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Counterpoint is published monthly Calusari Auctions. Why Counterpoint ?


My questions is whether the contrapuntal techniques from musical compositions can be applied to visual arts. Alex Mitrutz NO1 August 2010

De Erdely versus Picasso

TITLE: Portrait of a Woman ARTIST: Francis De Erdely WORK DATE: circa 1940 COLLECTION: Weiss Gallery

TITLE: Femme aux bras croisĂŠs (Woman with Crossed Arms) ARTIST: Pablo Picasso WORK DATE: circa 1901 The Blue period represents the Picasso "most extensive experimentation with monochromes, and the present painting, one of the most outstanding works in this group, offers and extraordinary poignant portrayal of soulful introspection." Picasso acknowledged that his Blue period "was precipitated by his confrontation with and contemplation of death."

Banksy versus Hopper

TITLE: Are You Using That Chair? YEAR: 2005 COLLECTION: Pollock Fine Art

ARTIST: Edward Hopper TITLE: Nighthawks YEAR: 1942

Jeff Koons vs Norman Wilkinson

Roy Lichtenstein working on the collage that would serve as the basis for the Times Square subway mural. Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Arts for Transit program commissioned Roy Lichtenstein to create a mural for the Times Square subway station. A native New Yorker who had ridden the subway since boyhood, Lichtenstein jumped at the chance to create a work of public art. So he designed a 6-foot-tall, 53-foot-long porcelain enamel futuristic vision of New York, which he decided to make a gift to the city. Lichtenstein fabricated the mural in 1994, three years before his death.

During World War I, the British and Americans faced a serious threat from German U-boats, which were sinking allied shipping at a dangerous rate. All attempts to camouflage ships at sea had failed, as the appearance of the sea and sky are always changing. Any color scheme that was concealing in one situation was conspicuous in others. A British artist and naval officer, Norman Wilkinson, promoted a new camouflage scheme that was derived from the artistic fashions of the time, particularly cubism. Instead of trying to conceal the ship, it simply broke up its lines and made it more difficult for the U-boat captain to determine the ship's course. The British called this camouflage scheme "Dazzle Painting." The Americans called it "RazzleDazzle."

Guilty vs USS Mahomet

Yacht name: Guilty Length: 35 m Year: 2008 Builder: Rizzardi Exterior art: Jeff Koons (in the style of Roy Lichtenstein) Design: Ivana Porfiri Owner: Dakis Joannou Photos: Andrea Ferrari Greek Cypriot industrialist and heavyweight European contemporary art collector, Dakis Joannou has brought together an all star team to create an interesting watercraft . Named “Guilty�, the 35 meter long yacht is decked out with sleek, interiors by Ivana Porfiri and a popart exterior design by Jeff Koons in the style of Roy Lichtenstein and camouflage design in the style of Norman Wilkinson.

Yacht name: USS Mahomet Builder: Skinner and Eddy shipyard, Seattle Year: 14 November 1918 Exterior art: Razzle Dazzle (in the style of Norman Wilkinson) West Mahomet, a 12,225 tons displacement freighter built at Seattle, Washington, as part of the World War I shipbuilding effort, was completed in mid-November 1918, shortly after the fighting had ended. Turned over to the Navy at that time and placed in commission as USS West Mahomet , she transported flour from the West Coast to Constantinople, Turkey, between late November 1918 and early February 1919. Following return in the U.S. in early March, she carried Army cargo to Antwerp, Belgium. USS West Mahomet was decommissioned in early June 1919, soon after arriving at Newport News, Virginia, at the end of her second voyage. Transferred to the U.S. Shipping Board, she remained in the custody of that agency until abandoned in about 1933.

"Who could better that propeller?" versus "Who could better that BMW ?"

Fernand LĂŠger. Propellers. 1918, MoMA

In 1912 while visiting Salone de la Locomotion Aerienne in the company of Fernand Léger and Marcel Duchamp, Constantine Brancusi noticed a propeller. According to Marcel Duchamp, Brancusi did exclaimed wonderstruck "Now that is what I call sculpture!" and concluded "From now on, sculpture must be nothing less than that." However, Fernand Léger's version of what happened at the airshow was different:"Before the Great War, I went to see the Air Show with Marcel Duchamp and Brancusi. Marcel was a dry fellow who had something elusive about him. He was strolling amid the motors and propellers, not saying a word. Then, all of a sudden, he turned to Brancusi, `It's all over for painting. Who could better that propeller? Tell me, can you do that?'" In 1975 French race car driver and auctioneer Hervé Poulain asked Alexander Calder to customize his BMW 3.0 CSL which later participated in the 24-hour race at Le Mans. Prompted by enormous enthusiasm from public for this work of art on wheels, BMW then decided to put its brilliant idea of establishing the Art Car Collection into practice. Today there are 16 cars painted by famous and not so famous artists on permanent display at the BMW museum in Munich, Germany. Paraphrasing Marcel Duchamp, I am asking: Who could better that BMW ? Duchamp, Leger and Brancusi have been inspired by the form of the propeller, and without doubt they created art forms more beautiful than the propeller. On one hand some considered that the artists who painted BMW's blended modern art with design and engineering. On the other hand it is considered that the artists destroyed the beauty of car lines and the art of a mass produced "object" is more beautiful than the art of David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Roy Litchenstein, Frank Stella, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol who all "painted" a BMW.

Alexander Calder in front of his "art" car, BMW 3.0 CSL, 1975 Calder's artwork was on show the very same year at the 24-hour race at Le Mans, an event which the artist attended. The BMW 3.0 CSL, with which Alexander Calder laid the foundations of the Art Car Collection in 1975, was also one of the last works he produced before his death. Next page: Alexander Calder and Herve Poulain

Andy Warhol painting the car. "I tried to portray speed pictorially. If a car is moving really quickly, all the lines and colors are blurred."

David Hockney painting his BMW. 1995 "BMW gave me the model of the car and I kept looking at it and looking at it", says David Hockney on the creation process of his BMW Art Car. "And then, I must admit, I also looked at the other Art Cars. In the end I thought, probably it would be good to perhaps show the car so you could be looking inside it." To turn his idea into reality, Hockney took several months and allowed the inside of the BMW 850 CSi to be outwardly visible. Stylized intake manifolds of the engine appear on the hood, and the silhouette of the driver can be seen on the door. And you don't just see the inside of the car, but also excerpts of an abstract landscape. Because "traveling around in a car means experiencing landscapes", says Hockney, "which is one of the reasons why I chose green as a color."

"The pattern should be regarded as agreeable decoration", says Frank Stella of the black and white square grid with which he covered the BMW 3.0 CSL. A pattern which has an evenness and precision reminiscent of oversized graph paper. Within the grid, numerous lines run across the whole bodywork and leave the car looking like one great pattern. While working on his draft version, Stella disassociated himself from his usual random style of painting and sought inspiration from the technical aura of the sports coupĂŠ. The BMW 3.0 CSL took part in the 24-hour race at Le Mans - for Stella, a passionate fan of motor racing, it was a very special premiere for his new work of art.

"I wanted to use painted lines as a road, pointing the way for the car", says Roy Lichtenstein of his portrayal of the BMW 320i. "The design also shows the scenery through which the car has driven. You could call it a list of all the things a car experiences - the only difference is that this car mirrors all these things even before it takes to the road." In the same year, his BMW Art Car won second place in its class at the 24-hour race at Le Mans.


Counterpoint is published monthly by Calusari Auctions. Why Counterpoint ? My questions is whether the contrapuntal techniques from music...