Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn Sets New Auction Record

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Andy Warhol 1928-1987

Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn (1964) sold for $194 million at Christie’s New York on May 9. Bought by an unknown buyer, the work garnered the highest price achieved for an American work of art at auction.

The silkscreen is one in a series of five, based on a promotional photo of Marilyn Monroe from the film Niagara. The historical significance, alluded to in the title of the work, is that Dorothy Podber, a visitor to Warhol’s studio, pulled out a gun and shot through the stack of Marilyn silkscreens that were piled up in the studio.

Eddie Martinez 1977 –

The vibrant works of Eddie Martinez have been garnering much attention and setting records for at auction.

The Brooklyn-based artist says that he loves graffiti, but stopped painting on walls (when he wasn’t invited to), deciding that incarceration wasn’t worth the risk. He attended the Art Institute of Boston and moved to New York.

His style, that combines fine art with a flowing, street sensibility, has gotten him international recognition. He has had solo shows at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai, the Drawing Center in New York, the Bronx Museum, the Davis Museum at Wellesley College and has been featured in The New York Times, the Brooklyn Rail, Art in America and other prestigious publications and galleries.

In 2019, his High Flying Bird (2014) painting sold for $2.02 million at Christie’s.

Martinez and his wife, artist Sam Moyer, work with young artists in New York’s Free Arts program.

Tom Wesselmann 1931-2004

I find sometimes I get so excited working, especially when starting new ideas; I get so excited that I get uncomfortable. It almost feels dangerous, like I’m flirting with something dangerous. – Tom Wesselmann

Tom Wesselmann was envious of Willem de Kooning and became intrigued by the works of Henri Matisse while he studied at Cooper Union from 1956 to 1959. One of his teachers, Nicholas Marsicano, encouraged him “to find your own way. . . You can’t do what Matisse did.” Still, the  influence of Matisse can be seen in the colors and lines of Wesselmann’s works .

Wesselmann often payed tribute to the artists he admired. He sculpted with cutouts, a la Matisse, and created Maquette for Still Life with Johns and Matisse. One of his finest still life works is Mixed Bouquet with Leger and Monica Sitting with Mondrian is an homage to another great artist.

Tom Wesselmann: After Matisse will be on exhibit at the Almine Rech Paris Gallery from June 11 through July 30, 2022.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Andy Warhol, Eddie Martinez or Tom Wesselmann available at VFA.


References:
Artsy Editorial. 9 Standout Lots from the Artsy x Thurgood Marshall College Fund Auction. March 17, 2022.
Robin Pogrebin. Warhol’s ‘Marilyn,’ at $195 Million, Shatters Auction Record for an American Artist. The New York Times. May 9, 2022.
France24. Warhol Monroe portrait set to smash records at New York sales. July 5, 2022.
Katherine Bernhardt Vogue Italia Cover

Featured Works by Katherine Bernhardt, Tom Wesselmann and Retna at VFA

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Katherine Bernhardt 1975 – present

Katherine Bernhardt was asked to create a cover for the May edition of Vogue Italia to celebrate their 100th anniversary of Chanel No. 5. The cover reflects the bright colors and familiar objects that have made her works so well received around the world.

Bernhardt has been dividing her time between her studio in New York and the studio near her childhood home in St. Louis. Her works are currently being shown at the limited  (due to the pandemic) Art Basel venues in Hong Kong and Miami.

The Pink Panther is a recurring image in Bernhardt’s art. African Violet and Nike Panther, available at VFA, are lithographs that use the Pink Panther image and exemplify the playfulness of her art.

Her works are part of the permanent collections of The Smithsonian, the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, the Rubell Collection in Miami, the Ghazaleh Foundation in Amman, Jordan and other fine museums and galleries.

Tom Wesselmann 1931 – 2004

Tom Wesselmann’s work is currently being shown at Almine Rech Paris at the Still Life exhibit, alongside modern works by Alexander Calder, Pablo Picasso, and examples of Still Life that go back as far as the Renaissance and ancient Egypt.

One of his Bedroom Paintings is part of the Daydreams and Nightmares exhibition at the virtual Gagosian exhibit at Frieze and Documenta Foot Print is being shown at the Hall Art Foundation in Reading, Vermont as part of an exhibit called Deep Blue that examines the use of the deep blue color as an artist’s statement…a color that appears often as a background in Wesselman’s art.

Wesselmann earned a degree in psychology and became more interested in an art career than becoming a therapist, so he moved from his home town of Cincinnati to New York in 1956 to study at Cooper Union.

He created collages and used shaped canvasses at the start of his career, often focusing on the female form and later using laser cut metal. Mixed Bouquet with Leger and Maquette for Still Life with Johns and Matisse, available at VFA, are works that pay homage to the great artists who influenced his creations.

Retna 1979 – present

Marquis Lewis, the LA artist known as Retna, is one of the few graffiti artists whose works have gone from the street to worldwide exhibits at galleries and museums.

His distinctive calligraphy style is instantly recognizable. His work is currently on display at the West Chelsea Contemporary Gallery in Austin, Texas in an exhibit called Icons & Vandals.

An untitled work in acrylic, done in Retna’s inimitable style is available at VFA.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Katherine Bernhardt, Tom Wesselmann, Retna or any of the other fine artists whose works are available at VFA.


References:
Veronica Theodoro. Vogue Italia taps painter Katherine Bernhardt to create its latest cover. St. Louis Magazine/Design ST> May 7, 2021.
NANZUKA Goes Surreal At Art Basel Hong Kong 2021. Hypebeast. May 19, 2021.
Wallce Ludel .E.T. and Xanax: An Interview with Katherine Bernhardt. Cultured Magazine/Art.January 16, 2020.
Michael Barnes. Eye-popping art goes urban, edgy in ‘Icons & Vandals’ at Austin gallery. The Austin American-Statesman. May 27, 2021.
Gabrielle Pharms. 8 Texas art exhibitions worth a fall trip. The Austin-American Statesman. November 11, 2020.

Tom Wesselman: In Perspective

A recent show of Tom Wesselmann’s work, at the Musee National de Monaco, looked at Wesselmann’s use of the female form. Wesselmann’s series of nudes, done as abstracts in the era of post-abstract expressionism and during the Pop era, was a radical innovation in the early 1960s, when he began his Great American Nude series. He reduced the female figure to its bare essentials…lips, breasts and pubic area…which was a departure from the post-Victorian images of the female form.

What Wesselmann said he was trying to do with his work was, “to make figurative art as exciting as abstract art.” He succeeded, not only as a figurative artist, but also as a Pop artist. His large, colorful female forms, with their isolated erogenous zones, were the equivalent of the billboard product ads used to entice consumers. Rather than objectifying women, Wesselmann used the female body as a construct for the abstract.

As a young man, Wesselmann was interested in becoming a cartoonist but, after being accepted to Cooper Union in 1956, he moved to New York and was inspired to draw and paint in a more classic style by the art he saw in museums and the artists he met in school and at galleries.

Wesselmann’s life also took an upturn in 1957, when he met fellow student Claire Selley, who became his model and wife. Claire Seated with Robe Half Off, available at Vertu Fine Art, is just one of the many works for which Claire was the model.  The couple was together, for more than forty years, until Wesselmann’s death, in 2004.

Tom Wesselmann’s Steel Works

The 1980s marked the beginning of a shift in focus for Wesselmann. He went from working on shaped canvas and collage to working in steel and aluminum. He created  both freestanding sculptures as well as sketches etched into flat metal surfaces. Wesselman etched his first works by hand until he got hold of an industrial laser. He also spent a year working with, and learning from, metalwork fabricator Alfred Lippincott. Wesselman developed a technique that allowed him to replicate his paintings in metal. He created both figurative and still life works, like Wildflower Bouquet, available at VFA.

Tom Wesselmann’s Homages

The art that Tom Wesselmann saw when he moved to New York changed his life. He often paid tribute to the artists whose work he admired, especially Matisse. One of Wesselmann’s most interesting works is his Still Life with Johns and Matisse, which he not only painted, but also turned into a sculpture. The Maquette for Still Life with Johns and Matisse, is available at VFA.

Tom Wesselman’s Works at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Tom Wesselmann for sale at VFA.

See More Tom Wesselman Work for Sale

References:
Hermione Hoby. Great American Nudes artist Tom Wesselmann was no sexist, say the women in his life. The Guardian. January 19, 2016.
http://www.tomwesselmannestate.org/tom-wesselmann-at-nouveau-musee-national-de-monaco/

Irma & New Work

Gratitude After Irma

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, we have been reminded of a valuable lesson at VFA. The lesson is one of gratitude. Although many of us are still without electricity and some conveniences, our families, our homes and the Gallery got through the storm with relatively little damage. We are showing our gratitude by helping the community, in any way we can, return to a sense of normalcy.

Our friends and neighbors have been working together in a spirit of unity. There are many ways to help get our community back together after Hurricane Irma. We urge you to join us in helping, by volunteering if you can, or by donating to clean up efforts. The Red Cross has proven to be a vital part of our area’s recovery.

Vertu Fine Art

Our sincerest thanks goes out to the friends, family and clients who have shown their care and support before, during and after the storm.


New Work at VFA

Vertu is featuring new acquisitions from Tom WesselmannAlex KatzJulian OpieFrank StellaShepard Fairey and Mel Bochner.

The Tom Wesselmann We Know

Getting to Know Tom Wesselmann

Just before the Paris show of Tom Wesselmann’s work a few months ago, The New York Times ran a piece about him titled, The Most Famous Pop Artist You Don’t Know. It’s true that Warhol and Lichtenstein are more recognizable than Wesselman to most people, but that’s beginning to change.

Tom Wesselmann has always been celebrated here at VFA, for his style, his shaped canvasses and his innovative steel-cut drawings. The rest of the art world is catching up and Wesselmann’s work is gaining greater appreciation than ever before.

My one intention is to always find new ways to make exciting paintings using the situation of the traditional nude.”

Though his career took off in the 1960s, after his first solo show in New York, the 1970s and ‘80s were hard on his career. His work was criticized for being too erotic and anti-feminist, but nudes were what Wesselmann liked to paint and, despite some lean years, he persisted.

“I don’t depict nudes from any sociological, cultural, or emotional intentions.” he wrote, “My one intention is to always find new ways to make exciting paintings using the situation of the traditional nude.”

Wesselmann, who was inspired by Matisse, was an inspiration to many of the figurative artists who came after him. Younger artists have been influenced by his bold use of color, and his use of the female form in a way that is very American and still seems very fresh and modern.

The Early Days in New York

The time in which Wesselmann began his career as an artist, in the late 1950s, was a time in New York when artist-run galleries gave artists the opportunity to break out of the limits of the established art world and make their own rules. These galleries allowed artists, like Wesselmann, to experiment with their works, share ideas and get feedback from other artists.

An exhibit that runs through April 1st NYU’s Grey Art Gallery, called Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952-1965, looks at the way the galleries allowed a greater diversity of styles to be exhibited for public viewing.

Wesselmann was able to exhibit his work at the Judson Gallery, in the basement of the Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village, which he founded in 1959 with Jim Dine and Marc Ratliff. The gallery allowed artists to present their work without censorship.

His Great American Nude series was what brought Wesselmann’s work to the attention of the mainstream art world. He also did still life collage and landscapes, and experimented with different media, like plexiglass and metal, and always returned to figurative work.

“At first glance, my pictures seem well behaved, as if—that is a still life, O.K.” he wrote, “But these things have such crazy give-and-take that I feel they get really very wild.”

We have fine examples of Tom Wesselmann’s steel cut and screenprint work for sale in our gallery. And, yes, some of them do look well-behaved, but each of them does have a touch of the wild. Come in to view the works, or contact us if you would like more information about the Wesselmann work available at VFA.

See More Tom Wesselmann Artwork for Sale

Tom Wesselmann Prints

The Multi-Dimensional Tom Wesselmann

Tom Wesselmann was very particular about how he wanted his three dimensional work was viewed. Cut Out Nude was one of his earliest sculptural pieces , which he insisted be viewed only from the front. He was interested in the visual the spaces in and around his drawings.

In 1984, Wesselmann became the first artist to use a laser to create steel drawings from his sketches, like Sitting Nude. This added another dimension to his drawings, in which the wall acted as a canvas for his work.

Those guys were really Pop artists from my feeling of what “Pop” art is. I felt like I got in the back door. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be there, but I was just standing around, my hat in my hand and shuffling my feet a little.”
— Tom Wesselmann

If timing is everything, then Wesselmann was swept up, and his work exhibited, alongside that of Pop artists like Warhol, Lichtenstein and Rosenquist. “Those guys were really Pop artists from my feeling of what “Pop” art is” he told art critic, Irving Sandler, “I felt like I got in the back door. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be there, but I was just standing around, my hat in my hand and shuffling my feet a little. I wasn’t really too comfortable in that category, but societally I was delighted to be a part of the group and for the emotional security it gave me and the reinforcement, not to mention the money and not having to teach.”

It’s not hard to understand why categorizing Wesselmann was difficult. The use of erotic images in his work, like The Smoker, has the clean lines, simple visual and the feel of kitsch that exemplifies Pop art.

But Wesselmann didn’t see his work as commentary on popular culture. “I was involved with a visual form and not a literary form. I had no bones about that.” he said. “So when people began to talk all the time about Coca-Cola or the Campbell Soup cans and all that sort of stuff, I began to get very uneasy because that was subject-matter talk, and I was involved in important, aesthetic matters, I felt, not subject matter.”

What got me about Matisse, and put me on my guard at the same time — was how overtly, stunningly beautiful his paintings were. They were exciting. You couldn’t look at a Matisse without feeling some kind of excitement. You just couldn’t do it!”
— Tom Wesselmann

In 1966, Wesselmann began to leave New York City for vacations in Cape Cod. A workaholic, he kept painting during his vacations on the Cape, often drawing on the positive and negative space surrounding figures on the beach, as in Seascape Dropout.

The influence of Matisse on Wesselmann’s nude paintings, came about after Wesselmann got hold of a book of Matisse reproductions. “What got me about Matisse,” Wesselmann said, “– and put me on my guard at the same time — was how overtly, stunningly beautiful his paintings were. They were exciting. You couldn’t look at a Matisse without feeling some kind of excitement. You just couldn’t do it!”

The influence of Matisse, and of the sky and water that Wesselmann painted on his vacations, can be seen in many of his screenprints, like Bedroom Face #41 and Claire Seated with Robe Half-Off.

Tom Wesselmann’s story, a kid from Cincinnati who wanted to draw cartoons, is as compelling as his rise to fame as an American icon. We welcome inquiries about Tom Wesselmann prints and the other artists in our Vertu Fine Art gallery.

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.

 

Tom Wesselmann Prints

Tom Wesselmann: Woodcuts, Silkscreens & Lithographs

Tom Wesselmann didn’t like to be pigeon-holed as a Pop artist, and as interesting a man as he was, he wasn’t easy to categorize in any aspect of his life. “I had no interest in social commentary,” Wesselmann said in a 1995 interview with The Enquirer, “I wanted to be an artist in the finest historical sense of the word.”

Although he was born in Cincinnati and spent his adult life in New York, Wesselmann had a passion for country music. He wrote hundreds of country songs, including, “I Love Doing Texas With You,” which was included on the Brokeback Mountain movie soundtrack.

Wesselmann propelled the tradition of nudes, still life and landscapes way beyond the boundaries of the Pop Art movement that defined many of his contemporaries.

Born in 1931, Wesselmann completed a degree in psychology at the University of Cincinnati after a stint in the army and began to study drawing at the Art academy of Cincinnati in 1954, with the goal of becoming a cartoonist. It was his study of art Cooper Union, that inspired him to pursue painting.

The influence of Matisse and Cezanne can be seen in the colors and perspective of Wesselmann’s work, but he was an experimenter and innovator whose focus was the evolution of his own work. Wesselmann experimented with color, size and sculptural elements. He was the first artist to use a laser and computer to make steel drawings. He also used aluminum, acrylic and plastics to add texture and dimension to his paintings, sculptures and even his screenprints.

Cut-Out Nude, from ll Pop Artists Vol. 1 is one of our favorite Wesselmann acquisitions. A screenprint on formed vinyl with a die-cut overmat, it’s a good example of both the nod to tradition and the fascination with innovation that defines his work.

Even his deceptively simple work, like Study for Seascape with Cumulus Clouds and Sky, has a strength of design that makes Wesselmann’s work so recognizable.
Many of his paintings are enormous and are housed in galleries around the country like MoMA, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.

Fortunately for us, Wesselmann loved to create woodcuts, silkscreens and lithographs that fit perfectly on our gallery walls.

Wesselmann died in 2004, at the age of 73. He suffered from heart disease during the last ten years of his life, but was still able to create spectacular paintings and prints. An excerpt from his diary reads, “I loved being alive even though I buried myself alive in my work.”

Alex Katz White Roses

New at VFA: Warhol, Wesselmann, Katz and More

Once again, we are proud to introduce newly acquired works that are now available at Vertu Fine Art. Among them is Andy Warhol’s famed Golden Mushroom – from Campbell’s Soup II, a well-known piece from the artist’s second set of soup works produced in 1969 − seven years after the collection that drew significant attention to emergence of the American Pop Art movement and Andy Warhol. As Warhol collectors will attest, every Warhol soup can from the 1960s is a cherished piece of history.

In 1964, as Andy Warhol was enjoyed newfound fame and success, he created Flowers, a series featuring his stylized version of the Mandrinette, a rare flowering shrub. Flower 1964 demonstrates how a part of nature morphs once it’s been “Warholized.” In this case, we see floral petals adorned with Day-Glo colors, which had their own moment in the sun over the increasingly psychedelic years of the 1960s. Fifty years later, this offset lithograph continues to captivate viewers, who bask in the warm energy of these vibrant colors.

Another new Warhol for sale at our Boca Raton gallery is Paramount, a screenprint from the ADS series. As a former commercial artist, Andy Warhol’s sensibilities led him to be particularly interested in commercial enterprises – and as an American enthralled with Hollywood, this version of the famous entertainment company brand appeared to be very much in line with the artist’s choice of subject. One of the oldest and most powerful motion picture studios in the business, Warhol’s treatment of logo appears to reduce its grandeur – with his version flattening the dimension and stripping it down to bare bones. Andy Warhol serves as the master magician of art, showing the audience how the deception of a trick is performed. Once Andy Warhol got his hands on an image, it may have started as someone else’s brand, but upon completion, it would become a Warhol brand.

Another celebrated Pop Artist with new works at VFA, Tom Wesselmann’s art showcase how he claimed his niche as the arguably the most sensual participant of a movement that counts emotional detachment among its most recognizable traits. Wesslemann’s Cut-Out Nude from 11 Pop Artists Vol. I is another cherished piece of history from the launch of Pop. Tom Wesselmann greets viewers with a bold confidence that stems from the artist’s ability to exaggerate and accentuate the features of his subject with lush, yet minimal detail. So expressive is each element contained that our minds never long for those features that the artist has chosen to omit.

Alex Katz continues to produce new works with the same cool reserve that placed him on the forefront of Pop Art many decades ago. At 87 years old, Katz is still dazzling collectors with large scale works consisting of flattened subjects and gorgeous palettes. White Roses is a new silkscreen consisting of 16 colors that viewers describe as intensely engaging, subtle and sublime.

British Pop Artist Julian Opie is among the talented artists who include Alex Katz as a major influence upon their craft. Five new lenticular acrylic woks from Opie are part of a new collection that’s drawing much attention from VFA visitors. Each work captures the essence of a societal role player – the Banker, Detective, Lawyer, Nurse and Student – strolling toward their next destination. Opie often wins praise for his ability to succinctly capture the intrinsic nature of human form in movement, and the addition of lenticular device only further demonstrates such capacity.

City Walkers I and City Walkers II are enthralling new steel relief sculptures from Opie that are now available for purchase at VFA. Opie’s latest fixation is squarely focused on the strides and styles of urban commuters. Both pieces showcase nine individuals answering the call to seek out that which motivates their movement. Body language and accessories work handsomely to define the mood and mindset of each participant – some intensely fixated on the road ahead, others engaged with mobile phones, and others enjoying a cup of coffee or cigarette. Each appears to have a unique degree of urgency attached to their movement. The scene grants us permission to people watch for as long as desired; no need to apologize for staring or judging participants based upon our perception of their traits.

The best way to enjoy any of the new Pop Art works currently for sale at VFA is to visit us at our gallery, located at The Shops of Boca Center. If you have questions about any of the new works or require assistance in acquiring something else, please contact us.

 

Tom Wesselmann Nudes for Sale at VFA

For many collectors of American Pop Art, the works of Tom Wesselmann easily stand out from the crowd as extraordinary. Wesselmann’s shapes, landscapes, perspective and lovely subjects land this artist in rarified air. With regard to capturing the sensuality of the female form, no one has done it better. At VFA, we are ardent admirers of Tom Wesselmann’s works and proud of our current lineup of screenprints for sale at our Boca Raton Gallery.

One of the more dramatic Wesselmann prints for sale is Seascape Dropout. Tom Wesselmann’s dropout series are spectacular – featuring beautiful scenes painted in the negative space, rivaling the forms of their surroundings for attention. In this dropout, the viewer’s perspective is one of an observant beach companion, peering through shapes within the woman’s form, taking in views of the sea as complement to the body in the foreground. Clouds, sky, water and flesh harmonized.

Wesselmann collectors will appreciate another new addition to our prints for sale, the colorful Beautiful Bedroom Kate. This piece showcases the artist’s genius for incredible detail achieved with such minimal elements. In pure Pop Art fashion, Wesselmann delivers this scene with cool commercial flatness, letting our mind’s eye sense the depth of field that comprises the central background.

Also new to our South Florida Contemporary Art gallery is Nude from 11 Pop Artists Portfolio Vol. II. This screenprint depicts Wesselmann’s contributions to a 1966 Pop Art publication that also featured the works of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Jim Dine, among other famous Pop Artists of the time. With a minimal palette and simple shapes, the artist constructs a rich vibrant sunbathing scene. Like a great poet, Wesselmann provides enough detail to allow the mind to fill the rest. Obvious are such components as the tanned skin, the non tanned bare breasts stripped of bikini, full mouth and lips, and perhaps most surprisingly – the efficient manner that the broad placement of sun, sky and clouds work so incredibly well.


Another wonderful and highly acclaimed Tom Wesselmann nude available at our Boca Raton Gallery is Claire Seated with Robe Half-Off (Vivienne). As the title indicates, this work includes two famous Wesselmann muses at once. Faces are consistent with the artist’s style – omitted are features other than lips and mouth. Oversized brunette Vivienne presents the loveliest of backdrop for Claire seated in foreground, in the large scale “larger than life” scene.

Tom Wesselmann collectors will appreciate the expressive “doodle” print, Bedroom Blonde Doodle with Photo. This work provides the viewer insight regarding how the artist crafts the framework for one his famous Bedroom landscapes. This work conjures all that Wesselmann’s fully saturated paintings do. Sensual colors and forms in place, this work simply works, whether singularly featured or as an accompaniment to one or more Wesselmann masterpieces nearby.

One of the more unique doodles we’ve come across is the unfamiliar landscape within Wesselmann’s Study for Seascape with Cumulus Clouds and Sky. Perhaps more intriguing than other such artist’s renderings, this presents the viewer with minimal hints about the finished work – enabling enhanced imagination to “see” future construction.

If you’re in the vicinity, please visit us at our Boca Raton Gallery. You can also contact us here with inquiries or set an appointment with Gary or Bill.

Tom Wesselmann

Tom Wesselmann: Pop Art and Intention

The American Pop Art movement had its share of reluctant participants. Perhaps most notorious among them is Tom Wesselmann. Mentioned alongside the biggest names in Pop – Warhol, Lichtenstein, Rosenquist and Johns − Wesselmann rejected the Pop label and any other label for that matter. The artist was among those masters who viewed themselves independent of any such art movement associations, interpreting such labeling as confining and simplistic, unable to capture the essence of their style. For Wesselmann, it boiled down to a matter of intention.

Unlike Warhol or Rosenquist, Wesselmann thought his art to be less confrontational, as he offered no criticism of society within the objects of brand and commercialism included in his works. What the artist failed to acknowledge or recognize is that Pop Art was a force of nature. Once unleashed, it lived in the public domain, providing an artist with little room to “opt out.” The Pop Artist tag would be especially difficult for Tom Wesselmann to shed, as the nature of his work was entirely in sync with the very attributes that fit the Pop motif. Intentional or otherwise, one Pop characteristic that served Wesselmann well was the ability to understand the moment and seize a golden opportunity.

Tom Wesselmann played off his own opportunism as pure coincidence. Just a 1960s working artist in New York, painting objects of commercialism and consumerism in large scale, in close proximity to a core of Pop Artists, such as Alex Katz, who Wesselmann befriended. Like Katz, Wesselmann’s style bespeaks that of a Pop Artist on the fringe. By the late sixties, as he began moving away from iconic objects of commercialism, Tom Wesselmann’s works still boar a number of Pop Art footprints, yet with an unassuming and less conscious approach – devoid of any motive to manipulate public opinion.

Since 1993 I’ve basically been an abstract painter. This is what happened: in 1984 I started making steel and aluminum cut-out figures… One day I got muddled up with the remnants and I was struck by the infinite variety of abstract possibilities. That was when I understood I was going back to what I had desperately been aiming for in 1959, and I started making abstract three-dimensional images in cut metal. I was happy and free to go back to what I wanted: but this time not on De Kooning’s terms but on mine.”
-Tom Wesselmann, 2003

Ask any Contemporary Art enthusiast about Tom Wesselmann and the first thing that comes to mind, whether stated or not, is Wesselmann’s women. The artist’s figurative drawings, paintings, prints and sculptures manage to capture the female form in a manner so unique that it’s mesmerizing. Sensual, revealing, intimate and honest − Wesselmann’s nudes are provocative and inviting. In the case of Great American Nude #92, a Tom Wesselmann 1967 painting that is part of a series called Great American Nude, the piece created a fair amount of controversy and intrigue.

There are a number of Wesselmann collectors who simply adore the artist’s use of color and powerful lines, but shy away from the artist’s highly sexualized offerings, opting for equally captivating landscapes or still life renderings.  Among the Wesselmann collectors who adore his nudes, there are also many who prefer the works featuring subjects more conservatively posed.

Tom Wesselmann’s nudes, though revealing, leave much to the viewer’s imagination. Faces are often portrayed anonymously, with full expressive lips serving as are the only facial features present. Stylized hair, pronounced breasts, an alluring pose and curves of the body help tell the story, but just a hint. Bold blocks and thick lines of color adorn clothing, flowers, furnishings and accessories provide the viewer with additional details.

One 1993 screenprint by Tom Wesselmann, Claire Seated with Robe Half-Off is wonderful representation of a repetitive theme used by the artist. Paying homage to two favorite muses at once, a reclined Vivienne serves as backdrop to a standing Claire. For collectors of who fully embrace Wesselmann’s varied portrayal of female subjects, each piece tells more of a larger story waiting to be told. Nothing Wesselmann ever feels forced or constructed for consumption. It’s merely a highly talented creator inviting us to join him, in his intimate spaces, with lovely companions. If you feel as we do, it’s an invitation you’ll accept time and time again.


If you enjoy limited edition prints and assorted works from Wesselmann, Warhol, Lichtenstein and the masters of Pop Art, we invite you to visit with us at our Boca Raton Contemporary Art gallery.  We’re also available to assist you online or via telephone during gallery hours.  Please feel free to contact us.


Art Prints, Carole Feuerman with Survival of Serena Green Cap

Art Prints for Sale this Week

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


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

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


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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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


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

Tom Wesselmann Pop Art

The Wonder of Tom Wesselmann

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Of the American Pop Artists that we feature at Vertu, it’s Tom Wesselmann’s Pop Art that consistently ranks high among our personal favorites. Time and time again, Wesselmann delights us – embracing the beauty and eroticism of the female form – exploring a wide variety of media and techniques – tackling works of enormous scale – and paying homage to other masters – all with incredible elegance.

Wesselmann’s place among Pop Art superstars like Warhol, Johns and Lichtenstein is most certainly framed by his own relationship to the art movement. It’s well-known that Tom Wesselmann did not like being labeled a Pop Artist. Yet, it’s hard to imagine that his early 1960’s “Still Life” realistic works featuring consumer goods and assorted American icons would be considered anything but Pop Art. Nonetheless, Wesselmann did manage to set himself apart, perhaps most notably by the manner in which he built his career.

While Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein continuously gravitated toward powerful commercial icons, by the mid to late 60’s, Wesselmann was moving away from commercial subjects, toward the nudes and seascapes that inspired him most. Certainly, if Wesselmann did indeed move through the Pop Art movement, he nonetheless adopted elements of the style – the broad lines and bold color palette most noticeably. Though Wesselmann stated that his work was not intended as social commentary, the fact that he was a New York artist pushing boundaries certainly contributed to his being labeled a Pop Artist.

When most collectors think of Tom Wesselmann, his depiction of the nude form is first and foremost. Wesselmann’s talent for capturing erotic elements of the female form is perhaps what most prominently separates him from the crowd. At a time when Pop Art notoriously depicted images devoid of emotion, Wesselmann captured the sexiness of shapely breasts, accentuated nipples, lips, legs, torsos and genitals. For some Wesselmann collectors, the sexually charged pieces are simply too bold. For others, these pieces hit the mark, and are synonymous with the free and evocative style that is purely Tom Wesselmann.

Tom Wesselmann’s Drop-Out series of works are among our favorites. Creating in the negative space − around breasts, legs, torsos and seascapes − the artist created works in which the background, along with the viewer’s mind, complete it. As with many of his works, vibrant colors and beautiful lines of the drop outs conjure thoughts of Henri Matisse, whose influence was prevalent throughout so many Wesselmann pieces.

Wesselmann’s creativity manifested itself in assorted shapes, textures and techniques throughout his career. Laser-cut steel versions of Wesselmann seascapes and vacuum formed plastic nudes are among the most well known non-print media used. Wesselmann collectors are often intrigued by the multiple versions of the artist’s vision. It’s easy to understand why one may favor the artist’s loose scribbled style, while another prefers a more detailed version of the same subject. For many, the joy is in discovering a beautiful theme deployed so many different ways, created in assorted shapes, sizes, media and techniques.

Another appealing aspect of Wesselmann is the artist’s tributes to other masters by way of inclusion. Monica Sitting with Mondrian, Still Life with Liz (Warhol), Monica Nude with Cezanne and Sunset Nude with Matisse Odalisque are all excellent examples.

If, like us, you are passionate about the works of Tom Wesselmann, please stop in to our Boca Raton gallery. We are most interested in hearing about your experiences with the artist’s works, and if you are seeking a particular work, please contact us and we’ll do our best to help you source it.

Artwork for Sale - Tom Wesselman

New Artwork for Sale at Vertu Fine Art

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Vertu Fine Art is pleased to bring you the latest offerings from acclaimed masters. If you’re in reach of our Boca Raton gallery, please visit. Call for an appointment or stop in anytime. If you’re looking for specific artwork for sale, please contact us and we’ll do our best to source them for you.


Tom Wesselmann
Study for Seascape with Cumulus Clouds and Sky, 1991

Tom Wesselmann is a Pop Art favorite at Vertu. Study for Seascape with Cumulus Clouds and Sky, 1991, is a welcomed acquisition for any Wesselmann collector. The work, done in pencil and Liquitex on Bristol Board, shows off the bold lines and rich colors that are emblematic of the artist’s pallet. As with many Wesselmann works, the artistic influence of Matisse and de Kooning are evident in this horizontal composition, yet the piece is uniquely Wesselmann.


Andy Warhol
Flash-November 22,1963, (II.42)
1968

Flash-November 22,1963 II.42, 1968 is a work from Andy Warhol’s famous Flash series of prints. Warhol’s Flash portfolio consists of eleven works, all focused on the mass media coverage of President John F. Kennedy’s celebrity, particularly the attention paid to the 1963 assassination. This series of screenprints is based upon campaign posters, advertisements and mass media images. Warhol, who was fond of President Kennedy, was reportedly bothered by the overwhelming media coverage of the tragedy. Typical of Andy Warhol’s style, as a person and artist, the work is unemotional yet powerful.


Andy Warhol
Dracula – (II.264) from the “Myths” portfolio, 1981

Dracula II.264 from Myths, 1981 is another special Andy Warhol print on display at Vertu Fine Art. Dracula is one of ten iconic figures depicted in Warhol’s Myths portfolio. Each work in the series was created with “Diamond Dust” and is a 38” x 38” square. In this series, Dracula shares the spotlight with a unique arrangement of cast members, including Mickey Mouse, Superman, Howdy Doody, Wicked Witch of the West, Santa Claus, The Shadow and Uncle Sam. Warhol’s friends nicknamed this print, “Drella” – a combination of Dracula and Cinderella. The series is thought to represent various facets of Andy Warhol’s personality.


Wayne Thiebaud
Country City, 1988

It’s difficult not to smile when viewing Country City, 1988 by artist Wayne Thiebaud. Considered to be a forerunner of the Pop Art movement, Thiebaud, like a number of Pop Artists, worked as a commercial artist prior to becoming well-known for his style. Country City is emblematic of the artist’s exaggerated themes blended with realistic elements, such as Thiebaud’s hyper-realistic use of shadows. Whether you’re a Wayne Thiebaud collector or merely an admirer, this is a masterwork that is sure to engage and delight the viewer.


Christo
Wrapped Motorcycle/Sidecar, Project for Harley Davidson 1933 VL Model, 1997

Artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude are known worldwide for their “wrapped” works. They’ve wrapped monuments, buildings and a part of the Australian coastline. The duo has wrapped objects large and small, around the world. New Yorkers may remember their installation of The Gates in Central Park, which featured 7,503 saffron colored fabric paneled gates, looking like a golden river running through the park. New to VFA is this Christo Wrapped Motorcycle/Sidecar, Project for Harley-Davidson 1933 VL Model, 1997. Christo and Jeanne-Claude collectors will marvel at this print and enjoy owning a piece of history shared between the artist and the Harley Davidson company.


Roy Lichtenstein
Still Life with Red Jar, 1994

Roy Lichtenstein collectors will surely be glad to see the latest print, Still Life with Red Jar, at VFA. This famous Lichtenstein screenprint represents the Pop Artist’s comic book inspired style. The important role that Roy Lichtenstein played in launching the Pop Art movement, in terms of pop culture elements, unemotional affect and commercial styling are noticeable in this work.


Marilyn Minter
Gold Tip, 2009

The work of Marilyn Minter never fails to elicit a visceral response. That’s why Gold Tip is a photograph that we’re rather fond of at VFA. This 40” x 60” C-Print is one of five produced. The artist, who works out of New York City, has become known for a hyper-realistic style, charged with subjects that exude glamour, sexuality and eroticism. In 1989, Marilyn created a series of works based on hardcore pornographic images that stirred up controversy from women’s rights proponents. She defended her works and challenged critics to rethink their perspective, asking, “Does it change the meaning if a woman uses these kinds of images?” (Wikipedia). Today, the artist is known for her powerful works created via paint, photography and video production.


Thank you for being a member of the Vertu Fine Art family. Join us online to stay plugged in to what’s happening. Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter or ring us at 561-368-4680.

Helen Frankenthaler, 1956

Artwork For Sale: New Arrivals at Vertu

It’s our pleasure to share the latest works for sale at Vertu Fine Art.  These eight prints already feel like they’ve always been members of our gallery’s family and we enjoy sharing space with these powerful works.


Helen Frankenthaler
All About Blue, 1994

Whenever we have the opportunity to acquire artwork from abstract expressionist Helen Frankenthaler, we move quickly to do so.  “All About Blue” is a strong, moody graphic that conveys rich textures, including those of the surface created from the woodcut.  Helen Frankenthaler is a powerful art figure for collectors who appreciate her role in the context of Abstract Expressionism and Color Field, as a pioneering female artist and great American artist.  Frankenthaler has received enhanced attention following her death in late 2011 and Gagosian Gallery is currently showcasing works from the artist’s estate. This artwork is from a small edition of 38.


Alex Katz
Grey Dress, 1992

“Grey Dress” a signed lithograph measuring 36 x 28 inches, is the newest Vertu artwork for sale from acclaimed artist Alex Katz.  “Grey Dress” is a strong representation of the cool, flat, emotionally detached figurative work for which Katz is renowned.  It’s a pure Pop piece.  Alex Katz is currently 85 years old and considered one of few living artists responsible for ushering in the age of American Pop art. Katz has been an inspirational figure for a number of talented artists, include David Salle and Richard Prince.


Damien Hirst
The Souls on Jacob’s Ladder Take Their Flight (Small Green), 2007

Damien Hirst’s inked photogravure “Souls on Jacobs Ladder Take Their Flight” is the newest artwork for sale from the famous British Contemporary artist.  Hirst is a perfect representation of an artist whose printing technique is every bit as important as his subject.  This magnificent artwork must be seen firsthand to be fully appreciated.  The black suspended green butterfly appears to float in a black space that leaves the paper and approaches the viewer.

Known to many for his controversial installations that have focused on death, dead animals and diamond encrusted skulls, Damien Hirst is highly respected by collectors who value his scientific and imaginative body of work. His role as a key figure within the YBA (Young British Artists), who rose to fame in the 1990’s has solidified his place in history.


Tom Wesselmann
Seascape (Round) from the “Master American Contemporaries” Portfolio, 1993

Of all the new artwork for sale at Vertu, “Seascape – Round” from the Master American Contemporaries Portfolio is the one piece that surprised us.  Though we’ve specialized in and collected Tom Wesselmann for over fifteen years, we were unfamiliar with this work.  In truth, Wesselmann is one of our favorite master printmakers, and this seascape in round composition is a welcomed addition.  From a small edition of 30; collectors will undoubtedly be pleased to see this Wesselmann screenprint available at the gallery.


Tom Wesselmann
Bedroom Blonde Doodle With Photo, 1998

Another newly acquired Tom Wesselmann work for sale is the captivating “Bedroom Blonde Doodle with Photo.”  This graphic is a classic Wesselmann Pop piece that beautifully blends the artist’s influence of Matisse style, sharing commonalities of composition and color.  We think this work is gorgeous; both sexy and emotive.


Roy Lichtenstein
Red Lamp, 1992

Vertu has two new Roy Lichtenstein prints among our inventory of new artwork for sale.  Lichtenstein’s “Red Lamp” is indicative of the old-fashioned comic strip style that brought the artist fame as a leading figure of the American Pop art scene as it captured widespread attention in the 1960’s.


Roy Lichtenstein
Still Life with Red Jar, 1994

Roy Lichtenstein’s “Still Life with Red Jar” is another classic screenprint that is, “undeniably Lichtenstein.”
Reminiscent of the artist’s comic book inspired dots, this signed edition of 250 is a brilliant addition to any collector of Roy Lichtenstein.  Lichtenstein is known to have said that he felt so influenced by Picasso, that he started cartoon paintings as a method to get away from Picasso.  With this knowledge, viewing Still Life with Red Jar, one could argue that Picasso’s influence is quite present.


Frank Stella
Bonne Bay – from the Newfoundland Series (Axsom 55), 1971

This lithograph and screenprint was created shortly after the Museum of Modern Art in New York presented a retrospective of Stella’s work in 1970. Stella worked on it in Los Angeles before he had a print studio installed in his New York home. This print series corresponded to the 1969-1970 painting series of the same name.


If you have questions or would like to see this artwork in person, call or visit us. We pride ourselves on acquiring Pop, Abstract Expressionism and Optical Art from the masters. We often receive gallery visitors who say, “I can’t believe what you’ve got here!”  We are continuously acquiring new artwork and look forward to showing you around our gallery.

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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