May 112012
Roy Lichtenstein's Sleeping Girl

Roy Lichtenstein's Sleeping Girl

Why is it that while Europe is knee deep in economic turmoil that the art market is seemingly stronger than ever?

Pierre De Gasquet

Pierre De Gasquet

Why is art so disconnected from the wider economic situation brought on by the 2008 financial crisis?

Is it, as Les Echos journalist Pierre Gasquet believes, simply another speculative bubble bound to burst?

Or has art become a safe haven, like gold and other precious materials?
One factor contributing to the incredible prices being paid recently in the Art Market is the fact that several key pieces of art have come up for sale in quick succession.

Edvard Munch’s The Scream was the only one of four known versions of the work to be in private hands, and had been anticipated by the art market for decades.

Roy Lichtenstein’s Sleeping Girl caused a stir for similar reasons: a universally recognisable work that had been in a private collection for some 50 years. It went on to fetch nearly $45 million.

And although Rothko’s Orange, Red, Yellow is not as well known as the others – it too set a remarkable standard selling for an incredible $86.9 million at Christie’s in New York.
This succession of prestigious and highly valuable lots have attracted buyers from outside the Art Establishment – drawn to the prestigue of owning something completely unique.

This could explain why works by the likes of Pollock, Richter, and Calder, as well as less well known artists like Jack Goldstein and Joe Bradley, have seen their prices at auction dramatically increase recently.

Over the past five years wealthy buyers from south-east Asia and the monarchies in the Persian Gulf have been making their presence felt. The royal family of Qatar named itself as a potential buyer for The Scream, while the Chinese are becoming more and more interested in Western art, although they remain highly interested in their own.

Leaving aside for the moment the most recent results at auction, these new buyers constitute formidable competition, and have caused prices to increase on the market over the past four years.

 5:22 pm  Art
May 102012
Rothko Orange-Red-Yellow

Rothko: Orange-Red-Yellow

A sunset-colored painting by Mark Rothko became the world’s most expensive contemporary art work Tuesday when it fetched $86.9 million at Christie’s in New York.

“Orange, red, yellow” was as hot at Christie’s as the colours are bold in this abstract masterpiece. Bids leaped in increments of a million, sometimes two million dollars.

Mark Rothko was born in Russia and moved to the United States with his family in 1913. A major figure in New York’s Abstract Expressionist movement, he has been the subject of retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the Guggenheim Museum, and other major museums around the world.According to Yale University, he was responsible for creating a new and impassioned form of abstract painting over the course of his career.

Prices at the auction soared beyond estimates as buyers contended for  bluechip names like Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Gerhard Richter. In all, seven records were broken at the auction.


 4:37 pm  Art, Lifestyle & Leisure
Feb 112011

Nature Morte A L'Esperance

Nature Morte A L'Esperance Paul Gauguin

A Paul Gauguin painting displayed for the first time in 15 years failed to sell at Christie’s London auction on Wednesday.

Nature Morte A L’Esperance had been expected to fetch up to £10 million ($16 million) at the Christie’s sale but no buyer could be found. The piece was painted by the French artist in Tahiti in 1901.

La Lecture Picasso

La Lecture Picasso

A day earlier, Sotheby’s fared better when it came to its star lot – Pablo Picasso’s iconic 1932 painting of Marie-Thérèse Walter, La Lecture – which fetched $40.7 million (£25 million), eclipsing its $32 million high estimate.

Other impressive records were also shattered during the week’s sales, including works by Salvador Dalí, Pierre Bonard and René Magritte.

Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art sale raised a total of £61.8 million, while Sotheby’s total reached £68.8 million. The week’s total sales in the category from both auction houses, including day auctions, amounted to £159.4 million ($255.8 million).

Out of the 46 lots offered at Christie’s, 35 sold, with 14 selling above their pre-sale high estimates, and 4 lots selling below their predicted prices.

 4:35 am  Art, Lifestyle & Leisure
Feb 032011
 New Dali museum exterior

New Dali Museum, St Petersburg, Florida

The new Salvador Dali Museum is open in St. Petersburg, Florida.

As promised, it opened at the exact date (and hour) of January 11, 2011, 1/11/11, at 11:11 AM with an opening party that was attended by her Royal Highness Infanta Cristina of Spain as guest of honor.

In 1982, St. Petersburg, Florida, offered financial support to collector and industrialist A Reynolds Morse and his wife Eleanor Reese to house their impressive collection of Salvador Dali works.

Today the museum features more Dali masterpieces than any other museum in the world and also has the largest collection outside of Spain.

The museum is visited by over 200,000 people per year which bring an estimated $50 million to St. Petersburg’s economy. Now the museum can boast a new $36 million stunning building with a futuristic design that will double the current space of the museum to 66,450 square feet.

The construction of this new innovative building has started in December 2008 and the final result in absolutely breathtaking. The roof is 12-inch thick solid concrete, the walls are 18 inches and the building can withstand a category five hurricane.

That should be just enough to protect the precious Salvador Dali collection with 2,140 paintings, including 96 oil paintings.


Dali Museum Inspired in part by the Louvre


Sun cuts through the Dali signature

dali_museum design

Design that befits the great master


Space and light

curves dali_museum

Curves, reminiscent of Dali

timeless dali_museum

No two glass segments are the same


Homage to the surrealist master

dali oil paintings

96 Oil paintings are on display

The Hallucinogenic Toreador

The Hallucinogenic Toreador


The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus


The Hallucinogenic Toreador


Puzzle of Autumn


Over 1,000 watercolours

dali_museum nighttime

Dali museum at night

 5:35 am  Art, Lifestyle & Leisure
Dec 132010
Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst Brit Artist

The art world awaits Damien Hirst’s next gargantuan show, working title: Treasures.

This show is said to comprise 300 pieces, and, according to Dylan Jones of The Independent is summarised with words like: Nefertiti, coral, Sienna Miller, the six-armed woman, the multi-headed hyena, elephant skulls, hermaphrodites, and the sort of executive gold-plated knick-knacks that collectors are going to wet themselves over.

This is probably Hirst’s most ambitious show, and the work is going to be extraordinary.

Damien Hirst was born in Bristol, England in 1965.

While still a student at Goldsmith’s College in 1988, he curated the now renowned student exhibition, Freeze, held in east London.

In this exhibition, Hirst brought together a group of young artists who would come to define cutting-edge contemporary art in the 1990s. In 1991, he had his first solo exhibition at the Woodstock Street Gallery, entitled In and Out of Love, in which he filled the gallery with hundreds of live tropical butterflies, some of which were hatched from the monochrome canvases that hung the walls.


Saatchi supported Hirst

In 1992, he was part of the ground breaking Young British Artists exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery.

In this show, he exhibited his now famous Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, a tiger shark in a glass tank of formaldehyde. That same year he was nominated for the prestigious Tate Gallery Turner Prize, and later won that coveted award in 1995.

Hirst’s best known works are his paintings, medicine cabinet sculptures, and glass tank installations. For the most part, his paintings have taken on two styles. One is an arrangement of color spots with titles that refer to pharmaceutical chemicals, known as Spot paintings.

The second, his Spin paintings, are created by centrifugal force, when Hirst places his canvases on a spinner, and pours the paint as they spin.

In the medicine cabinet pieces Hirst redefines sculpture with his arrangements of various drugs, surgical tools, and medical supplies. His tank pieces, which contain dead animals, that are preserved in formaldehyde, are another kind of sculpture and directly address the inevitable mortality of all living beings. All of Hirst’s works contain his ironic wit, and question art’s role in contemporary culture.

Hirst’s first exhibition with Gagosian Gallery, entitled No Sense of Absolute Corruption, was in 1996 at the now-closed SoHo location in New York. Superstition was Damien Hirst’s first show at the Beverly Hills space.

 3:15 pm  Art
Jul 302010
Cartier Voodoo April Sept 2011

Cartier Voodoo April Sept 2011

The Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain will present for the first time an exceptional group of voodoo objects from the collection Anne and Jacques Kerchache, in a scenography conceived by Enzo Mari, one of the great masters of Italian industrial design. The exhibition takes place at the Cartier Foundation in Paris between April and September 2011.

The exhibition is organized in close collaboration with Anne Kerchache—today Mrs. Kamal Douaoui—who was the wife of Jacques Kerchache until his death in 2001.

Jacques Kerchache and the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain
An artistic advisor and curator of exhibitions, Jacques Kerchache was a strong advocate of the Primitive Arts, promoting their entry into important French museum collections. It was under his initiative that the Pavillon des Sessions was created at the Louvre in 2001, as well as the musée du quai Branly in 2006. Jacques Kerchache also collaborated with the Fondation Cartier on many occasions, first on the thematic exhibitions À visage découvert (1992) and être nature (1998) as well as on the solo show of the Haitian artist Patrick Vilaire in Réflexion sur la mort (1997).

The Voodoo Exhibition
Following these collaborations, Jacques Kerchache and the Fondation Cartier considered organizing an exhibition on voodoo statuary, but this project was postponed after his passing in 2001. On the tenth anniversary of his death the Fondation Cartier will uncover the fascinating and secret world of voodoo that was Jacques Kerchache’s lifelong passion. Through the Voodoo exhibition, the Fondation Cartier will thus pay homage to this great expert and explorer known for his exacting eye, a connoisseur of both Primitive and Contemporary Art.

The Art of Voodoo
As early as the late sixties, Jacques Kerchache recognized the aesthetic potency and stunning originality of voodoo statuary and its forms. It was at this time, during his first trips to the birthplace of voodoo currently known as the Republic of Benin, that he began to bring together what has become the most significant existing collection of African voodoo statuary. The exhibition will present approximately hundred objects, including some that now belong to other private collectors.

Objects of Religious Cult
An anthropomorphic assemblage of materials such as ropes, bones, shells, and pottery, voodoo sculptures assume a critical role in the practice of this ancient religious cult, still active today from the coasts of Togo to Western Nigeria. Covered with a thick layer of matter includes earth, palm oil and powder, these strange and uncanny sculptures emanate qualities of tension and foreboding. Their ambiguous aesthetics are closely linked to their role in both protecting their owners from danger and harming those responsible for their difficulties.

 11:13 pm  Art
May 092010
art terminology

Art terminology - Alla Prima - in one sitting

Major Art terminology and definitions are useful to understand- even for the amateur.

When getting involved in the worlds of art and print, it is useful to have at hand some of the more common words that are used to describe things. As you might imagine, many art related words have their origins in Latin or Italian.

Alla Prima

A technique in which the final surface of a painting is completed in one sitting, without under painting. Italian for ‘at the first’.


This is a printing technique capable of producing unlimited tonal gradations. It is used to re-create the broad flat tints of watercolours by etching microscopic cracks and pits into a master plate, typically made of copper or zinc.

Artist Proof (A/P)

When a limited edition is produced, a small proportion of the edition – usually 10% may be designated as artist proofs and signed as such. These pieces have the letters A/P next to the edition number and cost more than a limited edition because there are fewer of them. Sometimes they have numbers marked in Roman numerals such as XX/1

Blind Printing

This type of printing uses an un-inked plate to produce the subtle embossed texture of a white-on-white image, highlighted by the shadow of the relief image on the un-inked paper. This technique is used in many Japanese prints.


A wrinkling or puckering in paper supports, caused by applying washes onto a flimsy or improperly stretched painting surface.


A printing technique in which proofs are pulled from a block on which the artwork or design is built up like a collage, creating relief.

Deckle Edge

This is the term used to describe the ragged edge found on hand made paper – the type of paper so often preferred by artists.


The act of cutting out paper designs and applying them to a surface to make an all over collage.


Printing technique in which a hard, steel needle cuts lines onto a metal plate, creating a burr that yields a soft and velvety line in the final print.


Printing technique in which an image is produced by cutting a metal plate directly with a sharp engraving tool. The incised lines are inked and printed onto paper with heavy pressure.


An etching is a piece of art that is cut or engraved, usually onto a Copper plate.

Ink is forced into these lines, and excess ink is removed from the uncut surface of the plate. Dampened paper is then placed on the printing plate and both are run through a high pressure press to print the design.


A painting technique in which the paint pigments are dispersed in plain water and applied to a damp plaster wall. The wall becomes the binder as well as the support for the finished artwork.


A style of painting characterized by thick, juicy color application usually of oils.


Intaglio is a term often used in engraving and the printing process, being the Italian word for ‘engrave’.

Iris or Giclée

A computerized reproduction technique in which the image is generated from a digital file, such as a CD, and printed by an ink jet printer using acrylic or oil paints. Giclée printing offers one of the highest degree of accuracy and richness of colour available in any reproduction technique.


Used to describe the prevailing tone of a painting. A predominantly light painting is said to have a high key. In mural painting, the key is the act of scratching a walls surface to prepare for the final layer of plaster.

Limited Editions

A limited edition is a copy taken from an original artwork and usually reproduced to a high standard.

The more valuable limited editions are signed by the artist and should carry documentation known as a Certificate of Authenticity.

Lithography – not to be confused with Offset Lithography

Instead of creating a painting with a brush on canvass, the artist draws the image in an oily substance onto the printing plate. A different plate is created for each color in the image. Each plate is then etched or set by chemical process and printed to create the image. These prints cost more than offset lithographs.


A technique for attaching with glue, a mural size painting on paper or fabric to a wall.

Monotype or Monoprint

One-of-a-kind print made by painting on a sheet of metal or glass and transferring the still-wet painting onto a sheet of paper by hand or with an etching press. If enough paint remains on the master plate, additional prints can be made, however, the reprint will have substantial variations from the original image. Monotype printing is not a multiple-replica process since each print is unique.


A picture making technique using small units of variously colored materials such as glass, tile or stone to create a pattern that is then set in mortar.


A mural is any type of painting that is applied directly onto a dry wall. Not quite the same as a Fresco which is coloured inks applied to wet mortar.

Museum Board

This is a multi ply board made of cotton rags or buffered cellulose to ensure chemical stability and neutrality. Acid free board should always be used to mount watercolours or prints, otherwise, cheaper boards will eventually neutralise the colours or even eat away at the paper.

Multiple Originals

A set of identical fine prints in which the artist personally conceived the image, created the master plates and executed or supervised the entire printing process.

Offset Lithography

A photo-mechanical technique in which the image to be printed is transferred to negative plates and printed onto paper. Offset lithography is very well adapted to colour printing and is a fairly commonplace from of printing.

Open Editions

Open edition prints may be produced in any quantity and size, and for however long the publisher wishes to produce the print. They may be signed by the artist, but are never numbered. This is the least valuable type of art and from a collectors point of view are only useful for covering wall space.

Original Art

Original art is the most desirable art to own as it is the only one painted or sculptured in the artists own hand.

When buying the original works of more established artists, be aware that the copyright belongs to the artist and the artist can, if they so wish, create re-productions of the original if they want to.


Originally the green brown encrustation on bronze, that darkens and matures from the natural effects of ageing or exposure to the elements. A sculptures patina adds to its value and should never be removed.


A condition of old paintings where lead-containing pigments have become more transparent over time, revealing earlier layers. When this happens sometimes an earlier painting, part of a painting, or original draft shows through.


Record of ownership for a work of art, ideally from the time it left the artist’s studio to its present location, thus creating an unbroken ownership history. Provenance is hugely important to the value of an item.

Remarque – pronounced ‘remark’

A limited edition print to which the artist adds a small drawing.

The artist signs and numbers the image, adding the letters R/M to indicate the type of print and how many were produced. A remarque costs more than a limited edition because the artists drawing makes the print a one-of-a-kind.

Serigraph or Silkscreening

Working from the artist original, a screen of silk, nylon or wire mesh is tightly stretched across a frame and a design is stenciled onto the screen. Ink passes through ‘open’ areas on the screen onto paper to create the image.


Printing technique in which the printing surface has been carved from a block of wood. The traditional wood block is seasoned hardwood such as apple, beech or sycamore. Woodcut is one of the oldest forms of printing dating back to the 12th century.

Abbreviations Used in Art

2nd ed – Second edition: prints of the same image as the original edition but altered in some way (as in change of color, paper or printing process).

2nd st – Second state: prints of proofs which contain significant changes from the original print.

AP – Artist’s Proof (see definition)

Del – ( Latin, delineavit ) He (she) drew it. Generally inscribed next to the artist’s signature.

E.A. – ( French, épreuve d’artist ) An artist’s proof (see definition)

Exc or Imp – ( Latin, excudit ) He(she) executed it. The meaning is synonymous with ( Latin, impressit ) he(she) printed it.

HC – ( French, Hors d’Commerce ) Prints from an edition intended to be used as samples to show to dealers and galleries.

Inc. or Sculp – ( Latin, incidit ) He(she) cut it. The meaning is synonymous with ( Latin, impressit ) he(she) carved it. These abbreviations refer to the individuals who engraved the master plate.

Inv. or Invent – ( Latin, invenit ) He(she) designed it. Generally inscribed next to the artist’s signature.

Lith. or Litho – “Lithographed By”. Usually follows the name of the printer of the lithograph.

Pinx. – ( Latin, pinxit ) He(she) painted it. Generally inscribed next to the artist’s signature.

PP – Printer’s proof (see definition)

R/M – Remarque – a lomited edition inscribed by the artist

TP – Trial proof (see definition)

 9:56 pm  Art
Jun 082007
Damian Hirst Skull

Damian Hirst Skull

Damian Hirst is at it again, this time in the form of a human skull encrusted in diamonds.

It is a platinum cast of a skull from an actual person that lived between 1720 and 1810.

He was supposedly a 35 year old man from Europe. His teeth are still showing, but Hirst has covered the rest of him with 8,601 diamonds that are of course ‘ethically sourced’…it’s all part of the art!

Hirst’s diamond skull is on the market for about 15 million pounds and you can view it at the White Cube gallery in South London.

Visit White Cube

 10:18 pm  Art