Palm Desert Gallery Walkthrough with Tom Venditti – 2022/2023 Season

PUBLISHED IN: Gallery Tours

Join Heather James Fine Art Director, Tom Venditti, as he tours our flagship gallery in Palm Desert, California. We feel fortunate to have Tom. Prior to joining Heather James Fine Art, Tom spent 14 years as the Senior Director of Art for the breathtaking Paul Allen Collection, which recently set several new records at auction in a triumphant display of the art market’s strength.

Heather James Fine Art endeavors to offer a wide selection of art of historical significance and aesthetic appeal and we can think of no one more capable of providing insights into a Claude Monet while seamlessly offering an informed perspective on a fabulous, new arrival by Wayne Thiebaud. We hope you enjoy Tom’s curated journey across several genres and blue-chip artists and that it will inform you and inspire a visit to our Palm Desert location to view the collection in person.

We are pleased to announce our winter hours at our Palm Desert location at 455188 Portola Avenue: Monday through Saturday from 9:00 – 5:00.

On May 15, 1886, a visual manifesto for a new art movement was born when Georges Seurat’s crowning achievement, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte was unveiled at the Eighth Impressionist Exhibition. Seurat can claim title as the original “Scientific Impressionist” working in a manner that came to be known as Pointillism or Divisionism. It was, however, his friend and the confidant, 24-year-old Paul Signac and their constant dialogue that led to a collaboration in understanding the physics of light and color and the style that emerged. Signac was an untrained, yet a blazingly talented, Impressionist painter whose temperament was perfectly suited to the rigor and discipline required to achieve the painstakingly laborious brushwork and color. Signac quickly assimilated the technique. He also bore witness to Seurat’s arduous two-year journey building myriad layers of unblended dots of color on the colossally-sized La Grande Jatte. Together, Signac, the brash extrovert, and Seurat, a secretive introvert, were about to subvert the course of Impressionism, and change the course of modern art.

PAUL SIGNAC

Led by a triumvirate of painters of the American Scene, Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry, and Grant Wood took on the task of exploring, defining, and celebrating the Midwest as a credible entity within the geographical, political, and mythological landscape of the United States. Their populist works were figurative and narrative-driven, and they gained widespread popularity among a Depression-weary American public. The landscapes Grant Wood painted, and the lithographs marketed by Associated American Artists were comforting reminders of traditional Midwestern values and the simplicity of country life. Yet, Wood's most iconic works, including American Gothic, were to be viewed through the lens of elusive narratives and witty ironies that reflect an artist who delighted in sharing his charming and humorous perspective on farm life. 
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<br>In 1930, Wood achieved national fame and recognition with American Gothic, a fictionalized depiction of his sister, Nan, and his family dentist. Frequently regarded as the most famous American painting of the twentieth century, to fully grasp American Gothic's essential nature, one must recognize Wood's profound connection to his Iowan roots, a bond that borders on a singular fixation and the often-brutal confrontation between the moral and cultural rigidity of Midwest isolationism and the standards that prevailed elsewhere in America. This war of values and morality became dominant throughout Wood's oeuvre. Their fascination with American Gothic may have mystified the public, but the story, told in the attitude of a farmer and his wife, is as lean and brittle as the pitchfork he carries. Their attitude, as defiant as it is confrontational, is an unflinching dare to uppity gallery-goers to judge their immaculate well-scrubbed farm. American Gothic became an overnight sensation, an ambiguous national icon often interpreted as a self-effacing parody of midwestern life. Yet it also served as an unflinching mirror to urban elite attitudes and their often-derisive view of heartland values and way of life. In Grant Wood's hands, the people of the Midwest have stiffened and soured, their rectitude implacable.
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<br>Portrait of Nan is Grant Wood's most intimate work. He may have been motivated to paint it to make amends for the significant scrutiny and harsh treatment his sister received as American Gothic's sternly posed female. Grant poured his heart into it as a sign of sibling love. Intent upon painting her as straightforward and simply as possible so as not to invite unintended interpretations, Wood's deep attachment to the portrait was significant enough for him to think of it as having irreplaceable value. When he moved from Cedar Rapids to Iowa City in 1935, he designed his entire living room around the work. It occupied the place of honor above the fireplace and was the only painting he refused to sell. 
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<br>The lithograph July Fifteenth, issued in 1938, proves his mystical vision of the Iowan heartland is anything but a pitchfork approach. Drawings assumed central importance in Wood's output, and this work is executed in meticulous detail, proving his drawings were at least as complex, if not more so, than his paintings. The surface of the present work takes on an elaborate, decorative rhythm, echoed throughout the land that is soft, verdant, and fertile. Structurally, it alludes in equal measure to the geometry of modern art and the decorative patterning of folk-art traditions. This is a magical place, a fulsome display of an idealized version of an eternal, lovely, and benign heartland. 
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<br>The Young Artist, an en plein air sketch, may have been produced during, or slightly after, what Wood called his "palette-knife stage" that consumed him in 1925. Having not yet traveled to Munich where, in 1928, he worked on a stain-glass window commission and came under the influence of the Northern Renaissance painters that sparked his interest in the compositional severity and detailed technique associated with his mature works, here, he worked quickly, and decisively. The view is from a hilltop at Kenwood Park that overlooks the Cedar River Valley near Cedar Rapids, where he built a house for his sister, Nan.

GRANT WOOD

Cottonwood Tree (Near Abiquiu), New Mexico (1943) by celebrated American artist Georgia O’Keeffe is exemplary of the airier, more naturalistic style that the desert inspired in her. O’Keeffe had great affinity for the distinctive beauty of the Southwest, and made her home there among the spindly trees, dramatic vistas, and bleached animal skulls that she so frequently painted. O’Keeffe took up residence at Ghost Ranch, a dude ranch twelve miles outside of the village of Abiquiú in northern New Mexico and painted this cottonwood tree around there. The softer style befitting this subject is a departure from her bold architectural landscapes and jewel-toned flowers.
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<br>The cottonwood tree is abstracted into soft patches of verdant greens through which more delineated branches are seen, spiraling in space against pockets of blue sky. The modeling of the trunk and delicate energy in the leaves carry forward past experimentations with the regional trees of the Northeast that had captivated O’Keeffe years earlier: maples, chestnuts, cedars, and poplars, among others. Two dramatic canvases from 1924, Autumn Trees, The Maple and The Chestnut Grey, are early instances of lyrical and resolute centrality, respectively. As seen in these early tree paintings, O’Keeffe exaggerated the sensibility of her subject with color and form.
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<br>In her 1974 book, O’Keeffe explained: “The meaning of a word— to me— is not as exact as the meaning of a color. Color and shapes make a more definite statement than words.” Her exacting, expressive color intrigued. The Precisionist painter Charles Demuth described how, in O’Keeffe’s work, “each color almost regains the fun it must have felt within itself on forming the first rainbow” (As quoted in C. Eldridge, Georgia O’Keeffe, New York, 1991, p. 33). As well, congruities between forms knit together her oeuvre. Subjects like hills and petals undulate alike, while antlers, trees, and tributaries correspond in their branching morphology.
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<br>The sinewy contours and gradated hues characteristic of O’Keeffe find an incredible range across decades of her tree paintings. In New Mexico, O’Keeffe returned to the cottonwood motif many times, and the seasonality of this desert tree inspired many forms. The vernal thrill of new growth was channeled into spiraling compositions like Spring Tree No.1 (1945). Then, cottonwood trees turned a vivid autumnal yellow provided a breathtaking compliment to the blue backdrop of Mount Pedernal. The ossified curves of Dead Cottonweed Tree (1943) contain dramatic pools of light and dark, providing a foil to the warm, breathing quality of this painting, Cottonwood Tree (Near Abiquiu). The aural quality of this feathered cottonwood compels a feeling guided by O’Keeffe’s use of form of color.

GEORGIA O'KEEFFE


<br>In Diego Rivera’s portrait of Enriqueta Dávila, the artist asserts a Mexicanidad, a quality of Mexican-ness, in the work along with his strong feelings towards the sitter. Moreover, this painting is unique amongst his portraiture in its use of symbolism, giving us a strong if opaque picture of the relationship between artist and sitter.
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<br>Enriqueta, a descendent of the prominent Goldbaum family, was married to the theater entrepreneur, José María Dávila. The two were close friends with Rivera, and the artist initially requested to paint Enriqueta’s portrait. Enriqueta found the request unconventional and relented on the condition that Rivera paints her daughter, Enriqueta “Quetita”. Rivera captures the spirit of the mother through the use of duality in different sections of the painting, from the floorboards to her hands, and even the flowers. Why the split in the horizon of the floorboard? Why the prominent cross while Enriqueta’s family is Jewish? Even her pose is interesting, showcasing a woman in control of her own power, highlighted by her hand on her hip which Rivera referred to as a claw, further complicating our understanding of her stature.
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<br>This use of flowers, along with her “rebozo” or shawl, asserts a Mexican identity. Rivera was adept at including and centering flowers in his works which became a kind of signature device. The flowers show bromeliads and roselles; the former is epiphytic and the latter known as flor de jamaica and often used in hibiscus tea and aguas frescas. There is a tension then between these two flowers, emphasizing the complicated relationship between Enriqueta and Rivera. On the one hand, Rivera demonstrates both his and the sitter’s Mexican identity despite the foreign root of Enriqueta’s family but there may be more pointed meaning revealing Rivera’s feelings to the subject. The flowers, as they often do in still life paintings, may also refer to the fleeting nature of life and beauty. The portrait for her daughter shares some similarities from the use of shawl and flowers, but through simple changes in gestures and type and placement of flowers, Rivera illuminates a stronger personality in Enriqueta and a more dynamic relationship as filtered through his lens.
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<br>A closer examination of even her clothing reveals profound meaning. Instead of a dress more in line for a socialite, Rivera has Enriqueta in a regional dress from Jalisco, emphasizing both of their Mexican identities. On the other hand, her coral jewelry, repeated in the color of her shoes, hints at multiple meanings from foreignness and exoticism to protection and vitality. From Ancient Egypt to Classical Rome to today, coral has been used for jewelry and to have been believed to have properties both real and symbolic. Coral jewelry is seen in Renaissance paintings indicating the vitality and purity of woman or as a protective amulet for infants. It is also used as a reminder, when paired with the infant Jesus, of his future sacrifice. Diego’s use of coral recalls these Renaissance portraits, supported by the plain background of the painting and the ribbon indicating the maker and date similar to Old Master works.
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<br>When combined in the portrait of Enriqueta, we get a layered and tense building of symbolism. Rivera both emphasizes her Mexican identity but also her foreign roots. He symbolizes her beauty and vitality but look closely at half of her face and it is as if Rivera has painted his own features onto hers. The richness of symbolism hints at the complex relationship between artist and sitter.

DIEGO RIVERA

WILLEM DE KOONING - Woman in a Rowboat - oil on paper laid on masonite - 47 1/2 x 36 1/4 in.

WILLEM DE KOONING

According to the catalogue raisonné compiled by The Brandywine River Museum of Art, the preliminary drawing for Puritan Cod Fishers was completed by N. C Wyeth prior to his death in October 1945. The entry records an image of the sketch as well as the artist’s inscriptions and its title, Puritan Cod Fishers, characterized by the catalogue as ‘alternate’. In either case, the large-scale canvas is a unique work that Andrew Wyeth later recalled was painted solely by his hand, a demarcated collaboration of the father’s design and composition brought to fruition by a remarkable son’s execution. For Andrew, it must have been a deeply felt and emotional experience. Given his father’s attention to detail and authenticity, the lines of the small sailing craft represent a shallot, in use during the sixteenth century. On the other hand, Andrew likely deepened the hues of the restless sea more so than his father might have, a choice that appropriately heightens the perilous nature of the task.

Andrew Wyeth & N. C. Wyeth

Alexander Calder was a key figure in the development of abstract sculpture and is renowned for his groundbreaking work in kinetic art; he is one of the most influential artists of the Twentieth Century. "Prelude to Man-Eater" is a delicately balanced standing sculpture that responds to air currents, creating a constantly changing and dynamic visual experience.
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<br>Calder's Standing Mobiles were a result of his continuous experimentation with materials, form, and balance. This Standing Mobile is a historically significant prelude to a larger work commissioned in 1945 by Alfred Barr, the first director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. "Prelude to Maneater" is designed to be viewed from multiple angles, encouraging viewers to walk around and interact with it.
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<br>The present work is a formal study for Man-Eater With Pennant (1945), part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The work is also represented in "Sketches for Mobiles: Prelude to Man-Eater; Starfish; Octopus", which is in the permanent collection of the Harvard Fogg Museum.
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<br>Calder's mobiles and stabiles can be found in esteemed private collections and the collections of major museums worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Tate Gallery in London among others.

ALEXANDER CALDER

Between Île-de-France and Burgundy and on the edge of the Fontainebleau Forest lies the medieval village of Moret-sur-Loing, established in the 12th century. When Alfred Sisley described its character to Monet in a letter dated 31 August 1881 as “a chocolate-box landscape…” he meant it as a memento of enticement; that its keep, the ramparts, the church, the fortified gates, and the ornate facades nestled along the river were, for a painter, a setting of unmatched charm. An ancient church, always the most striking townscape feature along the Seine Valley, would be a presence in Sisley’s townscape views as it was for Corot, and for Monet at Vétheuil. But unlike Monet whose thirty views of Rouen Cathedral were executed so he could trace the play of light and shadow across the cathedral façade and capture the ephemeral nature of moment-to-moment changes of light and atmosphere, Sisley set out to affirm the permanent nature of the church of Notre-Dame at Moret-sur-Loing.  Monet’s sole concern was air and light, and Sisley’s appears to be an homage keepsake. The painting exudes respect for the original architects and builders of a structure so impregnable and resolute, it stood then as it did in those medieval times, and which for us, stands today, as it will, for time immemorial.
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<br>Nevertheless, Sisley strived to show the changing appearance of the motif through a series of atmospheric changes. He gave the works titles such as “In Sunshine”, “Under Frost”, and “In Rain” and exhibited them as a group at the Salon du Champ-de-Mars in 1894, factors that suggest he thought of them as serial interpretations. Nevertheless, unlike Monet’s work, l’église de Moret, le Soir reveals that Sisley chose to display the motif within a spatial context that accentuates its compositional attributes — the plunging perspective of the narrow street at left, the strong diagonal recession of the building lines as a counterbalance to the right, and the imposing weight of the stony building above the line of sight.

ALFRED SISLEY

N.C. Wyeth’s extraordinary skills as an illustrator were borne of impeccable draftsmanship and as a painter, his warmly rich, harmonious sense of color, and ability to capture the quality of light itself. But it is his unmatched artistry in vivifying story and character with a powerful sense of mood that we admire most of all — the ability to transport himself to the world and time of his creation and to convey it with a beguiling sense of conviction. That ability is as apparent in the compositional complexities of Treasure Island’s “One More Step, Mr. Hands!” as it is here, in the summary account of a square-rigged, seventeenth-century merchant ship tossed upon the seas. The Coming of the Mayflower in 1620 is a simple statement of observable facts, yet Wyeth’s impeccable genius as an illustrator imbues it with the bracing salt air and taste that captures the adventuresome spirit of the men and women who are largely credited with the founding of America. That spirit is carried on the wind and tautly billowed sails, the jaunty heeling of the ship at the nose of a stiff gale, the thrusting, streamed-limned clouds, and the gulls jauntily arranged to celebrate an arrival as they are the feathered angels of providence guiding it to safe harbor.
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<br>The Coming of the Mayflower in 1620 was based on two studies, a composition drawing in graphite and a small presentation painting. The finished mural appears to have been installed in 1941.

N.C. WYETH

TOM WESSELMANN - Smoker No. 21 - oil on shaped canvas - 74 1/2 x 67 1/2 in.

TOM WESSELMANN

Trained as a woodcarver, Emil Nolde was almost 30 years old before he made his first paintings. The early paintings resembled his drawings and woodcuts: grotesque figures with bold lines and strong contrasts. The style was new, and it inspired the nascent movement Die Brücke (The Bridge), whose members invited Nolde to join them in 1906.  But, it was not until the garden became his locus operandi by 1915 that he built upon his mastery of contrasting luminosities to focus on color as the supreme means of expression.  Later, Nolde claimed “color is strength, strength is life,” and he could not have better characterized why his flower paintings reinvigorate our perception of color.
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<br>Much of the strength of Nolde’s dramatic, Wagnerian-like color sensibilities is the effect of staging primary colors, such as the deep reds and golden yellows of Sonnenblumen, Abend II, against a somber palette. The contrast highlights and deepens the luminosity of the flowers, not just visually, but emotionally as well. In 1937, when Nolde’s art was rejected, confiscated, and defiled, his paintings were paraded as “degenerate art” throughout Nazi Germany in dimly lit galleries. Despite that treatment, Nolde’s status as a degenerate artist gave his art more breathing space because he seized the opportunity to produce more than 1,300 watercolors, which he called “unpainted pictures.” No novice in handling watercolor, his free-flowing style of painting had been a hallmark of his highly-charge, transparent washes since 1918. Sonnenblumen, Abend II, painted in 1944, is a rare wartime oil. He let his imagination run wild with this work, and his utilization of wet-on-wet techniques heightened the drama of each petal.
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<br>Nolde’s intense preoccupation with color and flowers, particularly sunflowers, reflects his continuing devotion to van Gogh.  He was aware of van Gogh as early as 1899 and, during the 1920s and early 1930s, visited several exhibitions of the Dutch artist’s work.  They shared a profound love of nature. Nolde’s dedication to expression and the symbolic use of color found fullness in the sunflower subject, and it became a personal symbol for him, as it did for Van Gogh.

EMIL NOLDE

An outstanding example of Churchill’s North African scenes, one in which he deftly captures the scenery and light that his artistic mentor, John Lavery, had told him about in the mid 1930s.  Another artist mentor, Walter Sickert, taught Churchill how to project photo images directly on to a canvas as an aid in painting, a technique used to advantage in this instance.  The Studio Archives at Chartwell include 5 photographs, one of the camel and four others, that Churchill used as aids.
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<br>With the visual aids, Churchill could focus on the vibrant colors, the tan of the sand and buildings contrasting with the brilliant blue skies, splashes of green adding energy to the painting. A different Marrakech scene, “Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque”, set an auction record for Churchill when it sold in 2021 for $11 million USD.

SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL

Tom Wesselmann was a leader of the Pop Art movement. He is best remembered for large-scale works, including his Great American Nude series, in which Wesselmann combined sensual imagery with everyday objects depicted in bold and vibrant colors. As he developed in his practice, Wesselmann grew beyond the traditional canvas format and began creating shaped canvases and aluminum cut-outs that often functioned as sculptural drawings. Continuing his interest in playing with scale, Wesselmann began focusing more closely on the body parts that make up his nudes. He created his Mouth series and his Bedroom series in which particular elements, rather than the entire sitter, become the focus.
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<br>Bedroom Breast (2004) combines these techniques, using vivid hues painted on cut-out aluminum. The work was a special commission for a private collector's residence, and the idea of a bedroom breast piece in oil on 3-D cut-out aluminum was one Wesselmann had been working with for many years prior to this work's creation. The current owner of the piece believed in Wesselmann's vision and loved the idea of bringing the subject to his home.
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<br>It's one of, if not the last, piece Wesselmann completed before he passed away. The present work is the only piece of its kind - there has never been an oil on aluminum in 3D at this scale or of this iconography.  

TOM WESSELMANN

During the early 1870s, Winslow Homer frequently painted scenes of country living near a small farm hamlet renowned for generations for its remarkable stands of wheat, situated between the Hudson River and the Catskills in New York state. Today Hurley is far more famous for inspiring one of Homer’s greatest works, Snap the Whip painted the summer of 1872. Among the many other paintings inspired by the region, Girl Standing in the Wheatfield is rich in sentiment, but not over sentimentalized. It directly relates to an 1866 study painted in France entitled, In the Wheatfields, and another, painted the following year after he returned to America. But Homer would have undoubtedly been most proud of this one. It is a portrait, a costume study, a genre painting in the great tradition of European pastoral painting, and a dramatically backlit, atmospheric tour de force steeped in the quickly fading gloaming hour light buoyed with lambent, flowery notes and wheat spike touches. In 1874, Homer sent four paintings to the National Academy of Design exhibition. One was titled, “Girl”. Might it not be this one?

WINSLOW HOMER

Painted from an unusually high vantage, “Riviera Coast Scene” vividly conveys the formidable distance and breadth of the scene from the perch where he set his easel.  Interestingly, Paul Rafferty did not include this painting in his book Winston Churchill: Painting on the French Riviera, believing it could likely be a scene from the Italian Lake District, where Churchill also painted in the same time period.
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<br>Paintings by Churchill can function as a glimpse into his extensive travels and his colorful life. Churchill most likely painted “Riviera Coast Scene” during a holiday at Chateau de l’Horizon, home of Maxine Elliot, a friend of his mother. Elliot, originally from Rockland, Maine, was a successful actress and socialite.
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<br>Within this painting, we see the influence of the Impressionists who utilized unusual viewpoints, modeled after Japanese woodblock prints, but also evidence of their attempts to push the boundaries of the landscape genre

SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL

Alexander Calder executed a surprising number of oil paintings during the second half of the 1940s and early 1950s. By this time, the shock of his 1930 visit to Mondrian’s studio, where he was impressed not by the paintings but by the environment, had developed into an artistic language of Calder’s own. So, as Calder was painting The Cross in 1948, he was already on the cusp of international recognition and on his way to winning the XX VI Venice Biennale’s grand prize for sculpture in 1952. Working on his paintings in concert with his sculptural practice, Calder approached both mediums with the same formal language and mastery of shape and color.
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<br>Calder was deeply intrigued by the unseen forces that keep objects in motion. Taking this interest from sculpture to canvas, we see that Calder built a sense of torque within The Cross by shifting its planes and balance. Using these elements, he created implied motion suggesting that the figure is pressing forward or even descending from the skies above. The Cross’s determined momentum is further amplified by details such as the subject’s emphatically outstretched arms, the fist-like curlicue vector on the left, and the silhouetted serpentine figure.
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<br>Calder also adopts a strong thread of poetic abandon throughout The Cross’s surface. It resonates with his good friend Miró’s hieratic and distinctly personal visual language, but it is all Calder in the effective animation of this painting’s various elements. No artist has earned more poetic license than Calder, and throughout his career, the artist remained convivially flexible in his understanding of form and composition. He even welcomed the myriad interpretations of others, writing in 1951, “That others grasp what I have in mind seems unessential, at least as long as they have something else in theirs.”
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<br>Either way, it is important to remember that The Cross was painted shortly after the upheaval of the Second World War and to some appears to be a sobering reflection of the time. Most of all, The Cross proves that Alexander Calder loaded his brush first to work out ideas about form, structure, relationships in space, and most importantly, movement.

ALEXANDER CALDER

The frame of reference for Irish American Sean Scully’s signature blocks and stripes is vast. From Malevich’s central premise that geometry can provide the means for universal understanding to Rothko’s impassioned approach to color and rendering of the dramatic sublime, Scully learned how to condense the splendor of the natural world into simple modes of color, light, and composition. Born in Dublin in 1945 and London-raised, Scully was well-schooled in figurative drawing when he decided to catch the spirit of his lodestar, Henri Matisse, by visiting Morocco in 1969. He was captivated by the dazzling tessellated mosaics and richly dyed fabrics and began to paint grids and stipes of color. Subsequent adventures provided further inspiration as the play of intense light on the reflective surfaces of Mayan ruins and the ancient slabs of stone at Stonehenge brought the sensation of light, space, and geometric movement to Scully’s paintings. The ability to trace the impact of Scully’s travels throughout his paintings reaffirms the value of abstract art as a touchstone for real-life experience.
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<br>Painted in rich, deep hues and layered, nuanced surfaces, Grey Red is both poetic and full of muscular formalism. Scully appropriately refers to these elemental forms as ‘bricks,’ suggesting the formal calculations of an architect. As he explained, “these relationships that I see in the street doorways, in windows between buildings, and in the traces of structures that were once full of life, I take for my work. I use these colors and forms and put them together in a way that perhaps reminds you of something, though you’re not sure of that” (David Carrier, Sean Scully, 2004, pg. 98). His approach is organic, less formulaic; intuitive painter’s choices are layering one color upon another so that contrasting hues and colors vibrate with subliminal energy. Diebenkorn comes to mind in his pursuit of radiant light. But here, the radiant bands of terracotta red, gray, taupe, and black of Grey Red resonate with deep, smoldering energy and evoke far more affecting passion than you would think it could impart. As his good friend, Bono wrote, “Sean approaches the canvas like a kickboxer, a plasterer, a builder. The quality of painting screams of a life being lived.”

SEAN SCULLY

The world of Marc Chagall cannot be contained or limited by the labels we attach to it. It is a world of images and meanings which form their own splendidly mystical discourse. Les Mariés sous le baldaquin (The Bride and Groom under the Canopy) was begun as the artist entered his 90th year, a man who had known tragedy and strife, but who never forgot life’s moments of rapturous pleasure. Here, the dreamy delights of a Russian village wedding with its arrangements of well-worn attendees are brought to us with such happy wit and cheerful innocence that there is no resisting its charm. Using a golden toned emulsion combining oil and opaque, water-based gouache, the warmth, happiness, and optimism of Chagall’s usual positivism is wrapped in a luminous radiance suggesting the influence of gold-leaf religious icons or early Renaissance painting that sought to impart the impression of divine light or spiritual enlightenment. Using a combination of oil and gouache can be challenging. But here, in Les Mariés sous le baldaquin, Chagall employs it to give the scene an otherworldly quality, almost as if it has just materialized out of his mind’s eye. Its textural delicacy creates the impression that light is emanating from the work itself and gives a spectral quality to the figures floating the sky.

MARC CHAGALL

Located on the French Riviera between Nice and Monte Carlo, the Bay of Eze is renowned for its stunning location and spectacular views. As you can see on pages 80-81 of Rafferty's book, this painting skillfully captures the dizzying heights, set just west of Lou Sueil, the home of Jacques and Consuelo Balsan, close friends of Winston and Clementine.
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<br>The painting manipulates perspective and depth, a nod to the dramatic shifts of artists including Monet and Cézanne, who challenged traditional vantage points of landscapes. The portrait (i.e. vertical) orientation of the canvas combined with the trees, and the rhyming coastline channels the viewer’s gaze. The perceived tilting of the water's plane imbues the painting with dynamic tension.

SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL

Tom Wesselmann will undoubtedly be remembered for associating his erotic themes with the colors of the American flag. But Wesselmann had considerable gifts as a draftsman, and the line was his principal preoccupation, first as a cartoonist and later as an ardent admirer of Matisse. That he also pioneered a method of turning drawings into laser-cut steel wall reliefs proved a revelation. He began to focus ever more on drawing for the sake of drawing, enchanted that the new medium could be lifted and held: “It really is like being able to pick up a delicate line drawing from the paper.”
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<br>The Steel Drawings caused both excitement and confusion in the art world. After acquiring one of the ground-breaking works in 1985, the Whitney Museum of American Art wrote Wesselmann wondering if it should be cataloged as a drawing or a sculpture. The work had caused such a stir that when Eric Fischl visited Wesselmann at his studio and saw steel-cut works for the first time, he remembered feeling jealous. He wanted to try it but dared not. It was clear: ‘Tom owned the technique completely.’
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<br>Wesselmann owed much of that technique to his year-long collaboration with metalwork fabricator Alfred Lippincott. Together, in 1984 they honed a method for cutting the steel with a laser that provided the precision he needed to show the spontaneity of his sketches. Wesselmann called it ‘the best year of my life’, elated at the results that he never fully achieved with aluminum that required each shape be hand-cut.  “I anticipated how exciting it would be for me to get a drawing back in steel. I could hold it in my hands. I could pick it up by the lines…it was so exciting…a kind of near ecstasy, anyway, but there’s really been something about the new work that grabbed me.”
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<br>Bedroom Brunette with Irises is a Steel Drawing masterwork that despite its uber-generous scale, utilizes tight cropping to provide an unimposing intimacy while maintaining a free and spontaneous quality. The figure’s outstretched arms and limbs and body intertwine with the petals and the interior elements providing a flowing investigative foray of black lines and white ‘drop out’ shapes provided by the wall. It recalls Matisse and any number of his reclining odalisque paintings. Wesselmann often tested monochromatic values to discover the extent to which color would transform his hybrid objects into newly developed Steel Drawing works and, in this case, continued with a color steel-cut version of the composition Bedroom Blonde with Irises (1987) and later still, in 1993 with a large-scale drawing in charcoal and pastel on paper.

TOM WESSELMANN

The Pop Art Movement is notable for its rewriting of Art History and the idea of what could be considered a work of art. Larry Rivers association with Pop-Art and the New York School set him aside as one of the great American painters of the Post-War period.  
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<br>In addition to being a visual artist, Larry Rivers was a jazz saxophonist who studied at the Juilliard School of Music from 1945-1946. This painting's subject echoes the artists' interest in Jazz and the musical scene in New York City, particularly Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side.  
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<br>“Untitled” (1958) is notable bas the same owner has held it since the work was acquired directly from the artist several decades ago. This work is from the apex of the artists' career in New York and could comfortably hang in a museum's permanent collection.

LARRY RIVERS

Still lifes like Oranges and Lemons (C 455) give us an insight to the rich and colorful life of Churchill, just as his landscapes and seascapes do. Churchill painted Oranges and Lemons at La Pausa. Churchill would often frequent La Pausa as the guest of his literary agent, Emery Reves and his wife, Wendy.  Reves purchased the home from Coco Chanel.  While other members of the Churchill family did not share his enthusiasm, Churchill and his daughter Sarah loved the place, which Churchill affectionately called “LaPausaland”.
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<br>To avoid painting outside on a chilly January morning, Wendy Reves arranged the fruit for Churchill to paint. Surrounded by the Reves’s superb collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works, including a number of paintings by Paul Cézanne, Oranges and Lemons illuminates Churchill’s relationships and the influence of Cézanne, who he admired. The painting, like Churchill, has lived a colorful life, exhibited at both the 1959 Royal Academy of Art exhibition of his paintings and the 1965 New York World’s Fair.

SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL

It is not difficult to grasp how Robert Indiana’s brilliant two-row arrangement of four letters came to help empower a movement during the 1960s. Its origin emerged from deeply felt exposure to religion and from friend and mentor Ellsworth Kelly, whose hard-edged style and sensuous, unaccented color made a lasting impression. But as Indiana exclaimed, it was a moment of kismet that just happened when “LOVE bit me!” and the design came to him sharp and focused. Indiana, of course, put the design through many paces, and then the logo began to sprout up everywhere. The message, best conveyed in sculpture, stands in cities worldwide and has been translated into several languages, not least of which, is its Italian iteration, “Amor” with its fortuitous “O” also tilted to the right. But rather than being kicked by the foot of the “L”, this version lends a beautifully staged teetering effect to the “A” above. It gives a new, but no less profound, impression of love and its emotionally charged nature.  In either case, Love’s tilted “O” imparts instability to an otherwise stable design, a profound projection of Indiana’s implicit critique of “the often-hollow sentimentality associated with the word, metaphorically suggesting unrequited longing and disappointment rather than saccharine affection” (Robert Indiana’s Best: A Mini Retrospective, New York Times, May 24, 2018). Repetition, of course has a nasty habit of dampening our appreciation for the genius of simplicity and, groundbreaking design. Late in life, Indiana lamented that “it was a marvelous idea, but also terrible mistake. It became too popular. And there are people who don’t like popularity.” But we, denizens of a world fraught with divisiveness and caught in turmoil, thank you. “Love” and its many versions are strong reminders of our capacity for love, and that is our best everlasting hope for a better future.

ROBERT INDIANA

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT - Untitled (Pigeon Anatomy) - oil, graphite, and chalk on paper - 22 x 30 in.

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT

PIERRE BONNARD - Soleil Couchant - oil on canvas - 14 1/2 x 22 1/2 in.

PIERRE BONNARD

Born in Atlanta in 1981 and based in Brooklyn, Shara Hughes is celebrated for her distinctive approach to landscape painting, combining historical influences with contemporary sensibilities. Her jubilant color palette is reminiscent of masters like Henri Matisse, conveyed with David Hockney's stylish, visual boldness while acknowledging a broader tradition of landscape painting, including influences from Art Nouveau, Fauvism, and German Expressionism. All the Pretty Faces is a modern synthesis of historical art movements and current digital imagery, presenting viewers with captivating, invented worlds that bridge the past and present. It also speaks to one of Hughes' most striking quotes about her innovative landscapes filled with fantastical elements: "I have often thought of the flowers and trees as figures. Sometimes, even a wave or a sun in the painting takes on a personality, so it varies depending on how the work turns out."

SHARA HUGHES

In "Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2", Mel Ramos playfully intertwines the legacy of Marcel Duchamp's modernist masterpiece with the vibrant aesthetics of Pop Art, crafting a clever and visually stimulating reinterpretation. By associating Duchamp's abstract motion with his signature pin-up style, Ramos creates a dynamic dialogue between the revered traditions of fine art and the bold, graphic qualities of commercial imagery. This work exemplifies Ramos's skill in navigating art history and contemporary culture, using the allure of female nudity to explore and satirize societal obsessions with beauty, desire, and commodification. In doing so, Ramos's piece becomes a quintessential Pop Art concoction, reveling in its playful association with Duchamp while simultaneously critiquing and celebrating the visual culture of its time.

MEL RAMOS

Sympathetic in his portrayal of farmers and field workers and favoring themes of dedication and hard work, Thomas Hart Benton created hundreds of studies depicting the struggle for existence that was the brutal day-to-day life for so many Americans at that time. Hoeing Cotton has much of the dark, moody pallor that evokes the hardship of southern farming during the Great Depression. Staged as if held in suspended anticipation of an impending storm, Benton utilizes the dynamic interplay between sky and landscape to deepen the thematic impact of rural life in the deep south. These elements highlight the connection between people and their environment and the enduring spirit of resilience.

THOMAS HART BENTON

Katharine Grosse's Untitled of 2016 extends our appreciation of an artist who brings the same energy, boldness, and disregard for convention seen in her monumental architectural installations to the traditional medium of paint on canvas. The color explodes, lifted from a complex, richly layered surface of poured applications of paint that run, drizzle, or splatter, radiant transparent veils, and overlapping straps of color misted to create soft gradient transitions. The result is a fascinating impression of spatial depth and three-dimensionality. But it is also a tour de force that reveals Grosse's brilliance in blending chaos and control, spontaneity, and intention. Her range of techniques creates a compelling dialogue between the accidental and the deliberate, a hallmark of her unique style.

KATHARINA GROSSE

A major figure in both the Abstract Expressionist and American Figurative Expressionist movements of the 1940s and 1950s, Elaine de Kooning's prolific output defied singular categorization. Her versatile styles explored the spectrum of realism to abstraction, resulting in a career characterized by intense expression and artistic boundary-pushing. A striking example of de Kooning's explosive creativity is Untitled (Totem Pole), an extremely rare sculptural painting by the artist that showcases her command of color. 
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<br>She created this piece around 1960, the same period as her well-known bullfight paintings. She left New York in 1957 to begin teaching at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and from there would visit Ciudad Juárez, where she observed the bullfights that inspired her work. An avid traveler, de Kooning drew inspiration from various sources, resulting in a diverse and experimental body of work.

ELAINE DE KOONING

Informed by his devout Catholic faith, Rouault's artistic evolution was unique amongst modernists. Captivated by the vibrant colors and how light passes through medieval stained-glass windows, he applied thick, rich layers of paint and amplified raw and bold forms awash with deep blues within heavy black lines. Rouault often supported strong recurring religious themes dedicated to the power of redemption. Carlotta serves neither that higher calling nor the marginalized suffering of subjects that included clowns, prostitutes, and crucifixions. Instead, Carlotta is an opportunity to admire Rouault's more subtle color variations and the dynamic interplay between the rough, tactile quality of the impasto and the softer, more diffused effect of the scumbled passages of a model unencumbered by themes of human pain and despair.

GEORGES ROUAULT

Experimental and highly sophisticated, Munch's innovative "jigsaw technique" involved cutting the woodblock into separate pieces and inking and printing each individually before reassembling them to create the final image. The process produced a variety of colors, unique prints within the same edition, and a wide range of emotions and moods. Richly orchestrated, the undulating forms of House on the Coast I are built through layers of color and texture featuring multiple planes, each contributing to its depth and spatial complexity. The carving and gouging of woodcuts, ideally suited for expressing Edvard Munch's often brutal working mentality, pushed the boundaries of traditional methods and reinforced his commitment to exploring emotional and psychological depth in his art.

EDVARD MUNCH

Max Weber moved to Paris in 1905 when the city was the epicenter of artistic innovation. His early works demonstrate the contemporaneous influence of Fauvism’s bold color palette and Cubism’s fragmented representation of reality. However, Weber did not merely imitate these styles; he integrated and reinterpreted them to create something his own. Weber’s importance lies not just with his abstract works, but also in his role as a conduit of modernist ideas. Weber played a crucial role in the transatlantic dialogue that helped shape the course of American art in the twentieth century. His depictions of female figures showcase a synthesis of the abstract and the representational, capturing the essence of his subjects while breaking away from traditional figurative works.

MAX WEBER

HANS HOFMANN - Untitled - oil on canvas - 25 x 30 1/4 in.

HANS HOFMANN

ALFRED SISLEY - Vaches au paturage sur les bords de la Seine - pastel on paper - 11 1/4 x 15 1/2 in.

ALFRED SISLEY

HERB ALPERT - Arrowhead - bronze - 201 x 48 x 48 in.

HERB ALPERT

Well known for his candor and pragmatic sensibility, Alexander Calder was as direct, ingenious, and straight to the point in life as he was in his art. “Personnages”, for example, is unabashedly dynamic, a work that recalls his early love of the action of the circus as well as his insights into human nature. The character of “Personnages” suggests a spontaneous drawing-in-space, recalling his radical wire sculptures of the 1920s.
<br>© 2023 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

ALEXANDER CALDER

CAMILLE PISSARRO - Paysage avec batteuse a Montfoucault - pastel on paper laid down on board - 10 3/8 x 14 3/4 in.

CAMILLE PISSARRO

Genieve Figgis is a notable figure in the contemporary Irish art scene, recognized for her clever and critical group portraits that often poke fun at long-ago social conventions. A relative latecomer to painting, she caught the attention of American appropriation artist Richard Prince on Twitter, who went on to purchase one of her works and introduced her to the influential circles of the New York art community. Figgis' work playfully critiques affluent middle-class consumption habits and luxurious lifestyles, as immortalized by artists of the past, and brings such subjects firmly into the present day with a mixture of satire and raw, authentic portrayals of life. Think of Figgis as reaching across the sands of time to Daumier or Hogarth, whose work frequently offered a satirical look at contemporary society, joining artists engaged in social satire and known for their keen observational skills.

GENIEVE FIGGIS

Frank Stella's Bali series of sculptures is characterized by float and flow forms, extending into the viewer's space and inviting interaction between the object and its environment. The "dadap," a type of tree associated with growth and ritual significance in Balinese culture, mirrors Stella's sculptures' organic and dynamic nature. In shifting to stainless steel and aluminum from bamboo, Stella has preserved the essential nature of Balinese aesthetics that extol forms that are organic, fluid, and dynamically engage with their space. Dadap presents a continuity in Stella's thematic exploration where the spirit of his work transcends the materiality. Metal affords a different texture, reflectivity, and interaction with light and space, yet it adheres to the principles of movement and interactivity. It is a creative transference of form and concept across different mediums, retaining the spirit of the initial inspiration while allowing the new material's properties to express these ideas in a fresh context.

FRANK STELLA

After disappointing sales at Weyhe Gallery in 1928, Calder turned from sculpted wire portraits and figures to the more conventional medium of wood. On the advice of sculptor Chaim Gross, he purchased small blocks of wood from Monteath, a Brooklyn supplier of tropical woods. He spent much of that summer on a Peekskill, New York farm carving. In each case, the woodblock suggested how he might preserve its overall shape and character as he subsumed those attributes in a single form.  There was a directness about working in wood that appealed to him. Carved from a single block of wood, Woman with Square Umbrella is not very different from the subjects of his wire sculptures except that he supplanted the ethereal nature of using wire with a more corporeal medium.
<br>© 2023 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

ALEXANDER CALDER

JOAN MIRO - L'Oiseau - bronze and cinderblock - 23 7/8 x 20 x 16 1/8 in.

JOAN MIRO

Of Herb Albert’s many bronze cast, silky-black patinated spirit totems, few have the distinctively masculine feel of Warrior. Topped with a descending, serrated crown that could as easily refer to the crest of a bird of prey as the headdress of a Plains Indian chief the title “Warrior” is an apt description that addresses the attributes of strength, courage, and unbreakable spirit among others.  Much like the work of Henry Moore, those associations depend, in part, upon negative space to create the dynamic and strong impression this formidable sculpture makes.

HERB ALPERT

As a member of the legendary Gutai Art Association that flourished between 1954 and 1972, Sadamasa Motonaga emerged when post-atomic surrealist existentialism was at the forefront of artistic development in Japan. Yet he chose a different path. He turned his back on the destruction wrought by the war and created work that was fresh, jubilant, and playful. “Untitled” of 1966 is in his classic style, which developed concurrently with Morris Louis’ so-called ‘Veil’ paintings. It might suggest the brightly lit comb, eye and mottled plumage of a gallinaceous bird, but any such associations are probably arbitrary and unintended. Instead, it is a brilliantly successful display of Motonaga’s avant-garde take on traditional Japanese Tarashikomi — the technique that involves tilting the canvas at different angles to allow mixtures of resin and enamel to flow upon one another before the paint is fully dry.

SADAMASA MOTONAGA

© 2023 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

ALEXANDER CALDER

Andy Warhol is synonymous with American art in the second half of the 20th century and is known for his iconic portraits and consumer products, mixing popular culture and fine art, redefining what art could be and how we approach art. While many of Warhol’s works may not represent famed individuals, his depictions of inanimate objects elevate his subjects to a level of celebrity. Warhol first depicted shoes early in his career when he worked as a fashion illustrator and returned to the theme in the 1980s, combining his fascination with consumerism and glamour. With his constant desire to fuse high and low culture, Warhol chose to highlight something that is so ubiquitous as shoes. The subject can denote poverty or wealth, function, or fashion. Warhol glamorizes the pile of footwear, covering them with a patina of glitzy diamond dust, further blurring the meaning between utilitarian need and stylized statement piece.

ANDY WARHOL

Deborah Butterfield holds a significant place within the pantheon of American sculptors, renowned for her pioneering spirit and mastery of diverse mediums. Crafted in formed-wielded steel, "Beacon" is a testament to her boldness and dedication to pushing artistic boundaries. Butterfield embraced the challenges of this demanding medium, and it is a fusion of innovation and tradition. With its modern aesthetic characterized by sweeping, elegant lines, this horse sculpture is a source of enchantment, inviting viewers into a realm where contemporary art converges with timeless beauty. Beacon honors the classic grace of the equine form and reaffirms Butterfield's position as a visionary within the landscape of modern sculpture.

DEBORAH BUTTERFIELD

When a horse lies down, it is because it feels safe, which, for Deborah Butterfield, is a way of saying that it is okay to make ourselves vulnerable. "Echo", constructed in ways that respect her foraging skills and ability to weld metalwork, does not adhere to a traditional portrayal of a horse but instead reveals something of its essential nature. Constructed from pieced-together steel sheets, some rippled, others folded or crimped, it is a piece that bears the mark of time, aged to a rust-brown patina, imperfections celebrated rather than concealed. Butterfield's deliberate choice of materials and their treatment adds depth and character, transforming Untitled, Echo into more than just an equine representation — it reflects the rugged beauty and the resilience of the animal it represents.

DEBORAH BUTTERFIELD

FREDERICK CARL FRIESEKE - Hill at Giverny - oil on canvas - 25 1/4 x 31 1/4 in.

FREDERICK CARL FRIESEKE

Manuel Neri's early paper mâché works broke ground in sculptural technique, and his approach to painting his sculptures reflects his deep engagement with the expressive potential of color and form. The choice and placement of colors in Hombre Colorado II create a particularly visceral response that reflects his nuanced understanding of the psychological and emotional dimension of color. Conceptualized and produced in 1958, Hombre Colorado II reflects a time when Neri and his wife Joan Brown were engaged in a rich artistic exchange of creativity and contributed significantly to the evolution of their respective styles and the Bay Area Figurative Movement, in which they played vital roles.

MANUEL NERI

PAUL JENKINS - Phenomena By Return - acrylic on canvas - 104 3/4 x 49 5/8 in.

PAUL JENKINS

"Wigwam rouge et jaune", a captivating gouache painting by Alexander Calder, is a vibrant exploration of design and color. Dominated by a lattice of diagonal lines intersecting near their pinnacle, the composition exudes a dynamic balance. Calder introduces an element of whimsy with red and yellow diamond shapes, infusing the piece with playfulness and creating a festive atmosphere. Red balls at the right-leaning lines' apex evoke a whimsical impression, while smaller gray spheres atop left-leaning lines offer contrast and equilibrium. Calder's masterful fusion of simplicity and vital design elements makes Wigwam rouge et jaune a visual delight.

ALEXANDER CALDER

© 2023 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

ALEXANDER CALDER

Manuel Neri was a central figure in the Bay Area Figurative Movement in the 1960s. Instead of abstract forms, the group emphasized emotion through the power of the human form. The present work, "Untitled" (1982), explores the female form on a life-sized scale.  Neri preferred to work with just one model throughout his 60-year career, Maria Julia Klimenko. The absence of a face in many of the sculptures adds an element of mystery and ambiguity. The focus of the composition in "Untitled" is the structure and form of the figure.  Manuel Neri is represented in numerous museum collections worldwide, including the Addison Gallery/Phillips Academy; Anderson Collection at Stanford University; Art Institute of Chicago; Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University; Cincinnati Art Museum; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA; Denver Art Museum, the El Paso Museum of Art, Texas; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Harvard University Art Museums; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Honolulu Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

MANUEL NERI

No artist bridged the gap between European Modernism and American Abstract Expressionism like Hans Hofmann did. The reason is simple: he was trained in Parisian academies before World War I and friendly with Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Robert and Sonia Delaunay, giving him a level of familiarity with European Modernism that no other Abstract Expressionist possessed. Untitled (View of Provincetown Harbor) combines elements of that early time, the unrestrained color of the Fauves in broadly brushed passages with the promise of the automatist painting of the New York School to come. It is highly gestural, blending the motifs and speed of Raoul Dufy's brush with a more masculine, bolder projection, suggesting the roots of Action Painting.

HANS HOFMANN

LOUIS VALTAT - Vase de coquelicots - oil on canvas - 23 1/2 x 19 in.

LOUIS VALTAT

RODOLFO MORALES - Untitled - oil on canvas - 37 1/4 x 39 1/4 in.

RODOLFO MORALES

Deborah Butterfield is an American sculptor, best known for her sculptures of horses made of objects ranging from wood, metal, and other found objects. The 1981 piece, Untitled (Horse), is comprised of sticks and paper on wire armature. The impressive scale of this piece creates a remarkable effect in person, presenting a striking example of Butterfield's celebrated subject matter. Butterfield originally created the horses from wood and other materials found on her property in Bozeman, Montana and saw the horses as a metaphorical self-portrait, mining the emotional resonance of these forms.

DEBORAH BUTTERFIELD

HERB ALPERT - Inspired - bronze - 100 x 20 x 12 in.

HERB ALPERT

LE PHO - Flowers - oil on canvas - 28 3/4 x 21 1/4 in.

LE PHO

During the late 1990s, Manuel Neri began to transform numerous plaster sculptures into bronze, frequently returning to earlier works to produce newly imagined renditions of each piece. These series, nearly indistinguishable in shape and surface detail, explore the impact of varying color schemes and mark-making that involve various actions, including incising brushing, scraping, or layering materials. By experimenting with different marking techniques, Neri could explore the interplay between form, color, texture, and light. In the context of Standing Figure No. 3, Neri limited his palette to an analogous color scheme, thinning the paint to create subtle gradations that enhance the sculpture's sleek, refined exterior.

MANUEL NERI

Known for his fascination with fame, celebrity, and cultural icons, Andy Warhol occasionally reached beyond his contemporaries to include historical figures. Of particular interest, Goethe's theories on color emphasized how colors are perceived and their psychological impact, contrasting with the prevailing Newtonian physics-based understanding of color as a scientific phenomenon. Although there is no direct link that Goethe's color theory directly inspired Warhol to select him as a subject, it thematically highlights how we view Warhol's art as engaging with historical traditions to symbolize a bond between their respective fields and eras. In this sense, the work serves as an homage and a cross-temporal collaboration, linking Warhol's visual language with Goethe's awareness of color as a potent, stimulating element in perception.

ANDY WARHOL

ANDY WARHOL - Goethe - silkscreen in colors - 38 x 38 in.

ANDY WARHOL

MARC QUINN - Lovebomb - photo laminate on aluminum - 108 1/4 x 71 3/4 x 37 3/4 in.

MARC QUINN

Irving Norman was born in 1906 in Vilna, then part of the Russian Empire, now Lithuania. Norman's immigration to New York City in 1923 was short-lived, as he would return to Europe to fight as part of the Abraham Lincoln battalion against the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. After the War, Norman would eventually settle in Half Moon Bay, California, where he embarked on a prolific studio practice.  
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<br>Norman's work portrays the horrors of war and his firsthand knowledge of totalitarian dictatorships. Norman's work has been described as "Social Surrealism," and his grand scenes are immediate and arresting. The large-scale works of Norman truly capture the power of his lived experiences; they are as much a visual record as they are a warning for the future, intended to inspire change.

IRVING NORMAN

ANDY WARHOL - Ford car - graphite on paper - 11 1/2  x 15 3/4 in.

ANDY WARHOL

ARMAND GUILLAUMIN - Roquebrune, Le Matin - oil on canvas - 25 x 31 1/4 in.

ARMAND GUILLAUMIN

Among the Gutai group of Japanese artists that formed during the 1950s, none worked as fast and fearlessly as Kazuo Shiraga. His paintings are characterized by their dynamic, gestural brushstrokes, often created in an unconventional manner. Shiraga famously used his body as a painting tool, often applying paint to canvas or paper with his feet while suspended from a rope. Textures are typically thick, yet always highly tactile with layers of paint that add depth and physicality to the work. On the other hand, Taki relies upon raw streaks of variegated color, evoking unbridled energy and a sense of freedom and rebellion for which he is known, challenging traditional artistic conventions, and pushing the boundaries of creative expression.

KAZUO SHIRAGA

Op Art evolved as an alternative trend in painting to the abstract expressionist movement of the 1950s. The genesis of the movement was in the 1960s, when artists such as Victor Vasarely, Bridget Riley, and Richard Anuszkiewicz embraced a more structured and geometric approach to their painting, often using visual tricks to create a sense of movement.  While the artistic and spiritual predecessors to OP Art, such as Josef Albers (!888-1976), utilized a softer and more subdued approach, the Op Artists were using bold, large-scale works with variable dimensions to create their visual statement.  
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<br>A student of Albers, Richard Anuszkiewicz, used enamel and acrylic paint on wood in such a way to create his uncompromising and exact compositions.  A great sense of action can be felt in the present work, "Translumina". The sister piece to "Translumina," "Translumina II" (1986), is in the permanent collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo.

RICHARD ANUSZKIEWICZ

Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans series marks a pivotal moment in his career and the Pop Art movement. The series, consisting of 32 canvases, each depicting a different flavor, revolutionized the art world by elevating mundane, everyday consumer goods to the status of high art. The screen print Pepper Pot from 1968 employs his signature style of vivid, flat colors and repeated imagery, characteristic of mass production and consumer culture. Screen printing, a commercial technique, aligns with Warhol's interest in blurring the lines between high art and commercial art, challenging artistic values and perceptions.

ANDY WARHOL

"Bouquets de Fleurs" (1901) is a glowing Post-Impressionist still life. As the revolutionary wave of Impressionism receded from its apex, artists such as Henri Manguin, Henri Matisse, Kees van Dongen, Louis Valtat, and others emerged as part of the new avant-garde in Europe. These “Fauves,” or roughly translated “wild beasts,” would attack their canvases with a bold and vibrant new palette. This completely new way of painting was not initially celebrated by critics, or the artistic elite, but is today recognized among the most innovative and original artistic movements of the 20th Century.    
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<br>The present work, painted just before the revolution of Fauvism took hold, demonstrates a critical transitionary period in Modern Art. The subject is depicted with a masterful compositional sense and attention to spatial relationships. Manguin’s competency in composition would allow him to experiment freely with color during the first decade of the 20th Century. The slightly later but comparable Manguin still life “Flowers” (1915) is in the permanent collection of the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.

HENRI MANGUIN

Wayne Thiebaud is widely admired as a painter. Yet his ability as a draftsman is equally compelling and particularly evident in lithography, an autographic medium celebrated for documenting an artist's every gesture. As Paint Cans fully demonstrates, lithography also provides the freedom to layer texturally and with colors to achieve a canny representation of an artist's articulated intentions. In composition, "Paint Cans" displays Thiebaud's keen sense of order, deriving from an emphasis on focal points and directional lines that demonstrate the unique ways he can highlight a grouping of everyday items. It is yet another work that amazes the viewer with his highly detailed technique and skills.

WAYNE THIEBAUD

When Dorothy Hood returned to Houston in 1962, to her delight, NASA made a momentous announcement: the new Spacecraft Center would be in Houston. The idea of space travel resonated with her long-standing interest in cosmology, and the heroic aspiration to achieve a landing on the moon opened something up in the artist. This new frontier informed her work and encouraged her to work bigger. She admitted, "The discovery of what I could do with (large canvases) is the most important thing that ever happened in my painting life." As much as Space Signals is a tour de force of color field painting, her visual language came from other sources: periodical images of spacecraft probes, astronomical objects, and her many conversations with scientists and astronauts who fired her imagination. She created these ravishingly beautiful, thinly painted zones of vaporous phthalo blue hues on the wings of that inspiration.

DOROTHY HOOD

Early in her maturation, Hood established herself as an artist of metaphysically charged images who engaged with various cosmologies upon her return to Houston in 1962. Blue Waters is among those works reflecting her persistent search for spiritual sustenance. A band of saturated, opaque blue reaches forward into a sphere of limpid blue azure, reminiscent of an earthly, watery globe. This bold yet harmonious intrusion resembles an ethereal arm transforming a fluid state into a mesmerizing phosphorescent phthalo green, its opulence and streaming brilliance suggesting divine intervention evoking the metaphor of 'the hand of God', animating the essence of life. Hood's masterful use of color and form often invites interpretations of a cosmic or spiritual embrace within the natural world. Yet her limpid washes of poured color demonstrate not randomness or uncertainty but her remarkable mastery and control that adds another element of awe to Blue Waters.

DOROTHY HOOD

Dorothy Hood's approach often addresses the essential nature of beauty. With Though Homage to Arshile Gorky, beauty serves as a conduit that intensifies our conscious participation, introducing complex ideas through visually striking presentations, none of which would be possible if Hood were not such a polished technician. The “blush and bloom” transitions within the two red territories are stunningly gorgeous. Yet Hood is also a master of illusionistic effects that play with our perception. By introducing a color shift within the channel from (let's call it) moonlight mauve with bluish undertones to a lighter opaque dusty rose, the effect relies on how the viewer's perception of color perceives a divide. The first effect, above, holds the illusion of a chasm, the second of a visual barrier separating the two blocks of color that the viewer can easily recognize. This opposing effect is further accentuated by placing icy, crystalized forms upon the red slab near the bottom of the picture plane and, in contrast, patches tucked under the left slab to emphasize the effect of a channel.

DOROTHY HOOD

Hood often acknowledged that Arshile Gorky, Edvard Munch, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Max Ernst impacted her ability to convey concepts and ideas in non-representational abstraction. But it was her intensive studies of myth, science, nature, spirituality, and prodigious skills that take us to the limits of our perceptions and experiences. Untitled does not share the delicate, ethereal quality of Georgia O'Keefe's botanical-like florals and instead acknowledges the transformative intensity underlying the creation of earthly things. For Hood, the transformation from seed to bud to flower to seed is a cycle of completion and a perpetual state of metamorphosis shaped by the passage of time and the interplay of physical and spiritual realms. It is one of her most potent themes that she returned to often.

DOROTHY HOOD

At the core of Dorothy Hood's life and art is her time in Mexico between 1941 and 1962, when she was front and center of the cultural, political, and social crossroads. Among her friends were Surrealists Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington and native painters Rufino Tamayo and José Clemente Orozco, with whom she developed a deep friendship. When she returned to Houston to paint the epic canvases for which she will forever be best known, portals to fantastical and elusive realms opened for her. The evocative forms of Black Vessel anticipate the layering, cutting, and rearranging of material to produce the visually stimulating collages that often occupied her in the 1980s. Intentional or not, the arrangement and reciprocal patterns suggest a Burmese pagoda silhouetted against the night sky. A pagoda is primarily used as a monument for housing relics, and the tiered structure symbolizes Buddhist teachings.

DOROTHY HOOD

For Hood, the sea and the infinite expanse of the cosmos are reflections of one another. They embody the formidable force that is alluring to the mind and flaunts our illusions of being in control. The void is a limitless, primal force that transcends our comprehension of its true nature. For Hood, the challenge of framing the infinite within the finite boundaries of a canvas became her life's work. In The Face in the Sea, the stark black areas create the impression of negative space, much like the vastness of space itself, where improvised red bursts are like celestial phenomena; nebulae, comets, and galaxies and emerge within that void. The sharp edges of black act like event horizons that obscure and yet define, hinting at unseen dimensions beyond, a void reflecting space's disorienting vastness. The effect is cosmological and psychological, a work that captures the thrilling duality of space, infinite potential met with unknowable mystery.

DOROTHY HOOD

ELAINE DE KOONING - The Matador - gouache on paper - 7 3/4 x 9 1/2 in.

ELAINE DE KOONING

SETH KAUFMAN - Lignum Spire - bronze with green patina - 103 1/2 x 22 x 17 in.

SETH KAUFMAN

Karl Benjamin and his peers Lorser Feitelson, Frederick Hammersley, and John McLaughlin hold a distinctive place in the history of American abstract art. Known for their precise, geometric forms and clean edges emphasizing flatness, they are California's Hard-edge painters who emerged in the late 1950s. Unlike Ellsworth Kelly, for example, their work reflects a brightness, clarity, and palette that suggests California's natural and built environment rather than the more urban and industrial influences felt on the East Coast. Furthermore, compared to the competitive art scene on the East Coast, the California group was a relatively small and close-knit community of artists with a sense of collaboration and shared exploration that contributed to a cohesive movement with a distinct identity.

KARL BENJAMIN

MARY ABBOTT - Untitled - oil and oil stick on paper mounted to canvas - 23 x 29 in.

MARY ABBOTT

As Hood moved into the final years of her art and life, she remained sustained by explorations of outer and inner space, and her memory of Mexico continued to be a wellspring. Accordingly, the paintings of the 90s exude a youthful energy that belies the artist's age. Confronting these works is to feel oneself at the first primal burst of light or the end of the world. Gravity's Rainbow II encapsulates the evolution of Hood's distinct spatial context and psychological orientation, conjuring an expansive energy field and swaths of radiant, explosive color. The title references Thomas Pynchon's novel set primarily in Europe during the end of World War II. It comprises threads of a narrative concerning the development and deployment of the V-2 rocket. Hood was likely drawn to scientist Wernher von Braun's quote, "Nature does not know extinction; all it knows is transformation. Everything science has taught me and continues to teach me strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death."

DOROTHY HOOD

During the 1980s and '90s, Hood's devotion to the idea of emptiness did not find favor among a generation ruled by Neo-Pop, Postmodernism, or the debate over the validity of appropriation art. Walter Darby Bannard, an established Color Field painter, recognized Dorothy Hood's enormous talent and advised her to abandon her esoteric interest in something without limits and beyond comprehension. Hood, as we know, stood her ground. As she stated, "Black can be painted to express a great light, for in the void of blackness arises all beginning. Forms are in gravity, or they are suspended without time, or the rush of movement." Hood's virtuosity in handling black is on full display with Untitled (Black Beauty), a masterwork most potent when viewed through the lens of her relentless quest to discover cosmic unity.

DOROTHY HOOD

Though not considered an action painter, Chiyu Uemae is known for several approaches that focus on form, texture, and the interplay of colors. As in the present example, Untitled, he frequently applied pigment using a palette knife, creating textured layers that allow bits of color to shine as if buried jewels just below ground. Before joining the Gutai Group, Uemae studied Nan Ga, the southern school of Chinese painting, and he credits his immersive experience working in the Kyoto style of dyeing and his sewing discipline as informing his mature style. Uemae's work explores the materiality of paint and the possibilities of the canvas, reflecting a deep engagement with the act of painting itself.

CHIYU UEMAE

ANDY WARHOL - The Shadow (from Myths) - color screenprint with diamond dust on paper - 37 1/2 x 37 1/2 in.

ANDY WARHOL

ANDY WARHOL - Blackglama (Judy Garland) - screenprint - 38 x 38 in.

ANDY WARHOL