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G. Harvey

G. Harvey, The Picnic, available in Fine and Decorative Arts on March 30, 2019, 10 AM CDT.

“Art should communicate. If I provide only an exact rendering, then I have failed. But to paint with your heart and soul will give one’s mind and emotions an impression that no one can take from you. This is what I endeavor to accomplish.”

–G. Harvey

G. Harvey was born Gerald Harvey Jones in San Antonio, Texas in 1933 to a family with deep Western roots. His grandfather had been a cowboy in his youth, working as a trail boss driving longhorns up to Kansas. Jones grew up roaming the Texan plains and hearing his grandfather’s stories about the exciting people and events that once filled them. He had always liked art, but was not sure quite how he wanted to make a career out of it. After graduating from UT Austin, he got a job teaching technical art at O’Henry Junior High School in Austin. His wife, Pat, bought him paints, and he began painting as much as he could on weekends. Although he enjoyed his trade and his students, he soon found that he was not getting enough time to paint, so he quit his job to paint full time.

Initially, Jones was interested in landscape painting, and spent his days out sketching in his favorite Texas landscape. Soon, however, he began turning to more human subjects, looking for inspiration to the romanticized West from his grandfather’s stories and to his devout Christian faith. Jones’ technique, particularly with historical paintings, was always a research-heavy approach. He would spend several days at a time living with cowboys at a local ranch that did things the old-fashioned way, sketching and getting a feel for how they lived. Having that feel was important to Jones–he felt strongly that his art must be evocative, providing its viewers with a thorough sense of a place instead of simply the sight of it.

G. Harvey’s paintings quickly became successful. His dedicated fan base included presidents and governors, and his art was displayed in governor’s mansions and even the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, where he held a one-man show called “The All-American Horse.” He was also becoming a household name, and made an effort to make his art more widely available by releasing popular print editions of his paintings. As he continued in his career, he broadened his subject matter, painting an increasing number of city scenes and different, moodier, genre pieces. However, he generally remained within his favorite time period–the turn-of-the-century “Golden Age,” a time Jones thought of as one of great excitement and change. Gerald Harvey Jones died in 2017 after a long and fulfilling career in art.

The Picnic, featured in Fine and Decorative Arts on March 30, 2019, depicts a family having a riverside picnic. It is a brilliant example of G. Harvey’s work, featuring in particular his fascination with painting light. Sunlight dapples the leaves on the trees and glistens on the ripples in the water. The subtle shadings of light lend a feeling of movement to the piece, as the viewer is drawn downstream from the watery foreground to the picnicking family further toward the background. This family, although small, draws focus and contains one of Harvey’s favorite elements. The parasol the woman holds makes it clear that this painting depicts Jones’ favored “Golden Age,” but it is a subtle nod; the painting is in some ways more similar to his earlier landscapes, and shows his dedication to subtle blending of the two genres–the way he painted places that mattered to him, but then filled them with the people he imagined must once have inhabited them.

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol Marilyn Screenprint, available in Fine and Decorative Arts on March 30, 2019, 10 AM CDT

It is not an exaggeration to say that Andy Warhol’s Marilyn is one of the most recognized images of all time. Marilyn Monroe’s face extends to the edges of the frame, smirking at the viewer under heavy-lidded eyes through exaggerated, psychedelic swaths of color. Her arched eyebrows invite the viewer in. It is a face—and an interpretation of a face—that is instantly recognizable. Warhol himself was a 20th century icon, a force in the art world but also in the wider world. Warhol created art that was not only accessible to but fundamentally about the American public. An early adherent of the pop art movement, Warhol is easily its most famous figure, with his unusual talent for selecting the most ubiquitous of images and portraying them in a manner extremely fitting to pop culture: bold, exciting, and shamelessly overproduced and artificial. As art philosopher Arthur Danto explains it, Warhol was the master of capturing into art “the defining images of the American consciousness.”

Andy Warhol was born Andrew Warhola to a poor immigrant family in Pittsburgh. His early childhood was difficult, and young Warhol was frequently ill. During these periods of illness, he stayed at home from school with his mother, Julia, who he adored. To keep him occupied during bedridden periods, she and his siblings would bring him coloring books and magazines. This sparked an early interest in art, as well as a fascination with the movie stars in the magazines. Coloring, collaging, and dreaming of Hollywood got Warhol through these early illnesses, and this experience—and his choice of escape—stuck with him. After his recovery, he attended the movies weekly for the rest of his childhood, and continued this tradition with few interruptions through his adulthood.

After high school, Warhol attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology to study art. He struggled initially, since the school had a fairly traditional and academic art department, something Warhol chafed against. He struggled in his theory classes—his frequent absences from school and his immigrant parents had left him somewhat behind his peers academically—but even more than that, he longed to be creative in a way his assignments wouldn’t allow. Soon, however, things began to look up, as he gained the support of many of his professors and struck up friendships with many of his most creative classmates, many of whom, notably Philip Pearlstein, went on to become successful artists themselves.

Following graduation, Warhol moved to New York City, where he made his home for the rest of his life. He began his career working as a freelance commercial artist, something many of his artistic contemporaries were also doing, and he soon began doing well in this field. His first notable success came when the director of Glamour Magazine commissioned him to illustrate women’s shoes, something he became known for as a commercial artist. He spun this theme into his first professional success as an artist, a 1956 series of paintings of shoes. Fittingly for someone with his pop culture obsession, these shoes were named and themed after major celebrities and movie stars.

While Warhol’s career as a commercial artist had brought him financial success, his career as a fine artist took longer to take off. He did some gallery shows, which led to mixed reviews and no financial success. He began to be increasingly influenced by—and jealous of—the pioneering pop artists who moved on the edges of his circle, particularly Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, who had, by the late 1950s, managed to achieve both the success and the controversy that Warhol craved. By 1960, Warhol was making pop art in earnest. Eventually, a crisp, accurate painting of a Coca-Cola bottle—a tidy and frustrated response to the abstract expressionism he was increasingly fed up with—attracted the attention of the assistant of influential gallery owner Leo Castelli. However, getting picked up by a gallery took time. Warhol was in a constant state of production throughout the first two years of the 1960s, but had trouble striking on a subject he felt was just right. When a friend suggested he paint everyday objects that were dear to him, he began his series of money and Campbell’s soup cans, for which he had an affection due to his mother making Campbell’s soup for him in his childhood.

These series of paintings quickly attracted notice, with critics extolling the unique way he presented his objects, repeated but isolated. His career began to pick up; he showed his soup cans in Los Angeles, and was soon picked up by the Stable Gallery in New York, allowing him increased stability as a fine artist. He continued to produce series of duplicate works, and in 1962, he was introduced to silk-screening, a technique that would change the course of his career. Screen printing allowed Warhol to produce the vast quantities of identical pieces he wanted. He took a very detached view of his own—and all—art, and this new production method provided him the emotional space from his works that he desired. During this early period of his success, Warhol would work in his studio in a state of constant stimulation from the outside world, keeping a radio and a television on at all times. It is no surprise, then, that he was engrossed in the news of Marilyn Monroe’s death as soon as it occurred.

Warhol had always been fascinated with fame, but this included, and perhaps even centered on, the darker side of it. He once explained that “vacant, vacuous Hollywood was everything I ever wanted to mold my life into. Plastic, white on white.” Marilyn Monroe, at the time, was the pinnacle of this side of Hollywood. Her rise to fame from being Norma Jeane Baker had long since become the stuff of legend, and her subsequent status as the ultimate sex symbol was unrivaled. She had the most famous face in the world, a glamorous life envied by the public, and yet all of that was empty. Her highly publicized marriages had ended in divorce, and she seemed to be increasingly unhappy, struggling with substance abuse, anxiety, and depression. Warhol watched all of this unfold through the media and his regular attendance of the movies. He was intrigued by the tragic arc of her scandalous, beautiful career. Since his early childhood, he had been “preoccupied” with death, particularly when it was public, and Monroe’s death, with the context of her life, which Warhol viewed as the shell of fame hiding a deeply troubled individual, was particularly compelling to him.

The summer after Monroe’s death, Warhol began making screen prints of her. These were based on her publicity photo for Niagara, a 1953 noir film that helped solidify Monroe’s status as a star. Warhol’s fascination with her and her grisly death consumed him through the end of the summer of 1962, and he eventually made 23 series and portraits depicting Monroe. He felt screen printing was the perfect way to depict her, his bold, unfeeling lines of color reducing her captivating face into a mere “mask,” a nod to the turmoil underneath. The response to these Marilyn prints was immediate and divisive. Much of the public was enthralled, and the Museum of Modern Art purchased one of these prints; on the other hand, many critics were disgusted and shocked by his work, thinking of it as unfit for the tasteful, high-class world of art. Finally, Warhol had achieved both the recognition and the controversy he had been seeking.

The rest of Warhol’s career, despite occasional bumps, continued this upward trajectory. His bright, repetitive works were something something something. In 1964, he finally entered into the partnership with Leo Castelli he had wanted so badly in his early career. Something more about his works here. In the mid 1960s, Warhol began exploring film, and soon turned to it as his primary focus in making art, a natural move for someone as obsessed with cinema as he. Soon, he was creating stars instead of simply idolizing them. In the 1980s, he returned to painting, managing to stay cutting-edge with his works, exhibiting with up-and-comers such as Jean-Michel Basquiat. By his untimely death in 1987, he was himself a huge public figure, the kind of cultural icon he had always been obsessed with. Warhol’s constant outward focus was one of his biggest strengths. He created images everyone could relate to. He saw himself as very separate from the intellectual elites of the artistic world, choosing instead to mass-produce images of the items and people accessible to the masses. While his usage of this mass-production certainly seems to be an intellectual commentary on society—Warhol was nothing if not full of contradictions—he insisted that he was not making anything deep. In his words, “Just ordinary people like my paintings.”

Dale Chihuly

Dale Chihuly first encountered glass art as an interior design student at the University of Washington. Immediately fascinated, he went on to study glass at the University of Wisconsin, which was the first university in the United States to teach glassblowing. From there, he went on to the Rhode Island School of Design, where he continued to learn about glass and eventually ended up teaching. His education continued with a Fulbright   Fellowship to go to the famous glassblowing studios of Venice. After his time in Italy, he returned to his home state of Washington to found his own glass school, the Pilchuck Glass School, with Ann and John Hauberg, influential supporters of the arts in Seattle. At this school, his art style and process truly flourished. In particular, Chihuly first fostered the collaborative method of glassblowing he had witnessed in Italy at Pilchuck, something that would become a hallmark of his artistic process.

Involved in these early collaborations was photographer and collector Edward Claycomb. Claycomb worked with Chihuly from 1979 to 1985, photographing his art in New York City, Rhode Island, and at Pilchuck Glass School, where Claycomb was the staff photographer from 1979 to 1980.  Claycomb, a former glassblower himself, remembers his time working with Chihuly fondly, saying, “Dale was the most fun, generous and kind artist I have ever had the honor to work with. These times could easily be called the most fun and best memories of my life.”

The pieces featured here, which make up Claycomb’s entire collection, are extremely representative of Chihuly’s style from the 1970s and 1980s. They include pieces from several of  Chihuly’s series, including Baskets, Seaforms, and Macchia. In these series, Chihuly pushed the limits of what could be created with glassblowing, experimenting with his use of color and form. During this experimental process, he created innovative new glassblowing techniques, such as his usage of an opaque “cloud” layer in his Macchia pieces to keep the colors on the exterior distinct from the color used in the interior.

 

Dayton’s Gallery 12

During its tenure in Minneapolis, Dayton’s Gallery 12 was a powerhouse in the American contemporary art scene. While it was originally greeted with disdain by the art world at its founding in 1964 because it was a department store gallery, it soon gained a reputation as a serious player in the art scene, showing works by the biggest names in the contemporary art world, such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jasper Johns. Dayton’s Gallery 12 played a unique role in shaping the Midwest art scene, and the American art scene more broadly.

It kickstarted the contemporary art market in the Midwest, a market that many critics had doubted existed. Dayton’s Gallery 12 was strengthened by the unique opportunities it provided. Dayton’s Gallery 12 was able to exhibit large collections with huge ranges of works in ways that would not be available elsewhere due to space and other concerns, allowing artists–and even gallery owners such as Leo Castelli–to display large volumes and varieties of works, creating a unique experience which benefited both artists and local viewers.

A list of exhibitions at Dayton’s Gallery 12 follows:

Pavlos Paper Constructions

Morris Louis

Ellsworth Kelly

Castelli at Dayton’s

Stella, Noland, and Caro

Sugarman: Sculpture and Lithographs

Calder

David Hockney: Drawings

Rauschenberg: Currents

Charles Ross: Prisms

OR: an Introduction (Jud Fine)

Charles Biederman

Tom Wesselmann

Jasper Johns

Robert Indiana

Lia Acconi

Josef Albers

Horst Antes

Shusaku Arakawa

Enrico Baj

Revere Auctions is dedicated to finding and preserving these important works from Dayton’s Gallery 12.