Thursday, June 25, 2009

The 2nd Most Expensive Painting in the World

Here we see the first painting by an American artist on our list of the Ten Most Expensive Paintings in the World. And once again, the combined forces of the artist’s name, subject matter and provenance have boosted the selling price to orbital heights.

2. “Women III” by Willem de Kooning, sold in 2006 for $137.5 million. Inflation-adjusted price $147 million.

Willem De Kooning was a Dutch-born American Abstract Expressionist painter. Woman III is one of a six numbered paintings in which his central theme was a woman. It measures 68 by 48 inches (170 x 120 cm) and was completed in 1953.

De Kooning had eight years of formal art training in Rotterdam before smuggling himself into the US at age 22. Unlike other Abstract Expressionists, de Kooning’s work is figurative, and built with a sure understand of human form. He blended expressionist deconstruction with recognizable, ferocious imagery.

With their aggressive brushwork and high-key colors, de Kooning’s“Women” paintings are fearsome, an unsettling mix of lust, satire, idolatry and dazzle. These paintings caused a sensation in the 50s, much as they do today.

Almost as startling is this painting’s ownership history. From the 70s to 1994 Woman III was in Iran’s Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art collection. But it had not been shown since the 1979 Iranian Revolution when the Shah and his Monarchy were replaced by the current Islamic Republic of Iran. Under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, “Woman III” was rejected as being unsuitable for public display. Unsuitable or not, her keepers were aware that paintings by de Kooning were then selling in the $20-million range, and so “Woman III” was carefully maintained.

Finally, after 15 years in the closet, the de Kooning was quietly traded for remnants of a precious 16th-century Persian manuscript known as the Tahmasbi Shahnameh. This book, which originally contained 258 brilliantly painted miniatures, had been dissected into separate sheets by its thoughtless owner and more than half were sold off.

Nonetheless, in 1994, in return for the de Kooning painting through a British art dealer, Iran obtained the remaining 118 plates that survived in the Persian manuscript. Joy all around.

In an eye-blink, “Woman III” was acquired for an undisclosed amount by American David Geffen, a Brooklyn-born film/entertainment maven, recently of Dream/Works fame. In November 2006, he sold it for $137.5 million to Stephen Cohen, age 50, a billionaire hedge-fund manager and prominent art collector.

In a second opinion, a British Museum book expert said that the Tahmasbi Shahnameh was worth at least 20 paintings from de Kooning.

Previous Top-10 Listings. Read more>

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

This Week @ Binders - June 22-28


Monday, June 22:
Guided Open Studio with Kay Powell
10:30am-2pm or 6:30-8:30pm • Every Monday
Fee: $15/session. No sign up needed. Please pay the instructor.

Tuesday, June 23:
Painting - Design and Technique with Charles Y. Walls
1-4pm or 6-8:30pm • Tuesdays, 6 sessions, May 26-June 30
Fee: $140 per 6 session series

Bookmaking with Anne Elser
6-8:30pm • Tuesdays, 6 sessions, May 26-June 30 • Fee: $140

Wednesday, June 24:
Copperplate Calligraphy with Anne Elser
6-8:30pm • Wednesdays, 6 sessions, June 10-July 15 • Fee: $140

Watercolor Landscape Painting with Susan Bradford
6-8:30pm, Wednesdays, 6 sessions • May 20 - June 24 • Fee: $120

Thursday, June 25:
Visual Liberation with Pastels with Ryan Doss
6-8:30pm • Every Thursday • Fee: $25/session • Sign up now!

Friday, June 26 at BINDERS store in Charlotte:

Paint & Sketch Models

9am-8pm • Every Friday until August 14 during our extended summer Friday hours • Charlotte store only

Saturday & Sunday, June 27 and 28:

No activities planned. Stores remain open.


Monday-Saturday July 6-18:
Realistic Portrait Painting with Marvin Mattelson - 12-Day

10am-5pm • Fee: $1800 (includes 5 lectures) or $900 to audit all workshop sessions and lectures without painting in class.
Sign up now to paint or audit!

See all upcoming Art Classes and Workshops at BINDERS

Please note: Classes on this schedule are in our Atlanta store unless otherwise indicated. For more information please contact: Kristina Breneman at 404.237.6331 ext. 203.


Showing Through June 30:
Videre Art Show. The 5th annual art show featuring Dawn K Martin’s art students - a great opportunity to collect new work by Atlanta's rising artists!

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