Friday, February 29, 2008

YouTube - ArtVideo0038 - Botero

YouTube - ArtVideo0027 - Botero sculptures

YouTube - ArtVideo0016 - Ingres

Thursday, February 28, 2008

YouTube - ArtVideo0037 - Philippe DORNIC

YouTube - ArtVideo0036 - East meets West

YouTube - ArtVideo0035 - Bacon

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

YouTube - ArtVideo0034 - Magritte

YouTube - ArtVideo0033 - Andy WARHOL

YouTube - ArtVideo0032 - Degas

YouTube - ArtVideo0031 - Des animaux

YouTube - ArtVideo0030 - Basquiat

YouTube - ArtVideo0029 - Mucha

YouTube - ArtVideo0028 - Lucian FREUD

YouTube - ArtVideo0026 - Chagall

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

YouTube - ArtVideo0025 - Lichtenstein

YouTube - ArtVideo0024 - Botticelli

YouTube - ArtVideo0023 - Kandinsky

YouTube - ArtVideo0022 - Hopper

YouTube - ArtVideo0021 - Schiele

YouTube - ArtVideo0020 - Vermeer

YouTube - ArtVideo0019 - Cézanne

Monday, February 25, 2008

YouTube - ArtVideo0018 - Dali

YouTube - ArtVideo0017 - Miro

YouTube - ArtVideo0015 - Helmut NEWTON

YouTube - ArtVideo0014 - Haring

YouTube - ArtVideo0013 - Hockney

YouTube - ArtVideo0012 - Warhol & Basquiat

YouTube - ArtVideo0011 - Klimt

YouTube - ArtVideo0010 - Matisse

YouTube - ArtVideo0009 - van Gogh

YouTube - ArtVideo0008 - Monet

YouTube - ArtVideo0007 - Lempicka

YouTube - ArtVideo0006 - Vettriano

YouTube - ArtVideo0005 - Botero

YouTube - ArtVideo0004 - Picasso

YouTube - ArtVideo0003 - Modigliani

YouTube - ArtVideo0002 - Renoir

Saturday, February 23, 2008

YouTube - ArtVideo0001

Francis Bacon au firmament - Tous mes tableaux sont des accidents

Francis Bacon au firmament - Tous mes tableaux sont des accidents


L´assertion de Francis Bacon selon laquelle ses tableaux sont des accidents, reflète un parcours de vie chaotique, jalonné de chocs, de rencontres fortes et de ruptures brutales. Le premier choc à lieu en 1925 : un conflit violent avec son père le sépare de sa famille. Francis Bacon est alors âgé de 16 ans. Le deuxième choc est esthétique et conditionne sa carrière : en 1927, il sort transformé d´une exposition de Picasso et commence à dessiner. Vingt ans plus tard, sa peinture cumule les figures accidentées, les corps tourmentés qui fouillent dans la chair humaine en quête une intensité psychologique hors du commun.

D´une grande force expressive, sa peinture se voit disputée dans le monde entier, si bien que la cote de l´artiste a largement triplé depuis 1997. Jamais son marché ne fut si dynamique qu´en 2007, a tel point qu´il a gravi la troisième marche du podium du TOP 10 des artistes classés par produits des ventes (établi par Artprice). L´année dernière en effet, la dispersion de ses œuvres aux enchères a dégagé pas moins de 245 millions de dollars au total, soit 200 millions de dollars de plus qu´en 2006 !
Cette progression spectaculaire fut marquée par 7 coups de marteau exceptionnels: sept toiles adjugées plus de 10 millions de dollars chacune entre février et décembre 2007.

Point d´orgue des ventes 2007 : l´adjudication de 47 millions de dollars pour «Study from Innocent X» signée le 15 mai chez Sotheby´s NY. Cette toile de 1962, d´une grande intensité dramatique avec un Pape au corps torturé baignant dans une couleur rouge, est issue d´une série d´une cinquantaine de toiles que l´artiste consacra au thème des Papes.
Six mois après ce sommet, sa Second version of study for bullfight N°1 de 1969 confirmait la flambée de sa cote avec un coup de marteau de 41 millions de dollars (Sotheby´s NY).

L´effervescence autour de Francis BACON incite quelques collectionneurs à se séparer de leurs œuvres. De fait, le flux de peintures de grandes qualité se densifie : on compte 27 huiles proposées en ventes sur les deux dernières années (entre janvier 2006 et fevrier 2008), largement deux fois plus que les années précédentes (12 furent proposées entre 2004 et 2005 par exemple).

Surfant sur le succès du peintre anglais, Christie´s proposait le 6 février 2008 à Londres une œuvre exceptionnelle de plus de quatre mètres d´envergure, espérant établir un nouveau record. L´œuvre en question, Triptych est le dernier triptyque d´une série peinte en hommage à George Dyer, amant de Bacon qui mit tragiquement fin à ses jours en 1971. L´œuvre vint certes allonger la liste des enchères multimillionnaires mais talonne le record établi en mai 2007 sans le battre. Le monumental triptyque partit pour 23,5 millions de livres sterling, près de 46,3 millions de dollars.
Le 27 février 2008, Sotheby´s propose à Londres une œuvre de moindre dimension, Study of Nude with Figure in a Mirror, réalisée la même année que Second version of study for bullfight N°1 qui décrochait le plus beau résultat des ventes Impressionniste et moderne de novembre 2007.

London's Tube Will Display Venus By Lucas Cranach the Elder Poster

London's Tube Will Display Venus By Lucas Cranach the Elder Poster


Lucas Cranach the Elder, Venus, 1532, Oil and tempera on red beechwood, 37.7 x 24.5 cm. Stadel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Inv. Nr. 1125. Photo © : Jochen Beyer, Village-Neuf.

LONDON.- Transport for London decided to allow the Lucas Cranach the Elder painting publicizing a coming exhibition of Cranach's work at the Royal Academy to be shown all over the Tube. It had previously banned the work depicting Venus stating it would only display the image if the bottom half was cropped out. This painting is one of the 70 works that will be on view at the Royal Academy of Arts on March 8 in London.

Academy spokeswoman Jennifer Francis said, “I think it is because she's totally nude as opposed to say she's topless. We're shocked. We wouldn't have put a poster design forward if we thought it was offensive."

Jennifer Francis stated that the "Venus" was chosen because it best represents Cranach's work, but the academy was uncomfortable altering the artist's work by cropping it. Jennifer Francis stated, "We actually thought it was quite an innocent painting."

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Boys from a Lost Generation

Jean Michel Basquiat

Keith Haring

Keith Haring Untitled 1982
enamel and dayglo on metal
Collection: Keith Haring Estate, New York

IT IS NEARLY thirty years since the post-punk explosion of art, music and media onto the streets of New York. The hip hop and graffiti cultures had been established at the beginning of the 1970s in a City already bankrupt, – it had required Federal financial assistance – and where the divide between rich and poor was never more pronounced. Between 1970 and 1978, the city spent over $52,000,000 trying to clean up the explosion of street art, deemed vandalism by the authorities. The Transit Police had made over 7000 arrests that were graffiti related. It was a moment in social history where Charles Bronson’s Death Wish (1974) violence gave way to Gordon Gecko’s Wall Street (1987) excesses. Mid-term, 1980, John Lennon was shot dead – on these mean streets not even legends were sacred. During this period of nimiety and flux in New York, a breed of young contemporary artists emerged that were to embody the zeitgeist of the decade and tragically, to mirror the crash and burn ethos of a culture which acknowledged no parameters. The counter-culture of the late 70s and early 80s evoked a tribal energy that blazed across the creative arts with a ‘can-do’ attitude sourced from despair, resolve and comic book heroics. Two of these artists have been celebrated and sewn together, if for no other reason than both died tragically young: Jean Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. Both were outsiders who crossed over to become feted by the mainstream artworld. They were friends, but in fact were very different artists with totally different perspectives.

In 1978, Keith Haring arrived in New York from Pennsylvania and a secure family background. It was a city alive with alternatives. The East Village and Soho had exploded with new galleries and music venues, most would burn out like butterflies after making their mark on art historical folklore – or not. Haring has often been categorised as a graffiti artist at this time. In fact as this book makes clear, his was a comparatively refined street art even then. He had spotted the blank, blackboard-like panels on the subway that awaited the advertising poster paste-up man. Using white chalk, he drew his stylised, totemic pictograms with a rapidity and fluidity that amazed his contemporaries and the travellers who stood by to watch. Haring had already schooled himself in art history and Tony Schafrazi remembers him confiding how, at the age of 15, an exhibition by the CoBrA group had made an indelible impression. Other influences, Haring noted in his journals, were Matisse, Debuffet, Christo and above all Pierre Alechinsky. Haring was no stranger to hallucinogenic drugs either, LSD was both popular and common at this time, and the art of the psychedelic poster also became a strong influence on his colour sensibility.

After a spell as a ‘go-for’ at the Tony Schafrazi Gallery, he got his first one man show in New York there in 1982. The ‘radiant baby’ icon, and the zoomorphic and anthropomorphic pictograms, were an immediate success and already familiar to an audience via the street works. Solo shows across the world followed on (Tokyo, Antwerp, Naples, London, Cologne, Milan) and Haring became regarded as a mainstream art star. However, the whole 57th Street cognoscenti didn’t sign up for the crusader from the world of hip hop. This was a time when high profile painters had a serious careerist agenda and could (and did) articulate their personal positionings with force. Artists like Schnabel, Baselitz, Lupertz, Clemente and Fischl seemed far removed from Haring’s social activist, gay rights and AIDS awareness public manifesto. Haring’s financial success enabled him to exercise his beliefs in the accessibility of imagery. Like Warhol (a friend and ally) with his Factory concept, Haring opened Pop Shop in New York (1986) and Tokyo (1988) selling cheaper versions of his art as prints, T-shirts and ephemera. This, and his work for Absolut vodka and Swatch watches, caused outrage and accusations of ‘sell-out’ at the time. By today’s standards, it seems truly visionary. Endearingly, Haring never lost the ‘Buddy Holly’ looks noted by Tony Schafrazi at their first meeting back in 1979. When he died of AIDS in 1990 aged 31, Keith Haring had become an industry. His friend and associate Julia Gruen maintains his estate to this day, true to the ethical stance of an artist who wanted art for all and the destruction of the concept of highbrow vs lowbrow art.

This Skira book, whilst technically a catalogue to an exhibition sponsored by Chrysler, is an absolutely outstanding example of the modern, illustrated biographical art book. Large format, magnificent and extensive colour reproductions, with a collection of incisive, highly readable texts by those most conversant with the artist (as opposed to the usual monotone, single critic essay). Authoritative contributors include Jeffrey Deitch; Julia Gruen; Arturo Schwarz; Fernanda Pivano; Tony Schafrazi; etc. It offers dual English-Italian texts and is a shining example of clear and fluent design.

Jean Michel Basquiat started life in New York City, born in Brooklyn in 1960, but left for Puerto Rico at the crucial age of 12 when his father, an accountant, was transferred to Mira Mar near San Juan. Much was later to be made of Basquiat’s imaginary street kid credentials by the media, but in fact his upbringing was decidedly American middleclass: his father Gerard, a Haitian professional; mother, Matilde, a New Yorker of Puerto Rican parents; two sisters; and a comfortable home in suburban East Flatbush. Matilde Basquiat was a consummate museum goer and JMB was a regular visitor to the Brooklyn Museum, Met and MoMA.

In 1976, the family returned to New York and JMB attended Manhattan’s City-as-School, a special institution for gifted and talented kids who did not fit into the traditional school system. It was here JMB’s productive association with multi-discipline graffiti artist Al Diaz began to expand his creative horizons. 1979 was a seminal year for JMB, not yet 20. He began a friendship with Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf and, crucially, was introduced by Mudd Club buddy Diego Cortez to Henry Geldzahler. Over the next two years, JMB contributed to significant group shows, notably New York/New Wave in 1981. Subsequently, Annina Nosei offered to represent Basquiat and provided a studio space in her basement. This in turn led to Rene Ricard’s highly complimentary essay in Artforum. JMB was launched with his first American one man show at Nosei’s Manhattan gallery in 1982. As 1983 drew to a close, Basquiat’s meteoric rise to celebrity seemed unstoppable. Now close to Andy Warhol, with whom he had a natural affinity; a girlfriend who was an editor at Interview magazine; signed to a Bruno Bischofberger/Mary Boone pact and exhibiting across the world.

But what a difference a year makes. Basquiat’s sense of roots and indentity were the subject of much self scrutiny. He was submerged in a predominantly white commercial artworld where power and money ruled the pecking order (true friend Annina Nosei had soon been outgunned and her ‘discovery’ seduced away). The death of black graffiti artist Michael Stewart, following a police arrest, had disturbed him greatly, but these ‘street’ concerns seemed light years away from the ‘me-me’ society he now inhabited. Basquiat’s drug taking was out of control according to close friends, and his subsequent, acute, paranoia was tellingly aimed at his dealers. His new girlfriend, Jennifer Goode, was unable to get him clean.

In 1985, a cover story for the New York Times entitled New Art New Money: the Marketing of an American Artist seemed to have a subtext that was incompatible with Basquiat’s sense of his own integrity. Between 1986 to 1988, the artist visibly disintegrated, whilst across the international art community, the trade in his works carried on remorselessly. The sudden death of Andy Warhol in 1987 devastated Basquiat. Warhol had seemed to understand Jean Michel’s alienation and cultural schizophrenia. Alone, without the much loved Jennifer Goode who had been defeated by the drug abuse, all attempts to detox came to naught. The headline news of 7th August 1988 – Artist Basquiat dead at 27 – was no surprise to the New York art milieu.

From Skira, this, in association with Credit Suisse and the Tricino Canton, makes a first class job of presenting JMB’s short career. The publisher’s trademark format – presenting a collection of authoritative essays and high quality full page reproductions (also included here are double spread fold outs) – is ideal to communicate the pulse of the New York artworld of the 80s. Editor Chiappini is director of the museums of the City of Lugano and he has assembled texts from Archille Bonito Oliva; the late Henry Geldzahler; Bruno Bischofberger; Luciano Caprile; RD Marshall; Jeffrey Hoffeld; a concise biography by Gaia Regazzoni and catalogue data by Luca Marenzi. Again, although technically a catalogue like the Keith Haring publication, this book is at the high end of artist monographs – and in particular represents excellent value for money.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Architecture of Antoni Gaudi and the Sagrada Familia

Barcelona is justly famous for its architecture. People in Barcelona take architecture and design very seriously. One of the most famous architects in Barcelona and perhaps the world is Antoni Gaudi, who designed a number of buildings in Barcelona. I have books on Gaudi's work, which I've admired since I originally saw it. The opportunity to see Gaudi's buildings was one of the reasons I chose to visit Barcelona.

Gaudi's style could be described as a mix of Art Nouveau and his own unique organic style which was influenced by shapes and structures from the natural world. One of Gaudi's most impressive and beautiful buildings is Casa Batlló, shown below.

Gaudi's flowing organic style can be seen in many of the details of Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló apartment

The opportunity to walk through the amazing Casa Batlló was an emotional experience for me. Seeing Casa Batlló is far more impressive than seeing photographs of it. This building is truly one of Gaudi's masterworks.

Gaudi is also famous for his last, and most obsessive, work of his life, the Sagrada Familia temple.

Sagrada Familia

Gaudi was a complex man. His architecture was revolutionary, but he was a deeply conservative man. At a time when intellectuals in Barcelona were moving to the left, Gaudi remains a conservative Catholic.

As Gaudi got older his views seemed to become more and more extreme. Gaudi's construction and obsession with the Sagrada Familia was in part a reaction to the sometimes violent anti-clericalism that swirled around Gaudi. Gaudi felt that Barcelona and perhaps all of mankind owed his Catholic God repentance and supplication. Sagrada Familia was a symbol of this repentance and supplication for Gaudi.

Virtually all of the books on Gaudi's architecture include the Sagrada Familia. So I was looking forward to seeing this last work of the great architect. As it turns out, I should not have wasted my time and the 8 Euro entry fee. Sagrada Familia is a disaster.

Only the front four towers of Sagrada Familia were finished during Gaudi's lifetime. He financed the temple entirely on donations and received no support from the Catholic church. Gaudi was constantly short of funds and literally went door raising funds for the Sagrada Familia. The building is, ironically, a Catholic temple, but it will probably never belong to the Catholic church or be consecrated for religious services.

The part of Sagrada Familia designed by Gaudi has only a shadow of the flow and life that can be seen in Casa Batlló or in Park Guell. In the grips of religious fervor, Gaudi's architecture dried up and lost some of its life. While Gaudi's section of Sagrada Familia has none of the soaring beauty of his earlier work, it is not without interest. Gaudi's organic shapes remain, his stone work describing Christian mythology.

The front of the Gaudi designed section of Sagrada Familia

Gaudi's existing designs and architectural models were destroyed during the Spanish civil war. Although it was possible to reconstruct some of the lost material, there is no complete design for Sagrada Familia. The new section of Sagrada Familia has not been designed by Gaudi. This new section has been controversial and this controversy is richly deserved. The new section is simply a disaster. For example, like the Gaudi's towers, the new section has sculptures surrounding the entrance. As the photograph below shows, rather than Gaudi's flowing lines, these sculptures have angular modernist lines. Bizarrely, in a bow toward Gaudi's work, some of the sculptures have helmets that follow the design of Gaudi's Casa Mila chimneys.

Sculpture over the new entrance to Sagrada Familia and a view of the chimneys at Casa Mila

The new section of Sagrada Familia has the feeling of a bad Gaudi imitation. Poorly designed modernism recycling Gaudi's themes. For example, the structural supports of the new interior (shown below) are modeled after the supports of Gaudi's chapel at Colonia Guell. But in this incarnation they are dead and uninteresting.

The interior of the new section of Sagrada Familia and the actual pillars in Gaudi's chapel at Colonia Guell, which is referred to as The Crypt

Even if the new design and architecture were not terrible, much of the interior is obscured by the construction scaffolds as the view below, though the interior, shows.

Construction in Sagrada Familia

Some people have proposed that Gaudi's four towers should have been left as they were and that new additions should never have been added. I agree. The bizarre amalgam that Sagrada Familia has become is a depressing monument to an architect who was capable of great work. Rather than visiting Sagrada Familia, I recommend buying lunch with your 8 Euros and walking down Avinguda de Gaudi to the Lluis Domenech i Montaner's remarkable Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau.

Two of the pavilions at the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

La Chine occupe la 3ème place du marché mondial

La Chine occupe la 3ème place du marché mondial


Au terme de la compétition internationale, la France, traditionnellement élevée en troisième position dans le classement par produit des ventes, derrière les Etats-Unis et le Royaume-Uni, est détrônée cette année par la Chine. Grâce au dynamisme de quelques maisons de ventes internationales, la Chine a réussi à devancer la France. Il faut dire que cette année, pas moins de 75 enchères supérieures au million de dollars y ont été décrochées, avec un prix plafond de 66 millions de HKD (8,5 millions de $) pour une œuvre de Cai Guoqiang, un record absolu pour une œuvre d´art contemporain chinois, suivi par deux modernes, Beihong Xu (64 millions de HKD) et ChHen Chengbo (45 millions de HKD). Désormais, soutenue par une demande nationale en pleine croissance et des artistes à la cotation explosive, la Chine est capable de rivaliser avec New York et Londres en orchestrant des vacations de Fine Art à coup de millions de dollars de produits de ventes. Cette fois, les ventes les plus prestigieuses ne sont pas l´apanage de Sotheby´s et Christie´s…

L´essor de la Chine se reflète aussi par le nombre de maisons de ventes et les volumes négociés. Ainsi, avec un produit de ventes en hausse de +78% entre 2006 et 2007, la compétition s´intensifie entre auctioneers anglo-saxons et maisons de ventes locales. Au terme de l´année, Christie´s domine toujours ses concurrents directs, Poly International Auction, Sotheby´s et China Guardian avec un produit de vente de Fine Art de 197 millions de dollars. Mais de nombreuses maisons de ventes de moindre envergure, en pleine croissance, tirent leur épingle du jeu avec des produits de ventes annuels dépassant le million de dollars, à l´image de Beijning ChengXuan Auctions, Shainghai Hosane Auction, Hua Chen Auctions ou Beijing Council International Auction. Au total, désormais une centaine de maisons de ventes orchestrent en Chines de prestigieuses ventes cataloguées de Fine Art. Ce marché est aussi très attractif pour les leaders du marché occidental tels Bonhams, avec une première vente à Hong Kong le 26 novembre 2007, ou Artcurial qui a inauguré Artcurial China (Shanghai) avec une première vacation en janvier 2008.

Par ailleurs, l´entrée de la Chine sur la scène internationale est encore plus vive sur le marché particulièrement porteur et concurrentiel de l´art contemporain. En 2007, dans le classement Artprice des 100 premiers artistes contemporains par produit de vente, pas moins de 36 sont chinois, avec dès la deuxième marche, devant Jeff Koons, l´incroyable météore Zhang Xiaogang ! Même les médiatiques stars américaines ne résistent pas à l´émulation des collectionneurs pour les jeunes chinois. Il y a encore 5 ans, seul Cai Guoqiang parvenait à se hisser dans le Top 100. Avec l´introduction de ces artistes hautement spéculatif sur l´avant-scène internationale, c´est tout le visage de l´art contemporain aux enchères qui se trouve bousculé en quelques mois. Sur les 35 artistes contemporains ayant décroché des enchères millionnaires, 15 sont chinois. Autant dire qu´avec de tels niveaux de prix, ces artistes sont particulièrement médiatiques et leur simple présence dans un catalogue de vente peut assurer le succès d´une vacation. Aussi la spéculation va bon train. La cote des artistes contemporains chinois a progressé de +780% depuis 2001 ! Nombre d´entre eux voient leur prix multiplier par dix en quelques années. L´une des figures emblématiques de cette envolée est Zhang Xiaogang.

Introduit pour la première fois en vente en 1998 avec Blood Lines Series No.54 & No.55, un diptyque adjugé 5000 £ (7 117 €) chez Christie´s, son marché a pris une autre dimension avec une première série d´enchères millionnaires en octobre 2006 chez Christie´s Londres pour Big Family Series. Il a atteint un mois plus tard 16 millions de HK$ (2 million de $) avec Tiananmen Square, une large toile de 1993 présentée chez Christie´s Hong-Kong. En novembre 2007, son Family Portrait (1994) a décroché 4,4 millions de $ à New York. Au total son produit de ventes 2007 atteint 57 millions de $, dont 15 lots adjugé au delà du million de $. Parmi les artistes les plus performants, soulignons aussi Yue Minjun, classé 4ème par produit de ventes, avec une enchère haute à 2,6 millions de £ (5,3 millions de $) pour Execution chez Sotheby´s London. Il est suivi de Zeng Fanzhi, avec un record à 2,45 millions de £ (5 millions de $) chez Phillips de Pury & Company à Londres. En mai 2007, Chen Yifei plaçait un nouveau record pour une œuvre de l´avant-garde chinoise avec Eulog y of the Yellow River : 36 millions de Y (4,7 millions de $) sous le marteau de China Guardian. Depuis, il a largement été détrôné par Cai Guoqiang avec un ensemble de 14 dessins arraché 66 millions de HKD (8,5 millions de $) lors de la vente Asian Contemporary Art de Christie´s Hong Kong le 25 novembre 2007.

Désormais, hautement médiatisées, ces nouvelles stars tiennent non seulement les têtes d´affiches des ventes spécialisées en Asie, à Hong Kong, Pékin et Shanghai, mais aussi celles d´art contemporain à New York et à Londres chez Christie´s et Sotheby´s, aux côtés de Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons et Richard Prince.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Making of Daliwood - Dalí & Film Opens Today At the Salvador Dalí in St. Petersburg

The Making of Daliwood - Dalí & Film Opens Today At the Salvador Dalí in St. Petersburg


Salvador Dali, Sentimental Colloquy, 1944, oil on canvas, 27.3 x 41 cm. Salvador Dali Museum, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, Artists Right Society, 2007. Collection of the Salvador Dalí Museum, Inc., St. Petersburg, Florida.

ST. PETERSBURG, FL.- The Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg presents Dalí & Film, the first exhibition examining the profound relationship between the paintings and films of Salvador Dalí (1904-1989). Premiering on February 8, 2008 and running to June 1, 2008, the exhibition reveals how Dalí combined his skills in painting with the new and exciting possibilities of the moving image to define a new art.

Dalí is perhaps the most recognizable and important artist of the twentieth century and the dream-like images he invented in his paintings are engraved in the public consciousness. This new exhibition demonstrates that Dalí, influenced by the illusionary space that can be created in painting, his surrealist inventions and his love of film, helped define the conventions of this new medium. His brilliant films and his film-inspired paintings created some of the most memorable and influential images in avant-garde art.

“Dalí explored his obsessions in each medium in which he worked—the relationship between his paintings and his films provides a fascinating insight into his imagination,” said Hank Hine, Salvador Dalí Museum Executive Director. “There was a time when film convention was invented, was constructed frame by frame. Dalí was one of its most significant inventors. Painting was his resource. We are proud to host this presentation that explores the very nature of painting and film.”

Featuring over one hundred works from collections from all over Europe and America, together with films, photographs, film scripts, and drawings, Dalí & Film opened at the Tate Modern in London, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and will be displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 2008. For the exhibit at the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg a number of important works drawn from the Dalí Museum’s own extensive collection have been added, including The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory (1952-54), and The Ghost of Vermeer of Delft which can be used as a Table (1934).

Like the artist himself, Dali’s relationship with film is complex and contradictory. “The best cinema is the kind that can be perceived with your eyes closed,” Dalí wrote in 1927, recognizing both the power and mystery of the medium. Dalí approached film as both an inspiration and an outlet for experimentation. The cross-fertilization of ideas between film and painting can be seen in The First Days of Spring (1929) and The Persistence of Memory (1931), two paintings with compositions that dissolve into other images as they would in moving pictures. These works coincide with the artist’s first movie collaborations with the celebrated Spanish director Luis Buñuel in 1929-30. Just as Dalí brought new images into the popular imagination in his paintings, he also invented some of the most memorable images on film. From his fantastical imagination and obsession with dreams and the subconscious, unforgettable haunting images—such as the slicing of an eyeball with a razor and a hand infected with ants in Un Chien andalou (1929)—mirror the disturbing anatomic depictions in major paintings of that moment, including Apparatus and Hand (1927).

It is no surprise that Dalí’s interest in film led him to Hollywood. While exiled in the United States during the Second World War, he gravitated to Hollywood to work on major studio productions with Twentieth Century Fox, Alfred Hitchcock, Walt Disney and the Marx Brothers. His dream-like vision proved ideal for the 1940’s movie industry where total immersion in Dalí’s imagination became possible for a mass audience—and where his impact still resonates today. Writing for The Guardian, JG Ballard (Empire of the Sun; Crash) commented: “We no longer live in a literary culture, and the human eye has been fine-tuned by a half-century of film and television. Dalí's paintings, with their distant horizon lines, pseudo-Renaissance perspectives and mentalised stage-sets, are naturals for the age of the plasma TV screen.” (May 26, 2007)

The complete exhibition features his major film projects, including Un Chien andalou, (1929) L’Âge d’or (1930), Spellbound (1945), Chaos and Creation (1960)—the first time a major artist used video—and the Dalí/Disney animated short Destino (1946), seen alongside Dalí’s most famous paintings, including The Persistence of Memory (1931), The Metamorphosis of Narcissus (1937), as well as other major works on loan from the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; the Guggenheim, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; and the National Gallery of Canada.

Dalí and Film is curated by Tate curators Helen Sainsbury and Matthew Gale (editor of Dalí and Film); Dawn Ades, Dalí scholar and curator of Salvador Dalí: Centenary Exhibition; Montse Aguer, Director, Centre d’Estudis Dalinians, Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation; and Félix Fanès, curator of Dalí and Mass Culture. The exhibition in St. Petersburg is curated by William Jeffett, Curator of Special Exhibitions, Salvador Dalí Museum.

The St. Petersburg presentation is made possible by Progress Energy, a Museum sponsor since 2002, whose continued support for arts provides a benchmark for corporate engagement in the community. Presenting Sponsors for the St. Petersburg exhibition include Ovation by JMC Communities and M&I Wealth Management with additional support from the Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club, and Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Sotheby's Series of Impressionist & Modern Sales Realise Unprecedented $285 Million

Sotheby's Series of Impressionist & Modern Sales Realise Unprecedented $285 Million


© Sotheby's Images.

LONDON.-Sotheby’s series of Impressionist & Modern Art sales this week realized a total of £144,455,275 ($285,001,113/€192,763,750) – the highest total for any series of Impressionist & Modern Art sales ever staged in Europe.

Robin Woodhead, Chief Executive, Sotheby’s International said: “The success of Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern sales this week – the highest in the company’s history in Europe –demonstrated that the market wants quality above all else. Desirable material across a range of categories attracted established collectors as well as a healthy percentage of new buyers. Global competition from Russia, Asia, Europe and America continued to be a factor.”

New benchmarks were set: The evening sale realized £116,699,900 ($230,517,312/€155,560,491) – making it the highest totalling sale of Impressionist & Modern Art held by the company in Europe. For the first time ever in Europe, five lots were sold at over £5 million in a single sale. Almost 60% of the lots sold in the Impressionist & Modern Evening sale sold for prices in excess of their high estimates – the highest percentage ever at that level in such a sale. German & Austrian Art realized £39,646,100 – the highest sum ever realized for any offering of such works in Europe. The Impressionist Day and Works on Paper Sales made a combined total of £27.7 ($54.5/€37.2) million – the highest combined total for any such sales ever held in Europe In addition: Sotheby’s achieved the highest price for any Impressionist & Modern work sold this season with Franc Marc’s Weidende Pferde III which sold for £12,340,500 ($24,376,190). Further top prices included: £9,428,500 ($18,624,116/€12,568,152) for Schokko mit Tellerhut by Alexej von Jawlensky – a record price for the artist, and double what the same work had made when it appeared on the market in 2003 ($8,296,000) £7,412,500 ($14,641,911/€9,880,832) for Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s La Loge – an exquisite version of one of the Courtauld Gallery’s best-loved Impressionist paintings. The painting made three times its pre-sale estimate of £2,500,000–3,500,000. It will now be loaned the Courtauld Gallery for an exhibition on Renoir’s La Loge, to run from February 21 – May 25, 2008 £7,412,500 ($14,641,911/€9,880,832) for Pablo Picasso’s striking 1938 portrait of Dora Maar - Tête de Femme (La Lectrice - Dora Maar), from the collection of the noted connoisseur, collector and dealer Heinz Berggruen £5,620,500 ($11,102,174/€7,492,104) for Alberto Giacometti’s Buste - the second highest price for a painting by the artist at auction. And £3,716,500 ($7,341,202/€4,954,079) for Henry Moore’s Draped Reclining Mother and Baby, 1983 - the highest price ever achieved for any work by Moore sold in the UK.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

"The Reality of an Illusion: New works by Larissa Morais"

2008-02-07 until 2008-02-07
Christopher Morgan Galleries
Palm Desert, CA, USA United States of America

Beginning February 7, 2008, Christopher Morgan Galleries presents The Reality of an Illusion: New works by Larissa Morais. This exhibition is a collection of more than ten new original oil paintings by Larissa Morais. The subjects include mysterious figurative works, classic and tastefully done nudes, as well as dramatically realistic and larger than life floral subjects. Her masterful control of brushwork creates a new reality from the surface of her canvases. All her work is conceived from a sketch which she later paints onto a large black canvas. Her delicate technique is created with very thin layers of oil paint, while using the black background for subtle shading. She captures every detail of her subjects. For her, it is all there, she just uncovers it! Larissa Morais has been a Premiere Portfolio Member at since 2005.

Morais favorite subject to paint is the human figure from which she brings a reality to the paintings where attention to detail is as strong as attention to the character of the model. In her artwork we are transported to a relaity of beautiful men and women, intimately poised and positioned.

In presenting Larissa Morais new works, Christopher Morgan Galleries strives to bring the highest professional quality artists to the desert. The gallery focuses exclusively on living artists whose work has developed into a signature style. This benefits collectors of art by allowing them to acquire works that are of significant value and the most likely to increase in monetary value. Come visit and experience for yourself these remarkable works by Larissa Morais and the elegant contemporary feel of this exciting and promising gallery full of beautiful artworks.

Combining knowledge, passion and service in presenting the highest quality original works of art is the mission statement of Christopher Morgan Galleries. The gallery is located on beautiful El Paseo between Sage and Lupine. The gallery owner has over 15 years professional experience in art, as well as formal education. The gallery offers home viewing and private consultation, in addition to an elegant gallery atmosphere.

View more of Larissa Morais work in her portfolio at

Larissa Morais
Title: Amazon
Year Created: 2007
Medium: Oil Painting
Width: 48 inches
Height: 48 inches

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Sotheby's Hong Kong Announces Spring 2008 Sales

Sotheby's Hong Kong Announces Spring 2008 Sales


The Forbidden City by Guo Bochuan (Kuo Po-ch’uan; 1901 – 1974) (estimate HK$30-40 million). © Sotheby's Images.

HONG KONG.-Sotheby’s Hong Kong is proud to announce that its Spring Sales 2008 will be held at the Grand Hall of the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre from 8th to 11th April 2008. In addition to the long-established sales of Chinese classical, modern and contemporary paintings, Chinese works of art, jewellery as well as watches, Sotheby’s will, for the first time, hold the Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings sale in Hong Kong.

Over 1,400 lots with an estimated value in excess of HK$1.3 billion will be showcased during travelling exhibitions in Asia and New York in March, followed by a public exhibition held in Hong Kong from 5th to 7th April 2008.

Mr. Kevin Ching, Chief Executive Officer, Sotheby’s Asia, said, “Following on from Sotheby’s Hong Kong’s remarkable record-breaking performance in 2007, we shall be offering in the forthcoming April Spring sales a strong and exceptional line-up of objects which are extraordinary in terms of both their freshness to the market as well as their superb craftsmanship.”

Mr. Ching continued, “In addition, for the first time, Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings will also be sold in Hong Kong in April as a new category after its relocation from Singapore. This is consistent with our worldwide strategy of ‘sourcing globally and selling centrally’, thereby ensuring even greater international exposure and success for Southeast Asian Paintings.”


Following the successful achievement of the new sale record in autumn 2007 in Hong Kong, the forthcoming Sale of Contemporary Chinese Art will again bring to the market important works by many of the renowned Chinese contemporary artists in the field. The total pre-sale estimate for the series over 270 total lots stands at HK$250 million.

The sale is highlighted by the exceptional Battlefield Realism: The Eighteen Arhats by Liu Xiaodong (b. 1963) (estimate upon request), one of the most prominent neo-realist Chinese contemporary artists. This large-scale work consists of nine pairs of 200 by 100 cm paintings each juxtaposing which pair a Taiwanese soldier with a soldier from mainland China. This monumental group of paintings represents the artist’s profound response to a sensitive issue: China’s relations across the Taiwan Strait. Within Liu’s entire oeuvre, this is the only work that directly addresses political issues.

Battlefield Realism: The Eighteen Arhats is bold statement by the artist, standing in contrast to his usual non-judgmental and even impersonal approach. It’s a powerful indictment of the present nationalistic controversy raging across the Taiwan Strait. “In art, it is easier to put them (the soldiers from Taiwan and Mainland China) together, to have them collaborate. I was also trying to show that they are not so different, they are like brothers.” he says.

The piece was executed in 2004 for the “Bunker Museum of Contemporary Art – 18 Solo Exhibitions” curated by Cai Guo-Qiang, another notable Chinese contemporary artist. The museum is on Kinmen (Quemoy), a small archipelago in the Taiwan Strait controlled by Taiwan, once the location of fierce fighting between Taiwan and the mainland. Cai invited 18 Chinese artists from Taiwan and mainland China to exhibit their works of art in one of the bunkers, and this present lot was one of them. Liu spent three weeks in the soldiers’ barracks on both sides of the Strait, portraying nine soldiers from each side, and establishing their names and nationalities despite the fact that it was difficult to distinguish one from another. Liu thus successfully transgresses and blurs the border between mainland China and Taiwan, with the clear message: beyond nationality and politics, all humans are the same. Liu affirms the essential universality of humanity.

The sale also features another remarkable painting The Forbidden City by Guo Bochuan (Kuo Po-ch’uan; 1901 – 1974) (estimate HK$30-40 million), an important Chinese artist from Taiwan. Executed in 1946 during the artist’s stay in Beijing well before the establishment of the People’s Republic of China when Western aesthetics and philosophy were more prominent, the present lot is a true rarity, a gem: one of the few paintings dealing with this subject matter that survived the Cultural Revolution and the biggest of its kind in Guo’s oeuvre.

Guo’s twelve years in Beijing were the most significant phase of his artistic career. Here he combined the spirit of Chinese painting with Western painting techniques, and was greatly influenced by his intimate friend from Beijing, Ryuzaburo Umehara, a student of Renoir. They often went sketching together, captivated by the beauty of Chinese architecture and the magnificence of the Forbidden City. This gradually became the inspiration behind a series of important works featuring Beijing.

The painting is a vista from a vantage point in the renowned Jingshan Park while the strikingly coloured roof tiles of the palace are rendered in shades of flaming red, textured by Guo’s unique calligraphic brushstrokes. The Forbidden City is resplendent in light hues, like in an opaque watercolour. This is a strikingly refreshing and yet traditionally majestic view of the palace. The rhythm of the short brushstrokes is a vivid testament the influence of Chinese calligraphy, the distinctive Chinese spirit so redolent in Guo’s art.

Highlighting the Indo-European oeuvres is a long-lost work by Mexican artist Miguel Covarrubias (1904-1957), Latin America’s most influential artist in the Southeast Asian region. The present gouache on paper version of Balinese Fishermen with Outrigger (est. HK$700,000-1.1 million) was last known to have been illustrated in a 1937 edition of Life magazine (“Mexican Covarrubias in Dutch Bali”) and whose whereabouts were henceforth unknown. Covarrubias and his wife travelled twice to Bali and its surrounding islands in 1930s, staying for extended periods; the strong influence of Balinese culture and society on both his artistic and anthropological work cannot be doubted. As such, it is an extremely exciting discovery; Covarrubias’ exceedingly rare Balinese works are highly coveted and Sotheby’s is delighted to be able to showcase this magnificent work.

Adrien Jean Le Mayeur de Merprès’ (1880-1958) Temple de Bancal (Temple of Bancal; est. HK$1.9–2.75 million) belongs to a series of paintings that the Belgian Impressionist executed, the one to be offered in our rooms numbered and titled on the reverse ‘Nr. 20 Temple de Bancal’ depicting a traditional Balinese offering ceremony called banten. The gentle hues of Temple de Bancal are somewhat of a rarity in Le Mayeur’s canvasses of luscious and vivid reds, greens and oranges showing his home and his love Ni Pollok, dressed in her striking kaïns. The exquisite colours in this oil on canvas, subdued and yet at the same time, strikingly captivating capture a scene of Balinese contemporary life – a female priest (pedanda istri) sprinkles holy water upon four women; a group of elegantly-clad women proceed towards the temple carrying upon their heads their offerings for the gods; four men challenge their fighting cocks to a battle in the village wantilan (battleground). The natural elegance and sensual movement of the women’s curves in contrast to the men’s physical squatting is typical of both Le Mayeur’s and the Balinese manner. Boasting an excellent provenance, Temple de Bancal was acquired directly from the artist by the father of the present owner and exhibited in Delft at the Museum Nusantara from 30 March – 27 August 2006.

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and Fundación Caja Madrid Present Modigliani and his Times

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and Fundación Caja Madrid Present Modigliani and his Times


Amedeo Modigliani, Nude, 1917, Oil on canvas, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

MADRID, SPAIN.-The exhibition Modigliani and his Times, which just opened, is another exhibition project jointly organised by the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and Fundación Caja Madrid. It brings together a total of 126 works with the aim of analysing the career of one of the great figures of 20th-century art: Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920), from the time of his arrival in Paris in 1906 up to his death. The principal innovation in this ambitious project is the fact that for the first time it will present Modigliani’s work in a direct dialogue with that of the great masters of the past who influenced him – Cézanne, Picasso and Brancusi – and with that of his friends in Montparnasse, including Marc Chagall, Jacques Lipchitz, Chaïm Soutine, Moïse Kisling, Ossip Zadkine, Tsugouharu Foujita and Jules Pascin.

A Dialogue with Masters and Friends - As an artist, Modigliani was open to the art of the leading avant-garde movements in Paris prior to World War I but at the same time he chose to remain apart from them. When his work is seen alongside that of his fellow artists – great names of art history as well as others who are now less well known or even forgotten but who played a role in European art of the early 20th century – it is possible to correctly appreciate Modigliani’s oeuvre. In the exhibition, his unique portraits, nudes, sculptures, drawings and a few rare landscapes are exhibited alongside examples of work by Gauguin, Cézanne, Picasso, Brancusi and Derain. This juxtaposition allows the visitor to appreciate not just influences, similarities and parallels but also casts new light on the artist by presenting his works within the context in which they were created, revealing their powerful, sophisticated and elegant nature.

The works brought together in this exhibition have been loaned from numerous private collections, museums and institutions worldwide. Particularly important in terms of both the quality and the number of works are the loans from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Tate in London, the Muzeul de Arta in Craiova (Romania), the MoMA in New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Association des Amis du Petit Palais in Geneva, the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Musée Zadkine de la Ville de Paris, and various private collections.

The exhibition is structured into two principal sections analysing the relationship between Modigliani and his masters, shown in the rooms of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, and between the artist and his friends, on display in the exhibition space of Fundación Caja Madrid. It is also organised chronologically, as follows:

MUSEO THYSSEN-BORNEMISZA - The major Retrospectives

A year after his arrival in Paris, Modigliani exhibited seven of his works at the Salon d’Automne of 1907 at the Grand Palais. The major retrospectives on show in Paris at the time, including those devoted to Gauguin (1906) and Cézanne (1907), also at the Salon d’Automne, as well as those on Toulouse-Lautrec (1908) and another on Cézanne (1910) at Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, had a crucial influence on the young Modigliani’s development as an artist. Also vital was the early work of Picasso, whom he may have met on one of his visits to the galleries of Ambroise Vollard or Clovis Sagot.

As a consequence of his first contacts with the Parisian avant-garde, Modigliani experienced a clash between his own academic training and the rejection of old art on the part of the leading avant-garde movements. The works on display in this first room show how Modigliani attempted to forge his own style, influenced by the example of all the above-mentioned artists but particularly by Cézanne. Modigliani grasped how Cézanne had resolved the conflict between the art of the Old Masters and the use of a completely modern visual idiom.

Studying Sculpture - Modigliani had wanted to be a sculptor since the time of his arrival in Paris; he himself commented to his friends on various occasions that his dedication to painting was merely “alimentary” while he waited to be able to develop his true vocation. This vocation would flourish following his discovery of African Art and his new friendship with the Rumanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi who encouraged Modigliani to embark on direct carving in stone, abandoning the vestiges of the late-Romantic style of his earliest works.

Derain and Picasso were among the first avant-garde artists in Paris to be interested in African art and to express this interest in their work. Modigliani, who may have known Les Demoiselles d’Avignon at an early date, studied African art in the company of his friend and patron Paul Alexandre on their numerous visits to the ethnographic department in the Trocadero from 1908 onwards. Inspired by African models, that year Modigliani produced his first studies of heads and caryatids, of which various magnificent examples are on display in this room.

Modigliani devoted himself to sculpture almost exclusively for five years. This period would influence all his later work and was crucial for the development of his mature pictorial style.

Portraits I - Modigliani was primarily prevented from continuing as a sculptor due to tuberculosis as the stone dust irritated his lungs. In the summer of 1914, as World War I broke out, the writer Max Jacob introduced Modigliani to the art dealer Paul Guillaume. Although he had not yet abandoned sculpture at this date, the artist introduced himself to Guillaume as a painter.

From 1915 Modigliani devoted himself to portraiture as his principal means of survival and as a way of expressing the multi-cultural reality of Montparnasse. Modigliani’s first portraits (1914) were still influenced by the Fauve palette, but this soon gave way to a period that reveals a proximity to Cubism – a movement with which Modigliani was associated on more than one occasion after he exhibited in the “Cubist Room” at the Salon d’Automne of 1912. Nonetheless, his portraits were still markedly independent and influenced by his own experience as a sculptor. By 1916 to 1917 he had forged his own unique style characterised by a synthesis of line and volume but always maintaining a balance between the formal structure of the work and a faithful description of the sitter’s physical appearance.

Notable among the group of portraits on display in this room are the portraits of Anna Zborowska, the wife of Modigliani’s friend and dealer Léopold Zborowski, the painters Diego Rivera and Juan Gris, the Jewish writer Max Jacob, Modigliani’s lover and companion, Jeanne Hébuterne, and his own self-portrait.

Nudes I - Modigliani had painted female nudes since the time of his arrival in Paris. His first works were notably expressive and maintain the Symbolist concept of the female body as the source of sin. Gradually these figures lost their moralising content and became imbued with a Mediterranean sensuality. Modigliani’s major nudes date from 1917 and were painted on Zborowski’s request in his apartment on rue Joseph Bara, with the idea that he would sell them to collectors of cutting-edge modern art. The 30 or so works painted between 1917 and 1919 did not, however, meet with the expected success.

In his nudes Modigliani continued the great tradition of the reclining nude initiated by Giorgione in the 16th century, without, however, renouncing a fully modern mode of expression. This is evident in the way he flattened out the female forms, his use of an unusually close viewpoint almost like a photographic close-up, and the importance he placed on line as an expressive element. The combination of all these factors has made Modigliani’s reclining nudes icons of modern art.