Modern & Contemporary Popular Favorites II

When looking at the bigger artists who have made a splash in the field in a compelling and lasting way, it is interesting to note how vastly different they are from one another. Their voices have in common only that they are confident and invariably themselves, though in most other regards their work is boldly unique— something that helps them stand out in the crowd, even if their particular tone happens to be of more quiet or subtle persuasion. This specific nature of both conceptual clarity and fully engaged emotional expression lends the kind of work that holds strong over time and throughout stylistic changes of what is going on around it. Cultural trends and human tides do not seem to matter when held up against the artwork of the greats.

Henri Matisse – The Fall Of Icarus, silkscreen 1994
Henri Matisse – Composition Fond Bleu, offset lithograph

Henri Matisse is the king of stylized shape, using the organic forms of nature in a pared-down way to communicate a full range of beauty with a highly succinct articulation. Part of his magic in fact has to do with how relaxed, or natural, he seems in the creation process, allowing the inherent beauty of the subject to shine through effortlessly, regardless of the mediumThe Fall Of Icarus is a 1994 silkscreen of this work that is one of Matisse’s best known, an undebatable epiphany. Composition Fond Bleu is a classic piece that falls blissfully between abstract and representational, one of Matisse’s fortés, and Le Buisson II is a Maeght Editeur Paris plate-signed stone lithograph, full of casual elegance.

Henri Matisse – Le Buisson II, stone lithograph

Roy Lichtenstein’s work is the epitome of the cross-section between sophistication and cartoon, where he somehow found a perfect balancing act that erupts with inspiration throughout any subject he chose. Landscape with Philosopher takes the ancient Chinese ink landscape theme, a style that many critics consider the highest form of Chinese painting, and refracts it through the prism of his infamous dots. He can likewise infuse a set of Grecian columns or an untamed brushstroke with modernity— Temple is an original 1964 invitation to Leo Castelli for a Lichtenstein opening, and Big Painting #6 is a small edition silkscreen.

Roy Lichtenstein – Landscape with Philosopher, silkscreen 1995
Roy Lichtenstein – Temple, offset lithograph 1964
Roy Lichtenstein – Big Painting #6, silkscreen 2000
"This specific nature of both conceptual clarity and fully engaged emotional expression lends the kind of work that holds strong over time..."

Jackson Pollock’s undying fever is apparent in every mark, his sense of timing and placement more akin to dance than finalized statement— his work a performance experience perhaps more so than any other abstract painter in history. One could stand in front of a work like Number 13A: Arabesque for many minutes before truly absorbing all it has to say.

Jackson Pollock – Number 13A: Arabesque, offset lithograph 2007

Salvador Dali never fails to amaze, his surrealism at the top of the game. His works seem to give permission to even the casual appreciator to free the mind and the structures of normalcy, allowing for an enthusiasm for unexplainable imaginings and the bizarre that is the subconscious. A work like Femme a Tete de Roses (Woman with Head of Roses) is made somehow familiar, as a stranger sitting at the bar.

Salvador Dali – Femme a Tete de Roses (Woman with Head of Roses), stone lithograph

Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol both proved their own distinctive ways of making pop art from anything and everything that crossed their viewfinder. With this 1978 piece Savarin Cans - Monotype Johns reveals his cheeky personality, making a nonchalant and beautiful painting of the objects of beauty with which he paints. And Warhol’s Flowers are forever satisfying with both sincere affection and that pop art electricity for which he is so beloved.

Jasper Johns – Savarin Cans - Monotype, offset lithograph 1978
Andy Warhol – Flowers (Lg), offset lithograph 1993

And Wassily Kandinsky’s geometric arrangements prevail across time for their experimentation with composition that is both calmly organized and weightlessly free spirited, as though to travel through a Kandinsky narrative is to unfold along with the discovery and crystallization of the universe itselfTirant Sur Le Violet or "pulling on the violet" considers the effect that colors have on one another, perhaps in physics and in symbolic pursuit, and Untitled is a Mourlot stone lithograph that could be investigating any number of various subjects that may on a warm afternoon carouse across the mind.

Wassily Kandinsky – Tirant Sur Le Violet, offset lithograph  and  Untitled, Mourlot stone lithograph

As before, if there is a piece you are interested in that we no longer carry, let us know anyways as we have been known to be good print hunters, and we have a Wishlist feature that can send you an email if your request comes back in the shop.