Art World

We report and give insight into the world of art in general, which can sometimes be a very crazy world indeed. The art world never fails to amaze and surprise and there seems to be almost no limit as to what buyers will go to in order to purchase and celebrated masterpiece

Ugly Woman Painting – I Feel Sorry for the Woman

"Ugly Woman" PaintingOne of the more amusing news stories over the last few days is the story of an elderly couple in Winchester, Hampshire who received “out of the blue” a framed painting delivered to them by post.  As one of our customers you might expect this if you had ordered one, but Keith and Sue Webb had not ordered a painting so it became a mystery as to why they were sent it.

What makes this an even more interesting story is that the painting in question was an oil painting of what is commonly termed as an “ugly woman”. Don’t quote me here, it’s everywhere already. I am just reporting that bit. Take a look at the picture and judge for yourself. Beauty and ugliness is a subjective thing – we all need to be thankful for that.

If I were to receive this I would be worried. I mean, it is disturbing. Not only are you not expecting to receive anything of this nature, but the subject of the painting turns out to be a beauty like this. Mrs Webb described her as a “horrid old crone” which is a little unkind. Mrs Webb – you don’t even know this woman.

The reports are that the mystery has been solved but actually it hasn’t really. It was something to do with the Webb’s long-distance relations but that’s about it. Nobody knows who sent it or why. It costs a lot to ship art across the world (we should know) so why on earth would somebody undertake to do this and incur the cost. I think the Webbs have got a cheeky relative somewhere.

But aside from all that, spare a thought for the old woman. She did not ask to be pilloried on the internet for being ugly and the only saving grace is that she is unlikely to be alive today to suffer such humiliation. If she commissioned this portrait you have to say she got it wrong. If she commissioned a portrait of her sucking a lemon then she got it right. Poor old woman – you caused a stir but will never know.

On the Modern Canvas Art website we focus on a lot of beautiful women (Kate Moss is one of the favourites) but after long and hard consideration we elected not to put the Ugly Woman painting in our gallery of famous artist paintings to buy. For one reason, we don’t know who painted it and for another, well that’s obvious really!

Categories: Art World, History, The Bright Side of Life | Tags: ,

Turn £3 into £1.25 Million in 7 days

Is this an early Andy Warhol pop art sketch?

Is this an early Andy Warhol pop art sketch?

One of the more interesting stories this week told of the Devon man, Andy Fields, who spent £3 on a sketch at a garage sale in Las Vegas, only to be told when he returned home that it could be a genuine drawing created by the renowned pop artist Andy Warhol when he was a young child – aged 10 or 11.

One expert is convinced, but not everyone is. Crucially, the Warhol Authentification Board (yes, there is such a thing) have been unable to authenticate the sketch as there is doubt as to whether it might be genuine. The pencil and graphite drawing was created in the 1930’s and experts believe that (if it is genuine) it could be worth a minimum of £1.25 million, but if a bidding war erupts it could fetch over ten times that amount.

So, exciting times for Mr Fields. And how does he sell this drawing? Unbelievably, he has chosen eBay. Perhaps he has done this because he cannot prove it is genuine and hence none of the auction houses will take it. I am willing to bet he was left more than a little disappointed when the Warhol Authentification Board refused to authenticate the drawing. Had they done so, he would have been sitting on a gold mine. One of the reasons the Board were not that taken by the drawing was the fact that it had been signed “Andy Warhol”. However, Warhol changed to his name to “Andy Warhol” from “Andrew Warhola” in 1949, so you might wonder why he signed it “Andy Warhol” in the 1930s. A simple explanation, claims Fields. He states that Warhol never signed the work at the time, but did so many years later when he gave it away and was asked (as you would) to sign it.

At the time of writing, the piece is up for sale on eBay with a starting bid of £1.25 million. I don’y know about you, but no matter what I am selling on eBay I can get a little excited, even if I am trying to get rid of a chest of drawers or something. If I had this piece up for auction I doubt I’d sleep for a week. Of course, you can’t rule out the crazy bidders and if Fields does sell this to a genuine person paying a genuine sum of money then I would be surprised. I am sure eBay are rubbing their hands with glee and hope that someone out there with more money than he knows what to do with takes a big chance and buys the sketch, knowing that it may not be genuine at all. I wonder how much the eBay fees would be?

Pity the Las Vegas garage seller, whoever he is, and whether he knows anything about the drawing he sold that could turn Fields into a millionaire.

Categories: Art World, Pop Art | Tags:

Ian Dury Retrospective Exhibition – Royal College of Art

Pop Art Painting (1) by Ian Dury

Pop Art Painting (1) by Ian Dury

If you thought that the late Ian Dury was famous for his music, including such celebrated hits such as “Sex and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll”, “What a Waste”, “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick”, “Billericay Dickie” and many more, you might be surprised to learn that Dury was in fact a very talented artist. He painted a large collection of paintings in the 1960s before giving up art to dedicate his career to his other passion, music, whereupon he formed his first band called “Kilburn & The High Roads” in 1971 prior to forming Ian Dury and the Blockheads a few years later.

Now, for the first time ever, Dury’s collection of art is being put on show at the Royal College Art. The new show has been curated by Dury’s daughter, Jemima, who has brought together 30 artworks painted by Dury in the 1960s.

Pop Art Painting (2) by Ian Dury

Pop Art Painting (2) by Ian Dury

Ian Dury studied painting at the Royal College of Art between 1963-1966 and he was particularly interested in the pop art scene. Many of his works were in the pop art style and these have been hidden away for the last 50 years in an old plan chest – until now. Ian was heavily influenced by his close friend, the  artist Sir Peter Blake. It was Blake who encouraged Dury to paint with expression and to use anything he loved as the subject of his artworks. Dury immersed himself in the popular culture of the time and took images from music, film and fashion and fused them with stencils and other media techniques creating bright colourful patterns and imagery. This was a style that was evocative of the 1960s and lives on to this day.

Pop Art Painting (3) by Ian Dury

Pop Art Painting (3) by Ian Dury

Once he graduated from the College, Dury found some success working as a freelance illustrator for The Sunday Times and London Life magazines, shortly before he embarked on his musical career which proved ultimately to be very successful. Dury’s life was turbulent and he endured many ups and downs along the way. He was also partially disabled following the contraction of polio as a young child but it did not hold him back. He was a colourful and controversial character in many ways and this is is reflected in his art that the public is now able to view at the new show.

The show at the College has been funded by Robbie Williams, the record label “Demon Records, the College itself  and also through a fundraising campaign (called “Kickstarter”) which raised over £10,000. It runs from 23rd July to 1st September and admission is free.

You can buy from a large selection of pop art prints at Modern Canvas Art. Take a look now.


Categories: Art World, Music, Pop Art, Subjects | Tags:

The Story of Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss”

"The Kiss" by Gustav Klimt - buy it as a canvas print from Modern Canvas Art

“The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt – buy it as a canvas print from Modern Canvas Art. Alternatively we can had paint it for you.

The Kiss is one one the most well-known paintings by the Austrian painter Gustav Klimt, the print versions of which can be found in many peoples homes today. Although the painting today is one of the most popular and recognisable works of art by Klimt, it was painted soon after his three-part Vienna Ceiling series which created a scandal at the time. By contrast The Kiss was enthusiastically received, and bought immediately.

The Kiss was painted by Gustav Klimt between 1907 and 1908, and was the highpoint of his “Golden Period”, when he painted a number of works in a similar gilded style. A perfect square, the canvas depicts a couple embracing, locked in intimacy, their bodies entwined in elaborate robes, while the rest of the painting dissolves into shimmering, extravagant flat patterning. The work is made up of a conventional oil paint with layers of gold leaf, which makes it perfectly in place in today’s modern home. The use of gold leaf gives it a decadence and evocative appearance.

The painting is now in the Osterreichische Galerie Belvedere museum in the Belvedere palace, Vienna, and is widely considered a masterpiece of the early modern period. It is a symbol of Viennese Art Nouveau and is considered Klimt’s most popular work.

Gustav Klimt was 45 years old when he painted The Kiss. At the time he was still living with his mother and two unmarried sisters. In contrast to his respectable appearance, he is thought to have fathered at least three illegitmate children and was known to have an extreme sexual appetite.

While The Kiss reflects Klimt’s fascination with eroticism, it differs from other paintings of his where women are typically seen as femme fatales. The Kiss depicts a strong female with the most colourful body, not just an object of desire. Yet there is also a tenderness in the tight embrace within which she is held.

The two figures are entwined at the edge of a patch of flowery meadow. The man wears a robe with black and white rectangles irregularly placed on gold leaf decorated with spirals. He wears a crown of vines while the woman is shown in a tight-fitting dress with flower-like motifs on a background of parallel wavy lines. Her hair is sprinkled with flowers and is worn up in a halo-like circle that highlights her face, and is continued under her chin by what seems to be a necklace of flowers.

It is thought that Klimt and a companion of his may have modeled for the work but this has not been proven. Klimt’s use of gold and silver leaf was inspired by a trip he had made to a church in Italy in 1903 where he was fascinated with the brilliance of the gold mosaics that he saw there.

You can buy reproductions in the form of The Kiss canvas print and The Kiss canvas painting from Modern Canvas art

Categories: Art World | Tags: , ,

A Brief History of Pop Art in Britain and America

Andy Warhol's famous

Andy Warhol’s famous “Campbell’s Soup” Pop Art

After the Second World War there followed a huge transitional period across Europe and the United States. Major reconstruction was the order of the day across Europe and, slowly, an increasing prosperity and abundance was enjoyed by the populous in these territories. It was the dawn of a new era, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that the emerging “consumer” society gave rise to a demand in goods that were simply unobtainable until then.

British pop art can trace its roots back to the mid 1950s. A small independent group comprising notable artists at that time together with critics in the art world put together an exhibition which was held at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1956. This exhibition was a focus on the topic of cheap consumer products and the role that they played in modern life. Although it didn’t seem like it then, the exhibition was a major step forward in the art world and a huge departure from what had gone before it. The erstwhile critic, Lawrence Alloway (1926-1992) hailed it as the birth of something new and in 1958 he christened this distinctive style by naming it “Pop Art“, a short form of “popular art”, i.e. art depicting popular culture.

Key figures in the British pop art scene that followed were Richard Hamilton (b. 1922) whose work depicted cars, pin-up models and electric appliances, amongst others. Peter Blake (b. 1932), on the other hand, concentrated on comic strips and pop singers while the magazine collector Eduardo Paolozzi (b. 1924) produced impressive collage prints by recycling and integrating old advertisement material with comic-strip images.

As for the US, during the 1950s the art world was dominated by “Abstract Expressionism”. It was until the early 1960s when art critics and American artists alike began to embrace Pop Art and give this new style of art their own inimitable American “take”. In 1962, an exhibition entitled “New Realists” was held at the Sidney Janis Gallery in New York. This was ground-breaking in America, not least because the exhibition featured work from artists including Andy Warhol (1928-1987), Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997), Claes Oldenburg (b. 1929), Jim Dine (b. 1935) and James Rosenquist (b. 1933). Of these, Warhol, Lichtenstein and Oldenburg went on to become key figures on the pop art world. Warhol became a household name.

Indeed, Warhol’s fame elevated in 1962 after his “Campbell’s Soup Cans” work was produced and featured in separate works – firstly as individual “cans” and then the same cans aligned in immaculate rows. Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy, possibly the biggest 60s female icons at the time, were also given the “Warhol treatment” in which he silk screened their images, altered the colours and reproduced them in repeated patterns.

Roy Lichtenstein was very much a “comic-strip” artist and produced masses of works using imagery from comics. Starting out in 1960, he painted vastly-inflated images of comic-strip frames formed from the dots of colour newsprint. During the same year, Oldenburg set about carving his own niche in the pop art world, creating large, painted plaster sculptures of sandwiches and cakes ! These were soon followed by huge plastic appliances that were softened to allow them to give a distinctive “droop”. All of it was designed explore the nature of “consumer culture” that was sweeping the nations on both sides of the Atlantic.

With mass consumer commercialism on the rise at an alarming pace (and seemingly with no end in sight) “Pop Art” remains very much alive and is perhaps even more poignant and thought-provoking today as it was even in the mid twentieth century. You can buy from a large variety of pop art prints at Modern Canvas Art.

Categories: Art World, Pop Art | Tags: ,

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