pop art canvas. It could cross the $ 100 million mark.]

From The New York Times:
An arresting pop art work by Roy Lichtenstein, “Nurse,” from 1964, also defied expectations, selling for $95.4 million, with fees, to another phone buyer, well above its $80 million estimate — despite the lack of a “speech” or “thought bubble” that typically drives up the price of Lichtenstein works. “Nurse” reached a new price level for Lichtenstein at auction.

From the Swiss News Service:
La toile de Roy Lichtenstein “Nurse” (l’infirmière) a elle été adjugée, en quelques minutes, 95,3 millions de dollars. Elle était estimée à 80 millions par Christie’s. C’est presque le double du précédent record pour un Lichtenstein aux enchères, établi en 2013 à 56,12 millions.
[Translation: The canvas by Roy Lichtenstein “Nurse” (nurse) has been awarded, in minutes, $ 95.3 million. It was estimated at 80 million by Christie’s. This is almost double the previous record for a Lichtenstein auction, established in 2013 to 56,120,000.]

From Rebubblica, Italy
Serata di record a New York per Chistie’s che dopo aver venduto per 170,4 milioni di dollari un dipinto di Augusto Modigliani, “Nu couché”, ha battuto ogni precedente record anche per Roy Lichtenstein, re della pop-art. La sua opera “The nurse” dai caratteristici tratti a “fumetto” che ritrae un infermiera è stata venduta a 95,365 milioni di dollari.
[Translation: Evening of records in New York for Christie’s which sold for 170.4 million dollars a painting by Augusto Modigliani, “Nu couche”, broke all previous records for Roy Lichtenstein, king of pop art. His work “The nurse” with characteristic “comic” traits that portrays a nurse was sold for 95,365,000 dollars.]

As long-time collectors of Lichtenstein, we here, at Vertu, were thrilled by the results of the auction and the high value placed on Lichtenstein’s work. The pieces we have in our gallery are consummate Lichtenstein, with historical significance.

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.

A born and bred New Yorker, active in the city’s art scene, Lichtenstein served on the board of trustees of the B.A.M. Imperfect Print for B.A.M. is a woodcut and screen print, Lichtenstein created to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (B.A.M.) and Modern Art Poster is an image to the city.

Modern Head Relief is one of the most unique Lichtenstein pieces in our gallery. It incorporates all of Lichtenstein’s signature images, including ben-day dots, done in brass.

Visit us at Vertu or contact us for more information about the works of Roy Lichtenstein for sale in our gallery.

Frank Stella “Das Erdbeben in Chili [N#3]”, (1999)

Frank Stella: Not His First Rodeo

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If you’re lucky enough to be in New York between now and February 7, you’ll be able to see the Frank Stella retrospective at the new Whitney Museum of American Art. If you can’t make it to Manhattan, just keep reading and we’ll tell you how you can see the exhibit without leaving home.

This show is not Stella’s first rodeo. In 1970, at the age of 33, Stella was the youngest artist ever to have a retrospective at MoMA. His second MoMA retrospective was in 1987. Now, at age 79, Stella is the first artist to have a one-person retrospective at the new Whitney.

About sixty pieces of Stella’s work, work that he’s made over a period of nearly sixty years, are on display in the Whitney’s large, fifth floor gallery.

A far cry from his early, reductive, minimal black paintings, that catapulted Stella to fame in the art world, many of the works are wild with color, texture and depth. Some of the pieces are sculptural and architectural. Some look like Stella need only to add an engine and they could take off. Part of the fun for us, at Vertu, is seeing some of the works at the Whitney and similar works that are in our gallery.

When visitors enter the Whitney, they’re presented with the 40 foot long by 12 foot high acrylic on canvas, Das Erdbeben in Chili, done in 1999. (The translation is, The Earthquake in Chili).

Before Das Erdbeben, Stella did a relief etching and aquatint called Egyplosis Relief. Although much smaller in scale, this 1996 work is a glimpse into where the artist was going with the relief work. Best of all, Egyplosis Relief is in our gallery at the present time, and at just 31.5 inches square, you don’t need a 40 foot wall for hanging.

Just to the left of Das Erdbeben in Chili is Pratfall, a ten-foot-square acrylic painting that Stella created in 1974.

Before Pratfall there was Sharpesville. It’s not ten-feet-square, but a 16 X 22 inch offset lithograph, created in 1973, with the same feel as the larger work and is available in our gallery.

Of course, the retrospective includes some of Stella’s black paintings, like, Jill, from 1959.

We’ve got Black Stack in our gallery, a lithograph created in 1970, the year of Stella’s first retrospective at MoMA.

What I see my job as is showing people what the real art world is …”
—James Kalm

To get a tour of the retrospective from the comfort of home, you can follow James Kalm, a Brooklyn artist who takes his video camera to gallery openings around New York, for those of us who can’t make the trip:

The diversity of Stella’s work, over his 57-year-career, is apparent when viewing this retrospective. It also gave us, here at Vertu, an even greater appreciation of the variety of Frank Stella’s work that is in our gallery.

Rauschenberg’s Early Bloomer in the White House dining room

Rauschenberg Replaces Roosevelt in the White House

In a bold and beautiful move, President Obama and First Lady, Michelle, have updated the look of the White House with contemporary art, including Robert Rauschenberg’s Early Bloomer. Done in inkjet pigment transfer on polylaminate, Early Bloomer, is predominantly red, white and blue, with an American flag draped in the foreground. It now hangs on the wall of the family’s dining room, replacing a portrait of Theodore Roosevelt’s wife, Edith. Early Bloomer is a gift to the White House collection from the Rauschenberg Foundation.

Rauschenberg said that he, “had given up on politicians” but he would probably have been tickled to know that Early Bloomer was adorning the walls of the White House. He said that is was, “up to the artists to wage peace.” To that end, he founded the Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Exchange (ROCI) and traveled to countries around the world to share ideas with other artists.

In 1982, Rauschenberg traveled to China, where artists were pushing back against government control and restrictive party politics. His idea was to collaborate with the papermakers at the Xuan Paper Mill in Jingxian. Rauschenberg was detained by the government for several days, before they allowed him to actually go to the mill.

His collaboration with the Chinese papermakers led to Rauschenberg’s creation of the Seven Chinese Character series. Two of the works from the series, Change and Howl are in the Vertu gallery at this time.

The series is made up of collages that represent seven Chinese characters. They are built on a base of thirty-ply paper and a layer of silk. Each character is in pulp relief, overlaid with thin, transparent paper. Rauschenberg finished each work by applying gold leaf and a cloth medallion.

Rauschenberg went to the United Nations in 1984 and spoke to over 100 diplomats and ambassadors about the vision he had for ROCI. He refused to sell any work when he was abroad, not wanting his project to perceived as a commercial enterprise, and supported ROCI by mortgaging his home on Captiva Island.

In 1985, Rauschenberg opened his ROCI show at the China National Art Gallery in Beijing, the first contemporary Western artist to have an exhibition in China. He payed for and installed the exhibit himself. The show included, not only the work he did in China, but also the work he did in while in Chile, Mexico and Venezuela. About 300,000 people attended the opening in Beijing.

In 1986, Rauschenberg was commissioned to design a cover for TIME magazine, to celebrate Deng Xiaoping, who led China to become more open to global exchange.

Rauschenberg would have been 90 this October. The Pace Gallery, in Manhattan, is celebrating his birthday with a retrospective that includes some rarely seen works, and the Tate Modern will be hosting another Rauschenberg retrospective next year.

Change, Howl and other great works by Robert Rauschenberg are available in our gallery.

Andy Warhol's Studio

The Spiritual Side of Andy Warhol

It’s easier to picture Andy Warhol partying than praying, but pray he did.

Warhol was born into a Byzantine Catholic family in Pittsburgh. His older brother, John Warhola, said that Andy was sickly and spent much of his childhood at home with their mother, eating Campbell’s soup at the kitchen table, while gazing at a print of Leonardo DaVinci’s Last Supper.
Warhol was commissioned to create works, based on Last Supper, for an exhibit in the Palazzo Stelline in Milan across the street from the famous masterpiece. Warhol created a series of works, including a 32 foot long by 12 foot high Last Supper.

Andy took considerable pride in financing his nephew’s studies for the priesthood. And he regularly helped out at a shelter serving meals to the homeless and hungry. Trust Andy to have kept these activities in the dark. — John Richardson, Art historian

He didn’t worked from the original, instead he used a plastic sculpture that he bought at a gas station on the New Jersey Turnpike. Warhol had an audience with Pope John Paul ll at the Vatican in 1980, one of the rare public displays of Warhol’s faith.

Art historian, John Richardson, surprised many of the mourners at Warhol’s funeral, when he said, “I’d like to recall a side of his character that he hid from all but his closest friends; his spiritual side. Those of you who knew him in circumstances that were the antithesis of spiritual may be surprised that such a side existed. But exist it did, and it’s key to the artist’s psyche. Although Andy was perceived—with some justice—as a passive observer who never imposed his beliefs on other people, he could on occasion be an effective proselytizer. To my certain knowledge, he was responsible for at least one conversion. He took considerable pride in financing his nephew’s studies for the priesthood. And he regularly helped out at a shelter serving meals to the homeless and hungry. Trust Andy to have kept these activities in the dark. The knowledge of this secret piety inevitably changes our perception of an artist who fooled the world into believing that his only obsessions were money, fame, glamour, and that he could be cool to the point of callousness. Never take Andy at face value….”

Warhol created many versions of the Last Supper, many more Pop than traditional, using corporate logos, Harley Davidson wings and the Wise potato chip owl.

Warhol’s celebrity portraits are as iconic as the idols he portrayed.  It’s not easy to top the celeb status of Christ and the Apostles, but Warhol came pretty close with his diamond dusted screenprint of Santa Claus, available in our gallery, as of this writing. With the holidays coming up, Warhol’s Santa under the tree would be a fabulous surprise for any Warhol collector.

An iconic place where iconic people have been making films since 1912, Paramount Studio’s logo is one of the best known in the world. Warhol’s Paramount is in our gallery, along with many other Warhol works.

Warhol may have kept his religious beliefs a secret, but seeing him in this light puts a new slant on the way we view his work. If you’re interested in the spiritual side of the artist and his work, you might enjoy The Religious Art of Andy Warhol by art historian and curator, Jane Daggett. We welcome you to visit Vertu to see the the works of Andy Warhol and the other wonderful artists in our gallery.

Julian Opie Walking in the City.project 2, 2013

Julian Opie: Keeping it Simple

Whether it’s a portrait or a landscape, Julian Opie strips things down to their bare essentials. Born in London in 1958 and raised in Oxford, Opie was one of the Young British Artists (YBA) who graduated from Goldsmith’s, University of London.

In a 2014 LOOK magazine interview, Opie likened his pared down perspective to viewing the world through the windows of a moving train. “… you can become aware of the world outside the train, the landscape, as a sliding, flowing terrain; the world as a whole. It is simplified because you cannot focus on a car number plate or a bird on a wire, all you can see is the shape of the world, it’s color and your own movement through it and your presence in it.”

I love the way humans create themselves from a pretty limited range of attributes and although each one seems to be a type they are also always different. Finding a way to depict this duality is central to the way I draw and think.” —Julian Opie

Opie says that he drew inspiration from the 19th century French portrait artist, August Edouart and from the Belgian cartoonist, Hergé. Edouart created deceptively simple portraits by cutting black paper with scissors. His works are on display in London’s National Portrait Gallery … as are Opie’s.

Hergé created the cartoon series, Adventures of Tintin, in 1929. His reduction of features, use of black outline and his ability to create a sense of movement in his figures, had a profound influence on Opie’s work.

As a 21st century artist, Opie has the advantage of using computer and LED technology to enhance his art. His works are installed in cities around the world, including Manhattan and Indianapolis.

We have several works by Julian Opie in our gallery that demonstrate his ability to capture the essence of his subjects with skillful lines and minimal detail. “What interests me,” Opie says, “is the way the world looks and the way people present themselves. When I draw people I use their clothes and accessories as much as their bodies and looks to depict them and make them seem real. I love the way humans create themselves from a pretty limited range of attributes and although each one seems to be a type they are also always different. Finding a way to depict this duality is central to the way I draw and think.”

Opie’s portraits have a universal appeal. His work is part of the permanent collections in the Tate, the National Portrait Gallery, MoMA and other galleries around the world. We invite you to visit Vertu to view the work of Julian Opie and the other great artists we are pleased to offer.


Free Ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints

Free Ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints

We believe that the more you know, the more you will appreciate fine art prints.

In our Ebook you’ll learn:

  • A short history of prints from the earliest woodcut to contemporary processes
  • Which artists most influenced the making of fine art prints
  • What questions to ask when buying prints
  • The fundamentals of print identification
  • Terms and techniques for identifying fine art prints
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