Posted in Art

13 Most High-Priced Paintings in the World

They say that the best things in life are free. Well, yeah, that is most of the time true if you want to live simple without the influence of society and of the modern world. Contradicting to that belief is also a powerful message that most of us lived by nowadays and that is, “money makes the world go round.” Sadly, that is how I view the world, especially with all the commercials and advertisements of things you would do anything just to have one.

In this modern world, there are unlimited things that one can have, one can collect, and one can brag about. You may collect something that has meaning to you, things that remind of places you have been, or you just being a plain hoarder who collects trash and anything in between. There are sentimental things to collect which sometimes cost just a penny while there are some that requires you to be born a prince to even have one. The more expensive these collectible gets, the more prominent you become in the society. The word expensive equates to bucket loads of money just in case some of you might have other ideas beside it. Some of the most famous collectibles that only the rich and famous may have the chance to get a hold of are expensive cars, yachts, mansions, and the most absurd of all…paintings.

Expensive paintings are paintings that were created by famous dead artists that define art during their time. Some of these paintings may directly mirror the lives of the artists when they were still alive while some are just chaos and with no meaning at all. Either way, expensive paintings are some of the most sought after collectibles that each time it is sold to new owners, the price just bloats up to unimaginable numbers. For the most of us, even if we pawn our very own souls in exchange for money, it probably won’t be enough to obtain the cheapest of the paintings listed below. Do not fret though, once these paintings are acquired by museums and government, we may have the chance to see them and steal pictures with them when no security is looking (wink).

PORTRAIT OF ADELE BLOCH-BAUER I

“Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I”, also called as “The Lady In Gold”, is a painting completed in 1907 by Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt. This dazzling masterpiece was sold to an American businessman, art collector, philanthropist, and political activist Ronald Steven Lauder for an amounting price of 135 million USD. The “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I” was later exhibited in Neue Galerie, New York.

WOMAN III

“Woman III” is a painting created by William de Kooning. It is one of a succession of six paintings produced between 1951 and 1953 with using woman as the central subject. Woman III was completed in 1953 and measures 1.73 by 1.23 meters. This masterpiece was acquired by the American investor, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist Steven Cohen for a worth of 137.5 million USD.

NO. 5, 1948

The “No.5, 1948” is a masterpiece painted by American artist Jackson Pollock. The work of art was produced on composition board, measuring 8’ x 4’. The painting was sold to the Mexican investor David Martinez for a value of 140 million USD.

THREE STUDIES OF LUCIAN FREUD

The “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” is an oil on canvas triptych art that was completed in year 1969 by Francis Bacon, an Irish-born British painter. This three hinged work of art was sold to Elaine Wynn for a price of 142.4 million USD.

LA REVE

Pablo Picasso’s “La Reve”, also known as “The Dream”, is one of the most sensual and famous paintings of the artist. The artwork is an epitome of the early Fauvism. It was sold to Steven Cohen for 155 million USD.

NU COUCHE

“Nu Couche”, or just the “Red Nude”, is an oil on canvas artwork done in year 1917 by Amadeo Modigliani, a popular Italian artist. This painting was regarded as one of the artist’s most widely replicated and exhibited paintings. “Nu Couche” was sold with a price of 170.4 million USD to Liu Yiqian, a Chinese art collector and businessman.

LES FEMMES D’ALGER

“Les Femmes d’Alger”, also branded as the “Women of Algiers”, is a sequence of 15 paintings created in the year 1955 by Pablo Picasso, a legendary Spanish cubist artist. This work of art was procured by Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, a former Prime Minister of Qatar, for a price of 179.4 million USD.

PENDANT PORTRAITS OF MAERTEN SOOLMANS AND OOPJEN COPPIT

The portraits of Maerten Soolmans and his wife Oopjen Coppit, were two masterpieces done by the prominent Dutch artist Rembrandt in year 1634. Both of the portraits have been purchased by the Rijksmuseum and the Louvre for a value of 180 million USD. The said art pieces were exhibited at the Musée du Louvre.

NO. 6 (VIOLET, GREEN AND RED)

“No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red)” is a painting done by Mark Rothko, a Russian-American Abstract expressionist artist. No. 6 is a blend of large breadths of color defined by jagged and hazy hues and was completed in 1951. Dmitry Rybolovlev, a Russian billionaire, paid $186 million for this masterpiece.

NUMBER 17A

“Number 17A” is an artwork painted by a famous American Abstract Expressionist artist Jackson Pollock in year 1948. This work of art was sold for 200 million USD to Kenneth Griffin along with the “Interchange” painting.

THE CARD PLAYERS

“The Card Players” is a series of oil paintings done by the celebrated French Post-Impressionist artist Paul Cézanne in year 1892. A single piece of the said series was bought by the Royal Family of Qatar for a luxurious price ranging from 250 million to 300 million USD.

On the other hand, The Card Players painting series is regarded by critics to be a foundation of Cézanne’s art throughout the early-to-mid 1890s era.

WHEN WILL YOU MARRY?

“When Will You Marry?” or also known as “Nafea Faa Ipoipo”, is an oil-painting by Paul Gauguin, a French Post-Impressionist artist. The artwork was sold to Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani for the museum department of Qatar with a nearly amounting price of 300 million USD. The Tahitian inspired artwork was completed in year 1982.

INTERCHANGE

“Interchange” is a masterpiece done by Willem de Kooning, a Dutch-American abstract expressionist artist. This renowned painting was sold to hedge fund billionaire Kenneth Griffin for the price of 300 million USD. The canvass measures 200.7 centimeters by 175.3 centimeters, and was completed in year 1955.

Posted in Art

Top 5 Nail Art Expos around the World

In case you haven’t heard about this yet, there are actually exhibits right now that mainly focus on nail art. Instead of the usual sculptures, paintings and photographs, displays of outrageous and fascinating nail art are put in frames, protective glass cases and even on some participants’ fingernails. It is amazing how nail art enthusiasts patronize this kind of event. These people can finally share their passion and interest with fellow devotees in the art of meticulous detailing of nails.

Best Nail Art Expos

Let’s find out the most creative and interesting nail art exhibitions in various countries. Prepare to be amazed by these fabulous events:

5. “Beneath the Lacquer” (New York, U.S.A.)

This is the simplest and smallest nail art exhibition here but still one of the most creative. I love how the artists David Dupuy and Ran Kowatari simply put the designs inside pretty frames. “Beneath the Lacquer” really feels like an art gallery but focusing on nail art. My most favorite part is the centerpiece composed of framed nail art displays that are formed into heart shapes.

To make the nail art exhibition more interesting, the displays were telling a story. The narrative of the displays referred to same-sex marriage. Some emotional photographs were included in the displays while presenting a specific nail art.

The event was specifically held at Arcilesi Homberg Fine Art gallery in Brooklyn. It went on for almost the whole month of February in 2014.

Olya Turcihin

4. San Francisco Nail Art and Jewelry Gallery (U.S.A.)

This nail art exhibition in San Francisco is similar to the “Beneath the Lacquer” exhibit. The big difference? It is much more glamorous because of the jewelry accompanied with nail art displays. The whole event looks like something out of a glamorous museum.

Organized by 24K Studios, the exhibition aimed to create a parallel between new jewelry designs and nail art innovations. For the nail art exhibits, the organizers worked with NancyMc, Nail Swag, Nail Jerks, Fleury Rose, The Illustrated Nail, Haus of Lacquer, Britney Tokyo and Astrowifey. These nail artists closely worked with jewelry designers to create a stunningly coordinated exhibit. There was a total of 12 original collaborations.

To trigger excitement for the first reception, Nail Swag and Nail Jerks posted some of their nail art designs online. Afterwards, their chosen artworks were displayed behind storefront windows.

Lidija Ristic

3. SINAIL (Seoul, South Korea)

Now, we’re heading to nail art exhibitions with more spectators. SINAIL is the biggest nail expo in South Korea because it also presented international brands and artists. It is amazing how every decoration and installation presented here were cutesy and girly. What I love the most are the gigantic nail polish bottles lining up to present some photos relevant to nail art.

The latest SINAIL event was held in Oct. 21, 2016 at SETEC Seoul. Aside from the nail art exhibits, the expo also organized some demos and consultations about setting up a nail shop business. Included in these interactive booths were presentations of the right materials and equipment for a complete nail shop. The organizers and exhibitors were very experienced in beauty shop management and marketing.

2. Nailphilia (London, U.K.)

From South Korea, let’s move on to the United Kingdom. If you love avant-garde fashion and style, then you may consider London’s premiere nail art exhibit called Nailphilia as your new haven. Everything here looks luxurious and unbelievably creative.

Nailphilia is tagged to be London’s first and biggest nail art expo. The displays here were out-of-this-world such as colorful rhinestones and 3-D cubes attached to nail art. Even animal hooves were designed here to represent nail art to a whole new level. The event celebrated extraordinary styles of worldwide singers such as Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Rihanna.

Held at East London gallery of DegreeArt.com, popular nail artists and experts brought the exhibition to reality such as Marian Newman, Jenny Longworth, Mike Pocock and Sue Marsh. In particular, Marsh lent runway designs from London Fashion Week and nail art designs she designed for big icons such as Spice Girls, Boy George and PJ Harvey.

Ryan Lanji, the curator of the exhibition, admitted that the whole event took hours of preparation. He also mentioned that each nail art display was created for several days. He stated that the exhibition became possible because of the artists’ passion and patience in the art of nails.

Nailphilia is very unique and trendy. It reminds us that beautiful nails, no matter how small, can really elevate a look.

1. Tokyo Nail Expo (Japan)

There’s no doubt that Tokyo Nail Expo is the biggest, most popular and most extravagant nail exhibition in the whole world. The crowd in this expo is insane. You would not believe at first that this is a big event focusing on nail art. The whole event really looks like an international expo because of the multitude of displays and the huge crowd.

Tokyo Nail Expo is also considered to be a “nail festival.” The biggest crowd it generated was composed of more than 50,000 people in just two days. One of its most-awaited activities is the Nail Competition. All Japanese nail experts who won in regional tournaments gathered in this event for the finals or championships. The attention they got from people was similar to Olympic athletes. These experts were very knowledgeable when it comes to unique styles and innovation.

Another highlight in this expo is the Nail Queen Award Ceremony. The awarding ceremony is always presented glamorously like what we normally see in Hollywood. This award is usually given to a famous personality who is passionate about nail art. The main stage is called “Nail Pantheon” and this is where the awarding normally takes place. Of course, every winner dressed up accordingly with their chosen nail art design.

Top 10 Nail Art Designs from Expos

These are my most favorite nail art designs displayed in the aforementioned expos:

Framed nail art designs from “Beneath the Lacquer”
“Vintage Wasps” by NancyMc in San Francisco nail art and jewelry exhibition | Photography by Bret Woodard
Sculptural hands by Sophie Hanson/”Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky” painting by Kostas Georgiou/Nails by Sophie Harris-Greenslade from The Illustrated Nail | Taken from Stylist | Nailphilia exhibition
Sculptural hands by Sophie Hanson/Monochrome Rose nails by Sam Biddle | Taken from Stylist | Nailphilia exhibition
Geisha nails by Sue Marsh | Taken from Stylist | Nailphilia exhibition
From Tokyo Nail Expo | Sophy Robson/Instagram
From Tokyo Nail Expo | Flavorwire
From Tokyo Nail Expo | Sephora Glossy
From Tokyo Nail Expo | Nevertoomuchglitter
From Tokyo Nail Expo | EPA/Franck Robichon

Personally, I love looking at the most intricate nail art designs. I can’t imagine the amount of work and patience required to accomplish the details since our fingernails are very small canvases. But I know these take lots work and not really for everyday life, so you can always refer to normal typical designs such as these everyday coffin shaped nails.

Posted in Art

10 Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold in History

Outrageous – that’s the adjective I can come up with whenever I hear people buying paintings worth millions of dollars. But, it is just my initial reaction. I know that works of art can last forever if cared properly, much like jewelry. Paintings are good investments actually. They elevate the feel of a room. They are good conversation starters with sophisticated house guests. But, some are just too expensive, making this type of trade crazy.

Check out 10 of the most expensive paintings ever sold in the world based on the current prices, not the original ones:

10. “Woman III” (Willem de Kooning)

Willem de Kooning is a painter of abstract expressionism. “Woman III” is included in de Kooning’s series of paintings from 1951 to 1953. To be specific, this painting was finished in 1953. It spans 68 by 48 ½ inches.

Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art previously included this painting in its collection, specifically from the 1970s to the 1990s. However, after the 1979 revolution, the government prohibited exhibiting this artwork because of its claims about the bad effects of visual arts.

In 1994, Thomas Ammann Fine Art discreetly traded the painting with businessman David Geffen. Ammann preferred to have the rest of a Persian manuscript called the Tahmasbi Shahnameh which can be traced back to the 16th century. In 2006, Geffen successfully sold the painting to the billionaire Steven A. Cohen for the price of $137.5 million.

Steven A. Cohen

9. “No. 5, 1948” (Jackson Pollock)

Jackson Pollock is another painter who made a name for himself through abstract expressionism. “No. 5, 1948” remained as one of his most powerful and expensive paintings despite several changes he made. Once again, Cohen is the one who purchased this painting worth $140 million.

Steven A. Cohen

8. “Nu Couché” (Amedeo Modigliani)

The eighth most expensive painting is an erotic one from Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani. “Nu Couché” means “Red Nude” or “Reclining Nude.” It is an oil painting on canvas which was completed in 1917. It was sold for $170 million to another wealthy businessman Liu Yiqian during an art sale at Christie’s New York.

This artwork is included in the infamous series of nude paintings by Modigliani. The Italian artist only had one art exhibition in his whole lifetime. In 1917, his show was being held at the Galerie Berthe Weill when the police suddenly raided the event and stopped it. Christie’s noted during the painting’s sale last November 2015 that Modigliani just wanted to express that nudity is just part of modern art.

Liu Yiqian

7. “Les Femmes d’Alger” (Pablo Picasso)

Also known as “Women of Algiers,” “Les Femmes d’Alger” is a collection of 15 artworks from the iconic Spanish painter Pablo Picasso. Picasso is so popular until this generation that his name is already associated with cubism. “The Women of Algiers in their Apartment” by Eugène Delacroix is the inspiration of Picasso’s masterpiece.

First buyers of the whole series were Sally and Victor Ganz. In 1956, they bought it at the Galerie Louise Leiris located in Paris for the price of $212,500. Interestingly, they sold 10 of the series to the Saidenberg Gallery.

Since the series became individual paintings, the most expensive one is simply known as “Version O.” Christie’s New York auctioned this in 2015. The painting was purchased by the former prime minister of Qatar Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani for the price of $179.4 million.

Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani

6. “Pendant Portraits of Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit” (Rembrandt)

The famous Dutch painter commonly known as Rembrandt painted these two full-length portraits of the married couple Oopjen Coppit and Marten Soolmans. From the Rothschild family, both the Rijksmuseum and the Louvre Museum gained the rights for the paintings in 2015. Each museum paid half the price of €160 million.

Rijksmuseum/Louvre Museum

5. “No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red)” (Mark Rothko)

It is a wonder why many of the most expensive paintings follow abstract expressionism. Here’s another example from the Russian-American painter Mark Rothko. “No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red)” was completed in 1951. It is similar to other paintings of Rothko – different colors of big coverage that are connected together through shading. Dmitry Rybolovley purchased this painting for €140 million during an exclusive sale.

Dmitry Rybolovley

4. “Number 17A” (Jackson Pollock)

Another masterpiece from Pollock, “Number 17A” was purchased by Kenneth C. Griffin from the David Geffen Foundation in 2015. It was worth $200 million.

Kenneth C. Griffin

3. “The Card Players” (Paul Cézanne)

Paul Cézanne is a French artist promoting the Post-Impressionist movement in his paintings. His most popular work is a series called “The Card Players.” These five artworks are oil paintings created during the 1890s. They differ in size, setting and number of card players. One of the paintings belongs to the most expensive artworks in history because of the Royal Family of Qatar’s purchase in 2011. Its price is estimated to be at least $250 million and maximum of $300 million.

Royal Family of Qatar

2. “When Will You Marry?” (Paul Gauguin)

Translated from the Tahitian title “Nafea Faa Ipoipo,” “When Will You Marry?” is an 1892 oil painting by the another French Post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin. In 2015, Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani purchased this for $300 million from the Staechelin family.

In 1891, Gauguin visited Tahiti and got inspiration there for his most notable artworks. He painted local women dressed in traditional clothing or just plain nude. He also captured Tahitian women wearing Western dresses. Historically speaking, it was said that Gauguin painted the natives as people who only love to sing and have sex. It is speculated that Gauguin earned so much money and fame in his time because of that.

Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani

1. “Interchange” (Willem de Kooning)

So far, this abstract expressionism painting titled “Interchange” is the most expensive painting ever sold in the world. Once again, de Kooning managed to produce an expensive artwork. Finished in 1955, the painting measures 200.7 by 175.3 centimeters. For the second time, Griffin purchased this from the David Geffen Foundation in 2015 for $300 million.

Kenneth C. Griffin

Final Thoughts

Like you, I was pretty overwhelmed when I first learned the prices of these paintings. Not to mention the simplicity of the artworks yet the intense fascination it gave to the curators and the buyers. Actually, there are existing artworks even more expensive than these paintings. Those paintings are already priceless, meaning they cannot be sold privately. One of which is the “Mona Lisa.”

Posted in Museum

Gary Vikan and His Interesting Life as a Museum Director

Watching all three installments of Ben Stiller’s comedy film “Night at the Museum” makes me realize once again my childhood dream to work in a museum. I always have been curious about what kind of vibe the museum staff encounters every time they roam around the establishment. Are they getting scared sometimes? Is it always excitement and awe for them even if they go to the museum every day?

Good thing I found ExhibiTricks’s exclusive interview just last year with Gary Vikan, a longtime museum director or curator. Vikan served as curator for 28 years. How cool is that? Let’s find out what it’s like to work in a museum for almost three decades!

The Responsibilities of a Museum Director

First, we must understand the work of a museum director, who is also called a curator. Museum directors are responsible for the secured storage and procurement of archives, artifacts and artworks. They also facilitate exhibitions inside the museum. They purchase works of history and art, commonly through negotiations, to serve as the museum’s displays.

All about Gary Vikan

Check out Vikan’s personal and professional life inside and outside the museum through the years:

Background

In the later part of his career, Vikan was the director of Baltimore’s Walters Art Museum since 1994. He ended his work there by 2013. Before getting the director position, he was the assistant director for the same museum’s Curatorial Affairs starting 1985.

When it comes to Vikan’s university life before entering the world of museums, he was the senior associate of Harvard’s Center for Byzantine Studies. That time, he lived in Dumbarton Oaks, Washington D.C., not in Baltimore. Vikan achieved his BA in Carleton College. Years later, he accomplished his Ph. D. in Princeton University. Lastly, he was a graduate of the National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program and the Harvard Program for Art Museum Directors.

Motivation to Work in Museums

What exactly motivated Vikan to pursue a career in a museum? The curator wanted to share the effect art has on him to other people. When he was a scholar in Harvard’s Center for Byzantine Studies, he was busy teaching people in the Smithsonian Residents’ Association Program. He aimed to relate with people and use his scholarship for the greater good. In order to connect with a huge group of people, he used his love for art as an inspiration.

Most Favorite Exhibitions

Vikan has two most favorite exhibitions, which are too different from each other when it comes to the subject in focus. His first favorite happened 25 years ago which was called “Holy Image, Holy Space: Icons and Frescoes from Greece.” That exhibition was his first most successful event because of the effect it gave to the visitors. Vikan could still remember seeing kiss marks on the Plexiglass of the icons. For him, it was a holy moment.

On the other hand, “Beauty and the Brain” is Vikan’s other favorite exhibition. It happened a few years ago. It was just a simple event, but it remained as Vikan’s one of the most beloved. The exhibition became successful because of its collaboration with one of Johns Hopkins’ neuroscientists. Vikan loved it so much because of how interactive it was. The visitors get to pick their favorite shape among the multitude of shapes with subtle differences. Vikan explained that the visitors eventually realized that they are “hard wired” to connect with specific shapes.

Latest Achievement

Vikan managed to publish his controversial book titled “Sacred and Stolen: Confessions of a Museum Director” last year. He aimed to share to the public the darker side of museums because he knew that he lived to tell stories. He had stories that he could not express as a director. Now that he is retired, he is already free to write any book about these stories. He believed that people deserve to know everything about the strange things happening in art museums.

Final Thoughts

Museums are essential to preserve art and history. Without them, humans would have less connection with their forefathers. Museums hold the heart and soul of mankind.

Posted in Art

Artist Appreciation Nook: David Hockney and His Pop Art Innovations

One thing I love about art is innovation. As observed through the years, new artists emerged to provide another interesting style on the canvas. I think they make art even more interesting because, well, they put out something new and relevant to current social issues. That’s why when I heard news about a David Hockney art exhibition this year, I want to go to Tate Gallery pronto.

 

Who Is David Hockney?

Well, David Hockney is one of the most influential pop art contributors. Being tagged as an “influential” artist is definitely not something to be gained in a snap. Hockney really came out of his way to present bold and meaningful artworks for how many years. The now 79-year-old British artist has received so many prominent accolades. For one, he gained the Order of Merit and the Order of the Companions of Honour. He is also acknowledged by the members of the exclusive Royal Academy of Arts.

 

Best Works

Interestingly, David Hockney is not just a painter. He is also a photographer, a stage designer, a printmaker and a draughtsman. Yes, he is really a perfect example of an all-around artist.

What makes me even more excited about Hockney’s art exhibition is the inclusion of his works as a student in the early 1960s. The retrospective of how Hockney developed as an artist from those early works is a great opportunity to know him more. Most of Hockney’s memorable works have something to do with portraits, homosexuality, landscapes and sophisticated photo collages.

Paintings of Homosexuality (1961-1963)

“We Two Boys Together Clinging” (1961)

David Hockney is a homosexual. He is a brave artist, painting about his affection for men. Two of his famous works that have something to do with his sexuality are “We Two Boys Together Clinging” and “Domestic Scene, Los Angeles.”

“Domestic Scene, Los Angeles” (1963)

 

Portraits (1968-1976)

“Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy” (1971)

Most of David Hockney’s early works are portraits. Hockney loved painting his parents, relatives, friends, lovers and inspirations. He managed to paint fellow artist Mo McDermott, fashion designers Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell, art dealer Nicholas Wilder, curator Henry Geldzahler, and ballet dancer Wayne Sleep.

“Mo McDermott” (1976)

 

“Joiners” (1980s)

“My Mother, Bolton Abbey” (1982)

This is when David Hockney decided to start with photo collages. Hockney called those works “joiners.” He made small patches from photographs to form a unified image. The final result of his joiners is similar to Cubism. Hockney’s first photo collage is inspired by his mother. He continued to do portraits like “Kasmin.” Then, he switched to landscapes like “Pearblossom Highway # 2.”

“Pearblossom Highway # 2” (1986)

 

Vogue Cover (December 1985)

Because of David Hockney’s stylish art, French Vogue magazine used his Celia Birtwell portrait as the cover design. The cover seems like an abstract painting. But, it resembles Birtwell’s face.

“Celia Birtwell” for Vogue (December 1985)

 

“Bigger Trees Near Warter” (2007)

This is considered to be David Hockney’s biggest painting. The artwork measures 15 by 40 feet. Hockney’s Yorkshire home inspired this painting. On 50 separate canvases, Hockney painted specific parts of the big picture. The finished work is a nostalgic image of big trees.

“Bigger Trees Near Warter” (2007)

 

Final Thoughts

Paintings may just be eye-candy for some spectators. But, artists put their heart and soul into their artworks. David Hockney is definitely no exception. His daring, stylish and innovative personality is clearly depicted on his works.