Tag Archives: Artists & Special Collections

CNN Video: Meet Peter Max

CNN Producer Ben Tinker sat down with Peter Max, arguably one of the best-known American artists of our time.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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My First Park West VIP Art Cruise

Dear Park West Gallery:

“I just wanted to take a minute to thank the entire Park West team for making the VIP Art Cruise so enjoyable.

Simon was fantastic in keeping me posted on all the pre-cruise logistics, and I really appreciated his help and guidance in all the auction previews. He also went the extra mile every day by asking if there was anything we needed, etc!!

Samantha was great – and she was particularly effective at clearing NCL staff out of chairs in the lobby on the evening of the “paint off”!! I also appreciated the fact that she took time to point out other original Picot works that were available when she found out that I bought the original Picot watercolor.

EJ was friendly and helpful! He went to the other auction and pulled the Nixon and Marko pieces for me which I really appreciated (and can’t wait to get them). And he helped me through all the framing decisions despite that fact that he was feeling poorly!

And Rebecca was a star – she rounds out your team well with her bright personality and incredible administrative abilities!!!

As this was my first VIP Art Cruise I really didn’t know what to expect and even when I knew there were going to be artists on board, I still really didn’t understand the opportunity that was being afforded to me!! Upon reflection, how incredible it was to meet and socialize with Noah, Tim Yanke, Nano and Jerry.

Park West has certainly increased my appreciation for all art! I’m still incredulous when I think I bought some abstract pieces (Mouly and Yanke)!!!

Thank you Park West for such an enjoyable experience.”

Nancy W.
Apopka, Florida

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Artists on Artists

Yaacov Agam“There is a childlike side in the work of the Dadaists, Klee, Miró, Calder and Picasso. I am trying to make things that are very, very serious, and what comes out of it is things that are quite friendly, gay, and sometimes even amusing. [Chaim] Soutine tried to work like Rembrandt, and yet there is nothing of Rembrandt in his pictures.” — Yaacov Agam

Roy Fairchild“Let’s go back to the things that really influence me, things that have been tremendously important to my eyes and my heart. Take the drawings of Michelangelo, they have a quality which simply makes my stomach knot up. They had this effect as a child, when I first saw them in books. And they still do now for the drawing is technically so good.” — Roy Fairchild

Romero Britto“…first and foremost Picasso [influenced me] with his exuberant structures and figures, and also the amazing Matisse with his rainbow of colors. I became familiar with these two artists through books I read in Brazil. When I moved to the United States, I was introduced to Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, and the fantastic Roy Lichtenstein.” — Romero Britto

Robert Kipniss“Frankly, if Picasso himself wanted to teach me, I don’t think I would have wanted to study with him because I didn’t want to be a little Picasso. I wanted to fail or succeed strictly on my own terms. If you want to find that uniqueness in your work, you have to invent a way of expressing it; you have to find out how to do it. You invent how to do it.” — Robert Kipniss

Tomasz Rut“Some people adore Picasso, some hate him. Some swear by Pollack, and some say all art is dead besides Michelangelo. But whatever the form art manifests itself in, it is quality of what it communicates that gives art its impact. I look for inspiration in classical art. My paintings give people the ability to learn, respond, and feel comfortable with the classics.” — Tomasz Rut

 

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Park West Auctioneers Enhance Art Collecting Experience

Dear Park West Gallery:

Just wanted to send a quick note on how much fun my wife and I had purchasing our artwork at the auction on our ship. I’ve seen your auctions on previous cruises, but this is the first time I have attended and participated. Both Derek and Bruce made the event fun and were very helpful with the many questions that I had.

Now the only thing I am looking forward to is getting my artwork and putting it up in my game room.

Thanks,

Phil M.
Fort Lee, Virginia

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I want to commend Amy from Park West for her knowledge and professionalism at the art auction aboard the Carnival Inspiration. I had never attended an art auction prior to this cruise, and I walked away with two fantastic pieces of art at a spectacular price. Amy made the auction fun and informative, and I look forward to future Park West auctions in the future. Thank you Amy!!!

Garrett J.
Canton, Georgia

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Our auctioneer, Jaco, and his assistant, Michelle, were fabulous. They were helpful and informative – my daughter hopes to study art when she goes to university and they gave her tips and suggestions, looked at her work and encouraged her. They presented several seminars during the cruise and we felt we learned a great deal spending time with them. We are very happy with our purchases and look forward to our next cruise and Park West! Thanks again to Jaco and Michelle.

Angela C.
Oakville, Ontario

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Customer Corner: Park West VIP Guests Reflect

Dear Park West:

Both Nancy and I wanted to express our appreciation for being invited to the VIP cruise on board the Norwegian Dawn April 18 – 25. We were able to share some good times, laughs, and exchange experiences with the fantastic group of VIP guests gathered for this cruise. We are certain that we will remain in touch with many of them for a very long time.

As for the guest artists selected for this cruise – what a fantastic experience! Tim Yanke, Noah, Nano, and although not part of our group, Jerry Blank. What a group of talented artists, and their personalities made us feel as if we had known them forever. Although we were not sure if we were going to acquire new art on this cruise, meeting and listening to these artists certainly changed our minds in a hurry.

Noah’s art is simply out of this world, and we certainly look forward to obtaining more of it in the future. As for Tim’s work, although we were never big fans of abstract work, listening and spending time with him, and seeing him at work certainly gave us an immediate appreciation for his art.

Cleo y Su Gatico (Large Cat) by Nano Lopez

As soon as we saw Nano’s work, we knew it would just be a matter of time before we would acquire one of his pieces. We obtained one of his cats in memory of our recently departed cat named Leo, but I can see us getting more of his sculptures in the future.

As for the Park West Gallery staff hosting this event, all we can say is that you were all great!!! From our first contact with you, to your expert assistance in helping us with our art selection, we really appreciate every bit of time spent with us in that process.

Again, our sincere thanks to you, the entire auctioneer staff on board, and to Park West Gallery for this opportunity of a lifetime.

Gary & Nancy C.
Hialeah, Florida

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Dear Park West Gallery:

Words cannot begin to express my thanks for being a part of the Norwegian Dawn – Park West VIP Cruise. I was not sure what to expect but Park West was reassuring and understanding of my doubt and made me feel totally comfortable to say yes, when my nature was to say no.

Everyone from the limo driver to the hotel staff, cruise staff and especially your staff were professional and enthusiastic. The accommodations met and exceeded my expectations.

Most impressively, I opened myself up to a new style of art. At the start of the trip, I never would have believed I would become so passionate about the works I purchased on the trip. I even surprised my son.

I met some wonderful people and the art was terrific. Best of all I have some memories and new art to cherish.

Thank you for a fabulous week,

Leslie L.
Lake In The Hills, Illinois

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The Interior World of Fanch Ledan

The words of Fanch Ledan
Excerpted from Fanch, The Graphic Work. Copyright 2003. Park West Gallery.

‘One night in Paris is like a thousand nights in any other place.’ The dark blue color of the night highlights the inside and outside colors, and Paris, like many other magical cities, is an eternal source of inspiration. I am very attracted to this city, and coincidentally, Paris in French is feminine in gender.

After Hours in Paris by Fanch

The introduction of artworks by well-known artists on the walls of my ‘Interiorscapes’ [are] a modest tribute to all the past and living artists I admire during my visits to museums and galleries. Naturally, the interiors and settings are a mixture of dreamed dwellings and reality.

Interior with Max by Fanch

I spent all my childhood vacations on the beautiful beaches of Brittany, and I am forever attracted to beaches and oceans and all the activities that are possible around them: diving, fishing, sailing, kayaking, surfing, swimming, and tanning. Overlooking the vast and inspiring ocean from my atelier, I constantly find peace and emotional renewal.

Malaga Beach by Fanch

I have traveled for years between Europe and America, and I feel much enriched by the best of both worlds, neither old nor new anymore, but very complementary. I have many more places I wish to visit and paint, and the renewed excitement of a voyage, whether it is to Cuba or China, reflects my wonder at the amazing diversity of humanity, as well as the touching similarities of people around the world.

Interior with Three Masterpieces by Fanch

I hope that my inspiration remains fresh, and I want to keep thinking that my most exciting project is the next one and my favorite painting is the future one.

Fanch Ledan

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Park West VIP Guests Enjoy Cruising with Artist Leslie Lew

Dear Park West Gallery,

We had the fortunate pleasure as VIP guests to be on a cruise with Ms. Leslie Lew. We very much appreciated her style of art and we were able to get to know Leslie on a personal level as well. We in fact purchased “Optimo” and “Felix the Cat.”

Felix Juggling Nine Lives by Leslie Lew

Leslie chose our 10 year old daughter, Emma, to be her “assistant” and Emma enjoyed painting with Leslie on a couple of paintings. When we received the “Felix the Cat” painting, it brought a smile to all our faces, but especially Emma as it held a special memory for her to actually paint with Leslie!

The VIP events are fantastic. We find them to be educational and having the artist on board and to actually paint with them adds another dimension to the event. With that particular VIP cruise (Carnival Glory), we were fortunate to meet a few artists. Leslie Lew has a natural way of connecting with the VIP attendees. Each of her pieces is truly special and unique and we love her work.

Thank you!

Lianne, Brian, and Emma K.
Tampa, Florida

Emma K. with Leslie Lew on the Carnival "Glory"

Emma K. with artist Leslie Lew on the Carnival "Glory"

 

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Experiencing Rockwell

“I cannot convince myself that a painting is good unless it is popular. If the public dislikes one of my Post covers,
I can’t help disliking it myself.”

— Norman Rockwell

Essay by Park West Gallery Director, Morris Shapiro

On March 8, 2009 the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) opened its exhibition, American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell. On the day of the opening, The Detroit Free Press “art critic” Mark Stryker (the newspaper’s music critic, who evidently was tapped to become the art critic after another round of Detroit business layoffs) penned his review. His opening tag line: “Love the show, hate the art.” You can save time by not reading the article. That tag line perfectly sums up Stryker’s opinion.

Art Critic, Norman Rockwell

Online, a volley of reactionary comments to Stryker’s column lined up in the opinion blogs. They ranged from absolute venom (typical online stuff) to comments from readers who completely ignored Stryker’s opinion just to laud the show and encourage Detroiters to go see it and support the museum and its efforts.

Another part of the Free Press’s coverage was a side bar, “Was Norman Rockwell a Great Artist?” The DIA’s curator, a professor (whose mother modeled for Rockwell), and a well known Detroit artist weighed in. The artist, Charles McGee, expressed a prevailing attitude towards Rockwell’s work that dogged him during his life and has continued to this day. “I think Rockwell was a great illustrator. To me there’s a big difference between illustration and fine art. It’s not that each isn’t good in its own right, but one is selling a product as far as I’m concerned and the other is selling itself.”

I went to see the show with my 14 year old daughter, Amanda, who had written a biographical report on Rockwell for her history class a few months before. Her assignment was to write about an American artist, and when she asked me who she should consider (perhaps one of the benefits of having a dad in the biz) I replied immediately that it should be Norman Rockwell and expressed to her my reasons why.

Ironically, during her research for the report we as a family flew to Europe to attend a Park West Gallery collector event. One night at dinner we mentioned to a client that Amanda was researching Rockwell, and she proceeded to inform us that she had modeled for him when she was a child; her image appeared on a 1957 Saturday Evening Post cover. Big mistake to say that to me because I surely drove this woman “nuts” querying her about every aspect of Rockwell’s working process and his personality.

Amanda’s report included an interview with our guest — and she ended up with an “A.” Not surprisingly, Amanda was just as excited to see the show as I was. During the entire time she was working on the paper, her teacher was gently ridiculing Rockwell and needling her about her choice. His point was the same as Stryker’s and McGee’s: Not an artist, just an “illustrator.”

Where does this attitude come from? How can an artist who contributed so much to the culture and artistic identity of America (this is profoundly apparent when stepping into the final room of the exhibition and seeing each of the 323 Saturday Evening Post magazine covers he created during seven decades) be so pejoratively viewed by the art “establishment”?

The answer is obvious. There is a disconnect, a separation (more like a chasm) in the art world between the arbiters of what is and isn’t “art” and the American people. This was never more apparent to me than when we left the museum and I saw the lines of enthusiastic people; families with young children, seniors from my parents’ generation, and students. People of all races and ages, all queuing up for tickets and filling the galleries, anxious to experience Rockwell’s…art – actually hungry for it.

Rockwell was keenly aware of his image as a mere “illustrator” and frustrated enough to address it many times in his art. Trained as a “fine artist,” he was well steeped (as all of the great ones were) in the history and narrative of his profession.

In one of the photographs included in the exhibition of him working in his studio (in my opinion, the most important painting in the show – The Problem We All Live With, 1963), I caught a blurry image of Rembrandt’s etching masterpiece, The Hundred Guilder Print. It was in the upper left corner hanging on the wall amidst his own studies and drawings. This delighted me (I’m sure most people wouldn’t have noticed it) because I had just been marveling at the use of chiaroscuro in so many of the canvasses of Rockwell.

Triple Self Portrait, Norman RockwellRockwell’s Triple Self Portrait, one of the most popular and amusing of all his famous images, deals directly with this paradox of the power of his work and his popular image as a “commercial” artist. In it we see pinned to his canvas self-portraits of Durer, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh as well as a Picasso Cubist head. It is well known that Rockwell greatly admired the old masters and was enthralled by Picasso and even Pollack. The painting, which reveals his astonishing technique in the masterful articulation of the fabric of his shirt, the mirror into which he peers, and the golden helmet mounted at the top of his easel, defies us as viewers to ignore or diminish his prodigious mastery of oil on canvas while at the same time casts visual puns about who it is he is portraying.

In another captivating work, Art Critic, 1955, a young art student examines a painting through a magnifying glass while holding his easel and palette (with real globs of paint affixed). The woman in this portrait (based on a Rubens) looks back at the student with an expression of surprise, as if to say the young man is too close and is staring at her bosom. Behind him is a painting of three 17th Century Dutch gentlemen (again a nod to Rembrandt) who appear to stop their conversation to peer with surprise at the young student’s indiscretion.

This is a great and amusing scene until one looks at the technique Rockwell displays. It’s as if he says to us, “Take a look at my ‘chops,’ those of you who question my artistic legitimacy. I can do Dutch and French masters as good as they did and use them in the background of my paintings.”

From my own experience, it has been an honor to work with Curtis Publishing, the owners of the intellectual rights to Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post imagery, and the Norman Rockwell Licensing Company, managed by the artist’s family, in the development of limited edition prints created exclusively for Park West Gallery clients. More recently, these works have been realized as hand-drawn lithographs created at the same studio French artist Marcel Mouly used for the creation of his lithographs.

I’ve also had the pleasure of offering original Rockwell drawings and seeing several of them collected. It is truly a thrill for an art dealer to be a part of the joy experienced by someone who has the rare opportunity to acquire something of this kind of rarity and historic importance. Through this process and in viewing so many of his works, I have gained a deeper appreciation for Rockwell’s art.

Norman Rockwell produced over 4,000 works of art in his lifetime, a lifetime that he devoted to unfailing artistic discipline and committed to sharing his view of our world with an emphasis on humankind’s higher morals and enduring values. His messages of family, equality, freedom, tolerance, and even human shortcomings touched more Americans than any other artist with our shared heritage. His contributions to the American spirit during World War II are legendary, particularly in the way that he focused not so much on our soldiers fighting abroad but on the heroism and bravery of the everyday people who remained at home.

So once again, we have to ask: How can an artist of such power, possessing spectacular technical genius and an unparalleled ability to communicate and touch so many, be so often dismissed by those who claim to wield the power of judgment as to what is and isn’t “art”?

The answer is too long and complex to be addressed here. I have written about it before and continue to vigorously share my own views on the topic. It has to do with the long (and unfortunate, in my opinion) history of art that extends from Duchamp to Warhol and resides today in the likes of Damien Hirst, whose works fetched unprecedented prices last year for “sculptures” of cigarette butts in medicine cabinets, dead flies on canvas, and his “masterpiece,” a dead calf in a glass case.

It has to do with the fact that when people crave the experiences that art can provide such as elevation of the human spirit, a demonstration of the results of unflagging dedication to hard work and excellence, and a jumping off point into the contemplations of human thought and spiritual meaning, these works of “art” leave us cold, unfulfilled, perplexed, and often angry when discovering the sums paid for them by museums and collectors. There is no way we can know what the future will hold for this kind of art.

As I travelled the halls of the museum with my young daughter in tow, as we moved past the paintings by Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Degas, Renoir, Cezanne, Picasso, and dozens of others who built on the narrative of the art that came before them, I couldn’t help but believe that as long as there are people on this planet, these works will be precious. They will forever be emblems of human greatness and our aspiration to reach for higher and deeper understandings of beauty and the miraculous around us. Thinking about Norman Rockwell, I saw him fitting perfectly into that same pantheon of masters in another hundred years.

We continued on to the contemporary wing of the DIA. We turned a corner and on the floor to our left we encountered a “sculpture” by American artist, Yayoi Kusama. The work entitled Silver Shoes is a clear acrylic box, encasing 23 shoes with cloth protrusions emanating from the openings, everything spray-painted silver. It’s a work, I am confident, Mr. Stryker would love. However, there was no line of people outside the museum queuing up to buy tickets to see it. No line of people behind the work patiently waiting to view it. No “audio tour” devices pressed up against people’s ears in contemplation before it. In fact, there was no one looking at it at all.

They were all downstairs, Experiencing Rockwell.

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