Festive, Fun and Fabulous: Fine Art Prints …and more…

The uniqueness of each fine art print is always intriguing and surprising. Each artist’s vision, technique and medium lends itself to the creation of  an extraordinary work of art.

Alex Katz 1927 –

Seeing the fine art prints of an artist like Alex Katz, a master of the use of color, gives us an even greater appreciation of the art form.

His White Impatiens screenprint, has a simplicity of design that makes it hard to believe that he used 26 colors in its clean composition.

A fine art print like Marissa, a woodcut/linocut further underscores Katz’s talent.

Alex Katz will be having a 95th Birthday Exhibit at the Albertina Museum in Vienna on May 17, 2022 through August 21, 2022 and a much-deserved retrospective at the Guggenheim, New York on October 14, 2022 through February 20, 2023.

Kenny Scharf 1958 –

The works of Kenny Scharf are mind-bending and smile producing. He was born in Los Angles, where he currently lives and works, but spent the 1980s in New York. Scharf attended the School of Visual Arts and became part of the New York art scene with Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and other artist friends, some of whom, sadly, died during that era.

Scharf calls his work Pop Surrealism, a sensibility that has global appeal.

The Scharf Schack, a newspaper kiosk that he turned into a shop in Manhattan in the ’90s, has been recreated in the Baik Art Gallery in Seoul. The exhibit of Scharf’s works also includes a recreation of his L.A. studio. The exhibit will run through Christmas.

Like Keith Haring, Scharf has always wanted his art to be accessible. He said that art is something, “that can’t be confined to just a painting for a museum or gallery, but that has to explode off the wall into your life.”

At VFA we have a selection of Kenny Scharf’s paintings, prints and sculptures.

Yoshitomo Nara 1959 –

Yoshitomo Nara was a latchkey kid who grew up in northern Japan. One of his major influences was the rock-and-roll music broadcast from a nearby American army base. He didn’t understand the lyrics, but he got then message, and began collecting vinyl records, not just for the music, but also for the cover art.

Nara’s work is currently being shown at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, along with many of his album covers adorning the installation entrance.

Although best known for his depictions of wide-eyed, mischievous children, Nara also creates mixed media sculptures.

Available at VFA is  Yoshitomo Nara’s Doggy Radio, complete with a nose-turner dial, that is a tribute to the medium that started it all.

Andy Warhol 1928 – 1987

More fun to art lovers than a box of Legos, is Andy Warhol’s Portrait of the Artists from Ten from Leo Castelli. The work consists of 100 polystyrene boxes, each just 2-inches square. On each square is a screenprint of one of the artists whose works were shown at the Castelli Gallery.

The artists portrayed are Roy Lichtenstein, Larry Poons, Lee Bontecou, James Rosenquist; Donald Judd, Jasper Johns, Frank Stella, Robert Morris, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol himself.

Warhol made 200 copies of the boxed set, one of which is in the collection of MoMA another of which is available at VFA.

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


References:
Korea JoongAng Daily/In association with The New York Times. Exhibitions Across Seoul are attracting MZ generation. December 7, 2021.
Park Han-sol. US pop art legend’s funky ‘Scharf Schak’ from the ’90s reborn in Seoul. The Korea Times. December 8, 2021.

Eddie Martinez, Yoshitomo Nara and Yue Minjun

Eddie Martinez 1977-

The work of Eddie Martinez has been evolving over the last few years and has become highly coveted in art markets around the world.

He has spent much time, since the start of the pandemic, working in his Brooklyn studio, on paintings and prints that, he said, reflected his emotions during a difficult time. “Obviously there is a lot of anger and anxiety in this country right now,” Martinez said, “so I do feel some relief making these works and sharing them on Instagram, etcetera.”

During this year’s Art Basel in Basel, one of Martinez’s work sold for $90,000, another for $200,000.

The popularity of Martinez’s work in the Asian market has been fueled by Chinese rock star, Jay Chou. Chou, whose mother was a music teacher who also taught fine art, instilled a love of music and art in her son. She hoped he would one day teach music. He, instead, became a singer and songwriter, selling over 30 million records and garnering a large following on social media. Something about Eddie Martinez’s work spoke to Chou and he not only posted the work on his social media sites, but also traveled to the United States to meet the artist and attend an exhibit.

Martinez not only paints and creates original lithographs, he works in a variety of medium like oil pastel, ink, white out and crayon. A variety of these works are available at VFA.

His work is part of the permanent collection of the Morgan Library and Museum in New York, the Marciano Collection in Los Angeles, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Saatchi Collection and many other fine museums and galleries around the world.

Eddie Martinez lives and works in Brooklyn, with his wife, artist Sam Moyer.

Yoshitomo Nara 1959-

Yoshitomo Nara’s retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) reflects thirty years of the artist’s work. Nara is one of Japan’s most esteemed artists, whose paintings and sculptures have garnered some of the highest prices on the art market.

During the recent Art Basel in Basel, two of Nara’s works sold for $1.75 million each, although many of his works have sold for much more. In 2019, Sotheby’s sold his Knife Behind Back, 2000 for a record-setting $25 million in Hong Kong.

The mischievous, wide-eyed children, that make up many of his works, appeal to universal emotions and sensibility. His retrospective will be on exhibit at LACMA through January 2022 and then  travel to Shanghai, Spain, and the Netherlands.

Yue Minjun 1962 –

Chinese artist Yue Minjun’s works are part of a current exhibit at LACMA called Legacies of Exchange: Chinese Contemporary Art from the Yuz Foundation.

The repetitive smiling faces in Minjun’s works reflect an undercurrent of anxiety in China. In an interview, Yue said that the demand for conformity under Mao meant that “everyone had to do the right thing…which is why the act of smiling, laughing to mask feelings of helplessness has such significance to my generation.”

This exhibition is part of LACMA’s ongoing partnership with the Yuz Museum in Shanghai. It is a joint effort to create collaborative exhibitions and to provide both museums with greater access to a more diverse collection of artworks.

Legacies of Exchange: Chinese Contemporary Art from the Yuz Foundation will be on display through March 13, 2022.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Eddie Martinez, Yoshitomo Nara and Yue Minjun available at VFA.


References:
Benjamin Sutton. Artsy Insider: Two Artists Seeing Major Sales at Art Basel in Basel. Artsy: Art Market. September 26, 2021.
Gay Gassmann. What 11 Artists Have Created During Quarantine. Architectural Digest. May 19, 2020.
Angelica Villa. The Most Expensive Yoshitomo Nara Works Ever to Sell at Auction. Artnews. August 12, 2021.
Alex Colville. What’s so funny, Yue Minjun? SupChina. February 9, 2021.

References:

Yoshitomo Nara: Peace of Mind

Yoshitomo Nara is one of Japan’s most esteemed contemporary artists and, in the last few years, he has garnered international acclaim. In 2019, his painting, Knife Behind Back, sold for $25 million, during a bidding war at Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is currently exhibiting a retrospective of Nara’s works that span more than three decades, from 1987 to 2020.

Nara was born in 1959 in Aomori Prefecture in northern Japan. He was a lonely latchkey kid, who read comics and listened to the music broadcast from a nearby American military base.

The music, and the album covers, had a profound effect on his work. “As for records,” he said, “I bought a lot of imported records because they were inexpensive even for someone my age. But, you know, I couldn’t read the jacket cover of the thing I’d just purchased! Yet I pulled the record out of the cover and started listening with the cover in my hand. It got my imagination moving a lot and gradually I started picking up words. Little by little, I constructed the world of the record using imagination. I think I trained my imagination through the picture books and records, without knowing I was doing so.”

The entry to the LACMA exhibit contains a wall of Nara’s album covers, and visitors can listen to an Exhibition Soundtrack of the artist’s favorite songs. Included in the soundtrack is Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell, Universal Soldier by Donovan and Come Wind Come Rain by Vashti Bunyan. The first record that Nara bought in English was the 1967 single, Massachusetts by the Bee Gees.

In 1988, Nara moved to Germany, where he studied and taught. “I went there when I was 28 years old.” he said, “I was in my last year of art college, and was teaching art to high school students. As I did, I gradually felt that it was not them but me who must be taught art. I chose Germany just by chance. In fact, I could have gone to London instead. I can’t imagine what my life would be had I gone to London at that time, when the city was a mecca of young, energetic artists. For one reason or another, I ended up living in Germany for 12 years. I became literally ‘alone’ there. It strongly reminded me of the memory of my lonely childhood. I felt the city’s (Düsseldorf) cold and darkness, just like my hometown, and the atmosphere there reinforced my tendency to seclude myself from the outer world. It helped me to remember the boy-me’s feelings from back in my hometown, too. So I started talking with the 7- or 8-year-old boy-me in Aomori and the 28-year-old current-me in Germany, beyond the time-gap of 20 years, and the thousands of kilometers of distance between the countries. The result of the conversation was so obvious: what I drew changed drastically.”

In 2011, when a devastating earthquake hit Japan, Nara found that he was unable to draw or paint. He spent most of his time volunteering as a relief worker. It was during this period that he began to create sculptures and, eventually, was able to return to drawing and painting.

Yoshitomo Nara: Peace of Mind will be at LACMA through January, 2022 and then will travel to the Yuz Museum in Shanghai, the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao and the Kunsthal in Rotterdam.

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


References:
Tara Yarlagadda. Yoshitomo Nara Captures Children in All Their Rage and Wonder. Hyperallergic. August 11, 2021.
Elisa Wouk Almino. Yoshitomo Nara Reflects on His Major LACMA Retrospective. Hyperallergic. October 7, 2020.
Eric Vilas-Boas. Works by Elizabeth Catlett and Yoshitomo Nara Set Auction Records for the Artists. Hyperallergic. October 10, 2019.
Angelica Villa. The Most Expensive Yoshitomo Nara Works Ever to Sell at Auction. ArtNews. August 12, 2021.
Hideo Furukawa. An Interview with Yoshitomo Nara. Asymptote. November 2013.

The Joy of Derrick Adams and the Music of Yoshitomo Nara

Derrick Adams 1970 –

Derrick Adams focuses on friends, family, joy, serenity and the myriad leisure activities that make up the every day life of Black Americans.

He’s even opening an artists’ retreat in his hometown of Baltimore. He’s calling it Last Resort. Visitors will attend the retreat by invitation only and will not be required to do anything. Adams got the idea for the retreat after he was invited to the Rauschenberg Residency in Captiva, Florida.

“You can come and not do anything.” he said in a recent interview in Vogue. “Everything is very loose. Artists create images that reflect certain ideals and conditions. A lot of my work is about leisure, and I thought, What if I make what I’m making art about—make it actual? Why don’t I just make it so it’s a real place? That will be my legacy.”

Adams attended Columbia University and the Pratt Institute and is currently on a tenure track at Brooklyn College.

His Style Variations Series was inspired by the hair salons and barber shops he passes by during his walks through the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood that surrounds his studio. He began to ask stylists about the cuts and culture and created the series that celebrates the variety of styles that he found in the shops.

Works from the Style Variations Series and other works by Derrick Adams are available at VFA.

Yoshitomo Nara 1959 –

Yoshitomo Nara is a superstar, not just in Japan, but around the world.

Last year, Nara was in the U.S., helping to install his exhibit at  the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Just three days into the installation, the pandemic had taken hold, the Safer at Home order was given, and the show was postponed.

It finally opened last year, and was a huge success. More than 800 works, spanning nearly forty years, were displayed, as well as an entry gallery that held 350 records from Nara’s collection that have influenced his work.

Music has had a profound influence on Nara’s life and work, since his childhood in Japan. He was a latchkey kid, who grew up listening to the music broadcast from a nearby U.S. military base. He was a great lover of punk rock, blues and much of the music he heard during the 1970s and ’80s.

The museum included a soundtrack of Nara’s favorite music as a background for the exhibit and an interview with the artist about the evolution of his work.

The exhibition traveled to the Yuz Museum in Shanghai, the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao and is currently at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam through September 2021.

After the 2011 tsunami in Japan, Nara stopped working for a while, and then began to sculpt. He made Doggy Radio, a limited edition polymer sculpture that is also a functional radio, available at VFA.

The Work of Derrick Adams and Yoshitomo Nara at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Derrick Adams, Yoshitomo Nara or any of the fine artists whose works are available at VFA.


References:
Dodie Kazanjian. Derrick Adams’s Art Celebrates Black Life at its Most Exultant. Vogue Magazine. April 1, 2021.
Evan Pricco. Derrick Adams Finds Strength in “Style Variations”. Juxtapoz Magazine. March 23, 2021.
Elisa Wouk Almino. Yoshitomo Nara Reflects on His Major LACMA Retrospective. Hyperallergic. October 7, 2020.
Juxtapoz. A Daily Life: Julian Opie @ Lisson Gallery, NYC. Juxtapoz. March 5, 2019.
Tabish Khan. 10 Must See Exhibitions In London This June. The Londonist. June 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.

Recent Acquisitions and Featured Works at VFA

Ellsworth Kelly

Ellsworth Kelly, 2012

Birds, plants, Matisse, Picasso, camouflage…these were the unexpected influences that led to Ellsworth Kelly becoming one of the most influential, avant-garde artists in America.

“A glass roof of a factory with its broken and patched panes, lines of a roadmap, the shape of a scarf on a woman’s head, a fragment of Le Corbusier’s Swiss Pavilion, a corner of a Braque painting, paper fragments in the street,” Kelly said. “It was all the same: anything goes.”

Kelly died in 2015, at the age of 92, two years after President Obama awarded him the National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal.

Ellsworth Kelly Oversized Postcard Set with matching stamps, 2019

In 2019, on what would have been Kelly’s 96th birthday, the U.S. Post Office released a set of postcards and stamps of his works.

Two of our recent acquisitions Blue and Yellow and Color Panels, are two of Ellsworth Kelly’s most beautifully done lithographs.

Robert Indiana

Robert Indiana, left, and his caretaker, Jamie L. Thomas, at Thomas’s home on Vinalhaven, Maine, Christmas 2014.

Robert Indiana met Ellsworth Kelly in 1956, when they were part of the young art community in Manhattan. They had a romance that didn’t last, but their influence on each others’ work endured.

Indiana died in 2018 at the age of 89, at his home on the island of Vinalhaven, Maine, where he lived in relative seclusion for nearly fifty years.

The artist’s estate has been in dispute since his death. Jamie Thomas, who was Indiana’s friend and caretaker for many years, settled with the estate, though the terms are confidential.

The Star of Hope, the building in which Indiana lived and worked and wanted converted to a museum after his death, is in very bad shape and may not be able to be salvaged, as he wished.

Much of Robert Indiana’s work remains on the island where plans for a museum are still being discussed.

Two of our recent acquisitions are unique HOPE silkscreens, available at VFA.

Yoshitomo Nara

Yoshitomo Nara‘s first international retrospective was set to open at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in March. The museum, the largest art museum in the western United States, closed at the start of the quarantine. LACMA hoped to be open by now, but is still closed. The Nara exhibit will remain in place until the reopening.

The 60-year-old artist is one of Japan’s most celebrated and revered. His work, influenced by fairy tales, manga and American cartoons, has earned him a universal cult following.

Yoshitomo Nara
Doggy Radio, 2011
Polymer Plastic Sculpture/Radio-Touch Sensitive Volume, Nose Tuner Dial
Bluetooth/USB, Yamaha Lab Speaker System
13H X 17W X 8.5D inches
Edition of 3000
For sale at VFA

Marching on a Butterbur Leaf is one of our latests acquisitions. Also in our gallery is Nara’s Doggy Radio, a working radio with a Nose Tuner Dial, Bluetooth/USB and Yamaha Lab Speaker System.

Recent Acquisitions and Featured Works at VFA

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


References:
Kelly Richman-Abdou. Discover the Eclectic Influences That Shaped Ellsworth Kelly’s Avant-Garde Art. My Modern Met. July 12, 2020.
Artfixdaily. Art-Inspired Stamps to Buy Now to Support the USPS. June 25, 2020.
Graham Bowley. The Artist’s Caretaker: Once He Controlled Everything. No More. The New York Times. June 14, 2020.
Caroline Goldstein. Are These New Ellsworth Kelly Stamps the Most Beautiful Stamps Ever? Yes, They Are. artnetnews. May 31, 2019.
Y-Jean Mun-Delsalle. Among Japan’s Most Important Living Contemporary Artists, Yoshitomo Nara Now Wishes To Participate In Small-Scale Exhibitions. Forbes. December 15, 2019.
Cultural News. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Yoshitomo Nara First international retrospective of the artist. March 2020.
Free Ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints

Free Ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints

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

In our Ebook you’ll learn:

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