Honoring the Printmaker

A current exhibit at the Albuquerque Museum pays tribute to master printers. It is their skills, talents and ability to problem solve that help to create fine art prints. It is the artist, not the printmaker, who gets credit for the work, even though many fine art prints are true collaborations and many printmakers are artists themselves.

Iconic printers, like Kenneth Tyler and Ron Adams, revived the art of lithography in America. They taught many artists how to work with a lithography stone and also collaborated on design and composition.

Ron Adams (1934-2020) was a talented artist and printmaker. He attended the Los Angeles Trade Technical College, Manual Arts Adult Night School, Los Angeles City College, Otis College of Art and Design, UCLA, the University of Mexico.

Adams worked at Ken Tyler’s illustrious Gemini G.E.L. printing workshop in Los Angeles and at Editions Press in San Francisco. He left California in 1974 to found Hand Graphics Ltd. in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Ron Adams worked with Jasper Johns,  Ellsworth Kelly and other artists. He was one of the printers who helped Robert Rauschenberg with his Stoned Moon Series. The works were printed at Gemini G.E.L. after Rauschenberg was invited by NASA to witness the first moon landing. Adams sold Hand Graphics, in 1987, to focus on his own artwork.

Bill Lagattuta took over Hand Graphics and worked with Jim Dine and other artists to help them create fine lithographs. Lagattuta and Dine worked together for more than fourteen years.

The Printer’s Proof: Artist and Printer Collaborations focuses on six master printers. Each printer is also a fine artist and empathetic collaborator. A video of their works and perspectives accompanies the exhibit.

Master printers have had a profound effect on the works of many artists. Kenneth Tyler began working with artists in the 1960s. His expertise had a great impact on American artists and the rise of printmaking. He established some of the finest print workshops on both the East and West coasts of the U.S.

His most famous, and longest, collaboration was with Frank Stella. The pair worked together for more than forty years, until Tyler’s retirement in 2000. Tyler also worked with Helen Frankenthaler, Roy Lichtenstein and David Hockney.

The Printer’s Proof: Artist and Printer Collaborations will be on view at the Albuquerque Museum through May 15, 2022.

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


References:
The History Makers. Ron Adams Biography. July 13, 2010.
Nancy Zastudil. Shining a Light on the Art of the Printmaker. Hyperallergic. April 4, 2022.
Museum of Texas Tech University. Crisscross: Bill Lagattuta and Collaborative Printmaking (Series 2 of 3). January 2022.
Princeton University Art Museum. Printing without Limits: Frank Stella, Ken Tyler, and the Making of Juam. 2002.
Roy Lichtenstein MoonScape, 1965 Screenprint on blue Rowlux 19.92h x 23.94w in 200

Roy Lichtenstein’s Studio Donated to the Whitney, Andy Warhol Heard with A.I.

Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997

The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation has donated the artist’s former West Village studio to the Whitney Museum. The building will be renovated and become headquarters for the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program (I.S.P.).

The I.S.P. was established in 1968. Every year, fifteen young aspiring artists, art curators and historians are invited to participate. They share ideas among themselves and with visiting artists. Lichtenstein was one of the artists who led seminars for the program, having established a relationship with the Whitney in 1965.

The program has not had a permanent home until this acquisition. Lichtenstein bought the 9,000 square foot building on Washington Street in 1987, just a few blocks from the Whitney itself.  The three-story building served as both his home and studio until his death in 1997.

The building, once a metalworking shop, will be renovated and ready for occupancy in 2023.

Before Roy Lichtenstein garnered fame for his Pop artwork, he experimented with different styles, materials and subjects, including folk art,  history and the American west.

A traveling exhibit of these early works, titled Roy Lichtenstein: History in the Making 1948-1960, has been curated by the Colby College Museum of Art and Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. It will be on display at the Columbus Museum of Art from March 4 through June 5, 2022 and then at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University from August 25, 2022 through January 8, 2023.

Works like Moonscape and Landscape, screenprints done on Rowlux plastic film, are wonderful examples of Lichtenstein’s creative use of cutting edge materials, as is his use of porcelain and resin to create his Landscape Mobile. These, and other works by Roy Lichtenstein, in a variety of medium and styles, are available at VFA.

Andy Warhol 1928-1987

Andy Warhol spent a lot of time in public. He was photographed in clubs with a host of celebrities and at the Vatican with Pope John Paul ll. He was seen, but not often heard, and, in many ways, aspects of his persona remain a mystery.

In 1989, Warner Books posthumously published The Andy Warhol Diaries, edited by his long-time friend, Pat Hackett.

Warhol called Hackett on weekday mornings and she transcribed his words. The published diary, edited from 20,000 pages down to an 807 page book, covers eleven years of Warhol’s life.

Director Andrew Rossi has taken Warhol’s words and created a six-part documentary, using Artificial Intelligence technology to recreate Warhol’s voice. The show’s official description says, “Beginning with his childhood in Pittsburgh, the series traces Warhol’s almost unbelievably diverse journey fluidly moving between mediums and through eras as an artist – both revered and reviled – director, publisher, TV producer, scene maker, celebrity and much more. While he was a larger-than-life figure, Warhol was intensely private regarding his personal life. This series truly reveals much about the very complex man through his own words – often in his own voice through the use of cutting-edge AI techniques – and those who worked, created and played alongside him from the subversive to the mainstream, from John Waters to Rob Lowe.”

The Andy Warhol Foundation has approved the project and the use of A.I.

The Andy Warhol Diaries will air on Netflix on March 9, 2022.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol or any of the other fine art at VFA.


References:
Laura Zornosa. Roy Lichtenstein’s Studio Becomes Home to an Artistic Community. The New York Times. February 23, 2022.
Roy Lichtenstein’s Studio Building Donated to the Whitney Museum, and Other News. Surface. February 25, 2022.
Roy Lichtenstein Widow bequeaths Artist’s Studio To The Whitney – Large Roman Mosaic Unearthed In London – Art Basel Announces Spring Exhibitors List. Artlyst. February 24, 2022.
James Hibberd. Ryan Murphy Brings Andy Warhol to Life With AI in Netflix Documentary Trailer. The Hollywood Reporter. February 23, 2022.
Christian Holub. Hear an Andy Warhol A.I. voice narrate the trailer for new Netflix docuseries. Entertainment Weekly. February 23, 2022.

Keith Haring, Derrick Adams and Roy Lichtenstein

Keith Haring 1958-1990

Keith Haring was one of the twentieth century’s most innovate artists.

Haring took inspiration from Pierre Alechinsky, one of Europe’s most avant-garde artists. Alechinsky was  born in Brussels, but has spent most of his life living, painting and teaching in Paris. At the age of 94, Alechinsky is still very active. A survey of his work was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in 2017 and, in 2018, he was awarded Japan’s Praemium Imperiale Art award for his work.

The NSU Art Museum if Fort Lauderdale has put together an exhibit that combines the works of Haring and Alechinsky. Many of Alechinsky’s paintings in the exhibit are from the museum’s collection of CoBrA artists, a movement that originated in 1948, of which Alechinsky was one of its founders. CoBrA was named for the three northern European cities that its founders originated from – Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam.

Keith Haring described Alechinsky’s works as, “spontaneous, truthful, and real,” characteristics that can also be attributed to Haring’s own work.

Keith Haring and Pierre Alechinsky will be on view at the NSU Art Museum from February 27 through October 2, 2022.

Derrick Adams 1970 – present

Derrick Adams is not just a painter, he is also an educator, curator and community activist. He has been busy creating an artists’ retreat in his hometown of  Baltimore and has worked with young artists in New York, where he lives and works.

The Dreamyard In School program, established in 1994 to encourage children in the Bronx to develop their artistic skills, has created a jigsaw puzzle with of one of Adams’ paintings on one side and works by middle school students, inspired by Adams’ work, on the other.Proceeds from this project will be donated to the DreamYard scholarship fund.

Derrick Adams teaches at Brooklyn College, and is very much a part of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, where his studio is located. A PBS documentary, aired in April last year, looks at his work, his process and his desire to show how “relaxation can be a radical political act for Black people.”

Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997

Before Roy Lichtenstein’s rise to fame in New York in the 1960s, he lived and worked in Cleveland with his first wife, Isabel, and their two sons. It was Isabel who supported the family with her successful interior design business, while Lichtenstien helped by hanging curtains for her clients, working as a window dresser, draftsman and giving art lessons.

It was a time when he was honing his style, but had little success selling his work.

The family moved to New York to help further his career, to the detriment of hers.

The PBS documentary, Isabel & Roy, captures the upward spiral of Roy’s life and the downward spiral of Isabel’s.

In the early years, the 1950s, it was probably hard for the couple to imagine Lichtenstein’s success, and that one of his works, Masterpiece, would some day sell for $165 million.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Keith Haring, Derrick Adams, Roy Lichtenstein or any of the other fine art available at VFA.


References:
Phillips Valys. Critic’s picks: Four eye-popping art exhibits this season. Sun Sentinel. January 25, 2022.
Dodi Kazanjian .Derrick Adams’s Art Celebrates Black Life at its Most Exultant. Vogue. April 1, 2021.
Victoria L. Valentine. 14 Jigsaw Puzzles Celebrate Work of Highly Regarded Black Artists, From Derrick Adams, Faith Ringgold, and Gee’s Bend Quilters to Horace Pippin and Jacob Lawrence. Culture Type. January 29, 2022.
Steven Litt. Excellent ideastream documentary explores Roy Lichtenstein’s pivotal early years in Cleveland. May 23, 2021. cleveland.com.
Wayne Thiebaud Art

The Influence and Legacy of Wayne Thiebaud

Wayne Thiebaud 1920 – 2021

Wayne Thiebaud, one of America’s most beloved artists, best knows for his luscious paintings of cakes and pies, died at his home in Sacramento on Saturday, December 25th. He was 101 years old.

Thiebaud was not just a painter and printmaker; he was also a mentor and teacher. He taught at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) for more than thirty years, where he was given a lifetime Professor Emeritus title.

He continued painting, and playing tennis, into his 1ooth year.

In 1962, Thiebeaud’s work was shown alongside the works of Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Jim Dine, Edward Ruscha and others, in the groundbreaking show New Painting of Common Objects, at the Pasadena Art Museum. The show introduced Pop Art to the America and the rest of the world.

His use of colors and subject matter had a profound influence on Jonas Wood, whose works were included in the 2020 show Wayne Thiebaud Influencer a New Generation at the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis, to celebrate the artist’s 100th birthday.

Wood was able to arrange a meeting with Thiebaud in 2018. “Experiencing Wayne’s world for an afternoon was excellent,” Wood wrote on his Instagram account.

In 1967, Sports Illustrated commissioned Thiebaud to go to Wimbledon to paint his impressions of the tennis tournament. The result was of Thiebaud’s trip was a spread in the June 24, 1968 issue of Sports Illustrated of four paintings of Wimbledon by the artist.

As an homage to Wayne Thiebaud, Jonas Wood had one of his tennis drawings featured on the cover of Racquet magazine in 2018.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Jonas Wood, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol Jim Dine, Ed Ruscha or any of the other fine artists whose works are available at VFA.


References:
Wayne Thiebaud Influencer a New Generation. Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. March 2019.
Julia Halperin. The American Painter Wayne Thiebaud, Who Transformed Cakes Into Symbols of Joy and Longing, Has Died at 101. Artnet News. December 27, 2021.
Shawn Ghassemitari. Jonas Wood Unveils New Gagosian Exhibition in Hong Kong. Hypebeast/HypeArt. November 24, 2021.
Louis Menand. Before Roy Lichtenstein Went Pop. The New Yorker. July 21, 2021.
Karen Rosenberg. For Andy Warhol, Faith and Sexuality Intertwined. The New York Times. December 2, 2021.
Philip Kennicott. Wayne Thiebaud’s artistic eye was so much keener than pop art confections. The Washington Post. December 27, 2021.
Michael Kimmelman. Wayne Thiebaud, Playful Painter of the Everyday, Dies at 101. The New York Times. December 26, 2021.
Rashid Johnson, The New Negro Escapist Social and Athletic Club

Draw, Print, Repeat: Double Images and Repeated Patterns

In 1998, a year after Roy Lichtenstein died, the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation was established. Headed by Lichtenstein’s widow, Dorothy, the Foundation has given its support to many outreach and research projects.

This year the Foundation donated $50,000 to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC to help fund the research catalogue for the upcoming exhibition: The Double: Identity and Difference in Art Since 1900.

The exhibit examines how and why artists use double forms or motifs in their works. The NGA website says that the exhibit has several themes: “artists in the exhibition explore questions of identity and difference—the difference between the original work and a copy, the identity of the art with the artist, and especially self-identity as defined by our own unconscious, by society, as well as by race, gender, sexuality, and other forms of differentiation.”

Included in the exhibit are works by Andy Warhol, Jasper JohnsRobert Rauschenberg and Frank Stella.

Warhol knew the impact that multiple images have on a viewer. In a work like Portrait of the Artists, the viewer’s eye is forced across the composition to compare each artists’ face with its ten repeated images and with the image of the nine others. His use of the double image is a bit more subtle in Tidal Basin, where he uses a mirror image of the Washington Monument as well as two rectangular backgrounds to draw the eye across the work.

In Frank Stella’s work Black Stack, Stella uses repeated triangles to draw the viewer’s eye down the length on the lithograph, and back up again.

Repeated patterns can be comforting, making order out of chaos. In the 1980s, Donald Sultan created a series of paintings, The Disaster Series, based on newspaper images of the destruction of man-made objects, like train cars and industrial buildings. In 2017 twelve large paintings from the series traveled to major venues around the country, including the Smithsonian.

Sultan’s style went from chaos to order by using linoleum squares, covered with tar, and ordered into series of repeated patterns of dominoes, lantern flowers and poppies. His repeated designs are like comfort food, giving a feeling of serenity, like Big Poppies, Cor-Ten Poppies, even with the use of industrial materials.

One of the modern masters of the repeated image is Julian Opie, whose multiple images move across his work, letting the viewer compare and contrast the individual forms he creates.

The Double: Identity and Difference in Art Since 1900 will be on exhibit at the National Gallery from May 15 to September 5, 2022.

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

Recently Acquired works by Eddie Martinez, Timothy Curtis and Roy Lichtenstein at VFA

Eddie Martinez 1977 –

We are pleased to announce the recent acquisition of unique and intimate works by Eddie Martinez, whose creations have been highly sought after in recent years, with a large painting going for $2 million at Christies at the end of 2019.

A largely self-taught graffiti artist, who lives and works in Brooklyn, Martinez usually works large, using spray paint and mixed media in his huge, often figurative, works that combine Pop, Neo-Expressionism into his distinctive and boldly colored paintings.

Our recent acquisitions, each Untitled, are small, personal, hand-drawn works that were created with a variety of media from crayon to oil pastel, acrylic ink, marker and even white out.

In the past few years, Eddie Martinez’ audience has expanded from collectors in the U.S. to collectors around the world, with shows in as diverse venues as the Bronx Museum and the Yuz Museum in Shanghai.

Timothy Curtis 1982 –

Timothy Curtis has had an incredible career as a graffiti artist, who began studying art in earnest when he was incarcerated in 2008. He studied art history and honed his drawing skills (and earned some extra cash) by doing portraits of fellow inmates to send to their friends and families.

Japanese artist, Takashi Murakami, acted as a mentor and gave Curtis his first solo show in Japan.

Curtis’ works are playful, uninhibited and masterfully drawn. Recent acquisitions at VFA, Caught in the Twist and Death Won’t Do Us Apart are from the artist’s Ghost Bike series. The Ghost Bike series was first shown at the 2020 Armory Show in New York.

Curtis has an upcoming solo show at Albertz Benda Gallery in New York this fall and an exhibit at the K11 Museum in Hong Kong in 2022.

Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997

Before 1961, Roy Lichtenstein was an educator (he taught art at Rutgers University) and an artist who was trying to find his way in the changing world of modern art.

He displayed his work, complete with Benday Dots, in 1961, at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York. In 1962, he was given a solo show at Castelli and it was sold out before it opened.

Looking back at the work that Lichtenstein did before 1961 reveals the influence that European modernism, American historical paintings and traditional Chinese art had on his style.

An exhibit of the works that he did from 1948 to 1960 has been put together by a collaboration between the Colby College Museum of Art and Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

Roy Lichtenstein: History in the Making 1948-1960 will be traveling from the Colby College Museum to the
Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, Long Island, New York from August 1 – October 24, 2021, then on to the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio from March 4 to June 5, 2022 and will make a final stop at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina from August 25, 2022 to January 8, 2023.

The Nasher Museum made a video of History in the Making that shows many of Lichtenstein’s early works and the surprised reactions from young artists who have never known Lichtenstein’s story.

Brushstrokes became a theme in many of Lichtenstein’s works; a nod to Abstract Expressionists, an ironic nod to the lack of brushstrokes in the mechanical-appearing works that made him famous.  Lichtenstein did several Brushstroke sculptures before creating a series  of lithographs that not only feature brushstrokes, but are done in hands-on woodcut and waxtype.

We have recently acquired Green Face from the Brushstroke Figures, done in 1989, a fine example of Lichtenstein’s skill as artist and printmaker.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Eddie Martinez, Timothy Curtis or Roy Lichtenstein available at VFA.


References:
Christie’s. Collecting guide: 2021’s hot artists at cool prices. July 7, 2021.
Barbara A. MacAdam. Eddie Martinez: Inside Thoughts. The Brooklyn Rail. February 2021.
John Chiaverina. 12 Galleries That Aren’t in New York or Even Los Angeles. The New York Times Style Magazine. June 16/June 25, 2021.

The Works of Eddie Martinez, Yoshitomo Nara and Roy Lichtenstein at VFA

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Eddie Martinez

Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction last month garnered over $260 million dollars. The Modern and Contemporary art sale focused on Asian artists, like Yoshitomo Nara. Eddie Martinez was among the few Western artists that Asian collectors snapped up.

Martinez’ bold, freestyle, dream-like, Picasso-gone-wild technique is very relatable and has made his works some of the most sought after in the past few years.

Martinez was born in the Groton Naval Base in Groton, Connecticut in 1977. He attended the Art Institute of Boston and left after a year when he discovered his own unique style.

The New York Times art critic, Martha Schwendener, wrote, “Mr. Martinez is like a graffiti-artist coming off the street to quarrel with his heroes, except he’s more about homage than erasure.” Martinez did a lot of graffiti art, but said he didn’t like the risk, and took is more comfortable working in his Brooklyn studio.

Yoshitomo Nara

Yoshitomo Nara is a superstar in Japan. Sprout, one of the works he painted after the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011, sold for $2.5 million at the Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction.

Nara lives an hour away from the epicenter of the quake and volunteered with relief groups, which he attributes to giving his work new inspiration.

Nara was born in Hirosaki, Aomori, Japan in 1959. He was a latch key kid, and spent much of his time listening to punk rock that he heard on an American radio station. He didn’t understand the lyrics, but the sound influenced the feeling of his works and he went on to create album covers for R.E.M, Shonen Knife and other bands.

After receiving his B.F.A. in 1985 and M.F.A. in 1987 from the Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music Nara studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in Germany.

Nara currently has a major retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which will run through July 5, 2021.

Roy Lichtenstein

There’s still time to see the Roy Lichtenstein: Monet’s Garden Goes Pop! exhibit at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in downtown Sarasota. The horticultural staff duplicated the whimsy of Lichtenstein’s interpretation of Monet’s works.

The exhibit includes indoor gallery displays of Roy Lichtenstein’s Pop interpretations of Monet. The exhibit is fun, fanciful and will remain on display through June 27th.

Lichtenstein’s works are also included in the POP Power from Warhol to Koons show at the David Owsley Museum of Art in Muncie, Indiana. The show, which runs through May 26, spans fifty years of Pop history and includes the works of Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst alongside Lichtenstein’s.

The works of each of these artists is available at VFA. Please contact us if you would like more information about the fine art prints, paintings and sculpture for sale at VFA.


References:
Barbara A. MacAdam. Eddie Martinez: Inside Thoughts. The Brooklyn Rail. February 2021.
Mutual Art. Asia’s Overpowering Market Making. April 20, 2021.
Martha Schwendener. What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week. The New York Times. January 8, 2019.
Art 21. Graffiti taught Eddie Martinez the values of painting fast. Interview by Nick Ravich. Edited by Melissa Saenz Gordon. 2012.
Crystal Wong. Japanese Sensational Artist Yoshitomo Nara Once Again Stood Out from His Fellow Asian Artists at Hong Kong Auction. The Value. April 23, 2021.
Nick Marino. Yoshitomo Nara Paints What He Hears. The New York Times Style Magazine. July 24, 2020.
Madeleine Luckel. Monet’s Giverny Blooms Anew in Florida, By Way of Roy Lichtenstein. Architectural Digest. February 19, 2021.
Jay Handelman. Selby Goes Pop! with Roy Lichtenstein exhibit. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. February 13, 2021.
Jessica Poitevien. Monet’s Most Famous Paintings Are Getting a Pop Art Twist at This Immersive Exhibit in Florida. Travel + Leisure Magazine. February 25, 2021.

Keith Haring’s Collaborations, Celebration of 80 Years at the Norton Museum

Keith Haring’s Collaborations

In the recently published book, Keith Haring’s Line: Race and the Performance of Desire, author Ricardo Montez looks at the way that Keith Haring connected with those around him, and how race and gender influenced his works.

Haring was very social, very driven and very curious about the world around him. He filled journals with pages of drawings, calligraphy and poetry. He collected the works of artists whom he met and admired in New York.

His legacy, the Keith Haring Foundation, supports not-for-profit organizations that assist children, as well as organizations involved in education, prevention, and care related to AIDS. Works from Haring’s personal collection were auctioned off last September to benefit New York’s LGBT Center. Haring’s collection included works by Andy Warhol, Kenny Scharf, Jean Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichtenstein and other incredible and influential artists, whose works are available at VFA.

In 1978, Haring was a student at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He painted a mural for an exhibit in the student gallery at 260 West Broadway. The building, an 8,000 square foot triplex loft has been converted to a private residence, with the original mural intact. The asking price for the Tribeca loft is $8 million.

Alex Katz, Jeff Koons Featured at the Norton Museum’s 80th Anniversary Celebration

The Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach opened its doors to the public on February 8, 1941 and has been an integral part of the community for the past eighty years.

Norton Museum of Art postcard, circa 1941 Courtesy of Norton Museum of Art.

The museum was renovated in 2019 with a new look and nearly 60,000 square feet of new or renovated space.

To mark the Norton’s 80th Anniversary, the museum held a virtual anniversary celebration and an art auction hosted by Sotheby’s.

Works by Alex Katz and Jeff Koons were featured in the auction.

One of the current exhibits at the Norton are prints and drawings from the collection of Esther M. and Sumner L. Feldberg. The collection includes work by Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Sol Lewitt and other fine print artists. The exhibit runs through March 28, 2021.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Keith Haring, Alex Katz, Jeff Koons or any of the other fine artists whose works are available at VFA.


References:
Adriana Delgado. Norton celebrates 80th anniversary, virtual party and auction. Palm Beach Daily News. February 4, 2021.
Adam Rathe. Palm Beach’s Norton Museum Gets a Renovation by Norman Foster. Town&Country Magazine. February 5, 2019.
Dana Schulz. For $8M, this Tribeca loft comes with an original Keith Haring mural. 6sqft. February 9, 2021.
Danilo Machado. Keith Haring’s Lines of Desire. Hyperallergic. February 8, 2021.
Cassie Packard. Keith Haring’s Personal Collection Will Be Sold to Benefit New York’s LGBT Center. Hyperallergic. September 24, 2020.

The Surreal and Pop at VFA

Carlos Joao Alvarez Guerra Gonzalez 1980 – present

The works of Carlos Gonzalez are a cross between Andy Warhol’s attitude and Rene Magritte’s style. He is a fine portrait artist and surrealist painter whose focus is consumerism and culture.

Gonzalez was born in Havana, Cuba in 1980. After graduating from the Academy of San Alejandro he studied at the University of the Arts in Havana from 2006 to 2009.

Gonzalez currently lives and works in South Florida, where he has become an active part of the arts community.

Andy Warhol 1928-1987

It’s hard to believe that it was just a little less than two years ago, at Super Bowl Llll, that a huge crowd was sitting in a stadium in Atlanta watching Andy Warhol eat a burger from Burger King. Viewers blew up Google, searching for information about Andy. The ad caused a stir of controversy, which is what Warhol himself did during his lifetime and certainly earned him another fifteen minutes of fame.

Warhol was a very successful commercial artist in New York, working for clients like Tiffany’s and Dior, before getting his own work shown at galleries.

His take on American consumerism resonated with art lovers. “What’s great about this country,” he said, “is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest.”

Warhol’s work, and persona, still resonates with the public. Many of his photographs are currently on display at the Galerie Italienne in Paris.

His talent as an artist is often forgotten, overwhelmed by his large persona. Unique works like Tidal Basin, done for submission to the Washington Post, and Brooklyn Bridge, both available at VFA, reveal his remarkable talent.

Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997

Although they thought along similar planes, and both became Pop icons, the works of Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol were different in ideology and approach.

Lichtenstein’s work, though taken from comic book cells, had its roots in high art. Throughout their lives, the two artists collected each other’s works but were more like frenemies than colleagues.

Like Warhol, Lichtenstein’s works are still sought after and widely exhibited.

Roy Lichtenstein: Monet’s Garden Goes Pop!, an exhibit of Lichtenstein’s recreations of Monet’s works, will be on view at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in downtown Sarasota, from February 13 through June 27, 2021.

The artworks for the exhibit are on loan from the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation and private collectors.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Carlos Gonzalez, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein or any of the fine artists whose work is available at VFA.

References:
Eileen Kinsella. Pop or Flop? Burger King’s Andy Warhol Super Bowl Ad Succeeded in Alienating Pretty Much Everybody. artnetnews. February 5, 2019.
Keith Estiler. Largest Exhibition of Andy Warhol’s Photographs to Go on Display in Paris. Hypebeast. December 18, 2020.
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens to Showcase Pop Art Icon Roy Lichtenstein’s Take on Monet’s Garden. ArtfixDaily. January 12, 2021.

Roy Lichtenstein, Austin Lee & Eddie Martinez

Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997

Roy Lichtenstein, 1993

Roy Lichtenstein’s keen intellect and talent led him to become one of the most influential forces in the Postmodern era of art in America.

He was a university instructor with a Masters in Fine Arts, and took a lot of heat in the 1960s for combining fine and commercial art until the Pop culture was embraced.

Last July, one of his later works, Nude with Joyous Painting, done in 1994, sold at Christie’s auction for more than $46 million.

Although best know for his paintings, Lichtenstien was also a sculptor and lithographer.

We have some of his finest and unique works available at VFA, including a porcelain Landscape Mobile sculpture done in 1990 and Landscape 6a screenprint collage, done in 1967.

Austin Lee 1983 –

Austin Lee

Like Roy Lichtenstein, the playful style of Austin Lee’s work belies his superior intellect and ability. The New York-based artist received his Masters of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Art in 2013.

In a 2019 piece about his Feels Good show in New York, Sarah Nechamkin wrote in Interview Magazine, “I’m into Austin Lee’s Feels Good because I’ve always wanted to peer inside the Claymation-ized mind of a child high on Elmer’s glue and Lisa Frank. Lee’s portraits of happy-go-lucky humanoids, painted in various shades of Day-Glo, can only come from the imagination of someone not yet corrupted by the cynical forces of fine detail.”

Lee does his preliminary sketches on an iPad and then uses Photoshop or virtual reality technology to complete his work.

Lee’s 2019 Brush Bear is for sale at VFA.

Eddie Martinez 1977 –

Eddie Martinez in his studio, 2017

Graffiti was Eddie Martinez’s medium of choice, until the possibility of arrest made him reconsider graffiti on walls and he opted for work on canvas. Martinez spent a year at the Art Institute of Boston and then set up a studio in Brooklyn, where he creates works that are distinctive and dynamic.

His work has been some of the most sought after in the art market. New York gallerist, Josephine Nash said that his “work is collected globally, and equally by younger and more established collectors.”

Martinez often works in series and repeated design. His paintings and lithographs are instantly recognizable.

Some of his finest lithographs are available at VFA.

Roy Lichtenstein and Other Featured Artists at VFA

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

References:
Roy Lichtenstein’s ‘Nude with Joyous Painting’ big hit, Christie’s online sale fetches $421 mn. Economic Times Magazine. London Edition. July 14, 2020.
Martha Schwendener. The Armory Show: Playing It Safe During an Unsettled Time. The New York Times. March 5, 2020.
Sarah Nechamkin. Into: Austin Lee’s Uncynical Day-Glo Humanoids. Interview Magazine. March 2019.
Benjamin Sutton. Why Painter Eddie Martinez Is Having His Biggest Market Year Yet. Artsy. August 6, 2020.

A Mixtape for Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol and Lou Reed

Nothing said I love you…or….I don’t love you anymore…like a mixtape in the 1970s and 1980s. A recently discovered mixtape, made by Lou Reed as a gift to Andy Warhol, reflects the complicated relationship between the musician and the artist. The tape of previously unreleased songs was discovered by Judith Peraino, professor of music at Cornell University’s College of Arts and Sciences, who discovered the tape while doing archival research at the Warhol Museum.

“What makes this rare is the gift aspect of the tape,” she said, “that Lou Reed intentionally created both a curated set of songs and a composed set of songs on tape meant only for Warhol. This is a harbinger of the mixtape culture and gift-giving that flourished in the 1980s and 1990s.”

Warhol managed The Velvet Underground, Reed’s ’60s band. They had a tumultuous relationship. Reed fired Warhol as manager in 1968, although Warhol continued to help the band.

Side 2 of the tape is labeled “Philosophy Songs (From A to B & Back)” after Warhol’s book by that title. The songs, which Reed sings alone while playing guitar, are both sad, heartfelt and apologetic, a reflection of the relationship between the two men.

Andy Warhol and Keith Haring

Andy Warhol met Keith Haring in 1984. Both men were collectors and stored away gifts and mementos that caught their fancy. Last week, Sotheby’s held an online auction called, Dear Keith: Works from the Personal Collection of Keith Haring, which included gifts that Haring received and collected from many artist friends, like Kenny Scharf, George Condo, Jean Michel Basquiat and Roy Lichtenstein. One of the highlights of the auction was a Gumby watch, signed by Andy Warhol, that sold for $11,340.

Warhol’s Works Headed to China

Art lovers in China turned out in record numbers last year for a Picasso retrospective at the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. It was the first time that a major museum in mainland China had done a show dedicated just to the works of Picasso, and it turned out to be a big hit. The museum is hoping to have another great success with a comprehensive show of over 200 works by Andy Warhol in 2021.

The museum usually focuses on the works of living artists, but the success of the Picasso show was the impetus for the staff to reach out to the Warhol Museum and arrange the exhibit, which will include paintings, prints, drawings, films, and photographs, as well as archival materials, that tell the story of Warhol’s  trajectory from his childhood in Pittsburgh to his command of the art world in New York.

Warhol’s famous portrait of Mao Zedong will probably not be included in the exhibit. The show, simply titled Andy Warhol will run from July 3 through October 10, 2021 in Beijing before traveling to Shanghai in November.

The Works of Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Jean Michel Basquiat and Roy Lichtenstein at VFA

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

References:
Ben Sisario. A Long-Lost Lou Reed Tape With a Surprise: Andy Warhol Lyrics. The New York Times. October 30, 2019.
Linda B. Glaser. Musicologist discovers tape of unreleased Lou Reed music. Cornell Chronicle. October 30, 2019.
Far Out Magazine Staff. The long lost Lou Reed songs recorded for Andy Warhol. Far Out Magazine. October 4, 2020.
Taylor Dafoe. Beijing’s UCCA Broke Records With Its Blockbuster Picasso Show. It Wants to Do the Same With the Largest-Ever Andy Warhol Survey in China. artnetnews. October 5, 2020.
Eileen Kinsella. Sotheby’s $4.6 Million Sale of Keith Haring’s Personal Art Collection Tripled Expectations and Drew in Droves of New Buyers. artnetnews. October 2, 2020.
Chris Smith. Remember mixtapes? The history of the cassette. BT. August 20, 2018.

Equitable Building Crash

Last Monday’s calamitous helicopter crash, into the roof of the 54-story Equitable Building on Seventh Avenue in Manhattan, killed the pilot, left wreckage and caused a fire on the roof of the building. The response of firefighters was swift. The building was evacuated and the roof fire was quickly contained. The crash is still under investigation, but it appears that rain and fog, which caused poor visibility, was the cause.

The Equitable Building has been designated both a National Historic Landmark and a New York City Landmark. As an annex to the Whitney Museum, the building is home to some of America’s finest art, including a master work by Roy Lichtenstein.

In 1984 Lichtenstein was commissioned  by the Equitable Life Insurance Company to create a public mural for the building’s lobby. The commission of a work of art by a major corporation was a fairly radical move at the time. The New York Times called it, “an event of major artistic importance. It marks a commitment to art on the part of a prominent American corporation that is as generous and innovative as any before”

Lichtenstein’s 68-foot tall Mural with Blue Brushstroke was unveiled in 1986, and still  graces the building’s atrium. The mural depicts parts of Lichtenstein’s own works as well as nods to other artists like Fernand Leger and Frank Stella. The Equitable Building also houses paintings by Thomas Hart Benton and Sol Lewitt and massive sculptures by Barry Flanagan and Scott Burton.

Roy Lichtenstein at Sotheby’s

In 1969, German photographer, industrialist and art collector, Gunter Sachs, commissioned Roy Lichtenstein to create a work for his second wife, model and actress Brigette Bardot. The result was Composition, a 6 x 2 feet porcelain enamel-on-metal panel that was installed below the sinks in the bathroom of Sachs’ master bedroom suite in the penthouse at the Palace Hotel in St. Moritz.

Sachs courted Bardot by flying over her villa on the French Riviera in a helicopter and dropping hundreds of roses. The couple was married in Las Vegas in 1966. The marriage ended in divorce three years later, but Sachs continued to collect art until his death in 2011. Composition sold at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Day Auction on May 17 for $1,280,000, above the estimated price.

Roy Lichtenstein: The Impossible Collection

Writer and historian Avis Berman has authored a just-released 200-page hand-bound book that includes more than one hundred prints of Roy Lichtenstein’s work. Published by Assouline press, Roy Lichtenstein: The Impossible Collection details his early works like Wham! and Drowning Girl and his later interpretations of great masters like Matisse and Picasso. Roy Lichtenstein: The Impossible Collection is available for purchase on the Assouline website  for $895.

Roy Lichtenstein Prints at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about Nude from the Brushstroke Series, Virtual Interior-Portrait of a Duck or any of the fine art prints available at VFA.

See More Roy Lichtenstein Artwork for Sale

References:
Michael Brenson. Art View; Museum and Corporation-A Delicate Balance. The New York Times. February 23, 1986.
Martin Pengelly and Victoria Bekiempis. Helicopter crash in New York leaves at least one person dead, officials say. The Guardian. June 10,2019.
Chris Jenkins. Roy Lichtenstein Panel ‘Composition’ Up For Auction at Sotheby’s New York. Sotheby’s Arts & Collections Magazine. 
Keith Estiler. Roy Lichtenstein’s Iconic Pop Art Memorialized in New ‘Impossible Collection’ Book. Hypebeast. May 23, 2019.
Roy Lichtenstein Artwork for Sale

Roy Lichtenstein: Drawing in the Dark

In 1962, New York gallery owner, Leo Castelli, chose to represent Roy Lichtenstein. He had seen the works of Andy Warhol and James Rosenquist, and considered representing one of them, but it was Lichtenstein who made the cut.

The gallery show, which ran from February 10 to March 3, was the first exhibit of Lichtenstein’s comic book paintings, a big change from the Abstract Expressionist paintings,  filled with emotional content, that gallery goers had gotten used to seeing. The comic book paintings sold out and made Lichtenstein, at age 39, a legend in the art world.

By the time Lichtenstein had his second solo show at the Castelli gallery in September, 1963, his work had been shown in museums and galleries around the country. Roy Lichtenstein’s exhibit ushered in the era of Pop Art.

I like to pretend that my art has nothing to do with me.
— Roy Lichtenstein

Drawing in the Dark

It was a series of unrelated, but significant events, that led to Roy Lichtenstein’s creation of images based on comic strips and advertisements. Lichtenstein was born and raised in New York. He showed a talent for art and music at a very early age and his talent was encouraged by his parents.

He was drafted and sent to Europe in 1945, where he drew, studied art and hoped to stay to attend art classes at the Sorbonne. His plans changed when he was called back to New York because his father was ill. After his father’s death, Lichtenstein returned to Ohio State University, where he had studied art with Hoyt L. Sherman after graduating high school and attending classes at the Art Students League. Sherman taught at Ohio State for more than fifty years. He had read a story about Rembrandt that influenced the way he taught his students.

When Rembrandt was a young artist, the story went, he was inside his father’s windmill, and noticed that when the windmill blades cut off the light, the images that he retained in his mind’s eye remained very clear and distinct.

Sherman created a Flash Room at Ohio State, a darkened room where images would be flashed on a screen and the students would have to draw what they had seen. The U.S. Navy and Army Air Corps used Sherman’s method to teach pilots and gunners to quickly identify aircraft as friendly or enemy. Lichtenstein credits Hoyt L. Sherman with having a major influence on his work, especially on his ability to create crisp compositions.

Roy Lichtenstein Etchings and Screenprints at VFA

As Roy Lichtenstein’s work evolved, he explored sculpture, printmaking and created many commissioned murals. In January 2017, Masterpiece was sold for $165 million. The proceeds of the sale will be used to create a fund for criminal justice reform.

Please contact us for more information about the works of Roy Lichtenstein available at VFA.

See More Roy Lichtenstein Artwork for Sale at Vertu Fine Art

Roy Lichtenstein’s Revealing Archives

Among the many things that Roy Lichtenstein saved is a 1950 letter from Ohio State University, telling him that he would not be granted tenure, and would be relieved of his teaching position because he had failed to demonstrated the “substantial growth and future promise that foreshadows the future full professor.”

The letter was, of course, bad news for the artist but led to a decade in which Lichtenstein worked as a draftsman, window decorator and also honed his skills and began creating the instantly recognizable artwork that made him one of the greatest American artists of all time.

Roy Lichtenstein was very methodical. He was a note taker, kept day planners and collected copious amounts of materials related to his artwork, which have been donated to the Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Art by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, to be digitized and made available to the public.

The collection, which includes oral histories and artist interviews, art object files, an audiovisual collection, personal and professional correspondence, exhibition files, and thousands of documentary photographs of the artist, his artwork, and exhibition installations, will take years to digitize.

Archivists and art historians working on the material at the Smithsonian have already discovered an incredible amount of material that sheds light on both the personal and working life of the artist.

The Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck Myths

Roy Lichtenstein had his first solo exhibit in February 1962, at the Leo Castelli Gallery. Every painting in the exhibit was sold before the show opened. The massive painting, Look Mickey, was part of that show, and one of the reasons that he became a Pop icon.

Art critics and historians tell different stories about Lichtenstein’s inspiration for the painting. The most popular story, told by English art critic Edward Lucie-Smith, is that one of Lichtenstein’s sons pointed to a Mickey Mouse comic book and said, “I bet you can’t paint as good as that, Dad.”

Lichtenstein used this image from Donald Duck Lost and Found (illustrated by Bob Grant and Bob Totten) for Look Mickey.

Disney’s Donald Duck: Lost and Found, 1960
The book was Lichtenstein’s source for Look Mickey.

 What art historians found is a Disney book, published in 1960, called Donald Duck: Lost and Found, that includes an illustration Lichtenstein used for Look Mickey, which is in the permanent collection of the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Donald Duck became a recurring image in Lichtenstein’s work. As with his other artworks, Lichtenstein contrasted the feel of the cartoon with the coolness of his bold, primary colors and sharp outlines.

Virtual Interior-Portrait of a Duck at VFA

Printmaking was conducive to Lichtenstein’s Pop visions. He was a prolific and masterful printmaker. Virtual Interior – Portrait of a Duck, available at VFA, is a perfect example of Lichtenstein’s playful, yet meticulous, artwork.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Roy Lichtenstein, or any of the other fine artworks, available at VFA.

See More Roy Lichtenstein Work for Sale

References:
Edward Lucie-Smith. Lives of the Great 20th Century Artists. Thames & Hudson. 1999.
Susannah Gardiner. The Stories of Poets, Artists and Cartoon Characters Are All Waiting to Be Discovered in Roy Lichtenstein’s Personal Papers. smithsonian.com. February 25, 2019.
Klaus Honnef. Pop Art. TASCHEN. 2004
Gary van Wyk. Pop Art. 50 Works of Art You Should Know. PRESTEL. 2013.

Roy Lichtenstein’s Continued Legacy

Last summer, the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation announced that it was going to shut down and give the remainder of its assets to museums. About 400 works were donated to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and thousands of documents were given to the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art. The documents are being digitized to make them accessible to the public.

The latest Lichtenstein Foundation donation is a $5 million gift to the Smithsonian to create an endowment that would process and digitize material about artists whose works are historically underrepresented in the collections of American Museums, including African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and women.

Roy Lichtenstein and Comic Book Artists

Comic books became a major American industry with the publication of the Superman comic in 1938. Most of the artists whose work Roy Lichtenstein copied are no longer alive and he never met most of them, but he did meet Irv Novick, the artist who drew the original WHAAM! comic. The panel Novick drew was done for the January-February 1962 DC comic All-American Men of War #89.

Novick studied at National Academy of Design in New York. His career as a comic book artist lasted from 1939 until the 1990s.

According to an interview with Novick in Mike Richardson and Steve Duin’s book Comics: Between the Panels … Novick and Lichtenstein met while they were both serving in the military during World War ll:

He (Novick) had one curious encounter at camp. He dropped by the chief of staff’s quarters one night and found a young soldier sitting on a bunk, crying like a baby. “He said he was an artist,” Novick remembered, “and he had to do menial work, like cleaning up the officers’ quarters.

“It turned out to be Roy Lichtenstein. The work he showed me was rather poor and academic.” Feeling sorry for the kid, Novick got on the horn and got him a better job. “Later on, one of the first things he started copying was my work. He didn’t come into his own, doing things that were worthwhile, until he started doing things that were less academic than that. He was just making large copies of the cartoons I had drawn and painting them.”

Irv Novick died in 2004. Neither he, nor any of the other artists whose work Lichtenstein commandeered, received acknowledgment for their original work and the controversy over those omissions continues in the comic book world.

Roy Lichtenstein’s WHAAM! is in the permanent collection of the Tate Modern.

Roy Lichtenstein’s Point of View

British art critic, Alastair Sooke, sees Roy Lichtenstein’s work as more than just an appropriation of comic strips. “Lichtenstein took something tiny and ephemeral” Sooke said, “– a throwaway comic-strip panel that most people would overlook – and blew it up so that it was a substantial oil (and acrylic) painting more than 2m (6.5 ft) wide and 1.7m (5.5 ft) high. Here, he was saying, was a contemporary equivalent of a grand ‘history painting’, once considered the highest and most challenging branch of art. In the years after it was executed, people began to understand WHAAM! as a prophetic critique of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War.”

Lichtenstein was not only influenced by comic book artists. His sense of style and composition was also influenced by Chinese artists, whose work he discovered in a book that he bought in France during the war. The Chinese influence can be seen in works like Nude from the Brushstroke Series, available at VFA.

Lichtenstein himself saw little distinction between artistic styles. “There is a relationship between cartooning and people like Miro and Picasso which may not be understood by the cartoonist,” he said, “but it definitely is related even in the early Disney.” Virtual Interior -Portrait of a Duck is a fine example of Lichtenstein’s style and composition.

Roy Lichtenstein’s Fine Art Prints at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about Nude from the Brushstroke Series, Virtual Interior -Portrait of a Duck or any of the other fine works for sale at VFA.

See More Roy Lichtenstein Work for Sale

References:
Archives of American Art Announces Pivotal Gift from the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation. Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Art. October 24, 2018.
Jack Cowart. Don’t Try This At Home (or Alone). The Brooklyn Rail. December 11, 2018.
Brian Cronan. How Comic Book Artists Handled Roy Lichtenstein Using Their Work. Comic Book Resources. September 18, 2018.
Mike Richardson and Steve Duin. Comics: Between the Panels. Darkhorse Books. 1998.
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