The Importance of Art

gallery 5George Thornton Art, Nottingham

An auction of contemporary art at Sothebys this week provoked some thought about how an artist, or even a piece of art gets classed as ‘important’ and actually what this means to the art buying audience. The auction at Sothebys was described as ‘a considered selection of artworks from Post-War innovators through to a new generation of artists working today.’ Prices ranged from thousands to hundreds of thousands of pounds, and many of the pieces auctioned sold for well in excess of their estimate, some reaching fifty percent in excess of the upper limit. None of the artists included in the sale were the superstars of the modern art world – no Koontz, Haring or Rothko – and yet those included were described as ‘important’ – and this seems to be the factor that pushed so many of the prices achieved above the upper estimate price.

Sothebys

Taking a look at some of the works sold, mostly abstract, modern works in this instance, I got to thinking about how the art buying public might possibly be persuaded or influenced to buy ‘important’ works. Discussion in the gallery on this topic centred on the reasons why people buy art. Three main answers to that – because the audience like a piece; because the audience has a ‘space’ that a piece of art fits into; because the audience views art as part of their investment strategy. And we agreed that it is the latter that is the most likely reason a buyer would be influenced by a view from someone in authority – like an art auction house or a dealer – whose opinion they trust. Fair enough, but would the first two reasons for buying art not be arguably more compelling? Buying art as investment, especially as part of a strategy for use of one’s investment funds, is fraught with risk and potentially could lead to disastrous consequences. One can only wonder what the collectors of Rolf Harris’ work are feeling in the light of recent events for example, and if pieces are being purchased only for their perceived value designated thus by ‘experts’ do the investing audience actually LIKE what they’re buying? Or are they just going on trend or analysis and not caring about the aesthetic value of the art they are buying. I would argue that it’s more important to actually own pieces of art that evoke a response in the audience, that fill a space in the collector’s heart, and not in their investment strategy. One may or may not end up with a piece of work that increases in financial value but the buyer who purchases pieces that provoke a feeling, or a way of seeing something differently, is intrinsically more valuable to the owner and the asset has more value than can simply be measured in financial terms.

Clearly I’m biased, but our customer base is one that values the intelligent, affordable art that we offer. Frequent introductions of new artists of interest, and operating totally independently the Gallery offers a refreshing art buying experience, one based on helping you find the pieces that you will love and cherish, regardless…

Below is a little flavour of what to expect from George Thornton Art.

Just DesertsSweet Desserts by Xue Wang. Original Oil on Board

EL 10-442 100x76cm

Meadow Lane by Gail Troth. Original Acrylic on Canvas

Heading down to the Line

Heading Down to the Line by Jan Nelson. Original Acrylic on Canvas

Bold & Beautiful web file

Bold and Beautiful by Dean Fox. Signed limited edition of just 45 copies on paper.

16b

Barn Owl by Stephen Rautenbach. Original Bronze sculpture

Featured Works for February

DSCF3922‘Aryton Senna’ by Nikki Douthwaite
Original Artwork: Card and Paper (hole punch dots) onto board (framed)
Dimensions: 55″ x 46″
Price:£3250 or 16 monthly instalments of £203 (Interest Free)

Check out some of our new works in for February.

We have some great pieces in from Kate Brinkworth, Nick Holdsworth, Jan Nelson, Russell-Hatton and Nom Kinnear King.

Along with these fantastic artists, we would like to welcome aboard the amazing Nikki Douthwaite.
She has already built a name for herself in the driving world; featured on the Grand Prix 2013 round up show, she is now widely collected by people including big names such as Mclaren, Martin Brundle  and Jake Humphrey. Motorcar mad she uses paper dots collected from hole punchers to create intricately detailed portraits of drivers. (See Above)

Check out some of the images below and for more information please feel free to contact the gallery for more information.

KBR‘Oxford Circus’ by Kate Brinkworth
Original Artwork: Oil on Board
Dimensions: 24″ x 36″
Price: £3500 or 10 monthly instalments of £350 (Interest Free)

Kate’s Work recently sold at Christies, beating the expected guide price.

http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/paintings/kate-brinkworth-tall-coke-5762480-details.aspx?from=salesummary&intObjectID=5762480&sid=305c8de3-efd0-4711-a0c1-bb148ca17f44

Marlena‘Marlena’ by Nick Holdworth
Original Artwork: Gloss on Wood(Framed)
Dimensions: 33″ x 26″
Price: £995 or 10 monthly instalments of £99.50 (Interest Free)

Train of Thought‘Train of Thought’ by Ian Hodgson
Medium:Graphite on Paper
Dimensions:28″ x 22″
Price: £495 or 10 monthly instalments of £49.50 (Interest Free)

Like-it-too-much‘Like it too Much’ by Paul Lemmon
Original Artwork: Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 32″ x 32″
Price: £995 or 10 monthly instalments of £99.50 (Interest Free)

1779782_10153797658580078_1498353910_n‘Henrietta’ by Nom Kinnear King
Original Artwork: Pastel on Paper, Mounted and Framed
Dimensions: 25″ x 26″
Price: £945 or 10 monthly instalments of £94.50 (Interest Free)

This piece has taken many months to complete. After relocating from Brighton to Norfolk King was inspired by the provincial landscape, animals, birds as well as the seasonal harvest time flora and fauna. An idea that transpired into this beautiful creation.

Pop Art, Old and New

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‘Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing?’ by Richard Hamilton
Hanging in the Kunsthalle Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany

Don’t forget that we have an amazing exhibition in Gallery this week starting tomorrow created by Villayat Sunkmanitu entitled ‘Intimacy With Plants’. The exhibition aims to raise awareness for those suffering with PTSD and shows how photography helped the artist overcome his own battle with the condition and what can be achieved without having to leave the space of your own garden. Villayat will be in Gallery tomorrow 1pm – 4pm.

We hope to see you there. Until then, please enjoy the creative blog written below talking about the resurgence of Pop Art in the art world.

For more information please do not hesitate to contact the Gallery.

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‘Marlena’ by Nick Holdsworth
Medium: Original Art: Hand Pulled Silkscreen, Stencil and Gloss Paint on Wood (Framed)
Dimensions: 33″ x 26″
Price: £995 or just 10 monthly instalments of just £99.50 (Interest Free)

We’ve all heard of it and we all probably have some idea what it’s all about. Made famous predominately by artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein in the 1960’s, it has in the last few years had something of a revival (if it ever really went away) thanks to a group of artists inspired by the movement.

The notion of Pop Art really got going in mid 1950’s Britain one of the earliest examples being Richard Hamilton’s collage entitled ‘Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing?’ (Above) Pop Art blends different aspects of mass culture, such as advertising, comic books, packaging and mundane cultural objects.

The movement developed in two different strands, one from within Britain and the other from the USA. For British artists Pop Art was a matter of ideas fuelled by American popular culture viewed from afar, while the American artists were inspired by the experience of living within that culture creating two distinct looks either side of the Atlantic.

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‘Dancing Skull’ by Mike Edwards
Medium: Signed limited edition, hand finished screen print onto Paper (framed) Edition of 100
Dimensions: 29″ x 29″
Price: £495 or just 10 monthly instalments of just £49.50 (Interest Free)

As the movement developed American Pop Art became the dominant style and became something of a phenomenon, reaching its peak during the mid 1960’s. A gradual decline and move away from the style occurred after this feeding into new Post-Modern Art.

Pop Art has once again resurfaced although this time, the time is more reflective. It aims to both celebrate and criticise what was being created and how they were inspired. Using new contemporary methods and materials they are really rejuvenating an admired art movement into something new, fresh and relevant to today’s audiences.

Red is the Colour of Money when it comes to Selling Art

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So why is this? Red notably has been the concept of danger, stopping for traffic signals or the colour of the fire alarm. Red lips are considered beautiful and in turn Red is the signal of sex! The red light district needs no explanation! Red is the warmest of all colours. Red is the colour most chosen by extroverts. In China, red is the colour of prosperity and joy. So does red in paintings turn us on?

See Rothko’s ‘Untitled 1970’ with its thick splash of red across the top. One of the primary colours and in Rothko’s own words ‘red is the colour of blood, tomatoes and the occasional apple’.

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Sotheby’s art expert Philip Hook (said) the colour red – sells…’Artistic genius and masterful brushwork are all very well, but for a painting to fetch the highest prices it needs to have a splash of red’…”

Kate Brinkworth ‘s incredible detailed work is sensual and moody. Red backdrops allow the viewer to feel a sense of danger however they are lost in the beauty of the work. The fine brush work and incredible reflective quality detracts from the danger of the colour and lightens the mood.

Under physiological research red has been shown to increase blood pressure and stimulate the adrenal glands. The stimulation of the adrenal glands helps us become strong and increases our stamina. Pink, a lighter shade of red, helps muscles relax. So with this in mind do red paintings inflict us to be dominant when it comes to decision making. Would it empower anyone enough to buy a piece of art work?

World renowned artist, Mackenzie Thorpe smacks the paper with a handful of red pastel chalk to create his latest piece. ‘In Dad’s Boots’ is large, the whole work measures almost 40” sq and priced at £9,950. The red football give the whole piece a focal point without distracting from the initial child like emotion of the boy looking up at his father.

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So, if we take into account red is both gory and sensual. I suppose the artist trick is to land of the side of sensual indication. Let’s say for example this is what helps sell a work of art? As Mackenzie has portrayed so well let’s look at bridging the gap between portraying a statement of danger to that of lust and mood. An almost erotic tendency that makes the viewer feel good and releases endorphins. So it is entirely plausible that the colour red does sell art.

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Attacking the Canvas: Political statement or sheer vandalism?

Over the past number of years we will have seen an increase in the number of protests drawing attention to certain movements or causes. No one will forget many of the buildings which were mounted by the group ‘Fathers for Justice’ dressed as Batman, Spider-man and other Superhero characters. Just recently it seems that a new wave of protesting has launched itself onto society and into the art world. No less than three paintings have been vandalized in the past year. All were done in the name of one cause or another, and all three received high levels of interest from the press.

I’m sure no one would dispute that in each case these acts would amount to nothing less that property damage. However unlike in years gone, these acts of destruction have been done almost solely with the intent and purpose of proving a point or highlighting a cause. The most recent attack on a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey by the aforementioned group ‘Fathers for Justice’ is one such example. Such attacks are an almost perfect weapon for fringe groups who may not receive much attention to gain publicity and have the public to hear about their campaign.

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Adding to this last October at Tate Modern a man scribbled on Mark Rothko’s ‘Black on Maroon’. He claimed his destructive act was a creative gesture known as movement called ‘Yellowism’, but this cut no ice with a judge, who sentenced him to two years in prison. One defence used by the perpetrator was that Rothko would actually have welcomed the addition to his painting and it was in keeping with Rothko’s own artistic thought.

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Then in February, a woman defaced one of the icons of French art, Liberty Leading the People by Delacroix, at the new outpost of the Louvre in Lens. This act was used as a way to draw attention to a website which specialises in conspiracy theories related to the events of 9/11.

In each case, the reason for attacking the painting was not to damage the painting itself, but to put across an opinion, a stance, a belief. Is this not what art is used for in the first place? These attacks have certainly proven successful if we take into account why they did it and the trend may be one that we begin to see more of.

This is an age of protest! If you have a cause you can share with lots of other people, you take to the streets. But what if your cause is too strange or overlooked for mass protest? Attacking an authority figure is one way to get it in the headlines, and as authority figures go, paintings are vulnerable. A portrait of the Queen has a lot less security around it than the woman herself. A museum is a tranquil place where a moment of destruction can catch guards unaware. The results can be gratifying, if you are desperate to get your voice heard.

The Problem With Provenance

When buying artwork we all like to know the provenance of the piece. Who made it, is it a new piece and if not who owned it beforehand?
Having read an article in the art review this week, it got me thinking just how important it is to make sure you know about a pieces provenance before agreeing to buy it. Here is a little example of how provenance could affect you…

Not knowing the provenance can be a terrible business. Recently Steven Brooks, an art collector from California attempted to sell a piece entitled ‘Allegorical Portrait of a Lady as Diana Wounded by Cupid’ by Van Loo (featured below). Brooks however came unstuck when Christie’s refused to sell the piece after doing a bit of research into the painting. They discovered that the piece was once owned by the Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering. This has simply rendered the painting worthless as it is now presumed Nazi loot and has put a cloud on the title. Brooks is now in the process of trying to sue Sotheby’s for not doing enough to research the paintings past in the first place. He bought the painting in 2004 from the auction for £57,600 and had no idea of it’s Nazi past. So far,no rightful claimants have been identified and non have come forward. If this remains to be the case, it is unclear what will become of the piece, its past makes it unsellable until it can either be proved Goering purchased the painting legitimately, restoring the line of title or the rightful owner identified. Either way, Brooks is certainly likely to loose out.

This may not however be the end of the road for ‘Allegorical Portrait of a Lady as Diana Wounded by Cupid’. Although it may be of no use to Brook’s,should the rightful owners of the piece be found and the painting returned, then its value could increase exponentially. This was true of the Gustav Klimt’s ‘Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I’, despitelooted by the Nazi’s, the piece was eventually restored to the rightful owners following a grueling court battle. The story captured the headlines at the time and the painting became iconic and culminated with it being sold for a record amount when put up by the new owner. Another famous example of this is Mark Rothko’s ‘White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose)’, this is another piece that can be found on the worlds most expensive painting list, selling for a staggering 72.8 million dollars. This price would arguably had never been reached at the time, were not for Rockefeller (featured above with picture) being its prior owner. Rockefeller’s ownership of the painting has become so synonymous with the painting that it is now popularly referred to as the ‘Rockefeller Rothko’.

Provenance therefore isn’t just a past, but also a story. One which can have either a positive or negative effect on the art it uses to tell it.
Provenance is important and it shouldn’t be ignored. It usually only requires a small amount of research and doing it should could either save you money or unravel an exciting and interesting past that could even increase the pieces worth. The provenance of new original pieces may just be a receipt to begin with, but its how that work is used, wheres and it hung and who owns it in the future.