Welcome! An anniversary is an important time of celebration; however, it is also a time to reflect on the past. This year, as Artexpo celebrates 30 years in the industry, we remember the artists, publishers and personalities that have helped build Artexpo over the past three decades. What better way to honor these members of the art community than with a place where they will forever be remembered for their contributions, the Artexpo Hall of Fame. It is with great pleasure that I present the inaugural Artexpo Hall of Fame Inductees. These 35 artists and publishers have made their marks in the art world and committed their lives to establishing an industry where creative minds can grow and flourish. I truly thank them for all of their hard work and dedication. I would also like to thank the three members of the Artexpo Hall of Fame Selection Committee: Michel Roux, president and CEO of Crillon Importers; Dorothea Keeser, director of the Chelsea Art Museum; and Robert Mitrotti, founder of RPM Media. It is my hope that the Artexpo Hall of Fame and its inductees will help educate and inspire the next generation of art enthusiasts. I look forward to building on the success of our inaugural year in the 2009 Artexpo Hall of Fame. Sincerely,
Eric Smith Vice President International Art & Framing Group
Special thanks go to Jamie Ellin Forbes, Victor Forbes, Gayla Oldham, Laura Novak, Jennifer Dulin Wiley, Michael Wilmering, Fred Rodgers Jr., and Mike Delaquila for their contributions to the Artexpo Hall of Fame and related publication.
MARTIN S. BLINDER With a profound love of the arts, Martin S. Blinder founded Martin Lawrence Limited Editions in 1976. The company began as a publisher of fine art and over the years published and represented works by worldrenowned artists such as Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Peter Max, Yaacov Agam, Salvador Dali and many others. In 1980, Blinder’s vision for bringing art to the masses became a reality when he opened his first retail gallery in a regional shopping mall. At the pinnacle of its success, Martin Lawrence Galleries had 43 galleries throughout the United States, as well as an extensive international wholesale network. In 1985, Blinder set new heights for the art industry when he took the company public, ultimately listing Martin Lawrence Limited Editions on the New York Stock Exchange. His vision of opening galleries in hightraffic locations led to the establishment of 48 galleries in total by 1990 with more than 300 employees. “I worked with Marty for eight years,” said Eric Smith, Vice President, The Art Group. “I loved it when I would hear Martin Blinder photographed by Robert Mapplethorpe the words, ‘Marty wants to see you.’ It was like visiting the Santa Claus of art, pulling presents out of his bag and asking questions such as: What do you think of this new piece? Should we do this project? Look at the new show we’re putting together. Do you think this piece or that piece would make a better graphic? Marty loved to talk about art and his enthusiasm was contagious.” In a unique collaboration with Andy Warhol, Blinder commissioned the Campbell’s Soup Boxes, a modern incarnation of Warhol’s famous 60’s iconic pieces featuring Campbell’s Soup cans. The Soup Boxes were hugely successful for the company, and this partnership with Warhol ultimately led to the company’s purchase of Warhol’s 210 Coca-Cola Bottles, at the time, setting the record for the biggest price ever paid for a Warhol painting. Ahead of his time, Blinder recognized early on the importance of the burgeoning graffiti art movement and was a collector of artists such as Basquiat, Crash, Futura, Lee and Zephyr. Upon hearing of Blinder’s passing, his good friend, Crash, had this to say: “This man was not only a true supporter of the arts, but he was a supporter of life.” “Much of what we do with our company, even today,” stated David Crosby, former director of retail for Martin Lawrence Galleries and current owner of SPS Limelight Agency, “can be traced back to lessons learned from Marty. In addition to his vision, he also had tremendous enthusiasm for what he did, and I carry that with me in business today.” A recognized philanthropist, Blinder served on the boards of non-profit organizations including Very Special Arts. In l989, Blinder participated in Art Against AIDS as a member of the benefits committee, and in l990 he was a principal sponsor of the annual fundraiser for AIDS Project Los Angeles. He was a founder of the Blinder Research Foundation for Crohn’s Disease; which continues to support major research and other important studies at UCLA. Blinder worked closely with Senator Ted Kennedy to publish his piece Hyannis Port Compound with proceeds benefiting Very Special Arts. He was honored by being read into the Congressional Record by the United States Senate and the House of Representatives for the advancement of fine art. Blinder was a patron of numerous museums including the Guggenheim, MOMA, MOCA and the Whitney. On March 15, 2007, the art world lost one of its most ardent supporters—Martin S. Blinder—art lover, humanitarian, philanthropist, husband, father, brother and friend. Art Business News • Artexpo Hall of Fame 2008 • Page 1
ANDY WARHOL Andy Warhol’s art celebrates business and America’s preoccupation with it. Warhol went after and attracted the money and power celebrity crowd. It was the “star image” that lured Warhol who responded to the large, direct close-ups common to the merchandised media of movies and magazines. Warhol derives his subjects from his own experience of the vernacular culture. He became the promoter of such motifs as the Brillo box, the Campbell soup can and the instant photographic silk-screened portrait. He also produced voy-euristic movies featuring superstars, actually becoming the celebrity and culture hero. Warhol was the ultimate non-involved spectator in the repetition of stars’ faces and packaged food, echoing image overload in a media-saturated culture. In essence, he created art from the products we eat, drink, wear and surround ourselves with—commercial advertisements from advertising media, billboards, television and periodicals, the comic strips, movie queens and famous personalities. Pop Art emerged in the studios of Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, Tom Wesselmann and others between 1959 and the mid-1960s supplanting the heroic Andy Warhol, Portrait of Martin Blinder concerns of the Abstract Expressionists and their painted gestural style. Instead, these emerging artists favored commercial techniques of hard-edged design and flat saturated color committed to the canvas with no physical nuance. With exciting effect they re-envisioned a seemingly prosaic reality. From the vast industry of advertising promotion and mass production, this new generation of painters emerged embracing the commonplace and commercial in a spirit of cool and rather attached irony. Artists reflected this gargantuan industry, which now defined American culture, and the barrier between high and low art collapsed. The hitherto disparaged sea of mass media and commerce, the images on which Americans were fed for most of their working lives, became the stuff of high art. Warhol began as a successful fashion illustrator of shoes. In reflecting that period of his life, Warhol wrote, “Working for a lot of money can throw your self-image off. When I used to do shoe drawings for the magazines. I would get a certain amount for each shoe, so then I would count up my shoes to figure out how much I was going to get. I lived by the number of shoe drawings—when I counted them I knew how much money I had.” Warhol established an entirely new vocabulary of portraiture through his emphasis on the photo. A Warhol portrait is, in fact, a representation of a photograph of an individual. His initial photo-sources, often images shot by himself, were mechanically transferred into silk-screen stencils. These were used to transfer the face images onto canvas, overlaying an application of color that had been pre-selected by the artist. This process enabled him to create multiple works from primary source images, make variations or change colors as required. These transcriptions successfully distance the resulting painting from the artist’s hand. A frisson of gestural paint handling, in some cases applied after the initial screening, however, lends a signature touch to each image. The subjects are celebrities and glamorized friends. We are intrigued by the often sexy movie queen or celebrity presented in a context of art that is less casual than a commercial photograph. Yet, despite the mechanical, neutral characteristics of his work, Warhol’s “hand” is often recognizable through a deliberate misalignment in the silks-creen process of color and outline, which results in images that are smudged, broken, extended, distorted and doubled as if reflected, qualities that emphasize the artist’s distinction between what he considers genuine and counterfeit or between the artificial and the real. In 1968, Warhol was shot and during his stay in the hospital, he realized that he had established a kinetic business with his art, Andy Warhol Enterprises, “because it was going on without me. I liked realizing that because I had by that time decided that ‘business was the best art...Business Art is the step that comes after Art. I started as a commercial artist, and I want to finish as a business artist...During the hippie era, people put down the idea of business—they’d say, ‘Money is bad’ and ‘Working is bad,’ but making money is art, and work is art, and good business is the best art,” concluded Warhol. Our senses are so overloaded with artificial emotion created by inferior movies, television soap operas, ladies magazines and other banal items that when we are finally face to face with unequivocal art, which is both easy to read yet intellectually complex, Warhol’s art offers either nothing or a great deal. The artist clarifies this: “I’m not saying that popular taste is bad so that what’s left over from the bad taste is good; I’m saying that what’s left over is probably bad, but if you can take it and make it good or at least interesting, then you’re not wasting as much as you would otherwise.” The choice is the viewer’s since Warhol wants an art that will appeal to everyone. — CONSTANCE SCHWARTZ, Director and Chief Curator, Nassau County Museum of Art
ORLANDO AGUDELO-BOTERO Orlando Agudelo-Botero was born in the Andes Mountains of Colombia, South America. Raised with 11 brothers and sisters and educated primarily in Jesuit boarding schools, Agudelo-Botero showed early aptitude and interest in painting by age 3 but received no formal training in fine art. Developing according to his own creative instincts, AgudeloBotero emerged as a highly acclaimed artist with a unique and distinctive art style. He left Colombia at age 21 and moved to Los Angeles where he attended a school specializing in English as a second language. One year later, while still in school, he visited Laguna Beach, Calif., on a field trip with the rest of his classmates. It was then that he decided to move to the coastal community and art colony where he officially began his career in art. The immediate recognition of his artistic values resulted in a meteoric rise for the artist. He first participated in Artexpo New York in 1983 and Artexpo Miami in the early 1990s. An artist who brings humanism to contemporary art, Agudelo-Botero’s images are drawn from his psyche; they are felt rather than seen. Portraying the contemporary heart and soul, Agudelo-Botero’s art speaks eloquently with the same, gentle intensity and quiet strength as its creator. Intrinsic to Agudelo-Botero’s work is his unique and varied use of mediums. As an artist whose genuine instincts motivate his search for artistic challenge and expression, Agudelo-Botero is an acknowledged innovator who gives free reign to his natural instincts. “I enjoy experimenting with different materials and implements,” he says. “I feel a need to take chances, to explore, to discover and to establish the new while extending the boundaries of creativity.” His artwork is a masterful fusion of texture, line, color and form, which combines to communicate Agudelo-Botero’s innermost feelings and vision. Bold strokes and even bolder colors illustrate the vigor and confidence with which he approaches his art. In his sweeping strokes one detects the exuberant movement of the artist himself, thus each line becomes an extension of his arm, body and personality. “The first lines or brushstrokes of my artwork are generally the most important,” Agudelo-Botero says. “They are spontaneous and authentic and are an extension of my inner being and my relationship with the subject matter—everything else follows.” From his earliest exhibitions in Colombia to his most recent exhibitions throughout the United States, AgudeloBotero's career has been distinguished by consistency. His themes throughout the years—Equilibrium, Luz, The Nobility of The Trees, Fronteras, The Windows of Tomorrow, Magic, The Jugglers and his most recent exhibition, The Golden Fields— have established his personal, spiritual and artistic quest for understanding and communicating the most basic human goals: individual realization and collective contribution. “Life is active energy framed by the concept of time in a biological creation connected to an evolutionary process,” he says. “This allows us to obtain the necessary information in order to realize our human potential and to succeed in achieving what must be our main objective: to elevate our human condition and to stimulate mechanisms that direct us in a course of the discovery of new schools of thought to better understand and advance our human species and its universal position.” Agudelo-Botero’s dramatic artworks serve as a vehicle for thought and reflection, and his unique portrayal of the human condition lends dignity and balance to our existence. — GLENN ENGMAN
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ROMERO BRITTO A modern-day Pop culture icon, Romero Britto, born in 1963, in Recife, Brazil, is one of the premiere Pop artists of our time. As the youngest and most successful Pop artist of this generation, Britto has managed to create contemporary masterpieces that evoke a spirit of hope and convey a sense of warmth. His original artwork, dubbed the art of healing, brings together bright colors and playful themes with compositional elements of Cubism. Britto’s work provides art-lovers around the world an open-minded and optimistic view of life from the mental canvas of an artist who gains daily inspiration from the world around him. Embraced by the international community, Britto’s paintings and sculptures are currently featured on five continents in more than 100 galleries worldwide, including the Saatchi Gallery in London, which recently incorporated his artwork as part of its new online gallery. In addition, Britto’s artwork is also included in some of the world’s most impressive private collections. As a talented and creative child growing up in Brazil, Britto often painted images on any medium he could find, including scraps of cardboard and newspaper. His inner passion and drive to excel served as an incredible asset for a young man with a longing to nurture his creative side and experience all that life had to offer. His innate love for learning and education inspired Britto to channel his focus and commitment to excellence in his artwork. This dedication is what has helped Britto become an international success during the last 18 years. Never forgetting his humble beginnings, and ever appreciative of the many mentors he has had over the years, Romoero Britto stands before one of his pyramids giving back and lending a hand to those in need has become one of his top priorities. As a result, the Britto Foundation was established in 2007 in an effort to allow him to lend his time, resources and talent to children and organizations all over the world while continuing to spread joy and happiness through his works. Through the foundation, his goal is to provide support to individuals and organizations who work to create, encourage, promote and preserve education and humanitarian-based initiatives benefiting children around the world. From his partnership with organizations like Best Buddies International, Andre Agassi Foundation, World Economic and Development Fund, St. Jude Hospital, Governor’s Family Literacy Initiative and Keep the Memory Alive Foundation, to the hundreds of charitable donations provided to organizations around the globe, Britto’s commitment to giving back is unquestionable. Britto was invited by Arts and Exhibition International to create a pyramid commemorating the return of Tutankhamun to London after 35 years. The Britto Pyramid is the largest installation in the history of Hyde Park to date, standing at 45 feet in height. Whether it’s serving as a panelist at the World Economic Forum, a partnership with Cirque de Soleil and the NFL for Superbowl 2007 or a corporate commission to add that special “Britto” touch to the United Nations Postal stamp or to renowned brands including Absolut, Movado, Pepsi, Evian, Microsoft X-Box and Volvo, Romero Britto’s artwork conveys an honesty that reflects his desire to use colors to exude happiness. His artwork is a reflection of what words fail to express about the joys of life, and his pieces will continue to withstand the test of time because there is a Britto for everyone, appealing to art-lovers ages eight to 80.
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Sylvia Chait A world renowned and highly respected artist, Sylvia Chait’s sculpture explores universal themes. Her exquisite pieces have many forms—from the simple and abstract to work relating to the female form—which explore the qualities of love, tenderness and tranquility. Her compositions also include pieces with geometric shapes in various sections and varieties that illustrate sensual delight through rhythmic contours and flowing shapes. The simplicity and beauty of her work belie the technical perfection and discipline that is her trademark. Working in bronze and stainless steel, her works are polished to achieve various patinas or highly polished surfaces. Chait is equally at ease working in glasstone, soapstone, clay, alabaster and plaster. The mysterious quality of Chait’s work intrigues collectors from all walks of life. Her work can be found in private collections worldwide and in numerous galleries in South Africa, her native land, and the United States. Chait’s unwavering influence on the fine-art market for the past 50 years—and the fact that she’s still creating groundbreaking work at age 72—has earned her one of the 30 spots in the inaugural Artexpo Hall of Fame. “When I found out about the Hall of Fame, I was so excited that I couldn’t breathe,” Chait exclaims. “I’m truly honored and delighted that Artexpo feels I am worthy of such a significant award.” Born and raised in South Africa, Chait’s career began at an early age, as she spent endless hours on the sandy beaches under a bright sky, running her fingers through the silky white sand, building sandcastles and collecting smooth shells and pebbles. Her dream to one day become an artist was decided at that time. The young Chait was mesmerized by the tactile stimulation surrounding her. A career in interior design was part of her early work interests, followed by ventures in flower arranging, painting, cooking, baking and charity work. Her proudest accomplishment has been “being a mother to three beautiful children, four gorgeous grandchildren and having an incredible husband,” Chait says. Chait’s sculpture can be seen in numerous important private collections in the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Europe. “Galleries have offered to take over the reproduction and representation of my work, but it’s not what I want,” Chait explains. “The advertising, the reproduction, the original—it all comes from me, and that’s what makes it special.” Chait’s dedication to her work can be seen in the long hours she spends at the foundry to assure that each piece is reproduced to absolute perfection. The rich patinas applied to her works are hand-painted, and a custom-made base is added to each limited edition. This will be her 29th year as an exhibitor at Artexpo, and it was also 29 years ago that she received the honor of the “Best South African Artist of the Year Award.” Emigrating to the United States 22 years ago, she is delighted to have her sculptures in magnificent homes whose collections also include the works of Degas, Rodin, Renoir, Giacometti, Chagall, Moore, Buffet, de Kooning and Modigliani. “I’ve met so many wonderful people at Artexpo who have inspired me throughout my life,” Chait says. “I feel so blessed to live the life I lead.” Chait extends the joy she finds in life to others. She created a sculpture called “Love and Peace” after the tragedy of 9/11 and donated the proceeds to the American Red Cross. She keeps a close relationship with many of her collectors and often invites them to her studio in Santa Monica, Calif., where she resides with her husband, Jack. “I want to carry on doing my work forever and continue to make the world a better place,” Chait says. “I only wish I could be around a bit longer to help and do more good in the world. I’m always striving to be a better person.”
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CRASH Few artists have made the transition from street to elite. John Matos—forever known as Crash—is one of the select. “I was always aware of graffiti,” Crash says. “Growing up in my ‘hood,’ you noticed what’s around you, and graff was the design.” He started at age 13. At the time, New York’s subway trains were the best place to get showcased. But he rarely “tagged,” as the process of painting an embellished signature is often called. Crash preferred to paint full pictures. “I actually picked up doing graffiti from the older kids in my neighborhood with guys like KAZOO143, CEN2 (RIP), EASE707 and others,” Crash says. “They put my feet firmly in a place where I would eventually learn the art of spray painting. I’ve been very blessed to have had a considerable amount of success. I mean, to be able to have solo exhibitions pretty much every year is powerful, and I thank God for the privilege. I have good relationships with other artists as they see that I have no fear with subject matter, and the money issue never really comes up. I just paint what is, in my mind, important to me, and they respect that. Collectors see that it’s for real and that I don’t cater to them, so they also respect that.” Crash was the middle child of seven with three older and three younger siblings. Originally from Puerto Rico, his neighborhood was one of young gangs. Crash was branded a gifted student and recalls painting since age 2, but he never went to a specialized school and took minimal art classes. “My family couldn’t afford private lessons, so I pretty much learned from TV, comic books and the once-a-year school trips to the museum,” Crash says. “I had no formal training except for a year in city college.” First noticed through his murals on subway cars and dilapidated buildings, he is now regarded as a pioneer of the Graffiti-art movement. His work is said to convey a “visual link between street life and established society.” By the 1980s, Crash had exhibits across the United States and abroad. Coming from the subway to 57th Street, he found himself creating for the fabled Sidney Janis, an undisputed icon in the gallery field and a champion of artists from atypical backgrounds. He was also the author of a collection of in-depth and warm portrayals of “outsider artists” (They Taught Themselves was first published in the 1940s). Crash found himself an early mentor who not only appreciated his work but encouraged him to delve deeper into it. The 1983 CRASH exhibit was a radical move, and the 22-year-old artist worked hard to repay that trust. “If you give me the opportunity to do something, I’m going to go all out,” he says. Janis’ faith in Crash was further justified by an incredible series of successful exhibits, up to and including two works in the 2006 Brooklyn Museum of Art exhibit Graffiti, in which the pieces titled Aeroplane 1 (1983) and A-U-T-O-matic (1985) were displayed. In 1996, Crash painted an Eric Clapton Signature Stratocaster and gave it to the artist as a gift. Crash has since created a collection of guitars for Clapton, one of which auctioned for $321,100 (Crash-3) and was used extensively during the first Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2004. Soon after, Fender Musical Instruments commissioned the creation of 50 such graffiti-designed guitars by Crash under a product line called Crashocasters. Other artists such as John Mayer have used the custom-painted Crashocaster guitars. “I first met Eric (Clapton) in New York when he was here for a big Grammy showcase,” Crash says. “He was also in town to videotape street murals and other things for a project he was finishing. He wanted to know if anyone could show him around, show him the streets—some of the “underground” sites. Someone I know suggested me. He gave me a call. The painting of the Fender has a simple history. Eric had sort of asked me about doing something on a Fender back in ‘96 or ‘97, but with both of our schedules it was difficult. Then, one bright summer morning, I just had the urge to do one. I was able to contact Eric’s guitar wiz, Lee Dickson, and he made arrangements with Fender to have an unfinished body flown to me. Man, when I got it, it was so beautiful I almost felt too intimidated to paint on it. But I did.” For Crash, who started his artistic career by hauling a bag filled with Krylon spray paint onto trains when he was 13, it has been quite a ride.
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SALVADOR DALí Whether working from pure inspiration or on a commissioned illustration, Dalí’s matchless insight and symbolic complexity are apparent. A superb draftsman and creative artist, Dalí will always set a standard for the art of the 20th century. Born in 1904 in the remote farming village of Figueres, Spain, Dalí insisted on his Arab lineage, claiming that his ancestors had descended from the Moors. He attribuuted his love of everything gilded and excessive, his passion for luxury and love of oriental clothes to these origins. The young Dalí attended the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid. Early recognition of his talent came with his first one-man show in Barcelona in 1925. He became internationally known when three of his paintings were shown in the third annual Carnegie International Exhibition in Pittsburgh in 1928. The first exhibition of Dalí works in America sent shockwaves through Manhattan society. He was feted by the hoi polloi at a specially organized Dalí Ball at which he showed up wearing a glass case containing a brassiere. In 1936, Dalí took part in the London International Surrealist Exhibition. His lecture entitled Fantomes paranoiaques authentiques was delivered wearing a deepsea diving suit. He had arrived carrying a billiard cue and leading a pair of Russian wolfhounds. He had to have the helmet unscrewed as he gasped for breath, commenting that he just wanted to show that he was “plunging deeply” into the human mind. Dalí was unusual, to say the least, and those who are interested probably know more about his quirks than can be printed in a family publication. He was scandalous in his lifestyle and in his art dealings, signing literally thousands of sheets of paper, much of it blank, paid by the signature—and he autographed as many sheets as were put in front of him. His politics didn’t go over well with his Surrealist friends when, instead of condemning Hitler, he developed an obsessive interest in what he called “the Hitler phenomenon,” which was frowned upon by his predominantly Marxist surrealist colleagues. When the fascist Franco came to power in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War (see Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls), Dalí was one of the few Spanish intellectuals supportive of the new regime, which eventually resulted in his official expulsion from the Surrealist group. At this, Dalí retorted, “I myself am Surrealism.” André Breton coined the anagram “avida dollars” (for Salvador Dalí), which more or less translates to “eager for dollars,” by which he referred to Dalí after the period of his expulsion. The Surrealists henceforth spoke of Dalí in the past tense, as if he were dead. The Surrealist movement and various members thereof would continue to issue extremely harsh polemics against him until the time of his death and beyond. At this stage his main patron was the very wealthy Edward James. As World War II started in Europe, Dalí and his wife, Gala, moved to the United States in 1940 where they lived for eight years. Dalí returned to the practice of Catholicism and in 1942 he published his autobiography, The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí. An Italian friar, Gabriele Maria Berardi, claimed to have performed an exorcism on Dalí while he was in France in 1947. The friar’s estate contained a sculpture of Christ on the cross that Dalí had given his exorcist to thank him. The sculpture was discovered in 2005, and two Spanish experts in Surrealism confirmed that there were adequate stylistic reasons to believe the sculpture was made by Dalí. After the death of Gala in 1982, Dalí’s health began to fail. It deteriorated further after he was burned in a fire in his home in Pubol in 1984. Two years later, a pacemaker was implanted. Much of this part of his life was spent in seclusion, and he died on Jan. 23, 1989, in Figueres from heart failure with respiratory complications.
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MICHEL DELACROIX The internationally renowned French painter Michel Delacroix is an acclaimed master of the naïf tradition and one of the most popular artists in the world today. A self-styled “painter of dreams and of the poetic past,” he has devoted five decades to painting a city that he calls “the Paris of then,” the magical place where he was born and spent his childhood. So special is the city that the artist still maintains a studio in Paris to the present day. Delacroix’s unique ability to elevate the ordinary into the memorable and extraordinary—whether in his lovingly detailed re-creations of Paris or in his commissioned artwork—is the artist’s greatest gift. Yet, the seeming ease and simplicity with which he communicates his richly textured vision is anything but simple. Instead, it is the very genius of his art, and it testifies to his technical mastery and aesthetic integrity—qualities that have led Pulitzer Prize-winning author and translator Richard Howard to praise Delacroix as an artist of “national magics.” Born in 1933 in Paris’ 14th Arrondissement, Delacroix was educated at the city’s prestigious Ecole des BeauxArts. Two years into his studies, he took time off to explore the streets of Paris and experiment briefly with set design, which led him to work with the great mime, Marcel Marceau. Delacroix returned to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and after graduation, became an art teacher, which allowed him to pursue painting in his spare time. Eventually, he established his own unique style and began to create his signature works of art. Delacroix’s works have captivated private collectors, museums and art-lovers around the world, and the artist has received universal acclaim and numerous awards. In the United States alone, Delacroix’s work has been featured in more than 300 solo exhibitions in locations spanning from New York to Los Angeles. Abroad, his work has been exhibited throughout Europe and Japan and is featured as part of the permanent collections of the Fonds national d’art contemporain, the Musée International d’Art Naïf and the Max Fourny Foundation in Paris in addition to a number of private collections worldwide. In 1976, American industrialist Lee Iacocca asked Delacroix to create a work honoring the bicentennial, which began the first of a series of major U.S. commissions. Harvard University, the 1995 Special Olympics and the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games followed suit with important projects of their own. In the spring of 1997, Delacroix was named the official artist of the 1998 Goodwill Games. Delacroix also began his long-standing collaboration with Montecristo Cigars for which he created artwork to grace the covers of the boxes and humidors of this exclusive cigar brand. In 1998, Delacroix was asked to create a work commemorating the 1998 World Cup, and in 2002, he was commissioned to create, Noel de Paix à Washington, the signature image for the White House’s Christmas Pageant of Peace. The limited-edition serigraph was wildly successful and sold out immediately. Delacroix was soon honored with another milestone in celebration of his 70th birthday with the release of a new hardcover book, Once Upon a Time in Paris. Today, Delacroix continues to paint and spends his time in Paris and Cambodia with his wife, Vany. He maintains a very simple life and enjoys his children and grandchildren.
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EYVIND EARLE The details of Eyvind Earle’s life are too fascinating to be overlooked. Although he was born in New York in 1916, Earle and his family moved to Hollywood, Calif., in 1918. Earle began his prolific career at age 10 when his father, Ferdinand Earle, gave him a challenging choice: read 50 pages of a book or paint a picture every day. Earle chose both. From the time of his first solo show in France when he was 14, Earle’s fame steadily began to grow. At age 21, Earle bicycled across the country from Hollywood to New York, paying his way by painting 42 watercolors, one for each day of the trip. In 1937, he opened at the Charles Morgan Galleries, his first of many solo shows in New York. Two years later at his third consecutive showing at the gallery, the response to his work was so positive that the exhibition sold out, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art purchased one of his paintings for its permanent collection. His earliest work was strictly realistic, but after having studied the work of a variety of masters, such as Van Gogh, Cézanne, Rockwell, Kent and Georgia O’Keefe, Earle came into his own unique style. His oeuvre is characterized by simplicity, directness and a surety of handling. In 1951, Earle joined Walt Disney studios as an assistant background painter. He intrigued Disney in 1953 when he created the look of Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom, an animated short film that won an Academy Award and a Cannes Film Festival Award. Disney kept the artist busy for the rest of the decade. Earle painted the settings for such stories as Peter Pan; For Whom the Bulls Toil; Working for Peanuts; Pigs is Pigs; Paul Bunyan and Lady and the Tramp. The artist was also responsible for the styling, background and colors for the highly acclaimed movie Sleeping Beauty, and Earle is largely credited for giving the movie its magical, medieval look. Earle’s career has encompassed many different fields. In addition to book illustrating, the artist also designed a number of covers for magazine publications and produced and created several animated commercials and specials for television. In 1998, the International Animated Film Society gave Earle its Windsor McCay Award for lifetime achievement. In the 1940s, Earle adapted his creative landscapes to Christmas cards and painted more than 800 designs that have sold more than 300 million copies through American Artist Group. After about 15 years of creating animated art, Earle returned to painting full time in 1966 and kept working until the end of his life. In addition to his watercolors, oils, sculptures, drawings and scratchboards, Earle began making limited-edition serigraphs in 1974. Earle had a completely original perception of landscape. He successfully synthesized seemingly incongruent aspects into a singularly distinctive style—a style that is simultaneously mysterious, primitive, disciplined, moody and nostalgic. He captured the grandeur and simplicity of the American countryside and represented glimpses of the American scene with a direct lyric ardor. His landscapes are remarkable for their suggestion of distance, landmass and weather mood. “For 70 years, I’ve painted paintings, and I’m constantly and everlastingly overwhelmed at the stupendous infinity of nature,” Earle wrote in 1996. “Wherever I turn and look, there I see creation. Art is creating. Art is the search for truth.” Earle died on July 20, 2000, at age 84. During his lifetime, he created many works that have not been publicly seen or exhibited. Eyvind Earle Publishing LLC, under the specific instruction of the late Earle, will continue the legacy of the artist, promoting and introducing new serigraphs and books through galleries worldwide. These posthumous limited-edition serigraphs will be printed from the original oil paintings created by Earle.
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RON ENGLISH Ron English, a New York-based painter, billboard liberator and toy designer, has exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide. For more than 20 years, his unique sensibility, in which the familiar is reflected through fun house mirrors, turns into something startlingly new. He is the subject of an award-winning documentary, POP-aganda, the Art and Crimes of Ron English; his commentary and art were featured in the hit movie Supersize Me; and he has made numerous appearances on television in the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan. In addition to painting, English is widely considered one of the seminal figures in the culturejamming movement, in which artists and activists subvert existing advertisements to encourage free thought. He has pirated more than 1,000 billboards over the past 20 years, replacing existing advertisements with his own subvertisements that range from his Cancer Kids campaign, featuring preadolescent camels hawking cigarettes to children, to Apple computer’s Think Different campaign, in which English added 20th-century luminaries, such as Charles Manson, to Apple’s roster of spokespeople. Throughout his career, English has utilized the American symbology of his boyhood to propel unstated cultural norms just beyond the bounds of comfort. These symbols create a disconcerting realm that is simultaneously hilarious and terrifying. These references have evolved into his most recognizable figures: cows and rabbits mutating into sexual beings and unearthing long-buried connections between love, milk, sex and food, and MC Supersized, a corpulent Ronald McDonald that is perhaps the artist’s best-known image, which serves as a good-natured scapegoat for society’s own oversized desires. Employing a painstaking process to create art that is conceptually as well as physically multilayered, English constructs elaborately sculptured sets populated with a fractured iconography of found objects and creatures of his imagination, each with back stories informing their actions and juxtapositions. The sets are photographed from many angles, which results in a series of paintings united in common source but exploring an idea from diverging points of view. In July 2006, English premiered his 12-x-27-foot interpretation of Guernica at the Station Museum in Houston. Grade School Guernica is one foot longer and one foot taller than Picasso’s original, and it features a psychodrama acted out by the artist’s children and viewed from the point of view of the bomber airplane. In 2007, English commemorated the 70th anniversary of Guernica with a series of billboard installations in Spain that depicted modern variations of Picasso’s classic painting. Christmas 2007 found him in Bethlehem with artists Banksy and Swoon as he “enhanced” the separation wall dividing Palestine from Israel. December 2007 marked the release of two new art books. The first, Son of Pop, from 9mm Books, chronicles 12 years and 100 paintings created with English’s children as models. The book’s format is modeled after the classic children’s Little Golden Book design, complete with a golden spine and line-drawn images of the artist’s most famous pieces. Abject Expressionism, from Last Gasp Books, is a coffee table retrospective that features more than 300 images of recent work. Upcoming events for English include exhibitions in London in May 2008 and San Francisco in October 2008. Born in 1959, English lives with his wife and two children in the New York area.
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ERTÉ “If Michelangelo were to come back from the dead, he could hardly have greater or more eulogious publicity than has been accorded to Erté,” wrote John Russell, an art editor for The New York Times, in reference to an Erté retrospective in 1969. The statement was true then, and it remains true today. To many, Erté was not just the artist of the 1920s, he was the 1920s—the embodiment of Art Deco, the style, which (in his words) “for the first time fused pure with applied art, which had previously been considered fairly contemptible.” Although Erté enjoyed an enormous amount of fame, he never allowed it to go to his head. Work always came first, and he continued to produce his exquisitely delicate designs with the same enthusiasm that, as a child, he brought to fabricating imaginary ballets from his mother’s perfume bottles. At the age of 6, he even designed an evening dress for his mother, which she had made. Erté was born Romain de Tirtoff (he took the name Erté from his initials to avoid causing his family embarrassment) on Nov. 23, 1892, at the St. Petersburg Naval School where his father was an inspector. His family was highly musical. His mother had studied singing, and his father was a friend of Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. At 19, Erté attended art school in Paris, but it only lasted three months. After spending nine months looking for a job, he was taken on by an obscure, second-rate fashion house from which he was fired within a month. “I want to give you a mother’s advice,” the owner said to him. “Give up the idea of being an artist. You have no talent for it.” Rescuing his drawings from the wastebasket, he left them at the fashion house of Paul Poiret, who gave him a job. The next 18 months were to be his apprenticeship, and in 1915, he contributed his first fashion design and covers for Harper’s Bazaar. An element of theater was never absent from Erté’s fashion drawings, and it was through the stage that he was first able to achieve an international audience. The economic boom and great spending spree of the 1920s changed the concept of popular entertainment, and during that period, he worked for the Follies Bergère, the George White Scandals and the Ziegfeld Follies, in addition to spending a short, frustrating spell in Hollywood, which included costumes for Ben Hur. Throughout this period, he continued to design women’s clothes, jewels, shoes and various accessories. But the Wall Street crash, in which Erté lost almost everything, ended all of that. After World War II, during which he remained in Paris, Erté became increasingly involved with opera and ballet. Singers no longer commissioned their own costumes, and he was given greater scope for design in those fields than ever before. A meeting with Eric and Salome Estorick in 1967 created a new turning point in Erté’s illustrious career. Erté constantly held sold-out exhibitions of his original designs at the Estorick’s galleries in New York where 170 works were purchased by the Metropolitan Museum and in London where numerous works were purchased by the Victoria and Albert Museum. In 1974, he produced his first limited-edition lithographs in collaboration with Circle Galleries. The demand for his work and his insatiable appetite to create led to the production of elaborate embossed and gold-block serigraphs, editions of art to wear as jewelry, sculptures and objects of art. At the height of this new career with his work selling in hundreds of galleries throughout the United States, Erté was asked if he thought he had become something of a cottage industry. He replied with a mischievous smile, “No, more of a chateau industry.” In his 97th year, Erté completed costume designs for the Radio City Easter show, the last commission before his death in 1990. At the end of his life, Erté was the acclaimed Master of Art Deco, the subject of many films, the recipient of several honors and deemed one of the most successful artists of the 20th century.
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Charles Fazzino Charles Fazzino’s artwork can be found in the private collections of Rosie O’Donnell, Michael Eisner, Hillary Clinton, former president Bill Clinton, Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Phil Collins, Roger Clemens, Michael Jordan, Julia Roberts and many other internationally renowned figures and corporations. As a creator of limited-edition fine-art silkscreen serigraphs, Fazzino is best known for his use of bright colors and exquisite detail—the frenetic energy that infuses his work—and a unique hand-assembled 3-D layering technique that brings his images to life. Viewers of his works are pulled into the bright and often whimsical scenes where they fully experience the hustle and bustle of the world around them. A graduate of the New York School of Visual Arts, Fazzino’s popularity has soared over the course of his 20-year career. He appears at more than 30 solo exhibitions and shows each year and treats thousands of fans to his one-of-a-kind signature drawings. In the midst of all of his ambitious travels, charity promotional events, and media appearances, Fazzino finds the time to create 20 to 30 new editions of art every year. In 2002, he unveiled a new line of original canvas paintings and has since taken on an overwhelming amount of commission work. Fazzino was born and raised in a suburb on the outskirts of New York. From an early age, he was mesmerized by the transformation outside the train window during a 30-minute ride he and his family often took from his home in Westchester to the city’s Grand Central Station. “Having never lived in the city, I think it had, and even still has, a greater effect on me than if I had grown up there,” Fazzino observes. “I loved how you could go from the systematic and orderly suburbs to the middle of chaos in 30 minutes. I fed on the intensity of that experience, and I’m still trying to capture that in my work today.” After more than 25 years as a professional artist, New York is still the subject matter that Fazzino most often turns to for inspiration. His heart seems to beat to the rhythm of the subway trains clacking beneath the living, breathing streets above, and it takes on many of the city’s characteristics: energetic, colorful, bustling, free-wheeling and complex. Thriving on the richness that New York provides as a backdrop for each of his creations, Fazzino deftly selects from the endless supply of elements and puts them together in a free-flowing, engaging and sometimes highly personal mosaic. “There is such an incredible concentration of information in New York,” Fazzino says. “When I paint it, it’s like a patchwork quilt. I don’t have to be concerned with the geographical accurateness of my sketches because the pieces fit together in so many different and compelling ways. I can reinvent the city hundreds of times by mixing and matching the different patches. It’s incredibly liberating for me as an artist, and I believe, interesting for those who know and appreciate my work.” Through his artwork, Fazzino gives a voice to the millions of stories the city has to tell. He fills each piece with his personal commentary, observations and interpretations of all that New York has to offer. It’s as if with each one, he takes on the persona of a city-beat reporter and conveys the story of the city with all of the sensation, feeling and expression necessary to make the facts come to life. Fazzino also boasts a prestigious list of project partners, including The Today Show, The United States Olympic Committee, The Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2004 Indianapolis 500, 2005 Brickyard 400), The National Football League (Super Bowls XXXV through XLII), Major League Baseball (2003-2005 and the 2007 and 2008 All-Star Games), The Country Music Association (2005 and 2006 CMA Awards) Warner Bros. Studios, Disney Studios, The National Hockey League (2007 and 2008 All-Star Games), Daytime Emmy Awards (2006-2008), and the 50th anniversary of Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisc. Fazzino has also contributed his time and art to The Muscular Dystrophy Association and many other charitable organizations. Fazzino’s art offers unlimited appeal to people of all ages and from diverse cultural backgrounds. His exciting mastery of color and movement have established him among the top contemporary artists of his time.
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Leonor Fini Leonor Fini was born in Argentina in 1907. Her mother was Italian, and her father was an Argentinean of Italian descent. Spirited away to Trieste, Italy, by her mother before she was 1 year old; Fini was disguised as a boy for the first six or seven years of her life to avoid kidnapping attempts by her father. Raised in the “Bohemian” salons of a radically changing Europe between the two World Wars, her precociousness manifested in the creation of a persona of incredibly strong will and intense sensitivity. Thrown out of every school she attended for her lack of adherence to the rules, Fini educated herself by reading—she had read the works of Freud before she was 16—and studying the world around her. After discovering her passion for art, Fini studied cadavers in the morgues of Trieste to learn anatomy. An intense curiosity and intelligence set her apart from her peers and endeared her to the artistic and literary circles that populated Trieste during her formative years. By the time she relocated to Paris in 1931, she was already an intimate of Giorgio De Chirico and his circle. In Paris, she was quickly adopted by Max Ernst and the surrealist artists that surrounded him. A motor trip through Italy cemented her friendships with Henri Cartier-Bresson and Andre Pierre Mandiargues. CartierBresson’s photograph of Fini nude in a swimming pool, pubis shaved, set a world record for his work at auction in 2007. Julian Levy, the art dealer largely responsible for bringing the surrealists to the United States, became her American dealer and introduced her in a joint show at his Madison Avenue gallery with Max Ernst in 1936 in addition to making her a participant in the Dada and Surrealism Exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Although Fini never considered herself a surrealist—primarily because she would not accept the role of muse assigned to her by Breton—she has participated in almost every major surrealism exhibition. More recently was her inclusion in the surrealism exhibition mounted in 2001 by England’s prestigious Tate Museum. The show will also travel to the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Fini was represented with three canvases and a photo portrait by Dora Marr in the Surrealism—Two Private Eyes exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in 1999, and she was a focal point in the Peggy Guggenheim 100th Birthday show at that same museum. Fini has always gone in her own direction. As one of the only internationally recognized female artist before the 1970s who was not aligned with a male artist of greater fame, Fini made a name for herself by sheer force of talent and personality. She would not make allowances for mediocrity for herself any more than she would accept it from others. Asking Picasso why he kept doing the “same old s---” and telling Andre Breton to commit an impossible act upon himself are only two examples of Fini’s independent nature and her refusal to behave. An enigma, Fini has been written about, photographed and befriended by many of the famous and talented people who passed through Paris during the middle decades of the 1900s. Often referred to as “a painter’s painter,” she has influenced a wide range of figurative painters of the 20th century. The questions of what school of art she belongs to—is she a painter, an illustrator, a designer, a feminist, a mystic, a voluptuary—are superfluous. Her answer would have been, “I am Leonor Fini!” — NEIL ZUKERMAN
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MARILYN GOLDBERG Marilyn Goldberg, former president of MariGold Enterprises (1980-1990) and the current president of Museum Masters International (1990-2008), is a graduate of Boston University’s School of Fine & Applied Arts and the New York School of Interior Design. A pioneer in the realm of art merchandising, Goldberg was instrumental in developing the first fineart gift locations at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. She designed gift shop merchandise for the Hakone Open Air Museum in Japan; created merchandise for the New York Philharmonic’s 50th anniversary and the Metropolitan Opera’s 150th anniversary; introduced the Metropolitan Museum to its Asian chain store partners; and purchased licenses and developed 15 categories of merchandise for Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. She merged and purchased the first “co-brand” agreements between famous artists and celebrities, such as the Andy Warhol Foundation and the Marilyn Monroe Estate, the Elvis Presley Estate and the Campbell Soup Company. She has also negotiated contracts between Mercedes-Benz and the Warhol Foundation and developed the original concept and license for Les Parfums Andy Warhol with the same company that launched Les Parfums Salvador Dalí. When it comes to Artexpo, few have had a more influential impact than Goldberg. Exhibiting with more than 20 booths, her ideas encompassed virtually every element of the art world, and she invented products that Marilyn Goldberg with Erté in Barbados were never before adapted. “Before Marilyn started her programs, museums were dying,” Gerald Leberfeld says. “She single-handedly put many museums back on their feet by creating a wide variety of items for their gift shops at all price ranges. There was no copying her; she was and still is one of a kind. Now there are museum gift shops even where there are no museums.” There were years, Leberfeld says, at the old Coliseum (the site of the first Artexpo New York in 1978) when members of the trade burst through the doors as soon as they opened and double-timed it to the MariGold Art Booths and Art Boutique. Many successful artists had their first national art platform with MariGold. One of her favorite collaborations was the 8-x-8foot Erté tapestry that she had hand encrusted with Bijou de Pearls, semi-precious stones, and personally selected every thread color for the wool weavings with Erté at his Barbados home. Along with Peter Max, Goldberg selected more than 100 images for publication as lithographs. Max made personal appearances at opening events in her gallery and dedicated his edition of Marilyn’s Flowers to her. Goldberg also developed and published the Alexander Calder tapestry collection in collaboration with Trans World Art. She took small John Lennon doodles from pen drawings on restaurant napkins to create the finest of prints and selected handmade paper with old European limestone plates to create the chine collé prints in black and white. In 1990, Goldberg was invited by the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia to develop the Catherine the Great collection. In 2004, she developed exhibitions for Tamara de Lempicka for the Royal Academy of Arts in London and Musee des Annees 30 in Paris. In 2005, she was invited as a guest of the Chinese government for the Shanghai Art and Gift Fair and was considered a renowned expert in the field of licensing and merchandising. Goldberg was also a guest speaker at the Louvre Carrousel Paris. During the fall of 2006, Goldberg was the guest host and initiated the opening of the Lempicka retrospective at the Palazzo Reale in Milan, Italy. Additionally, she signed a deal with contemporary surrealist artist Rafal Olbinski for HP: Hewlett-Packard’s Photokina Exhibition in Cologne, Germany in 2007. Today, it’s a new world and with Goldberg’s creativity, talent and foresight, all things are possible for her next creation. Every day is still a new vision. Her enthusiasm hasn’t waned over the years, and one gets the impression that Goldberg’s greatest achievements are yet to come.
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R.C. GORMAN The New York Times once called R.C. Gorman the “Picasso of American Indian art.” The artist’s work and personality have exerted an indelible presence on the Taos and northern New Mexico art scenes that has spread to every corner of the globe. Internationally, Gorman was one of the foremost American Indian artists in recent history. He was born Rudolph Carl Gorman on July 26, 1931, in Chinle, Ariz., the son of the late Carl Gorman—also a famed Navajo painter and a member of the World War II Code Talkers—and the late Adele Katherine Brown. From an early age, it was expected that, like his father, Gorman would become an artist. Throughout his career, Gorman carved new pathways for American Indian artists, who, prior to the late 1960s, were often forced into certain types of art by collectors and by a market that relied on a stereotype of stoic portraits and colorful dancers rooted in the Santa Fe Indian School style. For a Diné (person of Navajo descent) who painted strong abstracts and elegant figure studies and refused to be pigeon-holed into a certain type of art, it wasn’t easy to sell in a genre-driven market. That might be one of the reasons Gorman decided to take a bold step and open the first American Indianowned fine-art gallery in 1968. As a boy, he herded sheep with his aunts in Canyon de Chelly where he used to draw on rocks and in the sand and mud. His first sculpture was in clay, depicting subjects such as Mickey Mouse, Shirley Temple and automobiles. Gorman was also notorious for getting into trouble; many times he was caught drawing pictures of nude women. After graduating from high school, he studied art at Northern Arizona University and San Francisco State University. In 1958, he received a grant from the Navajo Tribal Council to study art at Mexico City College where he was deeply influenced by the work of Diego Rivera. He made his name as a distinctive voice during the 1960s surge of interest in American Indian art. Before settling in Taos, N.M., Gorman’s life had been an individual struggle against poverty and prejudice. It was an environment of silence with little communication with the outside world. His parents endowed him with the gifts of a heritage rich in culture and the talents of generations of remarkable people. His ancestors had been silversmiths, sandpainters, holy men and early tribal leaders. As he soared through the ranks of the art world, he found himself in a social circle with Hollywood royalty. His rambunctious personality was as tempestuous as the times, and his voracious appetite for art led him to collect Picasso, Henry Moore, Miro, Chagall, Dali, Rodin, Zuniga, Sequeiros and Diego Rivera as well as a host of regional artists from the Taos area. Gorman was an artist of many mediums. His stylized images of Indian women and motifs in acrylics, oils, stone lithography, ceramics and sculpture won him various accolades. In 1973, he was honored as the only living artist to be in the Masterworks of the American Indian exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Gorman published several essays on Mexican artists, petroglyphs and cave paintings. He also published a series of books on cooking and art. His friends included film stars, such as Elizabeth Taylor, Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and his work was collected by Barry Goldwater, Gregory Peck, Erma Bombeck, Lee Marvin and Andy Warhol among others. Gorman was an inspiration to many with particular compassion for young artists. A great man in every sense of the word, he died on Nov. 3, 2005, and was laid to rest on his property in Taos. Page 14 • Artexpo Hall of Fame 2008 • Art Business News
FREDERICK HART American master sculptor Frederick Hart is recognized for creating work—at once traditional in its adherence to the human figure, radical in its sensuality, and innovative in materials—which has brought a resurgence of interest in the human figure and in the idea of beauty in contemporary American art. Michael Novak, author of Frederick Hart: Changing Tides, wrote in 2004, “The work of Frederick Hart is changing the world of art,” vindicating the artist’s strong belief that with the new century would come changing tides in the style, form, and direction of the arts. Hart gained international stature for his The Creation Sculptures on the west façade of Washington Nation Cathedral, which include three typana Ex Nihilo (Out of Nothing), Creation of Day and Creation of Night, and three trumeau figures St. Peter, St. Paul and Adam carved in Indiana limestone. The cathedral, located in Washington, D.C. is the sixth largest Gothic cathedral in the world. The works were commissioned in 1974, and dedicated between 1978 and 1984. One of the most visited monuments in Washington, D.C. is Hart’s heroic bronze statue Three Soldiers, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, dedicated by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. Hart is also represented in the U.S. Senate by the heroic marble statue of Senator Richard Russell in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building; the bronze bust of Senator Strom Thurmond, installed in the Strom Thurmond Room of the Capital Building; and the marble bust of J. Danforth Quayle created for the Senate’s Vice Presidential Bust Collection. Hart was also commissioned to create the James Earl Carter Presidential Statue in bronze installed at the Georgia State House, Atlanta. Hart pioneered the use of clear acrylic resin to create cast figurative sculptures. He patented the process by which one clear acrylic sculpture was embedded within another. In 1997, Hart presented a unique casting of The Cross of the Millennium to Pope John Paul II in a private ceremony at the Vatican in Rome. When it was unveiled Pope John Paul II called this sculpture “a profound theological statement for our day.” Frederick Hart was articulate in describing the passion and vision that drove him to create such works of beauty. He said, “I believe that art has a moral responsibility, that it must pursue something higher than itself. Art must be a part of life. It must exist in the domain of the common man. It must be an enriching, ennobling, and vital partner in the public pursuit of civilization. It should be a majestic presence in everyday life just as it was in the past.” Hart was awarded the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States Government. The proclamation signed by President George W. Bush on November 17, 2004 states the following: “For his important body of work—including the Washington National Cathedral’s Creation Sculptures and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial’s Three Soldiers—which heralded a new age for contemporary public art.” This distinction places him in the ranks of the most distinguished American artists of the twentieth century.
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CHUCK JONES “A small child once said to me: ‘You don’t draw Bugs Bunny; you draw pictures of Bugs Bunny.’ That’s a very profound observation because it means that he thinks the characters are alive, which, as far as I am concerned, is true,” renowned artist, illustrator and animation director Chuck Jones once said. Jones helped bring to life many characters during the Golden Age of animation, including some of Warner Bros. most famous “Looney Tunes” characters—Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and Porky Pig. The list of characters he created himself goes on to include Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Marvin the Martian, Pepé Le Pew, Michigan J. Frog, Gossamer and many others. “Films must be made for ourselves,” Jones said, “just as Dr. Seuss, R.L. Stevenson and so many others did before us. By making each other laugh, the audience will follow. We must maintain, nurture and ensure the ability to recognize and communicate the characteristics we ruefully recognize in ourselves. We must never write down to children. We should take our work, but not ourselves, seriously.” Critics often compare Jones’ work with that of classic screen comedians. Jones was born on Sept. 21, 1912, in Spokane, Wash., but he grew up in Hollywood, Calif. There he observed the talents of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton while working occasionally as a child extra in Mack Sennett comedies. After graduating from Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles (now the California Institute of the Arts), Jones drew pencil portraits for $1 each on Olvera Street. Then, in 1932, he got his first job in the fledgling animation industry as a cel washer for former Disney animator, Ubbe Iwerks. At the early age of 25, Jones directed his first animated film, The Night Watchman, which was released in 1938. Up to 5,000 animation drawings were used for a six-minute cartoon. As director, he timed the picture, finalized all of the writing, produced more than 300 layouts and directed the art design, music, sound effects and animation. In 1966, Jones directed one of the most memorable holiday television specials ever produced—Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He won a Peabody Award for Television Program Excellence for his work on Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas as well as for Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who. In a career spanning more than 60 years, Jones has made more than 300 animated films and has earned two Academy Awards, including an Honorary Oscar in 1996. In addition, two other films directed by Jones received Academy Awards, which went to the producers. In the late 1970s, as artwork of the Warner Bros. and other classic animated characters became increasingly sought after, Jones began creating limited-edition images depicting scenes from his most enduring cartoons. Today, Jones is the most widely collected animation artist in the world. His art has been exhibited at more than 250 galleries and museums worldwide, including a one-man film retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Moreover, his 1989 autobiography, Chuck Amuck, is in its fifth printing and was published in paperback in 1990 in the United States and abroad. Chuck Reducks, his follow-up to Chuck Amuck, was published in 1996. From 1993 to 1996, Jones led Chuck Jones Film Productions (CJFP), with his daughter, Linda Jones, to create six theatrical short subjects with Warner Bros. characters. During this period, he also created character designs for the Emmy Award-winning television special Chuck Jones’ Peter and the Wolf, a CJFP co-production with George Daugherty’s IFX Productions. Jones died in February 2002 at age 89, but he leaves a legacy of brilliance, comedy, joy, color and laughter that will live on forever. His work continues to influence contemporary filmmakers, including George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, who count themselves among his many fans. Perhaps Peter Bogdanovich best explains the enduring appeal of Jones’ work: “It remains, like all good fables and only the best of art, both timeless and universal.” Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, a non-profit organization was established and is dedicated to fostering and encouraging the expression of artistic creativity using the drawings, films and writings of Jones as inspiration. Page 16 • Artexpo Hall of Fame 2008 • Art Business News
BILL MACK The youthful, enthusiastic Bill Mack has a distinctive flair about him. He wears a fresh red rosebud on his lapel every day. Although he will not reveal the personal reason why he began the practice several years ago, the red rose has become a symbolic trademark of the artist’s persona. Presenting the signature rosebud at gallery openings and at Artexpo, Mack has become one of the largest non-commercial buyers of roses in the world. Mack has no mentors, and no one teaches his technique. In fact, the sculptor works in such a rare art form that coming up with a name to describe it has been only slightly less arduous than creating the art itself. At the start of his career, Mack paid his dues and worked mostly as a commissioned artist, creating the bicentennial medals for Minnesota and the cities of St. Louis and Baltimore and reliefs and full-round sculptures for corporations, such as General Motors, Pillsbury, and 3M. In the early 1980s, Mack made a venturous artistic move and entered the competitive gallery world with his Alto Relief sculptures. Mack made a spectacular debut in New York and achieved worldwide acceptance in a remarkably short time for a contemporary artist. He has had exhibitions at galleries in locations ranging from New York to Beverly Hills, Calif., and internationally from Tokyo to Frankfurt, Germany. His work is in the collections of former Presidents Clinton, Ford and Reagan; actors and renowned art aficionados Sylvester Stallone and Tony Curtis and “Corporate Raider” Irwin Jacobs. Celebrities as diverse as Elizabeth Taylor, Kenny Rogers, comic Howie Mandel and record producer Jimmy “Jam” Harris have also collected his work. Mack’s piece titled Lady is part of the permanent collection of the Statue of Liberty National Monument on Liberty Island. His sculpture of basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hangs in the entry of the NBA Hall of Fame, and the artist has also created sculptures that are permanently installed in the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the American and Canadian Hockey Halls of Fame and the NFL Hall of Fame. In 1998, Mack created a commissioned relief sculpture of Peggy Fleming commemorating the 30th anniversary of her 1968 win of the Olympic Gold Medal and the World Figure Skating Championship. The sculpture is now on permanent display at the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colo. Mack was born in Minneapolis, Minn., to a family in which no one was directly involved in art. He created and sold oil portraits in high school, and at 17 years old he made an important discovery while working as a draftsman making bronze dedication tablets. When a poor-quality relief portrait for a memorial tablet created by another artist was submitted to the company for approval, Mack thought he could do a better job. He gave it a try, and it was instantly accepted. He immediately quit his job and began a career as a commissioned relief sculptor. Today, Mack houses his studio, foundry and framing operation in a magnificent building he calls Camelot. The 25,000-square-foot stone structure, complete with a drawbridge and moat, was originally built in the early 1960s. Thirty years later, Mack bought the building and completely remodeled it to accommodate his unique requirements. It is truly an unusual artist’s studio, and visitors to the Minneapolis area are invited to tour Camelot and experience the works of one of the most unique artists in the world. Through his extensive artistic and business contacts worldwide, Mack has also become an avid collector. His collection of paintings and drawings includes original works by a diverse group of artists, such as Miro, Chagall, Picasso, Paul Jenkins, Jim Dine and his friend and fellow Minnesotan, LeRoy Neiman.
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Bruce McGaw Roger Bruce McGaw was born in Cleveland on Sept. 4, 1942. As a child, he was fascinated with music, and after years of pleading to take up an instrument, he was given guitar lessons at age 13. In the 1950s, the youth of the nation was crazed with rock ‘n’ roll, but McGaw took a different path— jazz. Practicing for hours each day, he became accomplished and began playing jazz gigs and sitting in at jam sessions at nightclubs while in high school. Although music was his primary passion, McGaw took a class trip to The Cleveland Museum of Art where he became infatuated with two paintings—a Jackson Pollock and a Robert Motherwell. This event launched a deep passion for modern art that would be the seed of inspiration for his business. McGaw attended North Texas State University, one of two schools in the United States with a jazz curriculum. In the early 1960s, he took an interest in rock and had the opportunity to produce and write music for independent record companies in Dallas. In 1966, McGaw moved to New York to pursue a role in the music business where he produced, arranged and wrote songs for the next seven years. In 1973, a close friend opened an art gallery where McGaw worked for several years and eventually became the gallery manager. It was there that he fell in love with the fine-art poster, a medium that brought great art to the masses at affordable prices. It was also there that he met his future wife and business partner, Nancy. McGaw left the gallery to become a regional sales representative for a small publisher in 1976. During his stint in sales, he started buying and selling fine-art posters. Nancy and he saw the potential and, in 1978, they founded Bruce McGaw Graphics, which they operated out of their apartment in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. The business grew rapidly, and they published their first four posters in 1979. A passion for quality and a belief in legendary customer service elevated the small startup to that of a major international art publisher with an unprecedented reputation as an industry leader. Today, Bruce McGaw Graphics offers thousands of exclusive images in a multitude of genres in both conventional and digital printing styles. The founding of King & McGaw in the United Kingdom and Bruce McGaw Graphics Canada in 1989, as well as the acquisition of Poster Originals, Ltd. in 1996 and the signing of an exclusive publishing relationship with the Museum of Modern Art in 1995, are among some of the major milestones for the company. Others include the 1997 founding of Pinnacle Art Press, the printing arm of Bruce McGaw Graphics; an exclusive publishing relationship with Disney in 2001; and an exclusive publishing relationship with The Andy Warhol Foundation in 2000. Since its inception in 1978, Bruce McGaw Graphics has published more than 10,000 posters by more than 1,000 artists. The McGaw Foundation, an art-industry charity dedicated to quality of life issues for people who are afflicted with or affected by HIV/AIDS, was founded in 1992 and has given more than $1 million to grassroots AIDS charities. McGaw has served on the Board of the Hudson River Museum and the modern dance company White Wave Rising. McGaw and his former wife, Nancy, have two sons, Landon and Madison, and in 2004, McGaw moved to Nashville to once again pursue his interest in music. In 2007, he married Angela Kaset, a songwriter and singer. Today, he commutes to New York most weeks to forge new strategic directions for Bruce McGaw Graphics.
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Nancy R. McGaw Nancy R. McGaw was born on Feb. 16, 1952 in the Bronx of New York. She has two sons, Landon and Madison, and currently resides in New York. McGaw graduated in 1974 from Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Fla., with a double major in Art History and Humanities, a minor in English with internship concentration for Museology Studies. She has taken the curriculum, leadership programs and courses at Landmark Education New York and the School of Practical Philosophy. After graduation from Jacksonville University, McGaw worked in galleries in the New York metropolitan area and held a position in the Ancient Near East Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for three years before co-founding Bruce McGaw Graphics in 1978. The fine-art publishing business began from an apartment in Brooklyn that rapidly grew, moved to Manhattan and now is headquartered in West Nyack, N.Y., with additional offices in England and Canada. The principles of quality, incredible service and strong team building have endured throughout the company’s 30 years in business. Today, Bruce McGaw Graphics is widely recognized as a market leader with more than 100 employees worldwide and a customer base of galleries, museums, frameshops, designers, hospitality specifiers and various industry retailers and wholesalers. Worldwide distribution includes exclusive representation of the Museum of Modern Art and other museums, the Warhol estate, Disney and noteworthy artists and collections. Bruce McGaw Graphics is a privately held company under the sole ownership of Nancy and Bruce McGaw. A strong and vital part of McGaw’s life is community service and the desire to make a difference in the world. She is the co-founder and executive director of The McGaw Foundation, established in 1992 as a non-profit foundation that gives back to the arts community with the purpose of bringing aid to organizations whose mission is to support quality of life issues with individuals living with and affected by AIDS/HIV. McGaw is a founding director and served six years for the Irvington Education Foundation in Irvington, N.Y., the mission of which is to enhance the educational environment throughout Irvington Public Schools. She has also held a six-year post on The National Trust for Historic Sites, Lyndhurst Council in Tarrytown, N.Y., and was active in the local PTA and PTSA organizations. For five years, McGaw served as program leader for Landmark Education New York and participated as a speaker at Entrepreneur Day at New York University in 2005. McGaw has received numerous awards for her outstanding service to the communities, charities and organizations that she has served. A love of art and design, expertise in business and joy in serving others is the spirit of this industry leader.
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JOEL & RENEE MEISNER Joel and Renee Meisner married in 1960 and began exhibiting at Artexpo shortly thereafter, or so it seems after all these years. The Meisners showed at the first Artexpo with Isidore Margulies, a figurative artist that did very sensuous work that wasn’t being done at the time, especially in bronze. “We had a great response at that first Artexpo,” recalls Joel, “and we continued on for the next 20 years or more. We had lots of success and lots of fun.” Joel holds a Masters of Fine Art in Sculpture from Columbia University, where he studied with Professor Maldorelli, a stone carver. After a stint in the Air Force, Meisner realized that his true calling was in facilitating the creation of other people’s artistic ideas. While working for Jacques Lipchitz in his Hastings-on-the-Hudson, New York, studio, he encountered for the first time “the work of a real genius.” Joel eventually went on to make bronze castings for him. The “process” was a monolithic ceramic mold which enabled an artist to actually cast a piece in one day as opposed to the weeks it normally took. Joel invented this from scratch and by chance. “I was teaching adults about sculpture in Green Acres shopping Center—a group of people got together and wanted to take art classes—they called up my professor and he asked me teach there. I met a woman whose husband was a fund raiser for Einstein Medical Center. Lester Avnet was a major contributor and an art collector who had amongst his holdings a foundry casting golf club heads in stainless steel. That little serendipitous meeting with a sculpture student started that whole foundry thing for me. “I went to Avnet-Shaw, they showed me around, and I said, ‘I think I can use this process for making sculpture.’ I ran home, made a wax sculpture, made a casting the next day, and that was the beginning of my version of the lost-wax method of casting. “It was very exciting, and it led me to a year of R & D to perfect the process for casting other artists’ work. Casting in this way resulted in better quality, much shorter turn-around time and less expense than the traditional methods that had been in use for 100 years. The lost-wax method requires the manufacture of a wax casting, which then gets surrounded by ceramic material; the wax is melted out, (hence the lost-wax method) and molten metal is poured into the cavity at 2,000 degrees. After the metal has solidified and cooled, the ceramic mold is broken away. For every casting made, this whole process must be repeated. For instance, if there were 300 Erté sculptures, there had to be 300 individual waxes. During this time, Renee was raising the family. In 1973, the Meisners bought the foundry from Avnet, and Renee came to work with Joel full-time. She had an innate ability to work with people and manage the everyday operation at a rapidly expanding sculpture facility. Among her primary duties were the advertising and promotion of the foundry’s featured sculptor Isidore Margulies, whose near-life-size nudes were captivating collectors. “We were selling them just about as fast as he could produce them. They were small editions, very prominent at the early Artexpos.” In addition, Renee manned the booths at Artexpo, where she and Joel met the people putting together the Erté sculpture collection, and that’s where it was born, right on the floor of Artexpo, not quite but more or less.” Over the years the Meisners cast thousands of Erté sculptures along with editions for nearly every major publisher at Artexpo and beyond, including major municipal and museum pieces. Today, Mitchell owns the Meisner Gallery and Meisner Acrylic Casting, pioneering casting methods in acrylic, much as his parents did in bronze. Joel and Renee retired in 1993 and moved to Florida. Renee succumbed to Alzheimer’s in 2003. Joel in his retirement and during the period when he was caregiving for Renee, developed a keen interest in gardening. This became a passion, which led to an award-winning garden with Orchids and Bromeliads and other exotic plants from all over the world. In place of giving tours at the Foundry, Joel’s garden is a primary stop on the horticultural tour of Mounts Botanical Gardens, where over 500 visitors came on a weekend. In 2003 Joel and his son, Craig, climbed a volcano in Chile to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. Upon his return from this expedition, he was diagnosed with colon cancer, was successfully operated and is totally cured after surgery and chemo. He has happily survived and is at the top of his tennis game, “playing better now than I have ever played in my life and if any of my old friends are reading this, please contact me at email@example.com.”
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NAN MILLER Nan Miller, president and owner of the Nan Miller Gallery, located in Rochester, NY, has succeeded in the art gallery business for more than 37 years. A graduate of Cazenovia College and Philadelphia College of Textile & Science, she majored in fabric design and minored in printmaking. Miller’s art career began in Rochester where she focused on the artistic medium of etching and participated in local and regional art shows. Her introduction into the gallery business was by chance. A friend asked her to assist in setting up and selling for a local art charity event. Soon after, she attended an art show fund-raiser for a hospital where very few pieces sold, due to the lack of artwork variety and an uninformed sales staff. Following this event, Miller realized that she had a talent for selecting, displaying and selling other people’s artwork; this was the beginning of Miller’s gallery career. In retrospect, her art background provided her the ability to understand design, the technical aspect of the printmaking processes and to select outstanding artwork. For more than 18 years (1978-1996), Miller organized and coordinated major art show fund-raisers for various non-profit organizations specializing in hospitals. These included Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse, N.Y.; Strong Memorial Hospital and Rochester General Hospital, Rochester, and Saratoga Performing Arts, Saratoga, N.Y. Additionally, for 14 years, Miller directed a fund-raising event for Philadelphia’s St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. The St. Christopher’s event was comparable in size to a mini Artexpo, featuring works ranging from Picasso, Chagall, Moore, Stella and Frankenthaler to local Philadelphia artists. The Nan Miller Gallery was instrumental in raising $150,000 to $300,000 for the hospital from each event. As the fundraiser events expanded, Miller’s husband, Howard, joined her to take over the accounting, legal and computer functions of the business and has been her partner for the past 20 years. Miller’s daughter Jenna joined her parents in 2006 to learn the business and help develop new directions for the future of the gallery. Over the last 20 years, Miller has expanded her efforts into publishing, promoting, and distributing artist’s works throughout the world. She has participated in art fairs such as the Toronto International Art Fair, Art Miami, Chicago Art Fair, Sofa NY, Artexpo Las Vegas and Artexpo New York to provide international exposure to the artists she represents. Miller has been instrumental in the careers of artists Romero Britto, Aleah Koury, Hamilton Aguiar, Brian O’Neill and Michael Kalish. “My art experience and education have enabled me to assist artists in expanding their creativity to reach their artistic goals, says Miller. “To help guide an artist’s career and watch his or her art develop to achieve success is one of my greatest joys.” The Nan Miller Gallery has provided quality artwork to private collectors, design professionals and corporations since 1970. The personalized attention the gallery staff offers in their wholesale and retail division sets them apart from the competition. Miller is proud to say that several of her employees have been with the gallery for more than 25 years. The gallery space has expanded to 10,000 square feet. Part of this expansion was to facilitate the packing and shipping department to handle the large originals shipped throughout the world. The increase in space also helped to accommodate one-man and group shows, which are a regular happening at the gallery. Miller also hosts numerous special events that often include catered dinners. The majority of the fund-raising events are for various organizations that benefit the community. “My direction over the last four years has been to bring new and exceptional original artwork to the art market,” Miller says. “Competition, the Internet and the economy have affected galleries. To survive and prosper, you must offer something others do not. We educate our visitors and clients about the artists we represent, their techniques and how their artwork relates to collecting today.” Art Business News • Artexpo Hall of Fame 2008 • Page 21
ALEXANDRA NECHITA “Alexandra Nechita is certainly an exceptional talent— a pure prodigy in a field of endeavor, which has produced few prodigies. Full size painting on canvas is a demanding idiom, usually mastered only after years of trial and error, of feeling one’s way into a rich and complex medium. By the age of 10, Alexandra was already producing strikingly accomplished canvases, which could easily be mistaken for the work of a talented and fully mature artist,” notes Kenworth W. Moffett, Ph.D., former Curator, 20th Century Art, Boston Museum of Fine Art and Former Director, Fort Lauderdale Museum “Her art,” adds, Tony Clark, Director Emeritus of The Severin Wunderman Museum, “is unique in several ways. I have had the great pleasure of watching the prodigious works of a child mature into the masterful compositions of a young woman. I have watched as she has given precise definition to her spiritual language of art. Apart from the harmony and rhythms set up by her exquisite color sense, the strength of her forms and the security of her line, I have found that she extracts beauty from the world. In addition, she creates beauty from a world belonging only to her. In her painterly rhythms and sonorities, she exudes a certain magic that defies any definition. “I do not mean to suggest that Alexandra is in any way inarticulate; to the contrary, she is absolutely clear about the content of her works and is capable of expressing her ideas on and with clarity and candor. What is it like to enter into Alexandra's studio? She states: ‘My studio is my palace. Each unpainted canvas is a gate that I open to enter into my own universe and to allow my imagination to breathe.’ These are hardly the words of a child, and they are as inspired as the paintings that she creates. ‘Painting is not work; it is both my joy and my passion,’ states Alexandra. Critics have compared her to the great artists of the 20th century: Klee, Kandinsky, Dali and, above all, Picasso. ‘I don't want to wear the shoes of any other artist... I just want to be known as Nechita.’” Clark continues: “Alexandra Nechita makes painterly use of all her daily experience and thought. Painting is her other language (although she is fluent in English and Romanian). It is the language of her soul and the poetry of her inner life. Her colors, lines and forms awaken in us psychic and spiritual forces with which we can identify in a way not easily expressed. It is as though she has presided over our dreams and given them a life of their own on her canvases.” Nechita has said to her viewers upon questioning: “I want you to look into my paintings and not just look at them. I don’t want to merely show a desk, or a table as a table: I want you to know how I feel about these things.” This is Nechita’s deeply felt desire to communicate that special way of seeing and feeling that is within her and which manifests itself on her canvases. What she is telling us is that there are many ways of seeing and that these do not have to remain hidden. She takes it upon herself to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary—again, taking the banal and elevating it to the level of poetry. It was Jean Cocteau who first stated, “All art is plastic poetry.” “Picasso,” Moffett continues, “was a child prodigy. However, Picasso displayed his precocity as a realist. His actual childhood works lacked childishness and naivete. He later said that it has taken him a lifetime to learn to draw like a child. Alexandra began where Picasso ended up, going beyond sources and similarities with the work of previous artists. In the end, it is the energy and life, the exuberant vitality of her works, which makes them stand out anywhere as fully realized works of art, as works of an artist of intelligence, finesse, humor, sensitivity and strength.” “Her evolution into a mature artist of continued world renown will no doubt be a permanent benchmark into the history of art,” concludes Bruce Helander, arrtist, critic and Former Provost, Rhode Island School of Design.
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Max Papart Max Papart, the “Lyric Abstraction” master printmaker and artist, was born in Marseille, France, in 1911. Papart learned the techniques of classic engraving in 1936 in Paris, and in 1960, he added the technique of etching with carborundum (invented by his friend Henri Goetz) to the classic engraving process. From 1969 through 1973, Papart taught printmaking at the University of Paris VIII-Vincennes where he made his own plates and supervised the hand printing of his works. One of the most intriguing, intellectual concepts that Papart achieved in his signature two-dimensional, semicubist style was a “window” through which the viewer senses the past or future, or even another place. This technique Max Papart with his long-time friend and art dealer, Ken Nahan became more pronounced in the artist’s later years as seen in such works as Circle, Indian Summer, Dreams and Silent Woman. It has been said that Papart does not “paint,” he “composes.” His compositions come together in a symphony of line, shape and color. Working in a Cubist style, he depicted circus scenes, flirting couples, soaring birds and similar cheerful subjects with flat, overlapping planes of contrasting colors and textures that suggested many levels of depth. This is not to say that Papart was simply a purveyor of superficial entertainment. For all its colorful gaiety, his works also force the viewer to think. Papart never attributed any specific meaning to his work. “Each painting,” he often said, “has its own meaning and needs no interpretation from me. My work is intended to force the viewer to think, and it is for the viewer to respond to the art based on his or her own personal experiences.” As the noted critic André Parinaud said: “We are going to rediscover Papart as one of the masters of the second Cubist generation, born from color and from the geometric demand of the composition. His radiating warmth will be much appreciated.” Papart has received a number of awards for printmaking, and his work is found in many collections, including those of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and Yale University in New Haven, Conn. Notable museum exhibitions include but are not limited to: Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Musée Cantini, Marseilles; Fondation Maeght, Saint Paul, France; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe; Phoenix Art Museum; New Orleans Museum of Art; Jacksonville Art Museum; Indianapolis Museum of Art; Bibliotheque Nationale de l’Arsenal, Paris; National Gallery, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; British Museum, London; Grands et Jeunes d’ Aujourd’hui, Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris; Présence Contemporaine, Aix-en-Provence; Centenaire du Salon des Independents, Grand Palais, Paris; and Nahan Galleries, New York. Ken and Sherri Nahan represented Max Papart internationally for more than 20 years until he passed away in 1994 at age 83. “During this time, he created the most wonderful hand-printed aquatints, carborundum etchings, lithographs and creative collage graphics, which we published and often showed at Artexpo as well as in our own galleries and many others around the world,” Ken Nahan says. “Max was acknowledged as a master printer of the 20th century. The Director of the Bibliotheque National in Paris stated that his aquatints were ‘some of the most significant prints being made in France during this era.’ We still miss Max, but his wonderful work lives on.”
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Ronald K. Parker Dr. Ronald K. Parker had a successful career as an academician and businessman before he entered the art world. After receiving his M.A. and Ph. D. from Vanderbilt University, he was appointed assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Florida State University. He led a research team that received millions of dollars in grants and contracts to study human learning and motivation. Parker later moved to New York where he served as Professor of Psychology at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York. Branching out from academia, Parker became president of RKP International Corporation, which had contracts in 13 states and three foreign countries. In Nigeria, RKP International obtained contracts Dr. Ronald K. Parker with Alexandra Nechita (center) and Yvonne Parker for RCA, GTE, Westinghouse and other Fortune 500 companies in health, education and manpower development. Parker’s most important business accomplishment was to organize a team of city and regional planners, funded by Howard Hughes, to seek the contract to design Nigeria’s new federal capitol city. Competing against more than 100 groups from all continents, his team, International Planning Associates, won the award, designed the city of Abuja and managed the construction of the $6,000,000,000 city project. After returning to the United States, Parker was selected to be the president of Circle Fine Art (NASDAQ). A little over a year and a half later, he resigned to launch Fine Art Acquisitions, which became Dyansen Galleries (NASDAQ). In his role as publisher, Parker has worked with some of the top artists of the 20th century, including Rosenquist, Rivers, Clave, Ertè, Wyeth, Rockwell, Neiman, Gallo, Hart and many others. His lasting mark on the art world, however, is not who he worked with but how he worked with them. Parker’s background in psychology made him uniquely qualified to train and motivate sales people. Also, his years of consulting with some of the top companies in the world gave him the ability to analyze a business and its market in order to develop and sell new products. Having artists develop jewelry, sculptures and objects of art were new to most galleries 20 to 30 years ago. Also, new art mediums, such as Gallo’s epoxy resin and Hart’s Lucite, made their debuts nationally through his efforts. Dyansen Galleries became, at that time, one of the most successful multi-location gallery groups in the world. The Ertè sculpture collection was a success beyond anyone’s expectations and was directly responsible for contributing to the proliferation of sculpture programs today. Parker’s publishing programs have resulted in more than $500,000,000 in retail sales. Parker was recently asked what his greatest challenge in the art business was. He quickly answered: Developing and marketing the art of child prodigy Alexandra Nechita when he was president of International Art Publishers (IAP). “Who would want to pay $2,900 for a lithograph by a child?” was a question often asked. Yet, in less than a year, IAP was selling more than $1 million per month of the artist’s work at wholesale. Parker’s second biggest challenge was when he owned Sculpture Group Limited with a partner. “Selling Lucite sculpture was difficult because we had to overcome the perception that Lucite was plastic, and it had a low perceived value,” he says. Tens of millions of dollars later, the remarkable sales of Hart’s works have made publishing history because Parker positioned Lucite as “sculpting with light,” which made the program a great success. Today, Ronald and Yvonne Parker divide their time between Pennsylvania and Florida where they work on large, turnkey real estate projects and international projects with fine-art museums and foundations. Parker’s focus is the sculpture of Italian masters Michelangelo, Verrocchio, etc., and French masters Rodin and others.
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JAMES RIZZI Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1950, James Rizzi is an American pop artist who studied art at the University of Florida, Gainesville where he began experimenting with painting, printmaking and sculpting. His goal was to combine all three techniques in his work, an aim finally realized in his now well-known 3-D constructions. Rizzi is known for his duplicate images that are carefully cut out and attached, each one above its counterpart, to create richly textured editions through a truly striking use of traditional printmaking techniques. Rizzi often makes 3-D images in his paintings as well, many of which incorporate moveable magnetic elements. These magnetic, interactive paintings in which the components could be moved around by the owner of the work (or their kids) turns the old museum rule of “Do not touch!” upside down. It has been said that “his large, elaborate prints and teeming, anthropomorphic cityscapes form a merry maximalism abundant in delirious detail and elaborate minutiae created a true art brand, a trademark style as recognizable as any in the world. His masterworks represent an extraordinary level of labor intensity, and beguile the eye with over-the-top visions of fun. Rizzi depicts a madcap universe midway between William Blake and Daffy Duck, a riotous, plethoric planet where the excess and too-muchness of the modern world are redeemed with an eye of imperturbable goodwill and good-hearted humor.” Rizzi is an urban-primitive artist who resides and works in his studio loft in SoHo, New York. Rizzi’s colorful and spirited output displays the artist’s fascination with contemporary urban themes. His 3-D constructions have been acclaimed for their bold and detailed portrayals of everyday people and places. Whether enjoying a night on the town, sweating out rush hour on the highway or simply enjoying the changing seasons amidst the urban landscape, his friends and neighbors face life’s joys and challenges with irrepressible optimism and humor. Since his 1974 debut in The Brooklyn Museum’s ongoing series of print exhibitions, Rizzi has been honored with solo shows throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. A major retrospective exhibit of his work opened in 1996 at the International Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. Several additional museum exhibitions followed at the University of Florida, Gainesville; Palm Beach Community College, Florida; Hakone Open Air Museum, Hakone, Japan; and the Pusan Hyundai Art Gallery, Seoul, South Korea. Major exhibits in 1997 included the Center for the Arts in Vero Beach, Fla., and the Kunst Museum Limburg in Germany. In addition, Rizzi has designed record album covers, CDs, stage sets, and animated videos for the rock group The Tom Tom Club; he was the subject of four films produced for Japanese television; and major books were published in 1988 and 1992 about his art and life in addition to the latest 2006 monograph, James Rizzi, by Glenn O’Brien and Mark Weinberg. In the spring of 1996, the International Olympic Museum released the James Rizzi catalogue, Dreams of Sport. 2008 is a special year, even by Rizzi’s standards. For the first time ever, the German government has commissioned a living artist of international fame to design a set of four official postage stamps. The commission will result in the smallest artwork Rizzi has ever created with the highest edition size. (The planned production figure is more than 1 billion!) Even outside galleries and collections, Rizzi’s artwork has seen an enormous proliferation. It graces everything: Zippo lighters, a complete office building (inside and out), Rosenthal china, Volkswagen’s New Beetle, Alfi thermos flasks, a Boeing 757, teNeues calendars, trolley cars and album covers. Rizzi’s work has been shown at art fairs all over the world, but his favorite venue has always been Artexpo in his hometown of New York. Hence, it is a great honor and a particular pleasure for him to be inducted into the inaugural Artexpo Hall of Fame.
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GEORGE RODRIGUE George Rodrigue was born in 1944 and raised in New Iberia, La., known as the heart of Cajun country. For more than 40 years, his work has remained rooted in the familiar milieu of his home. During the mid-1960s, Rodrigue attended the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles where the graduate school’s curriculum provided him a nuts-and-bolts foundation in drawing and painting. Outside of art school, Los Angeles was full of pop and abstract influences, and it was an exciting time for a young artist in the United States. Even though critical success depended on one’s New York visibility, Rodrigue returned to Louisiana. He would use its symbols to capture the essence of his personal world and express his spiritual and cultural ideas as they pertained to Louisiana, to the South and to America. He would give meaning to a new phrase: Cajun artist. Using the oak tree as his main subject in hundreds of paintings in the early 1970s, Rodrigue eventually expanded his subjects to include the Cajun people and traditions, as well as his interpretations of myths, such as Jolie Blonde and Evangeline. One particular myth, the loup-garou, inspired Rodrigue’s most famous series, The Blue Dog. Painted for a book of Cajun ghost stories (Bayou, Inkwell, 1984), this werewolf-type dog was an already familiar legend for Rodrigue, who heard the story often as a boy. With no image for the loup-garou, the artist searched his files for a suitable shape. He found it in photos of his studio dog, Tiffany, who had died several years before. Rodrigue used her stance and manipulated her shape to meet his needs for the painting. He liked what he saw and added this image to his pictorial list of favorite Cajun legends, painting it in cemetery and bayou scenes intermittently over the next five or six years. Rodrigue later explored his earlier pop and abstract interests in a more obvious way by breaking his canvas into strong shapes, just as he always had when creating the oak trees and Cajuns, but this time he threw bold blocks of color and a new signature shape in the mix. Gradually, the dog became more blue, and the paintings became more abstract, yet the canvases remained rooted in Rodrigue’s Louisiana heritage and traditional training. In 2000, Rodrigue broke from representation and exploded into eerily prophetic works titled Hurricanes. His art swirled into an abstract series of Louisiana storms, but a hint of an oak tree or a pair of yellow eyes could still occasionally be seen amidst the mass of color and brushstrokes. In April 2005, Rodrigue premiered Bodies in reaction to the intense explosion of Hurricanes with a sudden return to classical nudes, cemeteries and oak trees. Using the computer, he re-masters the original painting (strictly flesh-toned, with black-and-white backgrounds) with color and repetitive imagery, using archival inkjet technology. Rodrigue opened his gallery on Royal Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter in 1989, and he followed with a gallery in Carmel, Calif., in 1991. After Hurricane Katrina in September 2005, he opened a gallery in Aspen, Colo., and relocated his New Orleans gallery temporarily to Lafayette, La., which ironically was just down the street from his very first gallery that he founded in 1970. Enjoying this return to his roots, Rodrigue opened a permanent location in the Lafayette Oil Center in October 2006 while simultaneously re-opening his French Quarter gallery and returning with his wife, Wendy, to New Orleans full time to live and paint in their home in the Faubourg Marigny. Museums continue to acknowledge Rodrigue’s accomplishments, particularly following the release of the monograph The Art of George Rodrigue (Harry N. Abrams, New York, 2003). The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) opens George Rodrigue’s Louisiana: Forty Years of Cajuns, Blue Dogs, and Beyond Katrina in March. The NOMA show coincides with the nationwide release of the book George Rodrigue Prints: A Catalogue Raisonné 1970-2007 (Harry N. Abrams, New York, March 2008).
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ROSAMOND In 1972 at the Westwood Village Art Fair in Los Angeles, a shy young artist, who was entirely self-taught, displayed her first two paintings. An astute art publisher bought both pieces and commissioned her to paint one each week at a price of $75 per painting. Excited about selling her art so quickly and being commissioned to paint more, Rosamond quit her secretarial job to meet the weekly commitment. But after three months, the pace was starting to weigh on her. The day she brought in her 22nd canvas, she was at her breaking point and pleaded with her publisher for a better price. Explaining that he had been meaning to give her something and apologizing for the delay, he handed her a royalty check for $12,000. This was like a miracle to the young Rosamond, and she immediately set off on a shopping spree. It was the first time she had been out shopping since starting the paintings, and to her amazement, she saw her paintings all over Los Angeles—in clothing stores, hair salons, furniture stores, nearly everywhere she went! Suddenly, Rosamond was famous beyond her wildest imagination. Six months after that chance meeting in 1972, Rosamond was a household name in America. A year later, her images adorned walls throughout the world. At age 25, Rosamond was a major player in the art world and one of the few young women ever to attain such a level of success so early in life. During 1972 and 1973, her negative space, economy of line and purity of subject matter struck a chord with the public, which bought literally millions of reproductions of those 10 early Rosamond oil paintings. It has been estimated since then that Rosamond has sold more prints than any other artist, living or dead. Rosamond was born Christine Rosamond Presco in 1947 in the small California coastal town of Vallejo as the third of four children. The young Rosamond loved drawing and often would crawl into her closet after her lights were switched off, armed with a flashlight, paper and pencils, and would draw for hours on end. When she was 14, the family moved to Los Angeles; four years later, Rosamond fell in love with and married the boy next door. At 24, she was a single parent with a daughter, and she found herself taking up her brush for the first time since she was a teenager, which led to the tremendous success brought about by her decision to exhibit at the Westwood Village Street Bazaar. Being a success had its drawbacks as well. As with all young artists, Rosamond’s ideal goal was to be shown in only fine galleries. But the public set the pace for the sale of her work and made the decision about Rosamond’s success. It was one of those rare instances in which neither the artist nor her publisher had any control over the way public demand exploded. Her art sidestepped the need for positive reviews from art critics or the approval of the “elders” in the art world. Although only 10 of those first 22 paintings were ever reproduced, they launched her career. In 1980, Rosamond married Garth Benton, one of America’s foremost muralists and a noted painter. The next year, the couple moved to Pebble Beach, Calif., on the Monterey Peninsula, and continued to attend art shows in New York, Texas and California. In 1985, they added a daughter, Drew, to three daughters they already shared. The demands of the new baby kept Rosamond from painting for two and a half years. In 1988, Rosamond released four limited editions with Rosamond Ltd., her own publishing company, and four continuous tone images for an American Express promotion. In March 1994, at the height of her career, Rosamond was swept from her success story by a rogue wave off the Big Sur coast of California as she wandered the tide pools with her sister and then 8-year-old daughter. Her sister saved the child, but Rosamond drowned. She was 46. Today, Rosamond Gallery is enjoying unprecedented success in honor and memory of an artist whose images and intentions live on through her work. Producing museum-quality, hand printed graphics, Rosamond Publishing releases no more than three limited editions per year, and the artist’s originals are reserved for exhibition.
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MARVIN ROSENBAUM Marvin Rosenbaum, co-founder of Rosenbaum Fine Art, has served as chairman of the board since the company’s inception in 1979. It is an enterprise built on creativity combined with business acumen, the likes of which is rarely evident in a world where the two often do not coexist. Rosenbaum earned his Bachelor of Business Administration at the Bernard M. Baruch School of Business of the City University of New York. He began his professional career with Olivetti, a multi-national manufacturing company, as a territorial sales representative. Within 10 years at Olivetti, Rosenbaum rose through the ranks to become New York regional manager where he was responsible for all sales, service and administrative functions. Additionally, he was a member of the transition team responsible for implementing the operations and the restructuring of Olivetti’s acquisition of Underwood Typewriter Company. “I spent a lot of time in Italy working for Olivetti,” Rosenbaum says. “They were a very aesthetic company, interested in art and architecture as well as design. Their typewriters were, in fact, very functional works of art.” While in Italy, Rosenbaum bought some typical Italian Renaissance paintings from galleries in Rome and Florence, but mostly in Milan, where Olivetti was headquartered. “Friends and neighbors saw the paintings hanging in my home, and many wanted to acquire them for themselves.” He saw this opportunity and wound up leaving Olivetti to venture into the wholesale art business. “At the same time, I also found that in Hong Kong, paintings were being produced at very low prices. I started bringing those paintings in, and when you have paintings, you need frames, so I started importing frames from Mexico and began to wholesale the combination of the two to furniture stores and art galleries.” Rosenbaum Fine Art has blossomed into one of the largest distributors and publishers of art in the world, responsible for employing hundreds if not thousands of artists over the years as well as framers, salespeople, decorators, designers and printmakers. Most of the artists work out of studios owned by the company in Boca Raton, Fla., and Phoenix. In addition to allocating space for the artists in each of the production facilities, the company also provides space for its custom-framing factories. Artexpo has been a staple of Rosenbaum Fine Art’s marketing strategy. Rosenbaum’s major presence at this art fair has broadened not only the company’s own scope, but opened doors for many to enter the blossoming art world with displays featuring a plethora of artworks. Whether as accent pieces or focal points, these paintings and prints have found their way into many homes and offices around the country and beyond. The sheer volume for this kind of quality art, and the demand for it, did not exist before Rosenbaum Fine Art. An internationally recognized expert in the art world, Rosenbaum has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Professional Picture Framers Association (PPFA). He has also served as its Chairman of the Art Committee and a Board Member of its Trade Show Committee. Additionally, he was a contributing editor to the internationally distributed art and framing trade publication Art Expressions Magazine. Rosenbaum Fine Art is a vertically integrated publisher, wholesaler, and framer of original, one-of-a-kind works of fine art for many markets, including residential, corporate, contract, decorative, furniture gallery and auction markets. Mr. Rosenbaum likens his success story to that of any other person dedicated to achievement in their chosen profession. “If a guy is in the chair business, he is always striving to build a more beautiful, better designed chair; if a guy is in the floor business, he wants to keep growing until he can put in the best floor,” he explains. “The same with Rosenbaum Fine Art: We tend to grow in our enterprise. Our desire is to continually upgrade.”
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Jack & Carolyn Solomon Throughout their lengthy careers as fine-art dealers, husband-and-wife team Jack and Carolyn Solomon have always shared one clear focus: the belief in fineart lithography as the pre-eminent printing method to bring important art and artists to the American public. Their Circle Gallery remained a small, profitable hobby until 1971 when Jack convinced Carolyn to resign from her executive position at Playboy Industries to join the gallery as its president. Through Carolyn’s management and Jack’s artist contacts, Circle Gallery evolved into one of America’s foremost art companies with 36 locations nationwide. Following the sale of Circle Fine Art in 1993 and the subsequent formation of S2 Art Group, Ltd. in Chicago in 1996, Jack and Carolyn moved their namesake company in 2002 to the S2 Art Center, a 22,000-square-foot printing facility and corporate headquarters (for which Jack holds the title of president) in the burgeoning Las Vegas Arts District. In the transformation from a highly personalized art business to a professionally managed company with nine locations nationwide—Las Vegas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Monterey, Calif., New Orleans and the newest in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., with more planned— Jack and Carolyn have discovered, published and/ or represented more than 200 artists, including such internationally known masters as Norman Rockwell, LeRoy Neiman, Erté, Yaacov Agam, René Gruau, Lebadang, Victor Vasarely, Will Barnet, Sandro Chia, Leonor Fini, Jamie Wyeth and Chryssa. An expert on art-gallery management, Carolyn has lectured and taught classes on the subject in New York and Chicago. She was selected by several prestigious organizations and women’s magazines as one of America’s “Outstanding Women Business Executives.” She has been featured in the national Women in Business magazine and in Craine’s Chicago Business. Together with her partner, Jack, she has been the subject of articles published by Art Business News, Art World News and Entrepreneur Magazine among others. She is the co-founder, president and COO of S2 Art Group and the former president of Circle Fine Art Corporation. Currently, Carolyn serves on the advisory board for the University of Nevada Las Vegas Fine Art Foundation. She is a board member of the Women’s Forum and the former Midwest regional chair and national board member of the committee of 200 people. Jack is past president of the Fine Art Publishers Association and the Las Vegas Arts District. Currently, he is Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman’s appointee to the Las Vegas Arts Commission. Jack is the author of six published art books and many magazine articles. He frequently serves as an expert witness in art-related trials and has lectured extensively in the United States and throughout Japan on the business of art. He is also listed in “Who’s Who in America.” Jack holds a B.S. and LLB (Cum Laude) from the University of Nebraska and a LLM from the University of Michigan Law School where he was a Cook Fellow. Jack practiced law in Chicago and specialized in art and entertainment law before he became a full-time art dealer.
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JACQUES SOUSSANA Jacques Soussana is the founder of Jacques Soussana Graphics, a publishing house dedicated to printing graphic works of Israeli artists and promoting them in Israel and abroad. Soussana is a true pioneer on the international and Israeli art scene. He exhibited at the first Artexpo New York and has not missed a show for the past 30 years. Since then, Soussana has participated and is still exhibiting at national and international art fairs in New York, Miami, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Geneva, Düsseldorf, Madrid, Milan, Amsterdam, Singapore, Tokyo, Korea, Ghent and more. Soussana and his company are synonymous with some of the greatest talents in the art world over the past 50 years. Soussana was born in 1942 in Larache near Tangier, Morocco, to a multicultured, educated, art-loving family. After graduating high school in 1961, he managed the family business, a small artframing shop. As a second-generation art framer, he was able to use the exterior of a painting and highlight the inner beauty, skill and complexities of the image within. He came to live in Israel in 1966, and a year later, he studied at a prestigious school of photography and cinema before becoming the official photographer of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1970. After a year at the St. Catherine Monastery in Egypt where he photographed more than 2,000 icons, he married his wife, Betty, in 1972. Jacques and Betty started their art business in 1973 by organizing exhibitions of Israeli artists at various country clubs. In 1975, they started to publish lithographs by Nachum Gutman and stayed in Paris for a few months to publish at Mourlot Ateliers. That was followed by the opening of Soussana’s first foray in international distribution of graphic art. In 1978, they were one of a select group to participate in the first Artexpo New York in 1978. Seven years later, Jacques Soussana Graphics officially opened for business, and in 1991, the Soussanas founded a gallery in Madrid called Dos Arcos. Most recently in 2007, Soussana opened a second fine-art gallery in Jerusalem. The Jacques Soussana Fine Art Gallery is home to the works of many of Israel’s most popular artists. For more than 20 years, Soussana has been one of the Israeli art scene’s most prominent connoisseurs and collectors. Some say he helps determine what will be considered popular art. A visit to his spacious gallery in Jerusalem reveals Soussana’s impeccable judgement. Works by Castel, Vasarely and Kohelet Roitman are in abundance, and original oils and watercolors, lithographs and fine-art posters to suit every taste adorn the walls. One of the first collectors to put a spotlight on graphic art, Soussana also prints, frames and publishes many of the artists’ lithographs. While promoting veterans of the fine-art world, he has published editions for personalities such as Nachum Gutman, Moshe Castel, Yaakov Agam and Vasarely. Soussana has always been at the forefront of new and emerging technologies and young up-and-coming talents. The groundwork for some of this generation’s most innovative artists was laid for their ultimate emergence and world recognition. Adriana Naveh and Zina Roitman are just two of his discoveries. As an art dealer, some of the greatest originals have been featured in his galleries with works by Marc Chagall, Reuben Rubin and Yacov Agam. Betty is Jacques’ business partner, wife and the mother of their three children. They are proud to have exhibited at every single one of the past 30 Artexpo New York events. Based out of Jerusalem, Jacques Soussana Graphics’ artwork and distribution have reached Paris, Milan, Madrid, Düsseldorf, Ghent, Germany, Miami, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Seoul and Tokyo.
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VICTOR VASARELY The Inventor of Op-Art and a French painter of Hungarian descent, Victor Vasarely defined one of the most remarkable moments in the history of 20th-century art. Having achieved great fame and notoriety during his lifetime, he remains one of the pillars of contemporary art for having led abstract geometric painting into its extraordinary culmination under the name kineticism. His entire creation is characterized by great coherence, from the evolution of his early graphic art to his determination to promote a social art available to all. Vasarely was born in Pécs, Hungary, in 1906. In 1925, after obtaining his bachelor’s degree, he briefly undertook medical studies at Budapest University, which he abandoned two years later to heed the call of his true vocation. From this period on, he forever kept a strict sense of method and objectivity and maintained an unquenchable thirst for knowledge that remained inextricably bonded to the quest of Victor Vasarely’s Koska Kar scientific discovery. In 1929, Vasarely enrolled at Mühely, which at that time was widely recognized as the center of Bauhaus studies in Budapest. This school had been created by Alexandre Bortnyik and followed the principles of the Bauhaus School of Dessau with a mission of spreading the teachings already disseminated throughout Germany by artists and intellectuals, such as Walter Gropius, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Josef Albers. Bauhaus thought had an enormous impact on Vasarely’s work. During this period, Vasarely initiated himself into the tendencies of constructivism and discovered abstract art. It was then that he painted his famous Blue Study and Green Study (1929), and at the same time adhered to the concept of promulgating a less individualistic art—a communal art adapted to the mutations of the modern industrial world. Vasarely left Hungary and settled in Paris in 1930. He began working as a creative consultant and graphic artist at the Havas advertising agency and at Draeger, one of the most renowned printers in Paris at the time. During this early Graphic period (1929-1946), Vasarely laid out the esthetic foundation of his plastic research and the basic repertoire of his period of kinetic abstraction on the spatial plane. He exploited all the themes that were reformulated much later, including the handling of the line, textural effects, interactions of shadow and light and perspective. Between 1935 and 1947, Vasarely rediscovered painting. During this period, which he would later refer to as “my false routes,” Vasarely was influenced by the major plastic movements, particularly Cubism and Surrealism, and focused on stilllife, landscape, and portrait work. Then, Vasarely had a true revelation: “Pure form and pure color can signify the world.” At the Denise René Gallery in Paris around 1955, kinetic art was flourishing. Vasarely and other artists, such as Duchamp, Herbin, Man Ray, Calder and Tinguely exhibited their research on the theme of movement. That same year Vasarely published his Yellow Manifest, enunciating the notion of visual kinetics (plastique cinétique). The creation of the Vasarely Foundation in Aix en Provence, France, in 1976 marks the concretion and culmination of his ideas on the integration of art in the city. Vasarely died on March 15, 1997 at age 91, leaving behind a plastic legacy unrivaled within the domain of abstract geometrical kinetic art. (Information for this article is courtesy of Michèle Vasarely.)
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YUROZ Born in 1956, Yuroz was only 10 years old when he entered the renowned Akop Kodjoyan School of Art in the Armenian capital of Yerevan. After graduating with honors, he enrolled in the Yerevan University of Art and Architecture. His natural aptitude for architecture can be seen to this day in every aspect of his art. “If you appreciate what is around you…if you see beauty and love art, then you have a strong connection to life, and you are going to let other people appreciate their lives as well,” Yuroz says. “Art is very important. It breeds appreciation. Being an artist is important because it fills your soul; it fills your spirit. You can have a healthy body, but if your soul is not fed, you will never be complete. Art is an extension of life.” Yuroz burst upon the art scene in 1987 with The Kiss. From then on, Yuroz and his “Stygian” form became a great success story. Although he has grown as an artist since The Kiss, Yuroz has never left that initial vision, nor has he forsook it. Yuroz earned a master’s degree in Architecture, which he studied for almost seven years. “But it wasn’t enough freedom for me; I wanted to paint,” he says. A hallmark of the Artexpos has been Yuroz painting on people’s clothes. They line up for it, and he is more than accommodating. “There are so many people who are hungry for art, and I look at it this way: It doesn’t cost me anything,” he says. “It makes me happy to see their change and their energy. I have the power to make them feel that way, so why not? It’s a two-way street; they give me inspiration, and I give them what they want.” Yuroz is the artist of the people. Lovers, musicians, poets, athletes, the homeless and refugees fill his canvases, drawing forth the spectrum of emotions and moods that reside deep in the human soul. “I watch people look at my paintings … you can tell that they become part of the painting, whatever is in it,” Yuroz says. “If it is dancing or someone playing music, I see them dance or play in their minds. It makes me feel good that with this flat piece of canvas, I can make them feel such emotion.” His amazing ability to bring this soulful human quality to fruition through his art stems from his own life experiences. After struggling for years to achieve and enjoy the freedom America offered, he found himself homeless in the land of opportunity. “There was no person to talk to, no person I could share life with, or just someone to say hello to,” Yuroz says. “You’re nobody. Nobody cares about you. You want to care for someone, but there’s no one there that you can somehow relate to.” Even though he had no home, hope was his constant companion, and Yuroz continued to create art with the supplies of the streets. Napkins and cardboard were conjured into canvas, and discarded pens were transformed into paintbrushes. Like the refugees who would later populate his United Nations mural, Yuroz was able to capture the survivor mentality of his homeless brethren when they made their way onto canvas. Since that time, Yuroz’s art has reached new heights and continues to climb. In January 2000 Yuroz was chosen by the United Nations to be the official artist for its 50th anniversary stamp honoring refugees worldwide, and in November of the same year, his mural was unveiled at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. Through this mural, the grand panorama of Yuroz’s vision can be seen, and it is one in which individual and racial differences slide away, and the courage of refugees and humanity as a whole is brought to the surface. This magnificent testament to human courage has been sent to the General Assembly Building in Geneva, Switzerland, and installed permanently as a part of their collection. With all of his growth and success as an artist, Yuroz has never lost sight of his own humble beginnings, and he has donated the proceeds from a variety of originals and limited editions to numerous causes and foundations.
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ANDY WARHOL Andy Warhol’s art celebrates business and America’s preoccupation with it. Warhol went after and attracted the money and power celebrity crowd. It was the “star image” that lured Warhol who responded to the large, direct close-ups common to the merchandised media of movies and magazines. Warhol derives his subjects from his own experience of the vernacular culture. He became the promoter of such motifs as the Brillo box, the Campbell soup can and the instant photographic silk-screened portrait. He also produced voyeuristic movies featuring superstars, actually becoming the celebrity and culture hero. Warhol was the ultimate non-involved spectator in the repetition of stars’ faces and packaged food, echoing image overload in a media saturated culture. In essence, he created art from the products we eat, drink, wear and surround ourselves with—commercial advertisements from advertising media, billboards, television and periodicals, the comic strips, movie queens and famous personalities. Warhol is a Pop Artist. Pop Art emerged in the studios of Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, Tom Wesselmann and others between 1959 and the 1960s supplanting the heroic concerns of the Abstract Expressionists and their painted gestural style. Instead, these emerging artists favored commercial techniques of hard-edged design and flat saturated color committed to the canvas with no physical nuance. With exciting effect they re-envisioned a seemingly prosaic reality. From the vast industry of advertising promotion and mass production, this new generation of painters emerged embracing the commonplace and commercial in a spirit of cool and rather attached irony. Artists reflected this gargantuan industry, which now defined American culture, and the barrier between high and low art collapsed. The hitherto disparaged sea of mass media and commerce, the images on which American were fed for most of their working lives, became the stuff of high art. “Reality, what a concept,” exclaimed the comic Robin Williams in the mid-70s. “Reality,” the French thinker Jean Baudrillard asserted, “has been subsumed by simulation which constitutes, the ‘hyper-real’ as presented by television, films and news media prevalent in the mid-20th century.” Warhol began as a successful fashion illustrator of shoes. In reflecting that period of his life, Warhol wrote, “Working for a lot of money can throw your self-image off. When I used to do shoe drawings for the magazines. I would get a certain amount for each shoe, so then I would count up my shoes to figure out how much I was going to get. I lived by the number of shoe drawings—when I counted them I knew how much money I had.”(The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, p. 85). Warhol established an entirely new vocabulary of portraiture through his emphasis on the photo. A Warhol portrait is, in fact, a representation of a photograph of an individual. His initial photo-sources, often images shot by himself, were mechanically transferred into silkscreen stencils. These were used to transfer the face images onto canvas, overlaying an application of color that had been pre-selected by the artist. This process enabled him to create multiple works from primary source images, make variations or change colors as required. These transcriptions successfully distance the resulting painting from the artist’s hand. A frisson of gestural paint handling, in some cases applied after the initial screening, however, lends a signature touch to each image. The subjects are celebrities and glamorized friends. The impersonal attributes of the photograph are central to Warhol’s work, wrote Charles F. Stuckey in “Andy Warhol’s Painted Faces,” (Art in America, May 1980). We are intrigued by the often sexy movie queen or celebrity presented in a context of art that is less casual than a commercial photograph. Yet, despite the mechanical, neutral characteristics of his work, Warhol’s “hand” is often recognizable through a deliberate misalignment in the silkscreen process of color and outline, which results in images that are smudged, broken, extended, distorted and doubled as if reflected, qualities that emphasize the artist’s distinction between what he considers genuine and counterfeit or between the artificial and the real. In 1968, Warhol was shot and during his stay in the hospital, he realized that he had established a kinetic business with his art, Andy Warhol Enterprises, “because it was going on without me. I liked realizing that because I had by that time decided that ‘business was the best art...Business Art is the step that comes after Art. I started as a commercial artist, and I want to finish as a business artist...During the hippie era, people put down the idea of business—they’d say, ‘Money is bad’ and ‘Working is bad,’ but making money is art, and work is art, and good business is the best art,” concludes Warhol. Our senses are so overloaded with artificial emotion created by inferior movies, television soap operas, ladies magazines and other banal items that when we are finally face to face with unequivocal art, which is both easy to read yet intellectually complex, Warhol’s art offers either nothing or a great deal. The artist clarifies this: “I’m not saying that popular taste is bad so that what’s left over from the bad taste is good; I’m saying that what’s left over is probably bad, but if you can take it and make it good or at least interesting, then you’re not wasting as much as you would otherwise.” The choice is the viewer’s since Warhol wants an art that will appeal to everyone. By Constance Schwartz Director and Chief Curator, Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, NY
Art Business News • Artexpo Hall of Fame 2008 • Page 33
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